41 MPs demand Corbyn sack Shawcroft. Disingenuous or just colossally ignorant?

polhome dumb letter.png

As PoliticsHome has just reported, 41 MPs and a handful of peers have written a letter (apparently leaked, unsurprisingly, rather than ‘open’) to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding that he sack or suspend NEC member Christine Shawcroft, who resigned this week as chair of the NEC (National Executive Committee) ‘disputes panel’ over an email recommending the unsuspension of a council candidate alleged to have shared an antisemitic post on Facebook.

The signatories to the letter bear significant resemblance to those who signed an open letter to the Huffington Post bleating that the SKWAWKBOX had bullied, threatened and intimidated five MPs – by sending them a couple of questions by email.

The letter tells the party leader:

Dear Jeremy,

We are deeply concerned that Christine Shawcroft remains a member of the National Executive Committee.

It is utterly wrong that somebody who defends a Labour candidate who has been suspended for Holocaust denial should be a member of Labour’s governing body.

This is highly offensive to the Jewish community and all those of us who wish to see the scourge of antisemitism eradicated.

We urge you to suspend Christine Shawcroft from the Labour Party immediately, thus ensuring she is removed from the NEC.

You pledged this week to be an ally in the fight against antisemitism. This action would represent an initial step in honouring that commitment.

There a not-very-small problem with the letter.

Under Labour Party rules, the party leader has absolutely no authority to sack or suspend an elected member of the NEC – as Ms Shawcroft is.

Corbyn could remove a member he has appointed – one of the MP members – but giving or removing seats from NEC representatives elected by the members is not in his gift.

Nor should it ever be.

The NEC itself could in theory ask the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), the Labour body with authority to do so, to suspend or expel Ms Shawcroft from the party. Expulsion would probably result in her ineligibility to remain on the NEC, but it’s not clear whether this has ever been tested, as the expulsion of NEC members is not exactly what the party rules envisage.

But this isn’t – and should never be – Corbyn’s responsibility. It’s the responsibility of the body that represents the Labour Party’s members, affiliated unions and MPs.

Ms Shawcroft’s letter of resignation from the Disputes Panel chair started by stating she had never seen the Facebook posts for which the council candidate had been suspended. Perhaps the MPs should be calling for the expulsion of whichever HQ functionary withheld that information from the then-chair of the Disputes Panel instead.

Whatever your opinion on this state of affairs, though, the rules are not Corbyn’s fault either – they predate his leadership and Labour’s party leader can’t change them. Changes take a long time to make and have to be approved by Labour members and union representatives at the party’s annual Conference.

If Corbyn could just sack elected representatives, a lot of Labour members would have been writing their own letter demanding the removal of Tom Watson long before now.

So the 41 MPs and a handful of peers have written to their leader demanding that he do something, as a sign of ‘honouring [a] commitment’ to Jewish communities, that he has absolutely no prospect of doing.

Is this disingenuous, so they can attack him for not doing something he can’t do?

Or are they far more colossally ignorant of Labour’s rules than Labour MPs – and a handful of peers – have any business being?

It’s likely only time will tell.

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  1. Christine is a Socialist Star and you 41 are not!
    I’ll give you a reference for Sports Direct.
    You deserve each other a lot!

  2. Surprise surprise! It’s the usual suspects demanding she be removed so a neo-libtard can take her place

  3. Deselect those of the 41 who can be deselected!

    They are out to get Corbyn, Shawcroft is just a stepping stone.

  4. They are so wrapped up in their mission to get rid of JC that they just don’t care how much they damage the party that they so theatrically profess to love. Their obsession with getting rid of Corbyn is all consuming. In their minds as long as they are proved right nothing else matters, the party, the members, the welfare of the country, nothing. I doubt they will be forgiven this time.

  5. I was waiting for the next move, wonder how many they have lined up? Jeremy fell hook line and sinker for the first jab tho I suspect from previous bouts with these self serving nitwits he is more than ready for the next, no he can’t sack anyone and remove or suspend them from the party, they know this is. Jennie Formby’s first challenge as Gen Sec, this is perfectly timed to happen just as she has walked through the doors of Labour HQ. As they are asking the impossible of Jeremy and doing so publicly knowing the gen public won’t be aware of the rules could they be charged with bringing the party into disrepute.

    ps Christine was wrong to do what she tried to do but held her hand up and did the honorable thing.
    Don’t fall for this honey trap people they want us to attack so they can shout abuse. I won’t be doing that but I’ll be going to my local momentum meeting and CLP meetings for the first time, so thanks nitwits for giving me the last push I needed!! #JC4PM

  6. Christine is not an MP but she is the effective head of Momentum. I’m very disappointed to see this the second error of judgement she’s made over the past couple of weeks – the first attacking the unions, the bedrock of the Labour movement, in an attempt to support Jon Lansman in his bid for the General Secretary position.

    1. Thanks for pointing out my error, I’m a long-term member of Momentum.
      Unfortunately, there’s no option to edit.
      Trying to do too many things at once, after having my FB account hacked, which means that I’ve had to set up a new one, and recover all my FB friends and groups. It’s been a complete nightmare.

  7. Having said that, I have a lot of respect for both Christine and Jon. Perhaps both need to *grow* into their NEC roles having had virtual autonomy within Momentum?

    Steve, you are 100% correct with your analysis here. The MPs and peers know the leader of the Party’s remit and would go garrotte if he had the power to exclude ppl from the NEC or the Party itself. Jeremy wouldn’t want that power – he’s not a demagod… he truly believes in democracy.

  8. The usual suspects. Vile Kinnock. Umunna. Kendall. Toryboy Woodcock. They should cross the floor.

  9. There needs to be a full independent investigation into this whole matter. Christine made an error of judgement in sending this email without asking for the evidence. But she was questioning procedure.
    If, is as alleged there was a report made to the party a year ago of holocaust denial (abhorrent if true) then why wasn’t action taken then?
    The party administrative system has let us all down in the matter of discipline and has let the party down. Most sadly it has let members of Jewish communities down.
    We all need to learn from this case and make immediate changes to ensure our systems are fit for purpose and that everyone is reassured we have a system in place that is consistent, effective, speedy and fair.
    But that has to come from the NEC (as you say it is not the keader’s power to suspend or expel) and the NEC has let us down badly by not acting as a body corporate in making things happen. The Chakrabarti report should have been implemented but instead we have seen her personally vilified and abused.
    So let’s have the independent inquiry that is much needed and gain the facts instead of the constant calls for dismissals, expuktions, deselections and all the other divisive shouting that achieves nothing and changes nothing.

  10. What a revelation that so many MP’s and members of the Lords are so ignorant of what Parliament and MP’s can and cant do! They deserve to be humiliated and removed from their positions!

  11. She shouldn’t be on any disciplinary board, in my opinion, she isn’t for the job. For a start, you don’t advocate for a suspension to be lifted on someone if you haven’t seen the evidence! How could she make the judgement? Especially when she knew what he had been suspended for. I saw the evidence 8 or 9 days ago and emailed the party. It was all over Twitter and in the media. She wrote that email on Sunday. I find it hard to understand how she hadn’t seen the evidence, (after all it is included in complaints isn’t it ?) and like I say, if she hadn’t she shoudn’t have been advocating for his suspension to be lifted. According to Sam from the Times, Team Corbyn wanted Bull gone but Christine took her own view. We need competent people handling these things, and to draw a line under it she needs to be removed from any NEC position that gives her ability to influence these decisions. The party is in a serious situation right now with the media attention and all these accusations. Whatever people think, we need to be serious and rebuild trust. I don’t know if Corbyn can or can’t do this, you say he can’t, but this situation we’re in is unprecedented and it needs to be done if we are ever to be taken seriously on this issue. You mention expulsion from the party, I think that is very strong and could only happen if there was an investigation into what she knew or didn’t know.

    1. If she has to be suspended to be removed from the NEC, as their letter suggests, then so be it. If it doesn’t happen, it will look very bad. A suspension is temporary and deserved for serious lack of judgement. Who can decide and implement that I don’t know. Or can she not resign/be asked to resign from the NEC?

      1. ‘Dam’ you make some good points but bear in mind that Christine Shawcroft’s original decision will have been made with the backdrop of the disastrous decisions made by McNicol, where members were suspended by over-reactions for purely political reasons.

        In the present atmosphere, to reintroduce fair play, it appears that Christine under-reacted rather than over-reacted. I doubt if she would make the same mistake again.

  12. Perhaps they want Christine off to be replaced by one of theirs?
    Christine made mistakes but we are all bloody human and can learn from these and ALWAYS check out the evidence.
    I back Chritine to remain on the NEC!

  13. A message to the signatories..Do you really want the Labour Party to be the next Government?..Do you?….Well, get your act together and support your democratically elected leader..The Tories are laughing at you whilst being grateful for your help!…Jeremy is popular with the people
    you are paid to represent…So get with him and get on with the job of ousting this disaster of a government…

    1. Patricia The people you are addressing ARE Tories, and so NO, of course they don’t want a Labour Government whilst JC is leader.

  14. All they are doing is fuelling the hate to the far right this stuff is what saw Jo Cox brutally murdered it needs to stop those 41 MPs are not helping and I’d rather they direct their venom at the Tory Party who are far from innocent but are riding the wave on a free card

  15. How do I know that holocaust denial is crap and offensive? Because I read. Not just Primo Levi and Vasily Grossman, first hand witnesses, but also the crap itself that’s posted – occasionally. The Labour candidate shared a post he clearly stated he disagreed with – this was doctored out of the post, apparently, to make him look like a holocaust denier. So he’s not a holocaust denier – he says it did occur. So the crime is what? Suggesting it might be a good idea to read some of the crap that’s being written about the holocaust, presumably so that it can be better challenged. What are the thought police demanding? Ignorance, it would appear.

    1. Where did you get the info that Bull’s post was doctored and he “clearly stated he disagreed with” it? Any evidence for that claim, such as a screenshot of the allegedly undoctored post or a link to it? This is not the only antisemitic thing that Bull is alleged to have posted, I’ve seen at least 2 or 3 other screenshots of antisemitic, conspiracy, crank rubbish that he is alleged to have written. I’m being careful with my language, but based on what I’ve seen this guy should be expelled and should be nowhere near representing the Labour party as a councillor or anything else.

  16. In response to the demands of some M.P.`s who have written to demand Christine Shawcroft is removed as an NEC member:

    Christine Shawcroft is not a Holocaust denier, she was trying to do the job she was elected to do – defend local rank and file members.

    She had not seen the appalling and abhorrent Facebook post which was shared, and as soon as she did see it she advised the member concerned to have antisemitism training.

    As long as she represents us on the NEC she will continue to defend rank and file members. We need to support and defend her.

    Please show your support by adding your voice to the petition.


  17. SB – What happens to Christine’s place on the NEC if she resigns, will there be an election for her vacant post or does it automatically get handed onto someone like Izzard. Who will now replace her leading the NCC.

  18. It would be Eddie Izzard as her replacement under the rules. My understading (I stand to be corrected) is that the NEC now have to elect amongst themselves a new Chair of thee sub-committee. .If that’s the case,then Ann Black would be a fine nominee.

    1. Perhaps you need to see her in my opinion disgusting comment in today’s Guardian before you send in your gob first!

      1. I did and couldn’t find anything relevant, which is why I asked. Why the reluctance to simply post a link?

      2. Wasn’t ann black responsible for making it harder for Corbyn supporters to vote for him in the second leadership election?

      3. Read it in paper version of Guardian today but the truth is as a non-techie not even sure how you provide a link.
        But if you are a Right Winger happy to engage with you.

      4. The only reason I asked was because I was interested to read what you were talking about. For future reference if you simply right-click on the address bar, select copy and the simply paste into your comment.

      5. Yes Steve
        But very interesting – read the paper today.
        Though like all of us I am not a perfect human being but at least I try to draw from evidence and just checked Guardian on-line and this abridged version emits quite a bit including the comment from AB I read.
        I always believe you have to be honest in politics.

      6. Bazza – No one was doubting your honesty, as I said above I was simply interested to read it but in the absence of a print copy I guess I’ll just have to remain curious. It does however make one wonder why the Guardian chose to edit the on-line version.

  19. They want Eddie Izzard on the NEC who stumped around Scotland backing Labour’s Jim Murphy of the Henry Jackson Society(yes, that again) in his failed bid for the leadership of Scottish Labour. Why don’t those ones who haven’t got round to joining the Henry Jackson Society just do so and make it a cross-party alliance? Oh, I forgot, they already have. Someone here also posting about the number of these usual suspects like Woodcock being Co-operative mp’s. Last time I got a request to vote in the Co-op elections, New Labour’s Hazel Blears was on the committee. Henry Jackson Society again. The Co-op without warning closed down accounts supporting Palestinians.

  20. Oh and in my opinion the Barbarians of the World are Trump, the Tories in the UK, Putin, Erdogen, Sisi, the unelected Saudi Kings et al (and the Top Down Bourgeois Socialists in China and N. Korea) and what is really interesting is that the Neo-Liberal Capitalist are divided.
    It is Nationalist Neo-Liberal Capitalist Adventurers v International Neo-Liberal Capitalists and if you take the UK as an example – the reason that capital is divided is that the UK is an international finance centre and we have all these US and Japanese TNCs and they only here because of a stable Govt. environment and free access to EC markets.
    But the Neo-Liberals are Barbarians – they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
    And capital is international – Trump threatens Tariffs against China but 60% of Chinese companies are foreign owned (including by US companies) and China holds 1 trillion plus of US debt!
    The Neo Liberals have simply painted themselves into a corner with their drive for CHEAP LABOUR – this restricts working people from purchasing commodities (including financial products) and only unstainable levels of personal debt and quantitative easing (state intervention) are keeping the Neo-Liberal Capitalist economy just about ticking over.
    Hold in their tight brothers and sisters.
    The old order (Neo-Liberalism) is dying.
    But the new cannot yet be born.
    Perhaps we are all being tested.
    And only the Stars will ride the storm.

  21. 41 clueless right-wing MPs, along with those who should know better!
    Trying to overrule the democratic rule book of the Labour Party!
    By attacking the wrong person, who has not got the power, to sack Christine Shawcroft from the NEC!
    This move they have made, as left them wide open to them being voted out of their positions, by the MEMBERSHIP!
    Which could be, in all probability, “DESELECTION”, from our “DEMOCRATIC, Labour Party”?
    The sooner the better in my opinion?

    1. Trouble is with that piece about the red cross it has deliberately misrepresented the ‘real’ facts, why if it’s not anti-Semitic didn’t it tell the truth, that those figures relate to how many German & German Jews were killed in the camps, not the whole figure as we know is some 6 million, I’m not going to repeat what else is in that article only to say it’s incredibly wrong on many levels. If Mr Bull was agreeing with it thats wrong!! maybe he’s another foolhardy person who takes everything as the truth without checking it out first.

      1. Fibro I don’t know which specific article Alan Bull linked to, and the one I linked to was just the one that I selected to read out of the list of results when I did a search. But an article on the matter is one thing, and what the Red Cross said is another. Given what you’ve said – and I don’t believe for one billisecond that the Red Cross is anti-semitic (and for YOU to even hint at the possibility is absurd beyond words) – I will of course try to confirm that what you say is true – ie that the figures relate to how many “German and German Jews” were killed in the camps.

        If you happen to have links to any articles that clarify your points, I’d be grateful for them.

        But anyway, are things really so totalitarian that someone can’t post a link to an article about the holocaust for discussion without him being reported to the Thought Police?!

      2. No where did I say that the Charity I worked for, was or even hinted was AS, the article on that website was ‘about’ the red cross’s totals of people killed in camps from Nazi records. A photo of a piece of paper without any context behind it.
        Scroll down to Stephen Tempests reply
        The Nazi’s kept very few records of those they killed in the camps, what records there were, the IRC used them to let those peoples relatives know of their demise.

        As for your thought police comment, you want to research to see if millions of deaths was a lie, fine go ahead do it but don’t think you won’t get any comments if you put a link in a public domain to an American website that says what it has, you could have easily done a quick search to find out more about that piece of paper.

        The manufactured lies about Ken Livingston and Jeremy are using one of the most horrendous parts of this worlds history to try and get rid of Jeremy, to wreck the May local election results. To try and get back in control of the party.

    2. You can read what ever you like Mr Howard, I take exception to you writing things like the above in a public domain, read decipher for yourself and discuss in a like minded place.
      I also linked the International Red cross website for you to read. Skwawkbox blog is not here to discuss the validity of the Holocaust you could be seen to be pushing an agenda repeating what you have. The subject is the resignation of Christine Shawcroft and now her resignation from the NEC She admitted she got it wrong, it’s been used to flog Jeremy.
      That’s what this is all about!!

  22. The 41 MPs haven’t crossed the line, they have rubbed it out. This was done along time ago.
    This should have been done by the membership after the second leadership battle. They have proven time and time again their willing to discredit by any means. Until they are removed the dirty tactics with the MSM will not stop.

  23. Just got back from leafleting for Labour in local elections in the bloody pouring rain to read on BBC Right Wing Watson call for Christine to “examine her conscience” – a Deputy who should be helping to hold the
    Party together putting his foot in his big mouth!
    Will never vote for him (not that I ever did).
    Hold firm Christine – just heard Bowie on the radio singing ‘Heroes.’ Solidarity!

  24. Isn’t the real focus to remove a Corbyn supporter from the NEC ? It is the same trap that Ken Livingstone fell into with John Mann… Instances, which would otherwise attract little or no comment, are whipped up with faux outrage to try and prevent a Corbyn majority on the LP’s ruling body.

    I mean who can really seriously believe that Christine Shawcroft or Ken Livingston are anti-semitic, let alone Jeremy Corbyn? It’s preposterous.

    1. Yes he has always sides with the Right.
      Looks like he wants her out to be replaced by a Right Winger but she is standing down in June anyway so to quote the Wilson Phillips song for Christine “Hold on!”
      Meanwhile most of us carry on in all weather trying to get Labour in locally! Solidarity!

  25. She has now resigned. The Blairites have won and Izzard gets to be on the NEC. Who will be next?

    1. I really hope they’ve found a way of stopping the truly awful Eddie Izzard from automatically replacing her. In the interests of democracy we really should have an election for her now vacant post

    2. She lost her nerve. Corbyn will still be smeared. Who will be the next target on the NEC?

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