‘Labour’ MP Graham Jones was among a number of male ‘moderates’ happy to tweet support for Lewisham East Labour chair and right-wing Labour First trainer Ian McKenzie, after McKenzie was suspended for social media comments about the selling into sex-slavery, gang-raping or beheading of Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.
Jones joined in with colleague Mike Gapes’ attempt to portray McKenzie as the victim of an ‘orchestrated campaign’ while making no mention of the comments for which McKenzie was suspended:
Not only that, but Jones also met McKenzie – along with fellow ‘centrist’ MP Neil Coyle and a Labour staffer – on the Terrace Bar of the House of Commons on Tuesday night.
Jones has now locked his Twitter account:
But if Jones was hoping to avoid further scrutiny, he was to be disappointed. A Facebook group set up for frank comments relating to his local area’s politics has provided a forum for local members to express their anger at his behaviour.
The conversation started with a post quoting the SKWAWKBOX’s Terrace Bar article and outrage at Jones’ support for the suspended right-winger:
This was the trigger for a number of criticisms from locals – and support from one defender outraged that he should be criticised – with Jones attempting, unconvincingly, to defend himself.
When the would-be defender objected that those criticising Jones’ actions had been less vocal about alleged wrongdoings by others, the response from one contributor was withering:
One respondent argued that scrutiny of MPs is not only permitted but vital:
Another pointed out that since Jones had frequently been willing to go public with comments considered to ‘undermine’ the party leadership as well as defending McKenzie, it was only fair that criticism be equally visible and that he be accountable for his choices:
Jones attempted to justify his choices by saying that he speaks to other suspended members:
But one suspended member commented that Jones only spoke to suspended members in that group to argue, while another suggested that Jones and his defender were both assets – to the Tory party – for their frequent, public complaints.
A number of McKenzie’s defenders – including Jones and Gapes – have attempted to portray the exposure of McKenzie’s tweets and his subsequent suspension as merely sour grapes by left-wingers upset at Lewisham East’s selection of parliamentary candidate. This is disingenuous, as the selected candidate is also a Corbyn supporter.
However, one commenter offered an example showing that the disgust generated by McKenzie’s tweets was independent of political affiliation or even interest:
A majority of commenters seen by this blog were strongly negative about Jones’ actions in supporting McKenzie, dismissing Jones’ use of ‘crass’ for McKenzie’s tweets and describing them instead as ‘disgusting’.
As further vile tweets by McKenzie – mostly but not exclusively about women – have now come to light and will be featured on this blog in the morning, Jones’ local members are not going to be feeling happier any time soon.
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