Excl video: Mann’s ‘unequivocal vote of confidence’ was ‘underhand’ CLP meeting with protest walk-out

mann unequiv
John Mann’s face during his CLP’s ‘unequivocal vote of confidence’

The tweet

On Sunday, Bassetlaw MP John Mann tweeted smugly about the ‘unequivocal vote of confidence‘ he had received from his local members:

mann voc

The protest

If it seems odd that his CLP (constituency Labour party) was meeting on a Sunday, that’s because it is – and members who were there tell a very different story from Mann’s ‘unequivocal’ support.

But they don’t just tell it. They have the evidence – including video – to prove it.

Members have told the SKWAWKBOX they believe that the meeting, which was communicated to them barely a week before it took place, should have taken place on the third Friday of the month, as mandated by the CLP’s ‘standing orders’ – with no allowance made for meeting on a different date:

blaw sos

The pretext – as Bassetlaw members have described it – for the meeting was an urgent need to commence planning for the local election campaign, but the local elections are over eight months away.

Instead, they believe that the real reason the meeting was hurriedly brought forward by almost three weeks and changed to a Sunday is because popular left-wing MP Chris Williamson’s democracy roadshow was visiting nearby Whitwell – and that Mann hoped the absence of left members would ensure his motion on the ‘IHRA examples’ would pass.

So angered were many members that they sent a flood of emails protesting – and one member stood at the beginning of the meeting to complain at the ‘undemocratic‘, ‘underhand‘ and ‘unethical‘ ploy and to demand that the emails be read out.

But, unusually, another Labour member filmed his intervention – and Mann’s face as the member spoke looks very different from someone receiving ‘unequivocal support’:

Mann can be seen sitting at the Chair’s table, with Mann’s wife Jo at the other end – and she was filmed glancing apprehensively across at his as his anger rises and the chair has to gesture for him to stay silent:

mann and wife.png

The member who spoke attacked the divisiveness of the move to bring forward the meeting when the invitation email made much of the need for unity – and at the end of his contribution he walked out in protest, accompanied by fourteen or fifteen of his fellow members.

Who then promptly went to Williamson’s democracy roadshow.



Some delegates with voting rights at the meeting stayed behind, but were unable to defeat Mann’s motion – but the events of the meeting and the eventual result were anything but the ‘unequivocal’ Mann claimed.

Nor was the ‘vote of confidence’ in the motion exclusively for Mann. The motion discussed supported the GMB union’s call for Labour to adopt the IHRA definition – but expressed Bassetlaw CLP’s support for ‘local leadership, the MP and the national leadership:

bassetlaw motion.png

Oddly, Mann neglected to mention that his CLP voted just as much to express their support of Jeremy Corbyn and his team as it did in him.

The contradiction

Mann also seemed in two minds about his plans on Sunday and the reason for them. He told the Jewish Labour Movement, according to the Jewish Chronicle (JC), that he couldn’t attend their conference that was held on the same day – but did not tell them he couldn’t go because he had a CLP meeting to attend.

Instead, he linked his need to be in his constituency specifically to Chris Williamson’s ‘roadshow’ – describing it as a ‘hate fest’:

jc jm hate.png

According to the JC, Mann had to be in Bassetlaw because:

some members of my local party are participating in the Williamson/Walker hatefest where they will be targeting me today

Quite how he combatted being ‘targeted’ in a ‘hatefest’ by attending a CLP meeting while those doing the ‘targeting’ are absent was not explained.

John Mann was invited to comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

Popular left-wing Labour MP Chris Williamson, whose roadshow was received with great enthusiasm by Labour members from Bassetlaw and neighbouring constituencies, did respond to the day’s events, telling the SKWAWKBOX:

It seems John is so worried about people discussing democracy that he called an impromptu CLP meeting on Sunday afternoon to coincide with the Democracy Roadshow, which had been requested by his own members.

But his wheeze fell flat because we simply waited for the Bassetlaw members to attend their CLP meeting then continued the Roadshow when they returned.

Tony Benn certainly wasn’t wrong when he said that democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world.

Commenting on Facebook musician Joe Solo, who also attended the roadshow – which started at 1pm, while the CLP meeting had a 2pm start – said:

Today I witnessed the best and worst of the Labour Party first hand.

The event I attended, Momentum Doncaster & Bassetlaw ‘Democracy Road Show’ was a joy start to finish, full of dedicated people fighting for proper representation from their elected officials, something that should go without saying in a democracy but which, sadly on today’s evidence, very much doesn’t.

The positives first, because that is the most important part.

There was a fantastic spirit of respect and cooperation under trying circumstances, and the event ended up running seamlessly. It was a pleasure and an honour to sing there for new friends and old. There was a FANTASTIC response to my #PeriodPoverty Solidarity Appeal, and I have come away from Whitwell with two boxes full of sanitary towels and cash donations for many more. It was great to meet Chris Williamson MP and I only wish time had allowed me to stick around for the Q&A. Great work from Gary and Bev and John and all involved.

Now to the hard part to swallow.

Local MP John Mann has a reputation for being a deaf ear to anything he doesn’t want to hear, and certainly more than one person has described a career bully. Today he excelled himself. Cancelling a speech at the Jewish Labour Movement conference so he could move a CLP meeting forward by almost three weeks in order to clash with this event, he deliberately equated these two facts in order to smear the event I sang at as being anti-Semitic and (his words) a “Hate Fest”.

This I find an unforgivable insult to myself and other attendees, and proof that mandatory automatic re-selection needs to end and it needs to end soon.

As a lifelong campaigner against ALL forms of racism, Fascism, bigotry and intolerance, I do not take kindly to this insult to my character and consider it a gross misuse of the power of his office.

I won’t hold my breath for an apology.

Where Mr Mann has the willing ear of the Right Wing gutter press to air insults like this on his behalf, I have to type here and hope you read it.

I left Whitwell with a significant contribution to helping some of the poorest people in our communities, doing what Socialists SHOULD be doing. I was able to do that thanks to the amazing efforts of local people rallying to the cause.

This is the true Labour Movement. People working to help each other in times of crisis, and fighting for a future where we no longer need to.

This is what I will remember.

This is what matters.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Bassetlaw CLP’s executive group – and, local Labour members claim, its MP – seem not to have had much confidence that they could get their motion through a normally-scheduled CLP meeting, even with the added sweetener of an expression of complete confidence in Jeremy Corbyn.

But Mann’s representation on social media of a CLP brimming with unalloyed support for him personally is at odds with the available evidence.

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  1. I realise this does not pertain to above article but reading yesterday that HMRC had been scrutinising nominees for honours since 2013 to ensure those who had a questionable history on tax avoidance were excluded from receiving such honours got me wondering how Margaret Hodge became a Dame in 2015.

  2. This sort of thing will continue to happen with impunity or even praise from those within the Party who should know better until such time, if it ever happens the Party has an NEC and HQ staff all committed to support the Party and its leader.

  3. He still thinks he is in Labour Students where every dirty trick to beat the left was encouraged by the apparatus.

  4. There is not much that can be done about such irregularities in the current Labour Party. We need an NEC and a HQ staff who are all committed to supporting the Party and its leader, rather than putting obstacles in his way.

  5. There’s a pattern I’m noticing from right-wingers in general:

    Democratic process that doesn’t favour them is labelled ‘bullying’.

    Left-wing, socialist ideals that conflict with their own right-wing ideals are labelled ‘hate’.

    I just wonder why they joined the Labour Party in the first place.

    1. Behind the table – the gentleman sat between Mann and his wife tries to shut this person speaking down. He tries to silence him. That’s disgraceful.

  6. Would those 15 people have altered the vote? I suppose voting would have legitimised the meeting making the complaint worthless ? I hope the labour party investigates, surely any votes on that day must be retaken?

  7. Perhaps a motion of no confidence in mann is put on the agenda for their next proper CLP meeting.
    Ironically I would think that this underhand action will be counter productive as it proves and provides a perfect example for ALL the membership of that CLP of the lack of honesty and integrity of their existing MP , ( as if they needed it ) and perfectly illustrates the need for Chris Williamson’s educational roadshow .

  8. Surely is important to know the actual numbers voting. If the CLP has standing orders then do they have a quorum for the attendance to validate the meeting.

  9. This meeting of Bassetlaw shouldn’t count because it broke the standing orders.
    Perhaps the Democracy roadshow could have started at 12.00 or 4.00pm so members could attend both but then would ”Desperate Mann’ have urgently changed his meeting again Ha! Ha!
    These are the bourgeois boneheads we are up against!
    You almost have to pity them, they have no ideas and instead of trying to win by ideas and debate use the dark arts and procedural methods; perhaps they know no better?
    We should be voting and supporting left wing democratic socialists.

  10. Slippery as a bucket of eels, come to mind. Seeing that video and watching the ‘the Mann and wife team’ certainly reveals a lot, doesn’t it?

    1. And in this instance, the Chair seems to be complicit by the way he tries to silence the person speaking.

      1. I agree Ella and the chair should be replaced , voted off , ASAP , as he is clearly NOT impartial and has colluded in allowing this meeting to be convened

  11. Mann is a bully, his manner tells you that immediately. It’s clear he will attempt to close down any democracy within his local party. Remember this was the man who was questioned by the police for a possible hate crime after he published a leaflet attacking the Roma community. Mann is clearly a very limited individual whose out of control angry make him a danger not to just those within the a meeting but probably those close to him. He wont jump, he will need to be pushed. The best thing his local party can do is organise and work at taking control away from him. He wouldn’t have organised a local meeting if he wasn’t scared about the power of the membership.

    1. He did *jump* in the end ~ into a special, fake-AS post created by the Tories especially for him; for *services rendered* to the Tory party.

  12. Besides the fact that Standing Orders have been clearly and knowingly breached, there is no such thing as a vote of confidence, only a vote of no confidence. This is a clear demonstarion of the paranoia that now occupies the mindset of the Labour hard right! Oh dear, a vote of confidence indeed! Ha ha ha…the things they say eh! #JC4PM

    1. Indeed, I’d love to read the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-gypsy hatred or anti-socialist hatred, but they don’t appear to have got around to writing definitions for those groups who also suffered in the Holocaust yet.

  13. Utterly shocking, Mann is a bully, you only need to see the ambush of Ken Livingstone to see that. At that time, being a newish member of the LP, I didn’t fully understand what had happened, a couple of years on I have seen enough to know that the neo liberals amongst the LP are destroying democracy, they don’t want a socialist membership, they’d rather rely on big handouts and be bought like the Tory party, how is that meant to be truly representative of the working people? I only hope Mann’s CLP put in a vote of no confidence. Well done to the bloke who spoke up so eloquently, great to see that a voice was heard albeit reluctantly. For once the hidden camera used on the NEC candidate Pete Willsman and other times by the right wing of the party, was used correctly, not to spin remarks as they did on Jackie Walker and Willsman, but to actually catch an elected MP practicing underhand and un democratic process for his own gain. A new candidate is needed, he doesn’t represent me or the ethics of a true Labour party in any way.

    1. The seemingly wall to wall opposition from the neoliberals of all shades opposing the Labour party leader and members is actually a sign of their fear of democracy. The USA and the UK are no longer democracies but oligarchies, with the political class being paid by corporate interests to run the country and economy for their benefit, not that of the people. Corbyn and the mass members of the Labour party are fighting for the soul of democracy in the UK, and this is already providing a beacon of hope to others across the world. This is another reason why Brexit has support within certain parts of the EU, where Portugal and the UK under socialist governments, reflecting the will of the people and not the corporations would be too dangerous to the oligarchies within the EU. It is why the Tory Brexit is so shambolic – because it is not about political disengagement, but about the utter dominance of corporate interests in the UK without any care for the population.

      The savage bullies within our own party are exemplars of corporate sociopathy and we can witness this clash in very human terms in this single incident. It is beyond “understanding irony” to see these gasping angry last moments of the party oligarchs organising against a democracy road show. The utter contempt some of our elected members appear to have for the membership should be the greatest warning yet – we must have Labour party democracy, including reselection, as soon as possible.

      Stage managed stunts to provide a five-second ego laden PR tweet opportunity are simply going to be dispelled by the rapid dissemination using social media in minutes. We are in a fight for democracy, and everyone needs to step up now.

      We can expect all the usual tosh about the “hard left bullies” and “stalinists” because in effect we are dealing with the real stalinists on show here. The only thugs and bullies are those who wish to continue their own dominance and privilege by rule of fear by crushing the Democratic will of the many.

  14. “No, I’m not finished yet”

    “Yes you have”

    Kinda gave the game away, didn’t it?

    ‘Hate fest’ you reckon, john boy? Nah lad, it’s called ‘Democracy’.

    Seems to me you were treated with far more courtesy at that meeting than you gave ken livingstone…And those dissatisfied people at that meeting had every right to have lost their rag, had they so chosen to. They didn’t – but that won’t stop you labelling them, and people like them as ‘hatemongers’ , because they see right through your snide underhand tricks.

    But that’s ALWAYS the way of the contemptible sh*thouse, isn’t it? And that’s exactly what YOU are, mann. I make no secret of my utter disdain of you.

    I’m just surprised you didn’t waltz out yerself and go blubbing to your mates in the MSM and on social media, making your usual laughable accusations of antisemitism and ‘hate speech’ against that man who was speaking. Not as if you haven’t got previous for it, is it?

    Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t hide the utter disdainful regard I hold you in. But that’s just me; I don’t speak for anyone else here.

  15. Unequivocally ‘undemocratic’, ‘underhand’ and ‘unethical’ ploy!!!

  16. This item underscores the need for and therefore the role that this form of media, has played, is playing and will play on the road to a more democratic Labour Party.

  17. So a man who would have us believe that his principles have been so affronted by Corbyn that he has no choice but to work towards his removal actually turns out to have none. Bullying, underhand, devious, dishonest, frightened, desperate and cowardly – all of that was written all over his face. What a shabby performance. What a crumb compared to Corbyn.

  18. My father and other in the Indian Army came to Europe in the World Ward 2 to fight the Nazis and put an to the Holocaust. He and others did help to put an end to the persecution of Jewish people so people like me would be prevented from mentioning Nazis, Holocaust and Israel gov persecution of Palestinians and theft of their Land

  19. So the man who would have us believe that his principles are so affronted by Corbyn that he has no choice but to work to bring him down actually turns out to have none at all. Shifty, bullying, devious, underhand, dishonest, frightened, desperate and cowardly – all that was written all over his face.What a shabby performance. What a crumb compared to Corbyn.

  20. Shifty, bullying, devious, underhand, dishonest, frightened, desperate and cowardly – all that was written all over his face. What a shabby performance. What a crumb compared to Corbyn.

    1. “What a crumb compared to Corbyn”
      Comparing Mann to Corbyn is no more justifiable than other comparisons between other things that should never be compared.

  21. The CLP called a special meeting for that rag-tag, apple pie motion? What a complete waste of a Sunday afternoon – unless the real aim was spike the popular roadshow, in which case making the protest then leaving for the roadshow was exactly the right move.

  22. I do hope the local party members, put forward a motion of no confidence at the next meeting, to reverse this perverse meeting.

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