Excl: Times’ star witness for Wirral ‘Militant’ bullying story – wasn’t present

Impress has issued an adjudication on this article. It is frankly perverse. For the SKWAWKBOX's comment on it, see here. As this blog believes in independent, Leveson-compliant regulation, the adjudication wording is as follows:

Correction of article published on THE SKWAWKBOX,
6 August 2018:
In an article first published on 6 August 2018 under the headline “EXCL: TIMES’ STAR WITNESS FOR WIRRAL ‘MILITANT’ BULLYING STORY – WASN’T PRESENT”, the SKWAWKBOX had implied that the Sunday Times had falsely claimed that Moira McLaughlin was an eyewitness to an incident of alleged bullying of two female campaigners by a male councillor, which may have resulted in some readers believing Ms McLaughlin had herself lied or been disingenuous when speaking to the Sunday Times. In fact, neither the Sunday Times nor Moira McLaughlin had claimed that Moira McLaughlin was an eyewitness to the incident.
In doing so, the article had misrepresented and/or distorted the facts, which led to a breach of Code Clause 1.4 (Accuracy) of the IMPRESS Standards Code. Click here to read the full adjudication by IMPRESS.

Last weekend, the Sunday Times ran a major article amplifying the smear campaign against Labour members in the Merseyside borough of Wirral, claiming that the ‘ghost of Militant’ was being seen again in alleged bullying and abuse of poor ‘centrists’ by left-wing Labour members.

At the heart of its story was Rock Ferry councillor Moira McLaughlin, described as a close, even ever-present ally of Birkenhead MP Frank Field, who had resigned the Labour whip just days earlier while making similar allegations of bullying and abuse:

times milit.png

The article referenced Field, who recently resigned the Labour named a male councillor and then made allegations of abusive behaviour, building its claims around Ms McLaughlin’s description of events – in particular her claims about the behaviour of a male councillor:


Ms McLaughlin then went on to compare the current situation on the Wirral to 1980s ‘Militant’:


But there are problems with the article and the evidence it uses – in particular that Ms McLaughlin was not present when the events she describes took place.

The evidence comes in the form of an exchange on Facebook, which Ms McLaughlin began with a comment on a post by one of the women allegedly ‘reduced to tears’:


When the original poster engaged, Ms McLaughlin had no idea what was supposed to have happened:


In addition it’s worth noting that the last commenter shown above – who only joined the party recently – resorts immediately to abusive language, but toward Labour members and not toward the woman who made the original post.

The Sunday Times article also mentioned the resignation of Mike Sullivan, repeating the claims in his resignation letter that Wirral Labour is full of bullying ‘parasites’. As the SKWAWKBOX revealed last week, according to the properties of the resignation letter the author was not Mike Sullivan but ‘public affairs strategist‘ Martin Liptrot, a close ally of Wirral’s council leader Phil Davies, who has come out in support of Frank Field.

Mr Liptrot was also named as the man ‘helping police with their enquiries’ with regard to a late-night double assault on the platform of a Liverpool rail station.

The SKWAWKBOX spoke to Moira McLaughlin, who claimed that the Facebook exchange was about a different event of which she was ignorant at the time, before saying that she does not want to receive any further contact under any circumstances.

But the SKWAWKBOX also spoke to the original poster, who confirmed categorically that the post had been about the incident involving the male councillor alleged to have reduced her to tears, who has vigorously denied the accusation. The woman also repeatedly emphasised that,

I absolutely adore Frank. I support him 100% and he supports me.

The author of the Sunday Times piece has been contacted for comment about the fact that Ms McLaughlin was not present and invited to comment.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The Times has called the SKWAWKBOX ‘fake news’, while also using this blog’s information without credit.

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  1. Who would have thought that Andrew Gilligan
    would go from exposing sexed up dossiers to actually writing sexed up reports himself

  2. I doubt whether Cllr McLaughlin was around during the Militant era either. Most of us know, those expelled weren’t most ‘Militants’ they were decent members who were just a nuisance to Field and his cronies who didn’t have a socialist principle between them. Locally, Councillor McLaughlin is known as the patron saint of Taxi drivers, because of her extortionately high council expenses for taxis to council meetings. It’s outrageous when you consider she has a perfectly good OAP’s bus pass she could use and save the council tax payers a fortune. Still, the gravy train trundles on…and on. Cllr McLaughlin was also at the centre of the scandal when vulnerable Wirral people had their bank accounts raided by wirral council social services. She’s got more front than Blackpool for not resigning over that wicked theft of vulnerable peoples money that was also covered up by northwest Labour officials.

  3. Andrew Gilligan was the guy at the centre of the “Sexed Up Dossier” scandal at the time of the WMD claims.

    I remember him being on #BBCR4Today all those years ago.

    He’s now at the centre of another, albeit much less serious, situation.

    Leopards never change their spots.

  4. Moira McLaughlin was Wirral Council Member for Social Services when £736,756.97 was stolen from the bank accounts of learning disabled people in Angela Eagle’s constituency… the MP also did nothing publicly to assist these people.

    Links were also found between the council and gangster care companies who had been granted accreditation in spite of the bullying and evicting of disabled tenants and the setting up of fake bank accounts in their name. And much worse. People were being raped, people died due to the abuse and serious case reviews were dodged like the plague.

    In addition to this, a letter from Mike Smith, the then Chair of the Disabilities Committee of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission finding disability discrimination was actively concealed from a council committee by Moira McLaughlin and scrubbed from the public record.

    All in all, not a nice piece of work. Don’t expect a council to discharge its statutory obligation to protect disabled people when this character is squatting in position and spreading hers and her hero Frank Field’s malign influence.

    1. This is appalling!

      I despair for this country sometimes. An article needs writing about her.

  5. As the SKWAWKBOX revealed last week, according to the properties of the resignation letter the author was not Mike Sullivan but ‘public affairs strategist‘ Martin Liptrot, Wirral’s council leader who has come out in support of Frank Field.

    Incorrect, Skwawky.

    phillip davies is leader of WBC…Although davies is another field lickspittl who employed liptrot as a PR/policy lackey (to the disgust of many) on something like £350 a day IIRC.

    Apparently, being the ‘mastermind’ in getting an already-doomed fester mcvile turfed out of Wirral West (something davies wasn’t capable of when he contested the seat) is ample proof of worthiness and legitimacy. No other candidate was interviewed.

    Jobs for the boys…

  6. Where else have we seen allegations from people who weren’t present Oh yeah, that’s right – Wallasey, also on the Wirral…

    Anyway, one only needs check the author of the article to immediately dismiss it’s veracity.

  7. Not only allegations MADE by people who weren’t even present, but allegations AGAINST people who were 230 miles away when the supposed event took place!

  8. This is why all meetings need to be videoed and uploaded for all to see. Including clear footage of all those attending.

  9. Surely this is grounds for suspension? Making up lies about the party should be against party rules.

    I met a councillor from Frank Field’s CLP at a conference. She was not only bullied but physically assaulted by someone in his CLP – she is a woman with autism. She told me some councillors on the right had got a couple members of the public to put in a complaint about her so she would be suspended. The man who physically assaulted her had a heart attack while she was waiting for her hearing date and some nasty people in her CLP blamed her for it. When she spoke to Frank he said to her “politics is a dirty game, get used to it”. It’s disgusting how people on the right think it’s OK to bully someone with a disability because she doesn’t share their politics.

  10. Oops…Just see the (amended) OP.

    Small wonder mclaughlin doesn’t want any further contact…

    Once again the similarities between Birkenhead allegations and the Wallasey lies are quite perturbing… Although purely coincidental, of course.

    Allegations of bullying by the left

    ‘Witnesses’ not being present at the time of the alleged incidents

    Allegations that involve the delivery of leaflets

    What next? frank field subjected to ‘homophobic slurs’ while not present at one of the CLP meetings he refuses to attend?

    I (for one) wouldn’t bet against it.

    1. Field was quick off the mark yesterday. All over his captured Wirral Globe with unevidenced allegations that he’s been receiving “death threats”.

      Needless to say, he has chosen to follow the personally profitable path of “trial by right wing media” rather than informing the local police.

      Similar to neighbouring Angela Eagle Post #Brickgate he may have chosen not to go through official channels through fear of receiving counter-charges of “wasting police time”.

      I will not be attaching a link to this.

      1. Yep – it only took over a week.

        Thankfully, the ‘wirral gobble’ isn’t delivered in my area,

        It isn’t even fit for bogroll as nobody in their right mind would want to contaminate their ‘arris with that tripe.

        But here’s the times’ (yes – it’s them again) take on these *ahem* ‘death threats’


        The MP for Birkenhead was attacked by left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn on social media, with one calling him a “Tory rent boy” who should “f*** off and die”. Another called him “scum” and a third said he “needs sectioning”.

        Pardon my ignorance, but exactly where’s the ‘death THREAT’ there?

  11. *refused to attend – Not ‘refuses’.

    I’m not having a good day, today :/

  12. Oh dear
    Think we need to clean out the Wirral Augean stables and offer solidarity to the real socialists there!
    Oh and the Time’s reporter according to Ken Livingstone has form?
    Hopefully the Labour Democracy Review will transform local government for the better including whole cities, towns or areas electing the local Labour Council Leader . Solidarity!

    1. Thanks for this Chris – engaging and thought provoking. Apart from anything else it prompted me to look again at Jon Lansman and his Zionist underpinnings – for which I went to Mondoweiss – deeply disturbing and worrying and it actually contributes to your general hunch about the systematic, coordinated and long term nature of the attack on Corbyn.

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