Excl: Labour to table Urgent Question re Tory public funds for smears

As a result of a written parliamentary question put by Labour MP Chris Williamson, the news broke this weekend that the government used public money to pay a private company of former intelligence officers to conduct smear campaigns against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his aides.

Jeremy Corbyn

The mainstream media’s coverage has been sparse – and the BBC News coverage scandalously non-existent.

But Labour will table an ‘Urgent Question’ in Parliament tomorrow to force the government to answer for its assault on the UK’s democracy and constitution.

Emily Thornberry

Earlier, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry expressed the party’s outrage:

It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes. So, it is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials.

And this cannot be dismissed as something outside the Government’s control, given the application for funding agreed by the Foreign Office last year stated explicitly that it would be used in part to expand “the impact of the Integrity Initiative website…and Twitter/social media accounts.

So the Government must now answer the following questions: why did the Foreign Office allow public money to be spent on attempting to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition? Did they know this was happening? If not, why not? And if they did, how on earth can they justify it?

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The scale of this scandal should have triggered rolling media coverage and the spectacle of Tory ministers being led away in handcuffs. It’s up to the independent media and their readers to make sure the news gets the attention it should – and Labour must accept no excuses from the government.

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    1. Which covers the period when the Salisbury Novichok “incident” and its fall-out happened…

      Just sayin’.

  1. This is a very big story – as big as the Facebook scandal. But the mainstream media will work overtime to play it down and bury it. Not for the first time we have to thank Chris Williamson for he outstanding work he does. Put him on the front bench where he belongs!

  2. Well done to CW for asking the questions which matter, surely he should be our next deputy Prime Minister?

    1. I would like to see him with a brief he can get his teeth into myself. I admire his fearlessness and frankness a lot.
      I’m not really sure what deputies actually do after Watson’s time in the role.

  3. We know that at least one Guardian writer is on the payroll. How many others are? Is The Guardian itself getting public funds for its anti-Corbyn campaigns?

  4. SB – Do you have any idea what time this Urgent Question will be tabled. If you don’t know at present could you let us know when you do?

  5. Well, surprise, surprise! NOT! Ever since Mr Corbyn became leader this stuff has been constant. Many of us have been targeted as supporters by bots, faux accounts, certain “famous” people from TV have been utterly disgraceful; Hard Right Labour MPs swearing, cursing, abusing us all; Tory MPs lying, abusing Labour supporters. Not all but very many have used #FBPEs hashtag to abuse anyone who supports Mr Corbyn. I’m gonna say it: Pro Zionist groups have been particularly nasty, offensive, abusive and used every trick in the book to crush us all.

    Just a few weeks ago Members of NWFOI went for my jugular due to my defence of Mr Corbyn. The irony was palpable: I asked two gentleman why one of their leaders was making a video with Tommy Robinson and why were they colluding with a known Far Right extremist. The language & abuse was beyond the pale: “This incident was 3 yrs ago and not relevant!” Later he went on to talk about painting of bankers which happened when? More than 3 yrs ago. Incidents like this happen every single day.

    In all my 68yrs I’ve not seen any attack so relentless on people who have never done anything else but support the most vulnerable in this nation. Last time I remember – just – was Joe McCarthy’s witch hunt. This has been very subversive, with the astonishing collusion of MSM. Our democracy – such as it is – started to be eroded a very very long time ago. It is so good to watch “A Very British Coup” which seems to me very important lesson for us all.

    Never have I seen a politician, so used & abused and attacked by MPs from his own party aided & abetted by MSM, pouring out lies, malicious falsehoods undermining Mr Corbyn’s life, his character, his past, his integrity. His past must be gone over and dissected, again and again, but ask questions of same people – Journos, Hard Right Lab MPs, TV “stars”, Tories, dar-de-dar, and abuse runs riot.

    If we don’t fight back now & expose all this crap then it will never stop. Cambridge Analytica and now this and heaven’s knows how much else. It all has to be exposed. Apart from our alternative media we cannot expect anything from mainstream news or MSM: They are no longer fit to have the title “journalists”. Maybe a concerted, joined up investigation might be way forward.

  6. Posters here are right to highlight the major campaign against Corbyn that has been mounted by the Israeli ‘hasbara’ initiative in collusion with the right in this country.

    I sometimes do a ‘litmus’ post on the Grauniad site to see how much in hoc they are to the Israeli front organisations. I’m always careful that my posts can’t be misconstrued.

    The answer is they are massively in hoc to the zionist establishment fronted by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Chronicle – who dishonestly pretend to represent the wider Jewish community.

    A post has just been ‘moderated’ (i.e censored) that links this latest story to the wider initiative of misinformation. Previously, they have censored posts that reference their previous editor’s recorded statements about being leaned on by the Israeli zionist establishment.

    The link between this establishment, the Labour right and the Tories is obvious – but its notable that Jonathan Sacks, paen of praise to Theresa May recently has received little coverage.

    But the nexus is alive and well and looking to diss Labour. My sadness lies in the refusal of the NEC to stand up to the intimidation – thus giving it more credibility.

    1. In fact on 15 August 2018 I wrote to Jenny Formby , following on from Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that ‘such improper interference in this country’s democratic process is unacceptable’ and ‘a national security issue’. He had called on the government ‘to launch an immediate inquiry into the extent of improper interference’. I asked Jenny to begin that enquiry. I received a holding acknowledgement but have not yet received a substantive reply. Will I ever, I wonder….?

      1. There is another linked issue that needs sorting as far as the NEC is concerned : the suspensions etc. that have been progressed at the behest of the Israel lobby within the Party – false ‘antisemitism’ accusations.

        It is notable that the victims tend to be members with strong anti-racist credentials, with black and Jewish members over-represented in the victimization campaign. There sin is usually ant-racist activity on behalf of Palestinians.

        We really can’t be complacent about Israeli racism and shut up as soon as the Hasbara proponents shout ‘antisemitism’ or ‘holocaust denial’. In fact, there needs to be more explicit condemnation of those using the memory of the holocaust in a sectarian political campaign – it’s a pretty disgusting tactic.

      1. I think the practical problem in terms of the Labour Party is that it has been frightened into adopting the totally flawed IHRA ‘definition’ of ‘antisemitism’ – which is actually a hasbara initiative aimed at shutting down truth-telling about Israel.

        The Party has to develop more balls in facing down right-wing propaganda intitiatives – be it Hasbara or Brexit.

      2. Allan Howard 10/12/2018 at 6:46 pm

        You may find this interesting
        The last item on 22/11/2018 BBC R4 – Today was a BBC presenter and some bod from a Zionist pressure group joining together to gang up against a representative of the Quakers (ffs)
        Listen from 2 hours 54 minutes 05 seconds onwards

  7. A simple Google search on ‘Statecraft’ reveals that the reporting on this is gaining momentum

  8. I see ‘National Security’, the usual cop out, has been used to refuse to answer the question… National Security of course is code for establishment security.

  9. Tory Govt and Foreign Office perhaps kegging it?
    Now blaming Russian hack – the truth or Goebellls Propaganda?
    If true, really serious and Tory Senior heads must roll.

    1. Look, Russia rules, ok.

      Gilet Jaunes are being called a Russian op or being whipped up by Russian trolls, or is that Russian dolls?

      I would laugh if this sort of ridiculous conspiracy theory wasn’t deeply disrespectful and insulting to thousands of people suffering under austerity protesting their grievances about rising living costs, stagnant pay, privatisation, wars, NATO, EU and wealth inequality along with the arrogant, out of touch, Blair clone banker president that was foisted on them in an establishment engineered lesser of two evils vote.

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