Excl: Formby’s email to MPs deals with complaints in full – but reminds them of proper party procedure

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has responded in detail to an email by seven back-bench MPs complaining about her report to the ‘PLP’ (parliamentary Labour party) on Labour’s efforts to deal with antisemitism complaints.

The SKWAWKBOX has obtained the whole response from a parliamentary source. Ms Formby’s detailed response addresses the points raised by the seven MPs – an impressive grasp of detail at short notice.

But she reminds the whole PLP that such issues are not the business of Jeremy Corbyn and complaints to him are misdirected, as well as pointing out, as the SKWAWKBOX revealed earlier, that many complaints are being made about people who are not Labour members:

Dear Parliamentary Labour Party,

I write in response to a letter dated 11th February to Jeremy Corbyn from Louise Ellman, Margaret Hodge, Luciana Berger, John Mann, Catherine McKinnell, Ruth Smeeth and Wes Streeting.

This letter expresses disappointment that no one was present at the PLP on 11th February to give an oral report in accordance with the PLP motion passed on 4th February.

As you know, I circulated a written report prior to the PLP on 4th February, at which I also gave a detailed oral report of some 25 minutes, where I responded to a number of the points raised in the motion. I then provided a further detailed written report which was circulated prior to the latest PLP on 11th February.

On the point of my attendance at the PLP meeting, I had previously indicated that I was not available on 11th February. John Cryer wrote to me on 5th February, copying three of the signatories of the latest letter. He said, “I realise that I committed you to report back to the PLP next week when you had not made that commitment. This was a misunderstanding on my part and I apologise for that”.

He went on to ask me to produce a written report, which I did, and he advised me that another speaker had been arranged for 11th February so I am surprised that there were complaints about my failure to attend the PLP.

The PLP will be familiar with the fact that your letter of yesterday refers to administrative matters which are in the remit of the General Secretary so in response to the questions raised:

There was no consistent or comprehensive system for recording and processing complaints prior to April 2018.

To identify complaints of antisemitism, staff would have to go through every single complaint received in the earlier period. This would be hugely time-consuming and would take their efforts away from the important task of processing complaints.

My report provides a reference period against which to measure future data.

Whilst I cannot provide the full detail of statistics for the earlier period, I can confirm that up to April 2018, the NCC expelled seven members, gave extended periods of suspension to three, and issued one member with a formal warning.

It is not appropriate for me to share confidential financial information with anyone other than the NEC Business Board, but I can confirm that there has been significant investment in stamping out the issue of antisemitism. This includes hiring independent external counsel to advise antisemitism panels, hiring an additional six staff to process complaints, and increasing the NCC from eleven to twenty five panel members.

Points 3, 4 and 5 of your letter concern the matter of training. I covered training in my oral report as well as in my written reports. To reiterate, while discussions are taking place, no organisation has yet been commissioned to either develop or deliver education and training. This is because I gave a commitment that Jewish community organisations would be consulted before anything is finalised. I will be reaching out to them again, enclosing both reports that I have submitted to the PLP, and inviting them to engage on this vital issue.

I also responded to the issue about complainants in my oral report to PLP. It is not possible to provide maximum timescales within which to respond, as some more complex investigations take a considerable period of time but I agreed that this issue requires further work and that complainants should be updated in a timely manner. The NEC Procedures Working Group will look at this. We receive a number of ‘dossier’ complaints from third parties, many of which duplicate other complaints received, so how we respond to and update these third parties requires further examination.

In both my oral report to PLP, and subsequently in my written report, I replied to the issues raised in points 7 and 8 of your letter about how the party engages with targets of antisemitic abuse and the duty of care to elected representatives.

We have a strong and comprehensive set of safeguarding policies. These were singled out for praise by the Deputy Leader following the presentation of them to the last NEC.

The NEC Procedures Working Group is also continuing to consider our duty of care to all members, including elected representatives, particularly when third parties report matters that are trailed widely in the media. I take these issues very seriously and I have arranged meetings with Commissioner Cressida Dick’s team at the Metropolitan Police, and the Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team to seek their advice on these issues.

In view of the above, of my lengthy oral report on 4th February and of my detailed written reports on both 4th and 11th February, I absolutely reject the suggestion in the letter that the leadership of the party has ignored the views of the PLP.

It is clear that our team has been working extremely hard to turn these issues around as efficiently as possible. The constant and often public criticism of our dedicated and talented staff team is unacceptable and is causing them considerable distress. Of course, processes can always be improved, and I remain committed to that. I welcome the efforts of MPs to work together with us to help us resolve the issue.

Finally, I am pleased that our improved procedures allow me to be able to correct an account of a submission made at yesterday’s PLP meeting regarding a dossier submitted with 200 examples. The 200 examples do not relate to 200 separate individuals. They relate to 111 individuals reported of whom only 20 were members.

I regularly attend meetings of the Parliamentary Committee where only a matter of weeks ago, accompanied by our Executive Director of Legal Affairs, I gave a detailed report on this issue. I also have regular contact with the NEC representatives who are directly elected by the PLP. I would therefore suggest that a more constructive way of dealing with this issue in future may be for me to continue to report to those groups but I will pick this up separately with John Cryer.

Yours sincerely,

Jennie Formby

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Formby’s email again underscores the seriousness with which she and Labour are addressing the issue of antisemitism – but also remind MPs of the obvious: she is their point of contact on the topic and the attempts by some to make it Jeremy Corbyn’s issue are entirely inappropriate.

Formby’s information also makes clear the shambles on the subject that prevailed under the previous administration. This makes her achievements to date all the more impressive – as is her ability to address inaccurate reporting at such short notice.

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42 responses to “Excl: Formby’s email to MPs deals with complaints in full – but reminds them of proper party procedure

  1. Pingback: EXCL: FORMBY’S EMAIL TO MPS DEALS WITH COMPLAINTS IN FULL – BUT REMINDS THEM OF PROPER PARTY PROCEDURE | The Skwawkbox | Declaration Of Opinion·

  2. I’d be interestedto know the identities of the ‘dossier’ complainants. I presume they will be the result of heavy duty trawling through social media to try to find anything that even remotely relates to antisemitism. With a large percentage being nothing to do with LP members.

    • TBH after Ms Hodges reported outburst at Jeremy there was some pretty vile abuse on her twitter feed, I think this and previous abuse is where the majority of the 200 hundred incidents she passed onto the complaints team came from. Anyone with any knowledge of the world of twitter would know most of it was ‘dog pilling’ and as I said some of it was really vile, but as has been proved not all from members, still awful members fell into the trap as that is what it was and the trap has been set again so I hope members don’t fall for it again, I prefer Jeremy’s sit back in chair crossed legs quiet smile approach must be infuriating for some hahahaha.

      As for Jennie Formby by eck she’s a good’un

  3. What an impressive person Jennie Formby is. A lot of our MPs could learn an lot of her. I have total respect.

  4. Well after screeching’s attack upon and doxxing of an innocent senior citizen that went totally unpunished, and the refusal to censure watson and screeching over the berger incident recently, I have to say that my faith in formby is waning rapidly and is very close to rock-bottom.

      • From what I’ve seen, there’s not much more than a fag paper betwixt them, except for formby’s diligence in clearing up the backlog left by mcnicol.

        People are still being wrongly ‘convicted’, no matter how spurious the complaint, regardless of the ratio of ‘convictions’ to acquittals (The 44:1 or whatever it works out to).

        berger, screeching, hodge, mann and the rest are still doing and saying as they please with complete impunity and disregard for rules, solidarity, or even common decency.

        It’s still all one-way traffic.

      • The ’44:1′ is ‘acquittals to convictions’ by the way; not t’other way round as the previous post might imply.

  5. Whilst I appreciate Skwawkbox’s statistical juggling, no amount of that nor simple statements of the truth will suffice because that is not the game: the game is the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn and the witch-hunters will not stop until they have the witch’s head on a pole. Call it the anglo-zionist deep state, call it anything you like but it is clear that a vast, well resourced and well organised anti-socialist conspiracy is at work. I think Norman Finkelstein encapsulates these sentiments, better than I ever could, here.

  6. Pingback: Excl: Formby’s email to MPs deals with complaints in full – but reminds them of proper party procedure | sdbast·

  7. Every single thing that these saboteurs say in this BBC article is false, phoney and contrived, as is the whole of this latest episode. They really are totally disgusting human beings, if you can actually describe psychopaths as human beings, and they need to be slung out of the LP for repeatedly conspiring to bring the LP into disrepute:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47203397

  8. Regarding the Jewish Chronicle article about Walton CLP, can anyone explain to me how the author of the piece would have concluded that the facebook page with the vile comments was that of Walton CLP – ie made the mistake (supposedly) of thinking that it WAS. Is it possible, in reality, that someone could have done that? And if so, HOW?

  9. Labour MPs need to remember that they are servants of the Labour Party and its democratically agreed policies plus they are there because they were selected by members to do this, and they won by the bloody hard graft of the Labour rank and file!
    Yet it could be argued some of them seem to think that they are somehow the adults and the rank and file are children when many perhaps see the lack of evidence for original ideas on their part?
    Labour members have every democratic right to hold their MPs to account plus if they are not delivering to choose a better left wing Demoratic socialist.
    It is simple, by peaceful and democratic voting.

    • Up to a point, Lord Copper. Just remember that it isn’t a straightforward definition – otherwise Corbyn would never have become leader.

      (And, no – that’s not an endorsement of the current crop of right-wing underminers)

  10. We will always have bad problems with a section of our MPs until we have a straightforward method of endorsing or choosing candidates without the need for conspiracy or exposure. These rogue MPs were mainly chosen carefully as representatives of the Blair regime and therefore are inherently untrustworthy.

  11. So the next stage in this ever growing witchhunt is for Jennie Formby and the NEC is to put in place measures which prevent the usual suspects from making knee jerk accusations every time they receive a nasty comment on social media since 40% of the accused are non labour members. Hod knows how this can be done. But also it seems the usual suspects can get away with their own abusive behaviour. Instead of crumbling in the face of opposition from the perpetrators the NEC needs to follow through. I am thinking of Hodges, Mann and Streeting here.

  12. Pingback: Excl: Formby’s email to MPs deals with complaints in full – but reminds them of proper party procedure | The SKWAWKBOX | Jaffer's blog·

  13. It’s quite obvious the LP do not have a clue how to deal with the Zionists who are trying to destroy Corbyn. To compound their stupidity the LP adopts the IHRA definition and penalises our friends in the Jewish community who can best help us.

    Just a hint to Jennie Formby: cut out the appeasement and learn who your friends are!

  14. As much as it upsetting, frustrating and sometimes infuriating seeing and knowing what’s happening and then feeling helpless to do anything it about it. I acknowledge just what a difficult job Jennie Formby has on her hands, even more so recently. I understand she can’t do what really should be done and probably like to do herself. I think she’s doing her best and trust her to do what she can. This letter is pretty reassuring for me.

  15. Well. Here’s a turn-up for the books : the Graun today with an item that details the influence of the pro-Israel lobby and its frantic efforts to confuse human rights issues with ‘antisemitism’ :

    “Ilhan Omar is right about the influence of the Israel lobby”

    (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/13/ilhan-omar-is-right-about-the-influence-of-the-israel-lobby)

    It’s always easier to look at the situation from a distance – in this case, the USA is the subject, but the themes are much the same.

    • The Guardian has a long, long way to go to even begin to balance it’s coverage of manufactured ‘anti-semitism’, which of course IT has been complicit in dissembling from the outset. I cetainly won’t be holding my breath.

      And yet AGAIN, there’s no Comments section.

      • I don’t disagree with you, Allan, with the generally impoverished record of the Graun on this issue – I’ve been keeping an eye on it for quite a time.

        But – that doesn’t contradict the thrust of this argument, and actually goes further than Jenny Formby’s dismissal of the conspiracy scenario that she felt compelled to voice (I doubt that she actually agreed with herself)

  16. I note that Swawkbox has limited comments on the Hodge and Jewish Chronicle stories.

    I understand this – but it underlines how far the media fear has penetrated.

  17. By now, the AS witch-hunt of Corbyn has alienated enough people to guarantee AS will endure in the UK for a good while to come, creating plenty of opportunities for the future for whinging about persecution.

    Win-win for professional victims!

  18. I must confess I wasn’t aware that there had been a debate on anti-semitism last year until I read the above JC article. Anyway, the following is from the opening speech by Sajid Javid:

    A few weeks ago I stood in the crowd in Parliament Square and had the privilege of listening to some incredibly passionate speeches, not just from the leaders of the Jewish community but from several Labour colleagues, including the hon. Members for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman), for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger), for Ilford North (Wes Streeting), for Barrow and Furness (John Woodcock), for Sedgefield (Phil Wilson) and for Dudley North (Ian Austin), as well as Claire Kober, the former leader of Haringey Council. Let me also pay my respects to the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) for his leadership in chairing the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, and for being instrumental in calling for today’s debate.

    And at another point in Javid’s speech, Ian Austin intervenes and says the following:

    Let me be clear about this: Ken Livingstone claimed that Hitler was a Zionist. That is anti-Semitism, pure and simple. It happened more than two years ago, and there has been ample time to deal with it, so it is a disgrace that it has not been dealt with. Kick him out immediately. It should have been enough when the Community Security Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish Leadership Council all said that it was enough, but we even had the Chief Rabbi speaking out and still nothing has happened. It is a disgrace. My hon. Friend should stand at the Dispatch Box and tell the leader of the Labour party that Livingstone must be booted out. Boot him out!

    (Ends)

    That’s as far as I got, and as I’m sure the vast majority of people who follow SB will appreciate, it is not only hard to stomach reading what all these lying smearers are saying, but nauseating as well. But I will at some stage force myself to read the rest of it. And just in case anyone is unaware of it, Ken did NOT at any point say Hitler was a Zionist, and Austin knows it of course, and is just repeating the lie/falsehood, like the good little fascist that he is. And needless to say, ALL of these totally evil psychopaths know that when Ken said, in passing, in the radio interview, that Hitler supported Zionism, he was referring to the Haavara Agreement of 1933.

    Here’s a link to the debate:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-04-17/debates/9D70B2B4-39D7-4241-ACF8-13F7DFD8AEB2/Anti-Semitism

    • Correction: Ian Austin intervened when Andrew Gwynne (Lab) was giving his speech (immediately after Javid).

    • Needless to say, the whole debate was predicated on a Big Lie, based on a series of falsehoods/smears, and every single MP that spoke in the debate knew it of course, and took part in the debate soley for the purpose of furthering the Big Lie they have all been a party to since JC was elected leader of the Labour Party, and perpetuating their massive Deception of the British public, along with their fellow fascist collaborators in the media.

  19. I’ve just come across a very good JVL posting that examines the situation of Jackie Walker. It illustrates vividly how one-sided the claims of ‘antisemitic abuse’ are. Equally vile posts are aimed at anti-zionists by rabid opponents. Also vile is the involvement of the ‘Jewish Chronicle’
    in encouraging the behaviour and distorting the truth.

    First, it is worth reading the background article that JVL references at the end of its item :

    http://jfjfp.com/jackie-walker-responds-to-accusations-of-antisemitism/

    [from ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’]

    Then read what is happening on the vile abuse front :

    https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/jackie-walker-abused-and-vilified/

    It is, of course, notable that ant-racists who are Jews have been particularly targeted by zionists in this way.

  20. The distortion inherent in the ‘antisemitism’ scam can be seen from a telling item on the JVL website.

    It considers the case of Jackie Walker, and itemises some of the vile abuse that she has suffered from the pro-Israel faction. It easily matches the genuine antisemitic abuse aimed at Berger et al.

    The article also highlightds the role of the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ in promoting distortion and vile abuse.

    It is best to first read the background article from ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians’

    http://jfjfp.com/jackie-walker-responds-to-accusations-of-antisemitism/

    Then read about the contemporary antisemitic abuse directed at Jackie Walker because she doesn’t toe the zionist line. The targeting of anti-racist jews is a constant feature of the accusation campaign.

    https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/jackie-walker-abused-and-vilified/

    • Sorry for the repeat – I’d been puzzled by the non-appearance of innocuous posts, but (see elsewhere), the explanation is the inclusion of two links in one post.

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