Formby puts ‘confusing, inappropriate pollutant’ Watson deftly in his place

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has – politely – stripped deputy leader Tom Watson of his credibility with her response to his grandstanding over Labour disciplinary procedures

Jennie Formby, right, has taken Tom Watson to school

For the third time this week, Tom Watson has been thoroughly owned by a strong Labour woman.

Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby has given deputy leader Watson a humiliating schooling in her response to his grandstanding email claiming authority and access to all Labour’s disciplinary processes. Emphases have been added:

To: Tom Watson
Cc: All Labour MPs and Lords

Dear Tom,

Thank you for forwarding to me a copy of your letter to all MPs and Lords. You raise several points that require clarification and I will take each of these in turn in my response.

As you are aware, I have always been clear that members of the PLP should contact me at any time if they have concerns or issues requiring support. I have done my best to be responsive to these, particularly in meeting parliamentary colleagues whenever this has been requested. This continues to be coordinated by me and my team and does not require any prompting.

With regards to the reporting of complaints, as you are also fully aware, there is a clear single process for reporting complaints which begins with an email to the Complaints team at complaints@labour.org.uk. As stated above, I am happy for MPs to contact me should they have queries about any particular case which directly concerns them or if they are the complainant. However, for reasons that I know you fully understand, such as coordination and consistency, the initial complaints should be made in accordance with our agreed processes.

You have decided, without consultation and without regard to the existing process, to ask colleagues who raise issues or complaints with me, to forward them to your private email address, as you will be ‘logging and monitoring’ all complaints. It is absolutely inappropriate for you to set up a vague parallel complaints monitoring system. Both the Party itself, and you as an individual MP, have very strict responsibilities under GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 to safeguard members’ data and ensure it is processed only for clearly defined and lawful purposes.

Information about members of a political party is likely to be “special category” data attracting enhanced standards of protection. The Party has elaborate systems in place to ensure that data relating to complaints and disciplinary procedures involving members is processed securely and within a compliant environment. The suggestion that you as an individual data controller should receive and store data relating to complaints unrelated to your personal role as an MP, on a private email address, or indeed any other system, is completely unacceptable and exposes you, and the Party, to significant compliance risks. Furthermore, you will undermine the work that my staff and I are doing and will confuse and pollute the existing formal process, compromising it and slowing it down.

Politicians have no role, nor should they, in processing or in monitoring complaints. All of the extensive work that has been done by the NEC working groups and the team in GLU, with the advice and support of the Executive Director of Legal Affairs, has been to specifically safeguard the complaints process from political interference. I am therefore perplexed by your suggestion and am not sure what exactly you are trying to achieve.

I have been very clear that I want to increase transparency to build trust in the system. Therefore, in addition to securing the agreement of the NEC to publish statistics on our antisemitism cases, I am delighted that Lord Falconer has agreed to work with us as a critical independent friend for the Labour Party. He will be scrutinising the Party’s disciplinary procedures and processes, and how they operate in practice; to assess and confirm that they are effective in ensuring cases are dealt with fairly, consistently and with reasonable speed; and are adequately robust in dealing with misconduct by party members. In strict accordance with GDPR rules, he will have appropriate access to our staff and to any documentation he considers it necessary to see. Lord Falconer is a distinguished and highly experienced QC, as well as a very widely respected member of the House of Lords, so is an ideal person to carry out this role. Our arrangements with him will in no sense seek to establish a parallel database or processing operation.

In addition to pointing out how inappropriate your suggestion is, I must also ask you to consider the impact that your letter has had on our staff in the Governance and Legal team. They have been working incredibly hard to clear all complaints, not just those of antisemitism, including the considerable backlog that had built up from 2016.

The suggestions you outlined so publicly have understandably led the staff to believe that their work and dedication is being questioned by you and coming from such a senior member of the party leadership, they have found this extremely distressing.

Since taking on the role as General Secretary I have been unremittingly clear that the welfare of our staff is extremely important, and I would ask you both to respect the contribution that they make and to recognise that they are unable to rebut or respond to any criticism you make in the public domain.

I am copying this to all Labour MPs and Lords to ask them not to send complaints to you or to any other unauthorised individual, but to submit them through the proper channels as outlined above.

Regards

Jennie

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Tom Watson: owned. Schooled. A confusing, inappropriate pollutant.

Even if he hadn’t just been exposed having meetings with a representative of a rival political group, it’s unthinkable that Watson could be trusted with sensitive party data – let alone be allowed to arrogate access to it for himself and to a private gmail address to boot.

Watson’s third dressing down by a strong Labour woman will have left his inappropriately large self-regard justly bruised – and his standing diminished even further, if that’s possible.

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35 responses to “Formby puts ‘confusing, inappropriate pollutant’ Watson deftly in his place

  1. Hats off to Formby and I hope the leadership and supporters are fully behind her. This is no time for silence, standing back or further appeasement, this is a power struggle.

  2. Watson will now probably accuse Falconer of being a Corbynista who should be replaced by someone more neutral, like Mark Regev.

  3. I am glad of this letter because I thought that Tom Watson’s interference might put some people off from making a complaint if they felt it was not to be confidential.

  4. If Watson is still saying, even after that terrific letter, that he’s going to set up a parallel complaints process, then Formby should warn him that he risks being suspended from the party is he interferes with the complaints procedure in any way. And then suspend him when he does.

  5. Tom Watson has no right under the Rules to supervise complaints or the work of the Gen Sec. We is not fit to do so in any case as we all saw how he mishandled the false allegations of a child sex ring in parliament .I will never forget the expression in the eyes of Leon Brittan, a Jewish man dying from cancer who was surrounded on his own doorstep by a hostile press following Tom’s insistence that the police reopen the case against him after they had shelved it because of lack of evidence. Leon Brittan looked sad and bewildered and completely broken. He died shortly afterwards, totally innocent but with his reputation in tatters.
    What happened to Leon Brittan was truly sickening and Tom Watson should be deeply ashamed of the part he played in it. Clearly he is not as he now want to take over our party’s investigation of Anti Semitism complaints a role which ( thankfully) belongs to the Gen Sec and her staff. He has clearly set out to undermine her authority which is a totally despicable way to treat our most senior employee. However Jennie really slapped him down and he thoroughly deserved it.

  6. Isn’t it the true meaning of disrepute here??? Why is he not suspended and swiftly expelled, that is immensly worse then calling someone you don’t know as collaborating with the press isn’t it?

  7. What I means here is that even though the tone is right, there is still a double standards in action that is behond belief here and proove that unfortunatly and as much as the pretend not to be, disciplinary is mainly driven by political games and that is shamful for what is suppose to be a government in waiting.

  8. Some of the parodies of Watson’s letter by Jim and others on a previous SB thread were brilliant, funny, life enhancing even. Now this magnificent response from Jenny Formby – a real antidote to the chilling effects of recent events – Hats off indeed and a collective like from me for all of the above comments.

  9. The reality is of course that Watson knew it was never gonna happen, and THAT was the whole point in making such a demand. It was a ploy contrived by the saboteurs, having already questioned the veracity of the NEC’s complaints process AND outcomes. They had it all worked out prior to the PLP meeting several weeks ago when they asked Jennie to attend and questioned her etc.

    The point is that THEY know precisely what Jennie has done in respect of the complaints process since she became General Secretary, and that it has been transformed as such, but they also know that the majority of the general public are not aware of the changes, so being the sociopathic sadists that they are, they plotted and schemed to convey a completely different – and false – impression to the public at large, courtesy of the MSM, and the press in particular, who work hand in glove with them and conspire to undermine the LP and the leadership every-which-way they can.

    • In a nutshell: Corbyn and his allies and the left in general are the Baddies, who are either anti-semitic themselves or enable it, and Tom and Co are the Goodies who are doing all they can to save the once honorable Labour Party from them.

      They have manufactured and invented a completely false reality in the minds of millions of people.

    • They have created an alternative reality in which everything has been turned on its head, and the Baddies – the plotters – are the Goodies, and Tom Watson is the knight in shining armour – the hero – who has stepped forth to save the day; and in which the Goodies are the Baddies, who must be vanquished, and the Corbeast and his minions – who engender his diabolical plan – defeated, never to cast their dark shadow over this fair Isle again.

  10. “… will confuse and pollute the existing formal process, compromising it …”

    … which he and his cohorts have, in actuality, already done. What action?

    It *is* a good letter, but leaves the core of the problem untouched – i.e. the confusion of definition of ‘antisemitism’ that has been visited on the Party by virtue of the IHRA gobbledy-gook,, and the clear evidence of previous witch trials that have led to injustice.

    The outcome of Jackie Walker’s case will be seminal – she has patently not done anything that could be construed as antisemitic unless the term is used to cover simple discomfort for the Lobby.

    However, the related Chris Williamson incident and the censorship of ‘Witch Hunt’ does not bode well for those of us with a reasonable sane and honest grasp of reality and the English language.

    Then there is the issue of review and the need for actual transparency rather than just summary figures regarding cases. I know the latter poses technical difficulties, but, frankly there is no other way of countering the obfuscation that is the weapon of the right-wing Squitters and Fakers.

    Meanwhile note that the threats to people like Jackie Walker and others in the honest membership remain ignored by the MSM, despite their equally nasty content from supposed supporters of Israel (no – I will equally suspend judgement on sources until established – unsocial media is a haven for fakery).

  11. What’s happening now is a disgrace and despite Formby’s letter it casts great doubt on the Labour Party’s ability to deal fairly with ANY complaint.

    We know from our own experience that people who should NEVER have been suspended have been and that people such as Hodge, Mann, Austin and now Watson have not. Watson has done more than enough to be suspended. From his labeling of the whole of the Wavertree CLP as bullies and calling for them to be suspended, to his latest outrage to circumvent Party procedures and put personal data at risk.

    What do those who have escaped Party justice have in common? they are all members of the Israeli Lobby. It tells me that the Labour Party is certainly NOT institutionally anti-Semitic, it is more likely to be institutionally pro-Zionist.

  12. I was doing some research earlier, and I ended up on the Guardian’s website, and at the end of the article I read (in relation to what I was researching), I spotted the following article (listed with a number of others), and thought I’d have a browse and, as such, clicked on it. It was only THEN that I discovered it was by Jonathan Freedland, which put me right off, given his complicity in the ‘anti-semitism’ Smear Campaign. How can you trust anything they say about any issue/topic, when you know that they have been disseminating complete and utter falsehoods to their readers regarding A/S in the LP. But I read the article anyway, out of interest – given the headline that took me to the article in the first place – and I’m posting a link to it with the above ‘caveats’ in mind, and as possible food for thought. Anyway, I then went through his ‘back-catalogue’ and came across an article about A/S in the LP – which I link to below this comment – which exemplifies how disingenuous he is, only more subtle than the Sun or the Mail or the Express (some interesting comments though, but skip the third one down….. it goes on forever!):

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/01/brexit-trump-trade-hanoi

    • The role of the Groan is interesting. Admittedly, UK journalism presents an exceedingly low bar, but it still does contain some good journalism on some topics – even if one is at odds with its overall editorial line.

      On the antisemitism scam, however, it has an almost complete blackout of contrary information – apart from a few letters and blog comments being allowed through the net. In terms of the latter, it is noticeable that the most detailed and knowledgeable are likely to be censored.

      As I’ve mentioned before, the paper is in the ridiculous situation of erasing the comments of its previous editor (who is no wild-eyed radical) over the recorded comments he has made describing the p[ressure exerted by the Israel lobby.

      Under Viner, the lock-down is almost a joke when the paper makes claims about ‘fearless journalism’. And the tag ‘Our journalism can change the story’ takes on a sardonic and sinister tinge.Most of the relevant articles are at the Sun’s level of propaganda that you have highlighted – if with bigger words.

      What the precise nature of the pressure is, I don’t know. But it is significant that Freedland, with his links to the Jewish Chronicle and its propaganda, is a senior journalist. His line is, of course, backed up by numerous other commentators and columnists.

  13. The following piece (of disinformation) is from the end of March last year, and one of a number he has penned on the (non) issue of A/S in the Labour Party. He doesn’t refer to the Ken Livingstone episode – or any of the other high profile cases (apart from the ‘mural’) – but you can be as sure as the sun rises in the east that he is fully aware that Ken was alluding to the Haavara Agreement, and you can be just as sure that he has seen The Lobby and, as such, he knows precisely what is going on, and is of course complicit in the gargantuan falsehood himself:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/30/antisemitism-jews-canary-coalmine-fake-news

  14. The following is from a newspaper article I just came across, which was no doubt disseminated by the press in general. Imagine the day when all the millions Watson and Co are duping and deceiving learn the truth AND exactly what they are:

    Mr Watson spoke the day after the suspension of close Corbyn ally Chris Williamson over his claims that the party has been “too apologetic” about anti-Semitism.

    The deputy leader said Labour “can’t apologise enough”, describing last week’s resignation of Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger as “the worst day of shame in the Labour Party’s 120-year history – a pregnant young MP bullied out of her own party by racist thugs”.

    (Ends)

    If WE all know he is lying through his teeth, then we can be absolutely certain that Jennie Formby does, so why isn’t he being called in and asked to explain how CLP members doing what they’re perfectly entitled to do, could be construed as Luciana Berger being bullied by racist thugs. And then suspend him for slandering members and bringing the party into disrepute!

    Mind you, I’ve had my suspicions about the two motions – which were then withdrawn – from the outset. It just doesn’t add up – ie not only doing such when she’s seven/eight months pregnant, and was BOUND to receive a really bad press….. Put it this way: I have no doubt that the plotters had their whole strategy planned and worked out weeks and weeks ago AND that the Seven would leave the LP on the day that they did, and it just seems WAYYY too much of a coincidence that these TWO motions came up when they did! Heaven sent as far as the saboteurs are concerned!!

  15. Here’s a transcript of Ken Livingstone’s interview with Vanessa Feltz – ie the part that has supposedly caused so much outrage and hysteria:

    Asked whether Naz Shah was antisemitic:

    “She’s a deep critic of Israel and its policies. Her remarks were over-the-top but she’s not antisemitic. I’ve been in the Labour party for 47 years; I’ve never heard anyone say anything antisemitic. I’ve heard a lot of criticism of the state of Israel and its abuse of Palestinians but I’ve never heard anyone say anything antisemitic.

    “It’s completely over the top but it’s not antisemitism. Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 [it was 1933 in fact], his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this [was] before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-anti-semitism-row-full-transcript-of-ken-livingstones-interviews-a7005311.html

    • The point about Naz Shah is simple. If the image of a Jewish state in the US (which nobody with a brain thought was other than a counter-factual irony to highlight the situation) is ‘over the top’ – then, by definition a sectarian state in Palestine is equally flawed.

      Doh!.

  16. It seems members of Labour friends of Israel can say or do anything and won’t be suspended, Hodge, Mann, Austin, Watson, Umunna, the list goes on and on, all members of LFI. The only members who get suspended are not members of Labour friends of Israel am I right ?

    • You are indeed right.

      I think if might be a good idea to deny this bunch their cuddly ‘Friends of Israel’ label. Suggestions?

      ‘Friends of Apartheid’?

      or ‘Enemies of Palestine’?

      Meanwhile, Labour Friends of Truth needs to be a bit more prominent.

  17. Labour’s ambition to build a fair society has always depended on a majority of people upholding the kind of values we teach our younger children – like industry, honesty, truth, fair dealing, consideration of the needs of others – before they eventually learn that in business and politics people with values usually come second.

    Blair & his spivs pretended to share Labour’s ambition while arguing that the ends justified the means – that lying, cheating, scheming, evasion and subterfuge – spin – could even be admired if motives were benign.
    “After all – we can’t change anything from opposition, can we?”

    Problem is that, though they may have set out with good intentions the success of dodgy means eventually normalises them in the minds of those who employ them until the means become the ends – by which time dodgy dossiers to ‘legitimise’ illegal wars raise hardly a flicker in desiccated consciences.

    One way or another those people have got to go.

  18. “Blair & his spivs”

    I think that the ‘spiv’ tendency has, indeed polluted politics. It is easy to say ”Twas always thus’ – but, perhaps, it is more so at some times than others. And this is a down time – or an up-time if you’re a con artist with the wind of an institutionally corrupt media in your sails.

    I’ve several times cited a Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ documentary that focused on the Israel Lobby – but now seems largely forgotten as the media in general become a playground gang.

    But there was another pretty shocking Dispatches program that set up a trap for ex-Blairite MPs, inviting them to join a money-making scam, totally at odds with their professed political values.

    It was the program that caught one such creature (in the Jacobean sense) comparing himself to a ‘taxi’ that would – for a fistful of lucre – transport clients to influential contacts.

    Is it remembered?

    Certainly, telling investigations such as this now seem few and far between. Can you imagine a proper examination of the historical attitudes and utterances of Watson, Umunna etc. as opposed to the guilt by association with distorted facts that Corbyn has been subjected to?

  19. British journalism and politics is barely circling the drain when a foreign channel can broadcast video evidence of bribery, corruption and treason – only for it to be ignored by every UK channel, newspaper and Parliament itself.

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