PLP attack on Formby knocked off its tracks by bombshell revelation that drew gasps from shocked MPs
Yesterday the SKWAWKBOX revealed exclusive details about an attack by seven Labour back-bench MPs on the party’s general secretary Jennie Formby during Monday evening’s meeting of the ‘PLP’ (parliamentary Labour party).
Establishment media had reported that the seven MPs had ‘hammered’ Formby one after the other – without any comment on the obvious questions the incident raised about bullying, even though Formby is not answerable to MPs.
The attack was eventually defused and other MPs, along with Shadow Cabinet members, had praised Formby’s sterling efforts in making fit for purpose the shambolic disciplinary process she had inherited from the previous administrative organisation.
Now the SKWAWKBOX can reveal more information about the coordinated nature of the attack – and a bombshell dropped into the PLP meeting that stopped critics in their tracks and drew gasps of shock from many MPs present.
According to MPs who attended the meeting, before it began a message from Ilford North MP Wes Streeting and others had been circulated to MPs with details of questions they wanted put to Formby and instructions about how the questioning would be conducted – self-evidently a coordinated effort.
The attack on Formby began as planned – but was thrown off course by a revelation by another back-bench MP about an incident that took place under Formby’s predecessor, Iain McNicol.
This MP read out details of an email sent by a senior McNicol-era ‘Legal and Governance’ officer to two female councillors in the West Midlands. The two women had lodged serious and well-evidenced complaints of misogyny, abuse and harassment against male councillors in the same borough who were well known to be allies of the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson.
The officer’s response amounted to “Go away and do not bother me with this nonsense again“.
The recitation of the email drew gasps of shock from MPs across the room, including from some who are considered close to Watson and generally opposed to Labour’s leadership.
This opened the door to praise from a number of those present for Formby’s efforts in cleaning up Labour’s previous processes that she had inherited – and took the wind out of the sails of the coordinated attack.
Wes Streeting was contacted for comment about his part in the preparation for the ‘hammering’ but had not responded by the time of publication. Streeting was accused last year by fellow MPs of ‘disgusting’ and ‘disgraceful’ abuse toward Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott after he took offence at her contribution in a parliamentary debate.
The officer involved in the dismissive email to the two councillors was considered close to right-wing Labour MPs in the region but no longer works for the party.
Deputy leader Tom Watson did not attend the PLP meeting.
Jennie Formby has faced considerable disingenuous criticism by right-wing MPs and media commentators over incidents that took place before she was general secretary. Many of the MPs most voluble in the criticism have little business attacking anyone else’s conduct – and the party’s previous disciplinary processes provide no shortage of examples of officials protecting close allies of senior right-wing figures.
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