Analysis comment Exclusive News

Excl: Labour ‘gagging orders’ put in place by McNicol – and gave hundreds of £1000s to allies

Shadow Cabinet learns ‘non-disclosure agreements’ on ex-staff appearing on Panorama and talking to media were authorised by former general secretary Iain McNicol – and enriched staff considered allies by hundreds of thousands of pounds
Former Labour general secretary – now Lord – Iain McNicol

The BBC’s highly-criticised Panorama programme last week featured a procession of former Labour ‘whistleblowers’ attacking the party – including its former general secretary Iain McNicol.

The programme, along with the BBC’s trailers for it and most of the Establishment media after it, made much of the ‘courage’ of the former staff in breaking ‘non-disclosure agreements’ (NDAs) to speak to Panorama – and criticised Labour for imposing NDAs in the first place.

But the SKWAWKBOX has learned that those NDAs were overseen by none other than Iain McNicol, before his departure from his position and before current general secretary Jennie Formby took up her duties.

And the process of signing the NDAs enriched departing staff loyal to McNicol – to the staggering tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The SKWAWKBOX understands that last week’s meeting of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet – which included deputy leader Tom Watson – was told by Ms Formby that:

  • she first became aware of confidentiality agreements being used when she was first appointed
  • hundreds of thousands of pounds had been paid to former staff who had resigned before her arrival
  • when she asked why she was told it was because they had been required to sign settlement agreements that contained confidentiality clauses and that these had been in use for many years

Ms Formby also informed Shadow Cabinet attendees that she asked for them to be reviewed and following advice from external solicitors new standard terms were drawn up. These new terms contained transparent confidentiality provisions and specific exceptions for protected disclosures.

Iain McNicol was contacted for comment and was also asked why he had not disclosed his involvement in the NDAs to the programme and whether he considered his failure to mention it had compromised his credibility. He had not responded by the time of publication.


The media have made ‘Labour’s gagging orders’ a key plank in their attack on the party, as part of the innuendo that Labour has something to hide on the issue of antisemitism and is trying to hide it.

McNicol was involved in the suspension of thousands of Corbyn-supporting Labour members on spurious grounds during successive leadership contests and was a key witness in last week’s Panorama.

The news that NDAs involving and enriching departing right-wing staff were overseen by the right-wing general secretary whose own departure was the trigger for those right-wing staff members to leave – should be a bombshell.

That those same media have failed to mention it in their coverage is a major scandal.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. You have to have credibility before it can be damaged, skwawky.

    And to think they ennobled the slimy bleeder….WT Absolute F were they thinking?

    Personally, I’d have made sure the rat’d have massive problems getting a job flogging tickets for car parks.

      1. That, I believe, is the unfortunate truth, which I am sure, if Jeremy Corbyn had anything to do with it, and, I think it is perfectly democratic and correct he stays out of these things, he would have made sure McNicol was not booted to the Lords. However, also remember, that Labour wants to abolish the Lords in favour of a more democratic revising chamber in its place.

    1. ‘I have a magic wand you know.
      It swishes, what vigour; such vim!
      And it’s just made Toffee the latest Lord.
      With one job, find Nichol then nut him!’
      (Note to Right Wing Barbarians – in a posh voice- this is what is known to the common people as a joke).
      And when was the last time we laughed comrades?
      With music, poetry, art, dance, comedy and bloody good night outs, we will win, and someone once said the rich and powerful absolutely hate it that working people can have such a bloody good time even when you have bugger all money!

      1. You are right Bazza. We need music, dance, comedy and laughter to keep our sanity. I am part of our Social Events Committee in our CLP. We have just had a brilliant Open Mic night and we are amazed at the talent in our CLP. It keeps our spirits up, promotes unity and makes the grind of campaigning in the present climate bearable. Thank-you.

  2. How did these NGA enrich those covered by them by £100,000 of pounds ?
    Was Party funds used to enrich those so covered , is that legal ?
    Who authorised that expenditure ?
    Does the new arrangements put in place by Jenny prevent the Party from taking legal action against those who breached the NGA ?

    1. Yeah Skwawky, you really should substantiate the “enrichment” bit. Otherwise you’re playing into their hands…

  3. I wa rejected by mcnicol and given no reason. I previously served as a Labour councillor and had never faced any disciplinary action membership refused and my money never returned.This man needs to be brought down and investigated..Formby knows what this rat has done to loyal members and those that served office. Get this man or betray all of us rejects…

    1. The truth isn’t lacing up its boots. It is lying bound and gagged in a locked basement.

  4. An NDA is a 2 way agreement and as they’ve broken their side of the bargain then surely the Labour Party is at liberty to publish the NDA they signed and details of any ‘compensation’ they received.

    1. Steve H surely the Labour party will be looking at compensation plus some form of prosecution for the breaking of the agreement.I would have thought that the damaging accusations even if the lies were true would make their positions indefensible and the added malice would be even more of a contributing factor to any court?The ex employees have probably been guaranteed legal backing but I feel that we need to use this group as an example.

      1. Joseph – It would be interesting to know who’s funding them.

    2. You need a successful public inquiry, High Court action or a judicial review to overturn these. Both signatories are gagged, i.e. the departing employee and McNicol. Tony Blair introduced these in the 90s as an amendment to the Employment Act.

      Countless £billions have been squandered in concealing public, private and civil society failure, malpractice, malfeasance and criminal conduct ever since. It is rising on an exponential scale with each passing year.

      They serve to grease the wheels of a MASSIVELY corrupt society and to prop up a dangerous mob of psycho / sociopaths who despise you and each other whilst greedily enriching themselves.

      1. Wirral it doesn’t seem to have gagged him at all,he’s been at the front and behind every employees attacking the Labour party.he’s mouthed off many times ,so much for the law of the land.The funding for the attacks have been crucial and it will be crucial that we provide funding to get this bunch of criminals in court.We have to fight back.

  5. I’ve had to read this twice to make sure I fully understood what I was reading. Is there any doubt at all about this Steve? I know you get good Intel from your sources and a very very rarely wrong, tbh I’m not even really questioning it I’m just so stunned, like many members and supporters active on social media we are all aware of the two pronged attack on Jeremy and his supportive MP’s that the level has gone so low. How do these people think they won’t be found out!?
    It really is time there was not some fight back but clearing up of maliciousness such as the NDA’s the proof has to be there and surely those that have named themselves can be outed now as being paid of by the ex gen sec with the numbers of others also given pay offs I haven’t a clue about the legalities but it’s looking more and more like they feel free to continue these lines of attack in the full knowledge there will be no ‘detailed’ comeback

  6. I think The Toffee is being too kind: I’d have made sure that McNicol had massive problems ever going to the toilet again. Joseph O’Keefe – at least I got as far as being admitted in 2016, albeit too late to vote in the chicken coup election, but on 31st March 2017 I got a letter from Sam Matthews saying I was being expelled without leave to appeal for 5 years because I was a supporter of “The Communist Party.” (Which Communist Party was not specified). I had been a member of the French CP but had left in order to be eligible to join Labour International and defend Corbyn and had posted this factual history in a Facebook group called Communist Party supporters group. I don’t know why but I got the impression that Matthews was some sort of grey-haired Bob Cratchitt style clerk who might have studied law once but was too stupid to pass the exams. When the little lickspittle whippersnapper popped up on Panorama, along with the other drelbs, the situation became clearer. I posted a picture of the little shit with a promise to batter him if he ever crossed my path: lo and behold, the organisation that lets white supremacists/KKK members etc. film themselves as they massacre leftists/non whites/muslims and broadcast it live jumped down my neck and censored my post. I now have a complete list of the scum who appeared on Panorama plus the scum who signed yesterday’s letter to the Observer. I plan to make sure they all find out what being a scab entails – but I won’t be pointing it out on Facebook. If anyone in Labour HQ is reading this, I will work my butt off doing any tasks that are necessary at HQ; you can pay me if you like but I’ll do it anyway for the equivalent of dole money. I won’t require a non-disclosure agreement or a pay off and, in the event that I ever rat/scab on the party, you can take me out and shoot me through the head.

    1. I would like to know too. Was he bribed? He got the usual reward for services to the ruling class.

    2. Elizabeth Ramsden…….our Jeremy in is days of appeasment,which has rebounded on all of us tenfold.Anyway what are we doing filling that house of parasites…socialism…..when if we fail at the first test.No member of the Labour party should accept any of these badges of the Establishment,I Back stabbers and scroungers all of them.

    3. In the current system Labour needs not to be massively outnumbered in the Lords if it wants to pass any legislation.
      It’s a bad system.

  7. So he fills his mates pockets with gold, then looks as though he encouraged them to break the same NDAs he said that cost the LP so dearly.

  8. Corbyn under fire from staff and Labour peers over antisemitism

    Jeremy Corbyn has come under renewed pressure as more than 200 former and current staff challenged him to resign if he could not renew trust in Labour party’s dealings with employees, and senior Labour peers offered to step in to overhaul its antisemitism complaints procedures.

    Labour is to hold an extraordinary shadow cabinet meeting next Monday to address concerns on antisemitism and Corbyn will address MPs on the issue on the same day.

      1. Ah, but you see it’s all down to the leadership – and Jeremy in particular of course – interfering in the process, and but for THAT, it would be 99% of the 400,000 or so of the membership that support him. And they’re not just anti-semites, but bullies and homophobes and misogynists and trotskies and marxists and extremists etc, etc.

        As I’ve said before, it would be interesting to ascertain just exactly how many LP members have been reported to the police AND prosecuted for anti-semitism or whatever since Jeremy was elected leader. I’ve only heard of FOUR myself!

    1. Surely its not for corbyn to renew trust!.Its clearly the employees who have shown to be untrustworthy and have responded with an orchestrated attack upon the whole Labour party.Do these peers get out often enough and what planet do these parasites live on?We have been robbed and done over by mcnicol and they want an apology…..Wheres my membership money gone….Criminals

    2. Allan Howard…..Corbyn having a meeting to discuss AS that never was.?? He will try to gain the trust of employees that have slandered and libeled the Labour party??.The peers will help??.Did I wake up on another planet??…..Have corbyn and HQ gone insane!We could end up destroying the case against these malcontents and parasite s.

  9. I am sitting on Stannage Edge in the Peak District, eating an apple and reading Skwawky’s post.
    The sheep nearby have just recoiled from the shout of “You could not fucking make this up!!”
    Sorry about the language, but if it’s good enough for Len…

  10. ‘And the process of signing the NDAs enriched departing staff loyal to McNicol – to the staggering tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.’

    What I can’t get my head round is why staff would be paid – presumably thousands of pounds each – for signing confidentiality agreements. Would be interesting to find out when THAT was introduced (especially if it was AFTER Jeremy was elected leader), and on what grounds – ie what was the justification for doing so.

    That said, does anyone know if it’s standard practice for staff to receive payment for signing an NDA when leaving a company or an institution?

    1. Hi Alan, yes it’s standard practice. The more senior the officer, the larger the payment. The problem is these gags conceal failure, malpractice, malfeasance and criminal conduct. In English councils alone between 2003 and 2015 £226 million in public money was ‘invested’ in them.

      If you’re a very senior employee you know where the bodies are buried and the greater becomes the corporate need to silence you with a larger £amount.

      Importantly, it’s not just the departing employee who is silenced and can’t go public on the agreement and the circumstances that led up to it, but the issuing body also.

      Job done. Everyone’s gagged. You need either a public enquiry or a judicial review to prise them open.

      Guess who gave us these babies…?

      Anthony Charles Lynton Blair.

      1. However, in this case it appears to be nothing to do with covering stuff up, and everything to do with corruptly giving departing staff a massive bung as they walked out the door out of fear of an honest regime under Formby.

        I would say this conduct amounts to criminal behaviour. Conspiracy to defraud, something like that.

      2. If you’re a shop floor worker you’re often required to sign an NDA along with your employment contract when you first join the company.
        I haven’t heard of anyone refusing to sign but in places I’ve worked you just wouldn’t get the job.

    2. Sounds like a bank job money looted from the Labour members .Time to get the police involved? Nobody asked me if it was okay to throw my money away like confetti.Seems if you work for Labour ,you can slander and libel with Impunity.!and walk away ?

  11. The question was how low can they go, Now this,
    Surely the party and their solicitors are going to fill their boots
    We can forget any stitch up by EHRC, party has too much ammunition to fire at previous regime
    Sit back and enjoy watching the bastards being brought down

    1. Doug.. These are the criminals that refused my membership,I have never been a supporter of revenge,but in the casof this lot I will revel in it.Surely all this has been hidden and known HQ for some time..why were we not told? ….I am appalled at whats gone on and why its taken all this time to come out…. Our money!…thrown away!

      1. “but in the casof this lot I will revel in it”

        I’ll be going on a very LONG lost weekend!😎

      2. Joseph OKEEFE
        The pay offs could be to cover up the criminality of data theft and destruction, sabotage and treachery
        I’m with Timfrom on this lost weekend

  12. Utterly staggered! Surely if they signed a NDA then they can all be sued? Might be an idea to read report by Jewish Voice for Labour who show that all these people are Executive Offices of JLM? Mr Westerman lied on Panorama when he reported example of what happened at Liverpool CLP. Verifiable evidence as all the meetings were recorded!!! Also interesting that this is but one of Neil Grant (MD Films of Record) films which has vilified Mr Corbyn.

    Something needs to be done to expose all these people for what they have done. Iain McNicol should also bear the brunt of his arrogance in allowing it all to happen.

    1. expressanny, “Something needs to be done to expose all these people”

      Some of us have been doing it for years and have been told by some quite senior people in the Party, “it’s only a few and we can deal with it”

  13. And now we see Watson and his cronies putting forward a motion at the next NEC meeting wanting to change how investigations take place including instant dismissal for a member accused of AS. He knows full well this will not get through the NEC but I believe he wants it to be rejected she can go to the next level. I honestly believe he will at some point threaten to leave the party over this, what he’s not bargained for is that the Panorama smears and MSM smears are not working. I hope he does threaten to resign. I would be the first of many to open the door for him to walk out the door. He will leave the party but not parliament, he will try to make himself a martyr for the only cause he believes in, Tom Watson.

    1. Do you have evidence that the smears are not working Christopher?

      Are you aware of the recent yougov poll conducted for Hope Not Hate in which 42% of respondents think/believe that the Labour Party has a serious problem regards anti-semitism?

      1. Also the results from the latest LabourList survey aren’t what you’d call encouraging

        “Has Labour done enough to tackle antisemitism within the party?

        Yes – 50.1% (3,234)
        No – 36.6% (2,360)
        Don’t know – 13.3% (860)

      2. So you’re using a polling company that has got every poll wrong during the last election and one that is owned by a Conservative Party donors to make your case Allan. YouGov is the only pollster consistently giving Labour lower percentages. I’ll wait until Survation, the only pollster to get the last election right, to show a decline, then you can make your case.

        Antisemitism is abhorrent and it should be eradicated from our society! Your not going to get to the bottom of the problem unless or until calm heads prevail. Tom Watson and friends flapping around and making mischief are preventing a proper and sensible discussion of these issues.

      3. 2017 General Election
        2019 Peterborough
        2019 Survation
        Labour list has 1500 TWatson supporters, so its weighted against JC, excellent result, 75/25 on any other planet

      4. Christopher, I am NOT making a case about anything, just merely refuting the absurd claim by yourself and one or two others on skwawkbox that the ‘anti-semitism’ smear campaign has been ineffecctive. And Yes, I am quite happy to acknowledge that yougov is a political weapon of the Establishment – and have said as much on more than a few occasions in the past – and yougov no doubt added six or seven percentage points to the total, as such, but the result pretty much corresponds with a survey that Ken Livingstone referred to in an article on RT about a year ago, which found that 36% of respondents believed Labour had a serious problem with anti-semitism.

        The danger of spreading this myth – whether deliberately or in some manner of wishful thinking – is that it deters people from doing precisely what we SHOULD be doing, and THAT is getting the truth out there every-which-way we can AND exposing the falsehoods that embody the black op smear campaign, from Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker to the ‘English irony’ Big Lie to the Panorama hatchet-job last week.

        The very idea that it HASN’T been effective is ITSELF a falsehood.

      5. Allan

        But what evidence (not polls) do you have that it IS working?

      6. I asked this question of fellow CLP members yesterday, how much it has been talked about at street stalls and on the doorstep, one person mentioned it and after a discussion accepted a man with Jewish backing is hardly likely to foster antisemitism, this is in a very Conservative voting town, to quantify further, we have had several Cllr by-elections lately and run weekly stalls.

      7. Fibro

        Thanks. It’s tempting, but we mustn’t give in to despondency. I’m choosing to have blind faith in the innate British sense of fair play prevailing and they will take a dim view and disregard a smear that has become more blatant (even to wavering voters) by the day!

      8. When it comes down to it in a GE people want to know what they’re going to get from voting for a party, we came so close last time, this time we are ready, the finances for fighting winnable seats will be fairly divided unlike last time, most CLP’s if not all are keeping up a permanent presence in their constituency’s, it will still be a battle against the MSM as they’ll go for it big time but I’m confident we can win through

      9. I’m not sure where this post is gonna end up in the sequence of comments, but it’s in response to timfrom and Fibro:

        The fact that you say we mustn’t give in to despondency tells me you have an agenda timfrom, and that you are just playing games. And WHICH CLP would that be Fibro? Oh, right, and you just happened to ask fellow members yesterday! How many did you speak to? And how many members do you have? And was that at a meeting, or down the pub, or did you phone round a few of them?

        The reality is that but for the constant smears, the LP would have been 15, 20 points or more ahead in the polls during the past several years, and would have won the 2017 general election. Yes, in recent months, what with the Brexit Party coming on the scene etc, both the Tories and Labour are polling much lower. The reality is that on the one hand, if people believe that the LP is full of anti-semites, they are hardly likely to come up and speak to anyone manning a LP stall OR confront them about it on the doorstep. BUT, *if* no-one believes it – as you would have people believe – then surely what they would ALL be saying to you – the general public that is – is that they don’t believe any of it and that it’s all lies and a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and the left etc. And the point is of course that if that WERE the case, then they must know that the likes of Rachel Riley and the Jewish newspapers and the MSM and the Tories are all part of a conspiracy to deceive the public – ie to deceive THEM – and they have known that pretty much from the outset.

        So anyway, the smearers and plotters have been completely wasting their time the last four years or so, have they, as no-one believes any of it. Yeah, sure, sounds very plausible!

        PS Oh, and during the many years that I went head-to-head with the anti-camera propagandists – ie Safespeed and the Association of British Drivers etc – on a daily basis exposing their lies, they often used to use the technique where TWO of them (which was quite likely just one person) would do exactly what you two have done – first one leaves a comment, then the other leaves a comment, and then the FIRST one Thanks the second one etc. It’s a standard propaganda ruse, and one which I encountered hundreds of times. But it’s just purely coincidental of course that YOU happened to do the same.

        NB And to think that skwawkbox and so many regular posters have been completely wasting their time these past four years – along with the likes of Jonathan Cook and Tony Greenstein and JVL and MediaLens etc – posting comments about the ‘anti-semitism’ smear campaign AND some of them regularly criticising Jeremy for not standing up to the smearers and appeasing them as such, when it was ALL totally unnecessary, because no-one actually believed any of it anyway. If only you’d let us all know before!

        Better late than never though, ay.

      10. Allan

        I have an agenda, do I? Well it’s no different than yours or most of the others on here. We want a Corbyn government but the forces ranged against it are getting more and more hostile and incessant and it’s quite clear that they won’t stop till they topple him or get toppled themselves. That’s why I was urging Fibro and everyone not to get despondent. What’s wrong with that?

        What agenda of mine does your fevered imagination come up with? (I can’t wait to hear what bollocks comes next!)

      11. Hi Allan blimey finding this post was quite an exercise!
        I’m a member of Shrewsbury & Atcham CLP a bastion of Conservatives, well a bit less than it was in 2010. It was pure chance I got to speak to a couple of members yesterday they were at my home so I could sign a nomination form for one of them who has been chosen to contest my local ward as the Conservative Cllr has very recently resigned, I don’t go down the pub or as ‘yet’ get to meetings due to my health (all about to change on the 29th thanks to our lovely NHS who are going to stop my spine crumbling away to nothing fingers very much crossed)
        I wouldn’t have bothered asking them if they hadn’t been campaigning for another local by-election (we won) and a very positive reaction to newsletters popped through peoples doors along with campaign stalls at local events as well as the normal weekly ones. I live in a very polite town on the whole but one that those who really care about these things will speak up. A lot of people are watching with dismay and sorrow our town loosing it’s high street shops Rackhams was the latest to go leaving a huge store empty, the two big shopping centers are less than half full, independent shops are going under and it really is hitting residents now watching our once busy town being deserted.
        I’m giving you this background because I think it’s important you see where I’m coming from I’m sure plenty of others witness similar in their towns and probably cities. One of the major employers STADCO is shutting the local factory employee numbers have fallen greatly over the past 10 years.
        So back to the point, is anti semitism in the news first on peoples minds here? it appears not, affordable housing yes income yes climate change yes schools lack of teachers police all the real issues are still top of peoples concerns, I could write reams about peoples problems getting hold of the police even for 999 calls 🙁
        Back to my original point when it comes down to it people will vote for who they believe will look after their needs.

  14. “I would be the first of many to open the door for him to walk out the door”

    And I’ll supply the boot in the arse. Steel toe-capped, naturally!

  15. Mcnicol ran a very right wing fiefdom for the benefit of the nasty misfits we were damage Our own party..They all left when the gravey train stopped Why have we never been told up to now and it must be the duty of the general secretary to claw our money back.I will ask the HQ for some answers to what happened to my money,and what steps are being used to claw back money from the criminal s who took it.Disgusted fom france

  16. 64 Lords place an avert in their newspaper to announce coup against Jeremy…..shock!

      1. Oh God, there goes my blood pressure again!

        Once again, we see that entitled Zionist obnoxiousness. Who the absolute fuck do they think they are? Any increase in anti-Semitism will be down to this attitude, not Jeremy, who will ALWAYS be found wanting, no matter what he does.

        Abolishing the Lord’s can’t come soon enough!

  17. I think all Labour activists are battle fatigued after the past four years, the lies and smears have been relentless and people like Ian McNicol are given a title! Hard to believe. I only hope we can clean house, and quickly.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: