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
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.
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