MP resigning to work for Tories once claimed local members showed ‘unequivocal’ confidence in him. Video revealed meeting involved row with members walking out in protest
John Mann has announced he is quitting as Labour MP for Bassetlaw in order to focus on his new role as the Tories’ ‘antisemitism tsar’. Last night, the SKWAWKBOX showed that Mann was accused of anti-Gypsy racism after publishing an ‘anti-social behaviour handbook’ that named Travellers among social evils – and the devastating impact it had on a young Gypsy boy and his family.
But local Labour members have told the SKWAWKBOX they are also delighted at Mann’s departure, because of the behaviour they have had to endure – including Mann rescheduling a meeting to clash with their event and then falsely claiming members ‘unequivocally’ voted their confidence in him.
A year ago, Mann tweeted a ‘thank you’ to his CLP (constituency Labour party) for their confidence in him, claiming it was ‘unequivocal’:
However, he was apparently unaware that unhappy members had recorded the meeting – and it showed anything but ‘unequivocal’ support:
The unhappiness of members was driven by the meeting being hurriedly scheduled – on a Sunday – clashing with another event in the area – and ensuring that a vote was going to be won by the right. Members told the SKWAWKBOX that a Sunday meeting was extremely unusual, even unheard of – as the CLP’s standing orders say they should take place on the third Friday of each month:
The pretext for the meeting was a supposedly urgent need to commence planning for a local election campaign that was still more than eight months away.
So angered were many members that they sent a flood of emails protesting – and one member stood at the beginning of the meeting to complain at the ‘undemocratic‘, ‘underhand‘ and ‘unethical‘ ploy and to demand that the emails be read out.
But critically, the video captured Mann’s face as the member spoke – and his expression looks very different from that of someone receiving ‘unequivocal support’:
Mann can be seen sitting at the Chair’s table, with his wife Jo at the other end. She was filmed glancing apprehensively across at him as his anger rises and the chair has to gesture for him to stay silent – and a close-up of the MP’s face shows why:
The member who spoke attacked the divisiveness of the move to bring forward the meeting when the invitation email made much of the need for unity – and at the end of his contribution he walked out in protest, accompanied by fourteen or fifteen of his fellow members.
Some delegates with voting rights at the meeting stayed behind, but were unable to defeat Mann’s motion – but it’s clear that the events of the meeting and the eventual result could not reasonably be described as anything like the ‘unequivocal’ Mann claimed.
Nor was the ‘vote of confidence’ in the motion exclusively for Mann. The motion discussed supported the GMB union’s call for Labour to adopt the IHRA definition – but expressed Bassetlaw CLP’s support for ‘local leadership, the MP and the national leadership:
Oddly, Mann neglected to mention that his CLP voted just as much to express their support of Jeremy Corbyn and his team as did it to express any confidence in him.
Mann also seemed in two minds about his plans on Sunday and the reason for them. He told the Jewish Labour Movement, according to the Jewish Chronicle (JC), that he couldn’t attend their conference held on the same day – but did not tell them he couldn’t go because he had a CLP meeting to attend. Instead, he told the Jewish Chronicle that he could not attend because of a ‘hate fest’ in his constituency.
Quite how he battled a ‘hatefest’ by attending a CLP meeting in a different location was not explained.
At the time, Mann was invited to comment but did not respond by the time of publication.
Commenting on Facebook, musician Joe Solo, who attended the other event, said:
Local MP John Mann has a reputation for being a deaf ear to anything he doesn’t want to hear, and certainly more than one person has described a career bully. Today he excelled himself. Cancelling a speech at the Jewish Labour Movement conference so he could move a CLP meeting forward by almost three weeks in order to clash with this event, he deliberately equated these two facts in order to smear the event I sang at as being… (his words) a “Hate Fest”.
As a lifelong campaigner against ALL forms of racism, Fascism, bigotry and intolerance, I do not take kindly to this insult to my character and consider it a gross misuse of the power of his office.
I won’t hold my breath for an apology.
Where Mr Mann has the willing ear of the Right Wing gutter press to air insults like this on his behalf, I have to type here and hope you read it.
Bassetlaw members were not confident of being able to remove their unpopular MP through a ‘trigger ballot’, as an additional branch in Mann’s home area had been set up to make it harder to achieve a vote for a contest in one in three branches, as required by Labour’s rules.
Those who spoke to the SKWAWKBOX unanimously feel he has done them a huge favour by resigning – and linked his decision to a specific event outside Mann’s control. More on that in an article to follow.
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.