Corbyn’s ‘fury’ with McDonnell as Labour leader keeps Shadow Cabinet seat for Chief of Staff
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was ‘furious’ with John McDonnell for the manoeuvre that led to Corbyn’s chief of staff being moved out of his ‘LOTO’ team – and made his feelings clear last week when he reserved the seat next to him at Tuesday’s Shadow Cabinet meeting for the woman who acts as his ‘firewall’.
Reporting accurately for once, the Sunday Times has described Corbyn’s symbolic action and his fury with his Shadow Chancellor for acting beyond the brief Corbyn had given him – and the Labour leader’s action to ‘shore up Murphy’s authority’.
But it has only given part of the story.
A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:
Jeremy spoke of his personal admiration for Karie’s strength and altruism. He could scarcely have been warmer.
Corbyn’s praise was not the only ‘detail’ omitted by the Murdoch publication.
When Murphy’s move was announced earlier this month, the official Labour story made no mention of the background and real reasons for the move – which the SKWAWKBOX later revealed – and was presented as a purely positive and temporary development allowing Murphy to coordinate the party’s campaign in the coming general election.
But behind the scenes there was petty vindictiveness toward the woman who has for several years acted as Corbyn’s ‘firewall’ – and only Labour general secretary Jennie Formby’s intervention blocked an attempt by those behind the move to strip Murphy of her ‘Chief of Staff’ title.
One senior Labour figure told the SKWAWKBOX at the time:
John [McDonnell] has turned into a complete s**t.
McDonnell’s allies among the ‘blue-tick left’ media had for months been attacking Murphy and other key Corbyn allies. Paul Mason called for Murphy, party chair Ian Lavery and communications chief Seumas Milne to be removed because they were making it harder to push Corbyn into a full-remain position:
At the time Mason was calling for Murphy to be sacked, she was continuing to fight Corbyn’s battles while recovering from surgery and from the loss of a parent.
But the attacks on Murphy did not stop when she was moved out of Corbyn’s office to Labour’s Southside HQ.
Just last week, the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush wrote a ‘whitewash‘ of McDonnell’s behaviour in which he inaccurately claimed close Corbyn ally Jon Trickett had also argued for Murphy’s removal – when Trickett has provably been a consistent advocate and admirer of Corbyn’s chief of staff.
Shortly afterward, the Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh also targeted Murphy:
Waugh, alongside several provably incorrect claims, said that Corbyn was so infuriated at last week’s Shadow Cabinet meeting by questioning of the Murphy move that he ‘let rip’ in anger, lashing out at even at his close friend and Labour Party chair Ian Lavery.
That claim has now been exposed as not only false but in fact inverted – the opposite of the truth – by a rare example of one hostile media outlet correcting the false narrative of another.
And of Corbyn’s enemies struggling to keep their briefings straight.
Consolidating a central role
Murphy – who once donated a kidney to a stranger – has not sat back to watch the paint dry in her new office nor hesitated to put Corbyn’s renewed support to good use. As another piece of uncharacteristic accuracy by the Murdoch paper showed, she has begun ‘cementing her influence’.
Murphy is busy bringing Labour’s relatively-new network of community organisers into her brief and is about to start a tour of Labour’s regional offices – still mostly controlled by the old right-wing personnel and the core of many problems for Labour members trying to democratise their local parties – ‘to say hello’.
Multiple exposures of corporate media propaganda, Corbyn’s genuine anger at the move to isolate him – since intensified by his dismay at McDonnell and co’s breach of front-bench collective responsibility – and a role for Corbyn’s chief of staff Karie Murphy even more central to ‘the project’ than she already fulfilled.
The ‘soft coup‘ is not over – but the truth about last week’s Shadow Cabinet meeting shows it suffered a significant setback.
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