General Secretary Formby writes to Labour MPs concerning “potentially libellous” misreporting on Murphy

MPs confronted by truth about Murphy and claims of EHRC investigation and complaint handling

Since news broke that Jeremy Corbyn has asked his chief of staff Karie Murphy to accept a peerage in recognition of her efforts on his and members’ behalf, Corbyn’s decision and Murphy personally have been the subject of numerous attacks that have claimed it is inappropriate to offer a peerage to a Labour staffer ‘being investigated’ by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over antisemitism.

Murphy’s attackers have also claimed that she influenced the handling of complaints of antisemitism against Labour members.

But today Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby has written to the ‘parliamentary committee’ of backbench Labour MPs setting the record straight:

Formby’s letter starts by addressing plans for analysis of the general election result and the issue of outstanding complaints, before going on to put right a smear against the party and Formby herself about the treatment of staff who want to work on a candidate’s leadership campaign – which is better than it has been on other occasions.

But it then directly addresses the ‘potentially libellous’ misreporting of the Murphy situation:

Speculation relating to Karie Murphy

Whilst I would not normally comment on any individual staffing matters as these are confidential, it is important to respond to the significant amount of misreporting, some of it potentially libellous, and comments by/questions from some MPs:

KM has not been given a new role; she has been an Executive Director for several years and for most of that time has had responsibilities that spread across the organisation. She has been working full time in Southside since October, including on delivering the operational aspects of the election strategy.

Following a review of responsibilities of senior management she now has overall responsibility for member mobilisation but has no role whatsoever in membership services, which is managed in Newcastle. Suggestions that she will oversee membership vetting are completely untrue.

The EHRC is not investigating KM for antisemitism. KM has never had operational responsibility for the Governance and Legal team and her only involvement has been to provide additional resources to support staff at a time of very low staffing levels.

Kind regards


Jennie Formby
General Secretary
The Labour Party

A Labour insider told the SKWAWKBOX:

Karie Murphy is not named in the EHRC investigation except in the case of some questions. She has had no interaction with any staff in compliance managing complaints of antisemitism and she has not presided over any sackings.

The attacks have been a disgrace.

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  1. The problem I have with Murphy is not any of the above (which by and large is just nonsense) but rather the disastrous election campaign that she was responsible for. Reward for failure.

    1. I state up front that I don’t know how far KM’s responsibility for the campaign goes.
      delivering the operational aspects of the election strategy” suggests to me definitely not the strategy itself.
      Does ‘operational aspects’ mean TOTAL responsibility for getting the message to the electorate – or less than that? I’d imagined it would be less.
      Surely strategy, the manifesto, decisions on how much of it to publish, what messages to push hardest – and most of the really important decisions like where to spend the budget for best effect – are decisions for the leader and the shadow cabinet?
      I’d take operational aspects to include gathering, collating and communicating doorstep/media feedback up the chain, but tweaking strategy to be for the leadership
      Some responsibility for implementation is surely KM’s, but the campaign lasted a while. If her performance was lacking wouldn’t responsibility for assessing & correcting that also lie higher up the chain?
      Such a campaign ought to be under constant assessment at all levels – particularly cabinet – and corrective steering applied to keep it on track.
      There’s enough blame for everyone.
      Blaming KM strikes me as back-shooting bitches of both sexes wanting their “Blair’s Babes” badges back.

      1. Hi David – The evidence would appear to indicate otherwise. Murphy was in charge and the campaign strategy was hers

        “The pressure on her [Murphy] will grow today with the disclosure by this newspaper of Labour’s secret list of target seats for the general election. It reveals almost 100 priority constituencies where the party invested millions of pounds, diverting thousands of activists to defend or win them.

        Drafted by Murphy and Milne, it was last updated on November 15, barely four weeks before polling day, but remained shielded from the shadow cabinet and key staff throughout.

        The dossier demonstrates the hubris which led Labour to its worst defeat in almost a century. Leaked today by an internal critic, it echoes Murphy’s extraordinary claim to Labour staff at the outset of the campaign that she would ignore polls and conventional strategy over the next six weeks.”

      2. Steve, thanks for the link but I refuse to pay the Times a penny to read it so can’t comment except on the fact the header refers to “the British election,” possibly suggesting US input? Or not.
        If the article is substantially true, and if Milne & Murphy were handed total control by Corbyn, I’d assume it was due to a complete lack of trust in anyone else on his part.
        I can’t bring myself to blame him or them given that most of the PLP were fighting under a false flag and that the media, especially the BBC, were determined to win it for the Tories at all costs.
        That and the BNP heartlands voting to get rid of the P****’s was too much for anyone to overcome.

      3. David – You don’t need to pay, simply registering will give you 2 free articles per week. A quick Google search will also reveal that there are multiple secondary sources.

      4. “back-shooting bitches of both sexes wanting their “Blair’s Babes” badges back.”
        Quite right! Incredible given that Blairite Remainers agitating to subvert the referendum result largely cost Labour the election, that the same entyists try and scapegoat KM for the loss.
        And they do this while trying to market the Murdoch Times as a valid news source.
        Again incredible!

    2. Total rubbish Steve H. If you really think that you must be as green as the proverbial grass!

      1. Smartboy 24/01/2020 at 12:53 am

        What have I said that is total rubbish it is undeniable that Murphy had direct responsibility for the allocation of both manpower and financial resources, it was her decision where and how those resources were allocated. It was her decision to ignore the polling.

      2. Reply to Steve H
        Your reference to a Times article in your reply to David above says it all. That you would actually believe a Murdock owned rag and quote from it demonstrates that ,at best ,you are as green as grass

      3. Smartboy – There are several news sources giving the same information. A quick Google search will give you a wide choice. The reason I linked to the article in The Times is that they are the primary source for the dossier leak.

      4. “There are several news sources giving the same information”

        Maybe they’re all reading from the same hymn sheet… Trust none of them.

      5. Marty – In the absence of any denials about the dossier from the Labour Party it’s really not a very convincing explanation.

      6. Has the LP officially released the contents of the dossier? Wouldn’t be the first time info could be selectively presented or distorted by the MSM

        Dodgy dossier anyone?

      7. Reply to Steve H
        Ok Steve H I’ll check out the S*n, the Daily Mail, The Express, the Telegraph and the BBC news website. I’m sure they will all confirm your quote from the Times.

      8. …..and what point are you trying to make by listing some of the news outlets carrying this revelation. Did you read them all?

      9. The reference to the papers should be self evident. If you are relying on your information from them all you will get is misinformation, fake news and spin.

      10. Smartboy 25/01 at 8:21 pm

        As you’ve obviously realised I read a wide variety of media from right across the mainstream political spectrum. Don’t you also think that it is very unwise to rely an echo chamber for ones information sources?

    3. Steve H …..ITs becoming glaringly obvious that a Title impresseys you,very sad,being as its a badge of shame that should not impress any adult and also a backward step for the Labour party that allows such class divisions.Thats why you support knightly starmer the corrupt villian of the DPP.who shouldnt even be in a peoples movement for change and solidarity ….I would be more impressed if you were to argue the hypocrisy of demanding democracy yet proping up an archaic fuedel system then jumping in with both every chance…The Torys are going to laugh at our hypocrisy and use it against us especially when our betters in the PLP also send their kids to public schools to further the apartheid education for their kids..I feel more like throwing up than angry at the whole fiasco of this so called mother of democracy.And the Labour members arguing over who should get the badge of shame for the whole Labour party…..Says it all why we lost the election campaign.Hypocrisy.over democracy…!And as far as the lies about Murphy,,just toilet paper blowing in the sewer of the Tory media.

      1. Joseph OKEEFE at 12:55 am

        Well thanks for all the faux outrage but I am little perplexed how you managed to extrapolate all this from my comment above.

        To the best of my knowledge the only reference I’ve ever made to KS’s knighthood is that it came as a freebie with his tenure as DPP. (please feel free to correct me with direct quotes if you know different) You are the one who appears to be distracted & obsessed by titles, not me.

    4. Labour lost the election because remain supporters in the party refused to accept the decision of 17.4m voters to leave the EU.

      That is a self evident truth which remainers quite unsurprisingly refuse to accept as they are responsible for handing the keys to 10 Downing Street to Boris Johnson.

      1. I strongly suspect that the actual reasons will prove to be far more complex than you suggest. We are unlikely to learn anything as a party if we ignore the realities and complexities of the last 3 to 4 years. Opting for the ridiculously simplistic is just a lazy cop-out.

      2. Just because the explanation is simple doesn’t mean it’s ‘simplistic’ – or untrue! Just compare ‘17 with ‘19 and ask what changed. Brexit policy changed to suit the Remainers and Corbyn haters. To hear people say it was the content of the manifesto or Corbyn’s unpopularity is infuriating when the real reason stares them in the face,

      3. Paul – All the polling indicates there were a variety of of reasons why people voted against their own and there family’s interests. I would venture that the almost endless prevarication and fence sitting didn’t help

      4. Internal Affairs, just because there was a small overall majority, based upon lies, racism and ignorance, who were bloody minded enough to commit suicide, it doesn’t mean that the rest of us should agree to follow, with consequential adverse impact for the country and the livelihoods of the less well off.

        The referendum was used by the far right to divide communities and some on the left were foolish enough to fall for it while most of us on the left saw through it. Lexiters who agreed with UKIP are as much to blame for Labour’s defeat as those on the right of the Party who joined in the A/S attacks on Corbyn.

  2. The EHRC does not investigate individuals. The allegation that the EHRC is investigating Karie is clearly a smear designed hurt Karie and damage her reputation . I note Jennie’s reference to Libel – I really do hope Karie gets legal advice through her union and sues the backsides off those concerned with the union’s financial help or through crowd funding
    I’d certainly contribute as would many many more. because I’m not the only one who is sick and tired of the disgusting behaviour of the anti Corbyn brigade towards Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Nothing is too bad for them to say about him or us and now they have invented a vile story about Karie Murphy , a brilliant woman who donated one of her kidneys to a complete stranger, to imply she is an antisemite. She’s no antisemite She Is just a hard working woman who is being offered a peerage for her work for the party and that is enough to make her a target for even more venom than usual. Disgusting

    1. Smartboy, the EHRC’s total silence (AFAIK) may be significant, or at least I hope so.
      Given that we know the accusations are lies, the EHRC must by now be aware of the paucity of evidence of institutional AS.
      Their present dilemma must be how and when to either announce that and try to justify their taking so long to examine so little – or somehow attempt to paint their findings as seriously critical and the length of time justified by the volume of evidence.
      Reporting “No AS” before the election could clearly have changed the result and condemned all Tories and all media as liars and charlatans.
      They might cite fear of a backlash against Jewish people but obviously we will and therefore would have defended all Jewish people as equally innocent victims of the Tory/US/Israeli scam.

      After the public corruption trials of the most prominent media figures I’d declare an amnesty subject to future compliance with the new honesty in politics laws.

      I’ve so far read no criticism of Netanyahu’s bare-naked statement, this day of all days, of his intent to maintain the warlike posture toward Iran instead of using the occasion to offer renewed diplomatic talks.

      1. David – You might find this article interesting.
        Netanyahu to Join Trump Next Week to Announce ‘Deal of the Century’ Peace Plan Giving Israel ‘Everything it Wants’
        “A lethal diversionary tactic at the expense of Palestinian rights and international law.”
        The American peace advocacy group J-Street said the deal is all about giving Israel the green light to take more territory.
        “The plan is expected to be the culmination of a series of steps taken by Trump and his team to advance the annexationist agenda of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the far-right settlement movement in Israel,” the group wrote. “The known contours of the plan appear designed to formalize, entrench, and legitimize permanent Israeli control of the occupied West Bank and to undercut any prospect of Palestinian statehood via a two-state solution.”

      2. The EHRC is a publicly funded body and can itself be investigated by the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman for wrongdoing. I hope the party makes a formal complaint to the Ombudsman about the delay as failing to deal with issues promptly is this is classed as maladministration.

  3. Sad to see Thornberry on TV Thursday putting ‘failure to deal with AS issue’ as a reason why Labour lost the election. Her use of the whole ghastly lie shows just how unfitted she is for any leadership role; she knows it’s AS BS as well as anyone but USES it just like the Right does. Shameless.

    1. Her claims that Trident replacement cannot be stopped is complete nonsense as well.

      The deployment date for the first submarine has slipped back to the early 2030’s. It is very far from being unstoppable.

  4. Such utter shit across the board on all comments , Labour lost because it simply did not follow exactly what Corbyn suggested.
    And by that I mean the PLP was able to dictate the terms of the Brexit offering in the manifesto , eg forced a remain option on it.
    Our heartland supporters saw this , rightly as disingenuous and voted accordingly .
    Any further discussion on AS as a reason is just a diversion from the hard nosed truth of the matter and the sooner the ” Left ” get this the better . Right now we still have not had an investigation nor real debate as to how the party lost but just off hand observations and as here finger pointing and blame gaming .
    Its pathetic and the PLP RWers have successfully diverted attention away from this necessary “drains up ” to navel gazing over leadership candidates .What a waste of time and energy when Corbyn who has stayed on to allow the opportunity for some sort of review to take place is not being listened to again.

    We as the membership should be hammering the doors down of the PLP RWs who’s MPs facilitated this and demanding their heads on a plate !
    And to illustrate this very point it takes a memo from the Gen Sec to basically tell those MPs to SHUT THE FUCK UP !
    Christ we will never win at this rate of juvenile incompetency
    ,rant over , have a good day,

  5. I think you’re mistaken Rob, the reasons we lost the election are more complicated than “we should have done what the heartlands wanted.” The fact that they lost us the election by stupidly voting for their mortal foes doesn’t mean Labour should have pretended that the Farage con wasn’t a con.
    The fact that EU membership divides both Tory and Labour parties almost to the point of internal violence should make anyone think hard about what’s really going on.
    A single policy that appeals equally to implacable enemies is either Solomonic in its genius or somebody’s being conned – and “If you can’t figure out who the patsy is… you’re it.”
    HINT: the Tories don’t want greater freedom of action so they can be nicer to us.
    “Taking back control” would in theory have given Labour greater freedom to nationalise – but only if we’d won. The Tories had all the electoral advantages, they won and they now have the freedom to abuse us worse than ever while letting their donors off paying any tax at all.
    “Remaining” would have restricted Labour nationalising but would have forced the Tories to obey the EU Tax Avoidance Directive and labour laws and human rights laws – and keep the US at arm’s length.

    Brexit is years from being ‘got done’.
    How it turns out in terms of the public’s general well-being will determine whether letting the Kippers and the BNP have their way was a smart move by the Tories or a stupid one.
    The ‘heartlands’ will be looking to feel a bit better off – a ‘Brexy Bonus’ – quite soon.
    A hard recession is possible with or without Brexit but the likelihood is that Brexit makes it more not less likely, and that it will increase their pain – and a Tory government most certainly will.
    I’m not into making predictions, but if our economy tanks worse than or before the EU economy there could be rioting and another election that would be a walk-over for Labour.
    So – do you see Johnson as Dirty Harry or Elmer Fudd?

  6. Never again

    MSM and toilet papers
    AS BS
    Brexidiots and Snowflake remainiacs
    Free Broadband
    £58 billion for WASPI Women
    Stealth tax on large companies

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing,

    Now can someone tell me what’s going to win the 2.30 at York

  7. Petty grudges, ridiculous spin and arguing over irrelevancies will occupy the chatterers until the leadership campaign comes to an end.

  8. When will the Labour Party be added to the ‘official counter-terrorist list’, along with C.N.D. & XRebellion? It seems JC already is.

    1. Most of us on the left will no doubt have had “special files” on us for some time. If you’ve ever signed a petition there’s probably a file on you somewhere…

  9. Rare for our GS to come out defending anyone on the left, maybe it’s because Karie Murphy is a good friend & colleague? It’s a pity that Jennie Formby hasn’t been so robust defending other members on the left against false allegations e.g. Mark Wadsworth, Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker etc etc

    1. David, Jennie Formby has not only not defended others smeared by Zionists and other right wingers, she has actively taken part in their suspension/disqualification. In certain respects she has been no better than Iain McNicol.

    2. David, allegations against the W’s were entirely inappropriate subjects for a GenSec to make public statements on unless there was such overwhelming evidence of the accusations being false that all reasonable interested parties agreed that investigations could safely be abandoned – unfortunately all interested parties were NOT reasonable.

      If the allegations concerning Karie Murphy are factually incorrect there’s absolutely nothing inappropriate in Jennie Formby pointing that out – and pointing out that false accusations can be actionable is always good advice.

  10. Quite a few on twitter have unfollowed and blocked me for criticising Jennie Formby – including Scouse Girl & Rachael Swindon. They won’t prevent me from criticising the leadership including John McDonnell’s huge mistakes. Although I am viewed as being an awkward leftie, they won’t get any blank cheques from me

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