Analysis comment

Leaked document accuses senior right-wing Labour staff of working against Corbyn – and reveals their dismay at electoral surge

Report includes string of WhatsApp chats among senior staff, abusive comments, their efforts to undermine the Labour leader – and their horror at the 2017 general election surge

A leaked internal Labour Party report accuses senior right-wing staff of failing to act on antisemitism complaints – and of working against the party and its leadership in the hope of removing Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

The report, which has now begun to circulate publicly, includes details of WhatsApp group chats among senior staff about their plans to shore up the right of the party and undermine the left. The chats – in which then-general secretary Iain McNicol was a participant, along with senior campaign staff and new leader Keir Starmer’s reported preferred choice for a new general secretary – also revealed their utter dismay at Labour’s strong performance in the 2017 general election.

In the wake of that election, the SKWAWKBOX revealed how right-wing staffers, confident that the party would implode at the polls, pre-emptively deactivated the security passes of Corbyn’s ‘LOTO’ team to bar them from Labour’s ‘Southside’ HQ.

The SKWAWKBOX also exclusively revealed that departing right-wingers had shredded thousands of disciplinary documents, delaying the party’s ability to deal with antisemitism complaints and allowing Establishment media to claim Labour was being too slow to act.

And the newly-leaked report says that right-wing senior staff:

  • were withholding information from Corbyn and his team
  • were diverting funds from the general election effort to a secret fund to protect right-wing MPs
  • hoped the Lib Dems would win key by-elections to weaken Corbyn
  • discussed launching leadership challenges if the 2017 local or general elections went badly for Labour
  • were horrified at Labour’s gain of 3.5 million votes and a large number of seats in the general election – and at the humble pie right-wing MPs were forced to eat as a result

Diverting funds and withholding information

The ‘Ergon House’ secret project, with a budget of almost a quarter of a million pounds, was set up to defend the seats of key right-wing MPs:

When Sam Matthews, the staffer running the project – and one of those who attacked the Labour Party during the infamous BBC Panorama documentary – was asked about how to report it to the party, he responded:

I don’t want to put the scale of the budget in writing.

The Ergon House project was not the only diversion of funds that right-wing staff did not want the party leadership to know about. The report notes that when left-wing staffer Ben Soffa wanted details of how Labour’s digital campaign budget was being spent, the party’s campaign head said in a WhatsApp chat:

Protecting right-wing MPs at the expense of Labour’s official campaign was not the only departure from the party’s campaign plan, as will be seen.

Leadership challenges when we lose

Senior staff – including Emilie Oldknow, whom new party leader Keir Starmer has been reported to want as Labour’s general secretary – planned a leadership election if elections went badly in 2017.

Including on the very day the general election was called:

Rooting for LibDems

Patrick Heneghan was, in 2017, the party’s campaigns head. Astonishingly, Heneghan said in a secret WhatsApp chat that he hoped the LibDems could defeat Labour in key by-elections:

Horrified by success

When Labour came within a whisker of government in the 2017 general election, gaining 3.5 million votes as a result of the ‘Corbyn surge’, the senior right-wing staff were horrified – referring to feeling sick, offering a ‘safe space’ and even counselling, and telling each other to appear ‘upbeat’ in spite of their horror.

“The people have spoken. Bastards”

Such was their disgust at Labour’s popularity that one senior staffer described voters as ‘bastards’:

The same staffer even bluntly said that the result was ‘the opposite’ of what she had been working for:

Requests for comment were made to the former staffers where contact details could be found. So far, no responses have been received. Iain McNicol did, however, respond to Sky News. He did not deny that the WhatsApp chats were real or deny the content of the report, but said:

The energy and effort that must have been invested in trawling 10,000 emails rather than challenging antisemitism in the party is deeply troubling.

This a petty attempt to divert attention away from the real issue. It is telling that the Party’s own lawyers appear to have ruled that this information was unsuitable for submission to the EHRC’s ongoing investigation.

I have repeatedly stood by the professional staff of the Labour Party who I worked with over the seven and a half year period I was General Secretary, and continue to do so.

These are the very quick ‘lowlights’ of a report that suggests that the common perception among members – and the revelations by the SKWAWKBOX – that right-wing staff were actively hoping for defeat and even working towards it were accurate.

That plan was thwarted by the Corbyn surge in 2017 – but what would have followed then has been fully executed after continued undermining by the Labour right succeeded in causing the 2019 general election collapse.

More will follow as the 850-page report is more fully digested.

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36 comments

  1. This document is putting COVID 19 to shame, it must be spreading 100x as fast with no physical contact whatsoever. Somebody had e-mailed me the PDF within a couple of hours of the reports on SKY. This is the new viral, a happy accompaniment to the new normal.

  2. Her Majesty’s Opposition, whichever party it happens to be, is an essential part of British democracy – conspiring to subvert democracy must be a criminal act – so charge them with that at least.
    2017 was so close that without them working against Corbyn Labour would certainly have won the election.
    Those Quisling fuckers hijacked that election for the Tories with exactly the same criminal intent as stuffing ballot boxes.
    If that’s not treason then nothing is – might as well repeal the Treason Act and declare open season on the royal family.

  3. I have written to my MP asking her to put pressure on the leader to publish this document. Sadly as my MP is Hodge my request will be dismissed. All the hard work me and so many like me, put in to try and secure a Labour government,and all the while these people were undermining everything whilst calling us dogs,scum and nazis. I first joined the party in 1971, I have never felt so angry or betrayed

  4. Bringing the party into disrepute is enough to get you kicked out and those falsely accused including in recent NEC elections, reinstated
    Keir could completely hamstring EHRC Report by kicking out of the party most of the witnesses

    1. The minute they all signed up to the BoD’s demands (with the obvious exceptions of course) that was it for me.

      How can a supposedly democratic socialist party be beholden to a right-wing cabal with links to a foreign government? By remaining a member is, imo, merely giving tacit consent to this, while paying for the privilege.

      We’ve already seen how decent members have been forced out or expelled on spurious grounds – and how a Jewish person can be accused of being antisemitic is just totally beyond me!

      Moreover, if anyone thinks they can mount any serious resistance to this direction of travel will only get the same treatment.

      The irony for me is that Starmer was named after the party’s founder and now it may well be that he’s the one to finish it as the party it was intended to be.

  5. Nothing will happen.

    Starmer will flip flop at most. He will not betray those who helped him.

    Gave up thinking poor Corbyn and kept thinking poor us. A truly damning report that’s going to go nowhere…

  6. This is nothing short of corruption. Some of us have been trying to highlight it for years. The guilty, particularly Iain McNicol, must be spotlighted and shamed. If there is any way to do it, Watson and McNicol should have their titles removed. None of them should be allowed to hold any position whatsoever within the Labour movement.

    They are a shower of traitorous scum.

  7. Emily Oldknow is married to our shadow Health Secretary John Ashworth who made disgraceful and undermining comments about Jeremy Corbyn to a Tory “friend” in the run up to the election. No surprise there then.
    Jeremy Corbyn is the best leader we ever had and has a backbone made out of steel and try as they might the establishment/ MSM/ PLP could not scare him. He stood his ground to the last and lost out only because of the gullibility of the electorate.

  8. At the very least, Watson and McNicol should be expelled from the Party, along with any of the other scum involved.

    Chris Williamson should be invited back, however I doubt if he would rejoin such a deceitful set up especially as Jennie Formby is still there. When she took over as GS she must have known what went on yet she still signed suspension/expulsion orders against people such as Chris Williamson.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/DerbyChrisW/status/1249471340895252482?s=09

  9. No surprise to learn that Mrs Starmer is Jewish and their two two children are being brought up in the Jewish faith.

    1. We must not forget, we have friends and comrades in Jewish organisations such as the JVL who will also be shocked be this report. Many of them were also targeted by McNicol and his gang. The spotlight should be shone firmly upon the Zionists such as Hodge, Watson, Mann etc.

    2. Be careful Paul. This is the reasoning that results from, and is usually the whole point of dog whistling, ad hominem-centred nationalistic and even fascistic misinformation.

      We are better than that. It might work for our enemies, but we can (and should) rise above it and focus on the issues and evidence that confirm our analysis and validate us.

  10. In a years time those left in the Party who are genuine will be asking how come they have suffered the same fate as the mainstream big political parties of the ‘left’ in Europe – complete collapse. It is a sort of political suicide and at least we will be there to bury it.

  11. Is anybody else suspicious of the timing of this leak? With Covid 19 raging, the focus of the leader of the opposition must be to call out this shambles of a government for it’s disastrous inaction.

    Starmer has to focus on the pandemic. So what will happen to this report? Put on the back burner, until such time as it can properly be dealt with? Or just forgotten?

    1. Not forgotten that’s for sure. The LP will be smaller, more conservative than ever and less relevant to the real issues. It’s never going to come near forming a Government but they’re not too fussed as they get stuck into the details of who will be expelled. Better to get out first.

  12. This will be a test of the integrity & efficiency of the current General Secretary of the Labour Party.

    1. It will also be a test of the integrity and the strength of character of our newly elected leader.

    2. Steve Richards – It has emerged that Jennie Formby is one of the principal architects of this leaked report.

  13. I have already left, but these revelations are shocking. Starmer has a job to do; he must clean out the Augean stables that is the current Labour Party, and repay the debt of honour he owes to the hundreds of thousands of us who worked so tirelessly for success in 2017. We were cheated, lied to and betrayed, and our money was stolen to give them a nest egg. He is a QC – he should know the appropriate treatment for traitors.

    1. Slight problem here is that Starmer leads the coup pack! Why would he suddenly backtrack? He cast the die way back before 2017 but kept it secret or denied it.

  14. I have started to go through the report and haven’t got very far but I am already horrified by the disgusting anti left email exchanges between staff.
    I suggest that the BBC look at it as there is ample information in the first few chapters for another Panorama programme if the BBC is interested. Of course pigs might fly.

  15. While many had the opinion that we could achieve socialism within a capitalist society, they’re maybe starting to realise that we can’t have democracy either. If we want democracy then we’ll have to fight for it. Both within and outside of the LP.

  16. In his memoirs, Corbyn should dispense with diplomacy and tell us how bad it really was so that we can see how disgusting these people are.

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