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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