Exclusive

Excl: departing right-wing Labour staff ‘shredded’ 1000s of disciplinary docs – but gave copies to press

Labour criticised for slow processing of disciplinary cases but insiders say hampered by destruction of key documents

This article was originally posted in May 2019. Given this weekend’s revelations about senior right-wing staff undermining the party, it is being republished.

Labour criticised for slow processing of disciplinary cases but insiders say hampered by destruction of key documents

This article was originally posted in May 2019. Given this weekend’s revelations of a leaked Labour report about senior right-wing staff undermining the party, it is being republished.

The Labour Party has faced criticism in the media over the last few days – by (Nick Cohen allegedly writing as) ‘Ratbiter’ in Private Eye and then picked up by other media – for allegedly not processing a large number of complaints, after ‘former Labour staffers’ leaked ‘tens of thousands’ of documents to the press.

The Daily Mail built on the Eye story to claim a hundred thousand documents relating to hundreds of complaints had been leaked in a ‘dossier’ – and that this reflects badly on Labour’s leadership:

The Mail claims:

A huge dossier of leaked messages detailing Labour’s handling of its anti-Semitism crisis is to be submitted to the equalities watchdog.

It contains a large body of evidence against the leadership, according to the former staffers who compiled it…

The dossier details 100,000 emails, including tens of thousands showing how Labour ignored complaints that supporters promoted anti-Semitism, the former staffers told Private Eye…

A source with knowledge of the material said: ‘The dossier is really serious. It shows a huge failure to act.’

However, it seems that the release of the ‘dossier’ reflects badly on the ‘former Labour staffers’ – and that the ‘failure’ is on the part of the media that did not properly check the background to the story.

The former staffers supposedly quit when Jennie Formby was appointed as general secretary – but in fact left well before that, when her predecessor Iain McNicol was allowed to resign to save face rather than be removed.

And the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that some of those staffers destroyed tens of thousands of documents relating to complaints – making it impossible for the party to pursue them – and have now been revealed by the ‘leak’ of the so-called dossier to have taken copies with them.

A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

The claims are vastly exaggerated and in some cases blatantly dishonest. Many of the missing documents related to cases of people suspended during the infamous mass administrative suspensions [during the Labour leadership elections] under Iain McNicol. Those – around 9,000 cases – had nothing to do with antisemitism, but that detail seems to have been overlooked.

After the staff went, thousands of documents were discovered to be missing and appeared to have been shredded. There was simply no way to retrieve the details because they had apparently been destroyed by the people who had been administering the cases.

And now copies have turned up in the hands of the press, who are claiming Labour failed to act. It wasn’t a failure – we were prevented by the destruction.

Momentum founder and National Executive Committee member Jon Lansman appears to have been referring to this act of destruction last week when he condemned the actions of former staff who ‘deliberately delayed action’ on antisemitism:

LabourList article states that:

disgruntled ex-staffers, presumably involved in selectively leaking and misrepresenting emails involving her, had themselves frustrated antisemitism cases to make the party and the leadership look bad.

My position now appears to have been vindicated. Emails leaked to Buzzfeed suggest that former compliance unit officials from the Labour right may have delayed action on some of the most extreme and high-profile antisemitism cases, including Holocaust denial, allowing a backlog of cases to build up that would damage the party and Jeremy’s leadership.

LabourList’s headline said that the handling of the complaints was ‘held back by bureaucracy’ – which in no way reflects the reality of Lansman’s claim. But the truth behind Lansman’s description of then-staff ‘delaying action’ on cases is far more than a mere go-slow by disgruntled right-wingers before they left.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

SKWAWKBOX view:

The media have attempted to portray their ex-Labour sources as ‘whistleblowers’. Whistleblowers do not deliberately create the problem about which they claim to be blowing the whistle.

In this, as in so many instances, the right has created a problem – and then dishonestly exploited the problem to criticise the party.

To do so is not only inexcusable – but probably also criminal.

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35 comments

  1. It is criminal. The Party can’t possibly continue. It’s been living a lie for several years and is eaten out at the core by foreign money and allegiance to a foreign country.

  2. This is the sort of criminality that the former DPP condones. Like cops shooting Brazilian plumbers or beating newspaper vendors until they have heart attacks, the offenders in this case have the impunity extended to those fighting the good fight against democracy and, its socio-economic form, socialism.

  3. And at the end of the day it’s our party not theirs
    Anyone calling for members to leave is one of them
    Black ops at work again

    1. At the end of the day it appears to be their party and you will never win against them if it couldn’t be done 2017-19. It’s a party that will never come close to winning anything, demographics as well as the RW coup says they will never give way. It’s a defunct organisation and there are better models to follow.

  4. Proof positive neither of you fuckers could run a bath
    Largest party in western europe, 600,000 members, crying out for a socialist alternative
    And you propose to run away with your tails between your legs, isn’t this what always happens on the left,
    Look at the latest intake of MP’s, look at the demographics, all progressive and all pointing one way
    I’m 60, my impression is this is a generational thing, you all know better, you’ve seen it all before, but in reality your blind as bats, theres been an existential shift in the Labour party, it simply needs a clear out,
    I’m not about to let the next generations down by giving up when we are so close to having a party to be proud of

    1. I have already posed the question to you on another thread as to how we go about taking the party from these people.Your response was to suggest Momentum is the vehicle to do it,which only served to demonstrate that no matter how well intentioned you are,you are woefully ignorant of how things have developed with Lansman’s Momentum.Momentum is finished and Lansman murdered it,his efforts are guided by his adherence to Zionism.

      1. As an ex Momentum member , resigned over Lansmans actions , I agree John thatcher , BUT it will be interesting to see how or if the Forward Momentum initiative to neutralise Lansman and return the the group to being member lead is successful.
        Should that be the case then I think there may at least be a united and powerful home for the “left” within Labour to strike out and defeat the Right Wing staffers and more so the PLP.
        The PLP can be brought to heel to some degree , by the adoption of automatic reselection and the implementation of the Rules fairly at CLP level .This requires a strong and balanced NEC which is why I am staying in Labour to vote in Sept to try and achieve that .
        Should the NEC fully go RW then as you say Labour is finished and thus so is democracy here in UK as there will be no credible opposition of any value .My hope is that we can as the Left continue to pull the party to the left and at some point in the not too distant future deploy a vote of No Confidence ( via Conference ) in the leadership

      2. Sorry John
        I have no time for Lansman and Momentum as it stands either
        I simply made the point about the single list of candidates

      3. rob
        My point is to use JVL to pull together forward Momentum and others, the most important challenge is to get a single list of candidates to sweep the board
        Can we all agree JVL are honest brokers and can be trusted to organise and coordinate this

      4. In answer to both Doug and Rob.I know we are all on the same side,and I would like what you wish for.As for Forward Momentum,I admit to complete ignorance about them who they are and what their programme is.Perhaps you could give a brief outline Rob.

      5. Why should JVL lead or coordinate? Involvement, sure. But why do they need to be the gun?

        I find it baffling that less that 0.5% of the population gets so much attention…

      6. @John T , here is link to their Twitter page ,
        briefing of FM ………

        We are a broad coalition of Momentum members from across the country who want to change Momentum from the bottom up.

        Momentum should be:
        🗣
        Member-led
        🗣
        Inclusive
        🗣
        Building power in communities and workplaces

        John McDonald supports this grp , I hope you sign up and as many others on here do the same .

        To Doug Yes I had a similar thought re the JVL , an excellent grp of folks and they punch far above their weight in tiny numbers .
        They also were the only voice of sanity in the insane Israeli Govt lead attack on Corbyn’s Labour .
        We need JVL , a reborn Momentum and the broad Left to coalesce around a new POWERFUL not to be pissed about with “Left Unity” style group.

    1. ” It is rotten through and through”

      No.

      The central administration and PLP have indeed been corrupted by a massive programme of infiltration by real enemies of the party and its aims, backed by time -servers looking after themselves. That much is obvious.

      Of course, this has been assisted by a massively corrupt media, which is typified by the fact that the ‘radical’ investigative end, supposedly represented by ‘Private Eye’ has the fantasist Nick Cohen reporting on the incident, rather than a real journalist.

      But … Doug is right. The ‘Party’ is actually that membership – by and large decent individuals with shared, if not identical aims.

      That is the potential strength, although it doesn’t represent some resurrected romantic revolutionary movement from the 19th century that some here fantasize about. Democratic socialist politics is about the mundane construction coherent alliances – against the odds, even in a UK in the grip of powerful interest groups.

      Whatever the difficult answer, it doesn’t come from inventing the square wheel of a small sectarian Party claiming ‘exclusive ‘left’ virtue that will be instantly irrelevant. Get into the grass roots.

      1. But when the leadership is intent on defeating your views and has successfully done that for several decades despite all the support they’ve had from the roots and yet every time they trick and delude you with lies isn’t it natural people get fed up? The overblown non-radical ‘success’ of large social democratic parties has spectacularly collapsed over the last 10 years in Greece, Spain and Italy. People wondered how and why an enormous organisation like Labour survived and many speculated this was because of grass root support for Jeremy Corbyn. It may have been 600,000 members last year but this year it will have lost half those at least. Trace the reality, Labour have shat on the Left yet again, referencing Kinnock in the ‘80’s.

      2. – Democratic socialist politics is about the mundane construction coherent alliances –

        Exactly the kind of mumbo-jumbo language I had to wade through when studying Sociology at Uni in the early years of this century (and, yes, I was a very mature student). Very reminiscent of one of Blair’s buddies, Anthony Giddens. It reeks of the kind of champagne socialism that Orwell railed against: the kind that neither applies to, nor interests, the very working class people it purports to benefit.

        You talk of getting ‘into the grass roots’. Well, I fear it’s maybe you who doesn’t understand where those roots are to be found. You don’t strike me as someone who’s had much first-hand experience of poverty, homelessness, or what it is to be marginalised.

        I may be wrong and if so I wholeheartedly apologise for making such an assumption but I only say this in keeping with the kind of broad assumptions you so often make of others on here, e.g.:

        – it doesn’t represent some resurrected romantic revolutionary movement from the 19th century that some here fantasize about –

        As I responded to Doug earlier, we all have to make choices now. For some of us continuing along a path with no visible light at the end of the tunnel is seen as simply a waste of time when there are always other avenues to travel along.

        There’s absolutely no reason why another party more dedicated to genuine democratic socialist principles couldn’t attract just as large a membership as the Labour Party has now.

        Moreover, I don’t believe, judging by those who have openly admitted to having left or to be leaving, that when the numbers are finally counted that the membership is still as high as you might think it is.

        Or perhaps the numbers have been bolstered by new members who support the direction many, like myself, now fear it is heading in. If that were to be the case then there is no way that a truly democratic socialist party will emerge and then where do you go?

      3. PW – I studied ‘sociology’, too (fortunately incidentally rather than as a full-time recreation).

        I think the mumbo-jumbo that comprises a fair bit of the territory got to you more than me from your comments, which are simply knee-jerk, with the irrelevant references to Blair, Giddens and various other totems.

        When I see phrases like ‘*genuine* socialist principles” … I translate as ‘what I think’.

        As to Orwell – its actually various forms of such knee-jerkery that he railed against – and experienced at deadly first hand in Spain.

        It should have been fairly obvious that my reference to the ‘grass roots’ was about the practicalities of getting stuck into the tedious bits of the local party and links to the community.

        And factual note – I made *no* ‘assumptions’ about individuals in my posting. You decided to start down that road – an interesting – if common – distortion.

    2. marty, why single out Labour?
      At least Labour has a decent side – the Tories don’t.
      It’d be more accurate to say politics itself is rotten through and through.
      More accurate still to say that the establishment propaganda machine is the rotten core of the political apple – the BBC being the main culprit now that newspapers are moribund.
      Out from behind the BBC’s skirts the Tories would be a bigger joke than David Icke.

  5. It needs to be widely publicised, and those right-wing partybods need to be outed and face the consequences of their actions. They should have their membership terminated and face any other action deemed necessary.

  6. There would appear to be a problem , not only in the Labour Party, but also in our 4th Estate Watchdog, aka MSM, to differentiate between anti-Semitism & anti-Zionism. Adoption of the IHRA definition muddies the water, but Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis claritied the situation in his address to AIPAC in March in which he brags about preventing Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM He also levels the same accusations against Bernie Sanders. Game over.

  7. ……not only is an internal investigation necessary, but a ‘follow-up’ investigation Part Two ‘Panorama.

  8. …and they had the nerve to accuse life-long anti-racist socialists of bringing the party into disrepute!!! If this is not a wake-up call for the media to do its job, I don’t know what is!!!

    1. ‘The media are reacting; Sir Keir is lancing the boil of radicalism they say. He’s a hero especially because of his support for “Boris” and his inept Govt and the reality that Labour is finished as a serious contender for power; they’d rather share it presumably lacking the confidence to take it on themselves. The sole aim of Starmer at the moment is to support the Government as it wobbles and pray (literally) for Johnson’s good health.

  9. JVL
    Saved my Sanity, they can and have addressed all the issues on anti semitism, I trust them
    Honest brokers are people both sides trust and will listen too,
    In our case we would ask them to coordinate between the various left wing groups to create a list of people we can all vote for
    We will trust them with that task and to speed up the process of driving out the Cockwombles we will affiliate with them and kick out JLM

    1. But they’ve been trying that for some 4 years and have got nowhere. Israel is far too involved and far too wealthy, devious and ruthless to go away when politely asked. They promised to screw Corbyn and did just that with the connivance of senior figures in the Party.

  10. We once passed a hawk that had dropped to within 8 feet of the central reservation of the M1 heading North out of London
    Whatever was underneath the hawk was having a very bad day
    Over to you Keir
    If it helps, you can trust us because we support the Labour party

  11. Agree with everything on utter betrayal and ruthlessness of red Tories
    Disagree on numbers, supporters and demographics, the future is ours

  12. The working assumption here is that the electorate will continue to vote to pattern, guided by the BBC.
    It may do so, but the number of ‘wild cards’ in the pack has increased.
    CV19 (or a mutation of) has joined AI/robotics at the top of my list of possible future grand influencers of political events.
    Opportunities for the electorate to recognise the failure of capitalism are few, but necessary for socialism to become the obvious solution to everyone else that it’s always been to us.
    The sluggish response of industry to the human needs of CV19, the likelihood of mass business failure/contraction so soon after the ’08 crash, the Tory standard response of corporation tax cuts and austerity failing dismally to reboot the economy – any of these might cause people to question whether the market really does have the answers.

    CV19 may be over in a few weeks or it may not – it would be good for Labour (or a new left party) to have a workable, novel, attractive, costed and agreed plan for a “New Deal” recovery for the many that can be explained simply and ring true – and be ready for publication before the Tories get their breath back.
    We should get thinking and discussing possibilities with experts now, while we have little else but time.

    1. Only a new left orientated Movement can work. The LP is like an old building riddled with dry rot, it’s already crumbling away. Just as powerful seniors worked and prayed to LOSE the last 2 elections they are willing to go to any lengths. They will congratulate themselves with a much reduced membership and activists knowing its ‘only’ the Trots they are losing. They’re setting their sights on an improved vote in 2032 GE? Not that they’d want to win that either. The awful thing is that a Party led by Corbyn would have suggested a radical agenda to solve the economic and social problems we’ve faced for over a decade with housing and social care foremost. But Starmer’s crew want harmony with Govt so as to appear ‘responsible’.

  13. Pipe dreams I’m afraid. The Party is over. The real chance of victory in the last two elections was DELIBERATELY sabotaged by senior members. It takes more than a ‘re-grouping’ to get over that.

  14. I’d like to see people like Chris Williamson and Ken Livingstone leave the Party and start something new.

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