Neither former Labour staffer nor Wallasey MP respond to questions
The Labour Party report leaked by whistleblowers at the weekend has accused former Labour staffers of a string of misdeeds in undermining the party’s leadership, electoral efforts and disciplinary investigations.
It also says that Labour members on Merseyside were the victims of a politically-driven stitch-up designed to protect the constituency’s MP, Angela Eagle, from attempts to deselect her.
In 2016, at the height of attempts by right-wing Labour MPs and their media allies to topple then-leader Jeremy Corbyn, the media carried endless reports of a brick supposedly thrown through the window of Eagle’s constituency office by Labour members.
There was no brick, as police later admitted. The window was not the window of Angela Eagle’s office. Nor was there ever any evidence at all that the damage to a window of the building’s shared stairwell was caused by Labour members. Almost none of the media who had rabidly reported the false claims ever published corrections.
Eagle also alleged that members of her CLP (constituency Labour party) had abused her by making homophobic comments during a meeting – even though party members said she had not even been at the meeting.
In spite of these facts, Wallasey CLP was suspended by the party – and remained suspended for many months, even though the party’s official investigation report found no evidence of wrongdoing and contradicted itself repeatedly.
Members at the time felt that they were being stitched up and that the report was deliberately written confusingly to allow right-wing HQ employees to prolong the suspension to protect Eagle.
And they were absolutely right, according to messages and discussions revealed in the leaked report:
Emilie Oldknow and GLU staff discussed keeping Angela Eagle MP’s CLP suspended, at Eagle’s request, in order to give her team more time to organise against left-wing members before the AGM. [page 31]
Wallasey CLP was also suspended in July 2016. A year later, on 7 July 2017 Oldknow emailed Sam Matthews, the Head of Disputes, and Stolliday asking for an update on the situation…
Oldknow noted that the local MP Angela Eagle felt that, if the CLP’s suspension was lifted in the coming months, this would “not give her time to organise etc.”
Matthews responded with an update, and noted:
“I have every sympathy for the fact that Angela is still in a difficult situation as theyare properly organised in her constituency – my worry is that based on track record, no matter how much time we give Angela (in practice Imran) to “organise”, so little work will go into it that we’ll end up getting asked to extend it further and further. At the moment, Imran [an Eagle staffer at the time] wants the suspension to remain in place until at least November, but I would be really worried about turning up to Disputes in October and having to report that Wallasey was still suspended because they haven’t held an AGM yet.
I would also be worried about them having the ammunition of going to
conference without a date being set for the AGM at the very least – I think that risks feeding an unhelpful narrative.”
This was an open discussion between senior GLU and GSO staff and Labour Party Executive Directors about ensuring that Angela Eagle and her allies were able to win at the AGM and other votes at the CLP, and about how they had been “giv[ing] Angela (in practice Imran)” “time” to “organise” to win those votes against the local Labour left.
It is telling that no-one appears to have had any hesitancy about openly discussing the factional role they were playing with other Labour HQ staff. [page 114]
According to Labour’s report, Wallasey members were the victims of a fix that kept them suspended for well over a year, just so an MP and her staff could organise against them.
The ‘mainstream’ media, of course, were more than happy to amplify the narratives of supposed abuse by left-wing members – and almost all showed no interest whatever in correcting their story, even after the claims against Wallasey members had been thoroughly exposed.
They are owed a public apology as an absolute minimum.
And according to the report, Wallasey was by no means the only CLP where this was the case. More to follow on the other innocent victims of right-wing stitch-ups and the thoroughly dishonest media narrative the political fixes enabled.
Keir Starmer, rather than suspend the membership of all accused by the report while the issue is investigated, has talked of protecting them – and investigating both the creators of the report and the whistleblowers who leaked it when no action was taken.
Starmer received the report almost immediately after his election as Labour leader was announced, but only announced even this skewed investigation after Labour whistleblowers put the report into the public domain.
Angela Eagle and former staffer Emilie Oldknow were contacted for comment but did not respond.
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