Panel members include one who shared anti-Corbyn message less than a month ago
Kier Starmer’s appointments to the panel to investigate the scandal of right-wing staff alleged to have undermined the party’s electoral efforts and obstructed disciplinary processes continue an abysmal response to the leaked Labour report and its findings.
Three weeks ago, Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner promised:
We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter.
But their announcement also made clear that the investigation’s focus was to be more on why the report was commissioned and who leaked it than on the content of the report – which contains a mass of WhatsApp conversations among senior staff that have led to complaints including electoral and disciplinary sabotage, racism and misuse of party funds.
And today’s appointments to the panel include at least one who is anything but ‘independent’ – a move that has convinced many on the left that the report will be nothing more than the whitewash that many have feared from the moment the report and its scandalous contents were leaked.
Starmer has appointed at least one member to the four-person panel who has demonstrated an entrenched opposition to the left and to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn – to lead an investigation into allegations of persistent attempts to undermine the left and the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Baroness Wilcox endorsed and shared anti-Corbyn comments made by former general secretary Iain McNicol – one of the supposed targets of the investigation – less than a month ago.
The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg tweeted McNicol’s expression of delight at the departure of Corbyn as leader – a tweet Wilcox shared:
She was also a firm supporter of Starmer for the Labour leadership.
Tribune editor Ronan Burtenshaw said that Larry Whitty opposed the left in the 1980s and was a leading figure in opposition to Labour’s black sections.
However, a leading figure active in the black sections during this period told the SKWAWKBOX:
Far from opposing Black Sections, which I led when Larry was general secretary, he was attacked by Kinnock and Hattersley for supporting us.
He was slapped down when he told them: “The Labour Party has women Sections and the young Socialists, so why not Black Sections?” He was the best friend of Black Labour members we’ve had as general secretary. He helped Black Sections set up the Black Socialist Society in 1990. But it was sabotaged by his right-wing staff, like the venal right-wingers who criminally sabotaged JC and the LP exposed by the leaked document.
Kinnock used Whitty’s director of organisation Joyce (now Baroness) Gould, to sideline him. It’s not fair Whitty, a trade union-type left who’s never criticised JC, is being smeared.
No Jewish representative
Astonishingly, a panel meant to investigate allegations that include obstruction of the processing of racism complaints including antisemitism – and comments by staff members described as antisemitic – includes no Jewish person.
A move to include the highly-regarded Labour peer Alf Dubs was blocked by the Labour right on the NEC because he made comments supportive of Jeremy Corbyn during the 2019 general election. The vote to include him was defeated by 18 votes to 16.
So apparently it’s ok to have Corbyn opponents and Starmer supporters on the panel, but not to have a supporter of the Labour leader whose electoral campaigns were undermined by right-wing staff.
This is not even an attempt at a show of credible ‘independence’. This is roller in hand with a huge tub of whitewash at the ready.
Those who rightly commissioned the report and those who leaked it have plenty to fear – but the misdeeds the leaking of the report uncovered look set to be painted over and then buried deep.
And this will not be the last slap in the face to members who were told the party would hold its left course and policies under its new leader.
This article has been amended to reflect the information from a Labour black section activist quoted above. SKWAWKBOX is happy to correct the record.
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