New Labour leader tabled change of general secretary on day he was elected – and still hopes to have former party director implicated in leaked Labour report in now-vacant post
Labour leader Keir Starmer raised Jennie Formby’s departure on the day of his election – and still hopes to have former staffer Emilie Oldknow as her replacement, according to Labour insiders.
Formby announced her resignation today, but most commentators have written off Oldknow’s prospects because of her prominence in the leaked internal party report that alleges that a group of right-wing then-HQ staff undermined Labour’s election campaigns, diverted campaign funds, obstructed disciplinary processes and made a string of abusive comments toward fellow staff who supported or cooperated with then-leader Jeremy Corbyn.
A Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:
Keir knew he wanted Jennie gone and raised it with her the night he won the election. There was an agreement weeks ago for her to resign and he wanted her gone before the NEC elections for fear the left might unite and win the slate, making it harder to install his choice – which is still Emilie Oldknow.
The committee set up to investigate Labour Leaks is full of people friendly to Emilie and has been ordered to report by July. The plan is for them to clear her then and install her while the right still has a majority. They voted [Jewish peer] Alf [Dubs] off a panel whose investigation will include handling of antisemitism complaints, so they think if they can get that through, anything’s possible.
But if the committee doesn’t clear Emilie then Lisa [Johnson] is his first reserve.
However, Starmer must also deal with the fact that GMB official Johnson was named in the ‘MeTooGMB’ allegations about the union’s now-former general secretary, leading some to speculate that Anneliese Midgley – one of those Formby beat to the job in 2018 and very close to figures on the Labour right – might be a third option.
Keir Starmer’s office declined to comment.
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