Campaign staffer reportedly in line for ‘top role’ was named as source of material in hostile Huffington Post article and accused of ‘daily’ incidents during 2017 election campaign including physically shoving others – including Corbyn
A version of this article was originally published in February about Starmer’s decision to appoint Kat Fletcher as one of two ‘left’ senior campaign staff.
In February, the Huffington Post published an article claiming that Jeremy Corbyn’s then-chief of staff Karie Murphy had abused staff, including “pushing a staff member by the neck and pinning them against a wall”, as the Labour right scrambled to try to block Murphy’s nomination by Corbyn for a peerage.
Labour sources pointed the finger for claims in the article at Kat Fletcher, who worked for Corbyn in the 2017 general election campaign, saying that at least some of the material came from her. The sources also said that Ms Fletcher was the source of a recording leaked to the Huffington Post for the article.
Now, according to the LabourList site today, after Starmer has already appointed his other ‘left’ campaign pick – the coincidentally-named Simon Fletcher – to his team as a ‘special adviser (general election)’, Kat Fletcher is now in line for a ‘top role’ on Keir Starmer’s staff:
However, while accusing Ms Fletcher of being the source of material for the hostile February article, the Labour sources also said that Ms Fletcher’s conduct during the 2017 election campaign was so bad that she was the subject of ‘daily’ complaints.
The behaviour alleged in those complaints included:
- mocking a foreign-born member by mimicking her accent in front of a significant number of people
- physically pushing Corbyn around on the campaign bus
- shoving an international trade union official
- describing BAME councillors at an event as a ‘nightmare’
- singing inappropriately about female staff members, for example singing “Where is X’s skirt”
- frequent “aggressive, rude” behaviour, including bullying
The sources also said that Fletcher was aware of the complaints and was told that there was:
a complaint from staff about her every day – she was incredibly defensive and difficult.
The SKWAWKBOX attempted to reach Ms Fletcher for comment by calls and texts to obtain an email address so that full details could be provided. A response came from her lawyer.
The SKWAWKBOX asked the lawyer to confirm whether anything in the letter constituted a denial of the Labour sources’ claims so that the SKWAWKBOX could ensure she was fairly represented in any ensuing article.
The answer came back that she would not comment, claiming a lack of confidence that the response would be not be misrepresented.
Keir Starmer’s choices for top positions have been bedevilled by controversy. His first choice for the position of general secretary featured prominently in a Labour Party internal report alleging that senior headquarters staff had undermined election campaigns, obstructed disciplinary processes and behaved abusively toward pro-Corbyn staff.
His next favourite for the role was named in the anonymous ‘MeTooGMB’ complaint against the GMB union’s now-resigned general secretary, while a right-wing peer who is applying for the role has been forced to deny allegations of racially-driven bullying that were the basis of a formal complaint against the party by a former Tom Watson employee.
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