Estranged couple could fall foul of Starmer’s promise if it is applied
Former party director Emilie Oldknow, who features prominently in the leaked Labour Party report, is among those suspended by the Labour Party in connection with the leaked Labour report that makes an array of allegations against senior party staff and former staff, according to a report by Novara Media. The report includes, against various staff members, allegations of racism, abuse, obstructing disciplinary investigations into complaints of racism, misappropriation of campaign funds, undermining the party’s election campaigns and more.
With regard to Ms Oldknow, Novara states that:
Oldknow’s name features hundreds of times in the leaked report, with some of the most shocking and offensive statements attributed to her.
In addition to describing another staff member as “pube head” and calling a colleague “smelly cow”, the report claims one conversation between senior management can be taken to show Oldknow suggesting allegations of racism made by BAME politicians were untrue.
It could also suggest that Oldknow thought the very idea of white privilege was itself something to mock and not to take seriously.Novara Media
Ms Oldknow is the estranged wife of Labour front-bencher Jonathan Ashworth – and Mr Ashworth could easily find himself falling foul of party leader Keir Starmer’s promise to implement ten demands made by the Board of Deputies (BOD) during his leadership campaign.
The fifth of those pledges states that:
Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.
Of course, any suggestion of a ‘hierarchy of racism’ would be unacceptable, so if Starmer is to implement his promise, he must apply the same standard to suspensions in connection to all forms of alleged racism. The pledge does not distinguish between those found guilty and expelled and those, like Emilie Oldknow, under administrative suspension pending investigation.
The investigation into the complaints against Emilie Oldknow has not yet been completed and investigators may conclude she is innocent – but, again, the fifth BOD demand that Keir Starmer has promised to implement does not care. It treats those suspended the same as those expelled, even if the allegations are eventually rejected by the party.
This means that, were they not separated, Jonathan Ashworth could have found himself in the position of going home at night to a wife he was forbidden to support – on pain of summary suspension if he ignored the stricture. Even separated, the ban on support could prove uncomfortable to say the least. Will Starmer enforce it?
Both Mr Ashworth and Ms Oldknow were contacted for comment.
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