Breaking: Formby backs Beckett for Unite general secretary

Huge endorsement by former Labour General secretary and hero of the movement

Former Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, a hero of the Labour movement for her long union and party service, has endorsed Howard Beckett as the left’s candidate for the next General secretary of the Unite Union.

In a video just released she explains why:

The union’s United Left group will make its choice next week which candidate to endorse, but the backing of a figure of Formby’s stature is a further huge boost in a Beckett campaign that has already built up enormous momentum.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This site is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. Jenny Formby is NO hero. She wasn’t much better than McNicol. More people on the left were suspended or thrown out of the party falsley accused of Antisemitism under Formby than McNicol. The woman was USLESS

    1. As we ALL know – from the leaked report – staff under McNicol sat on cases (so as to reflect badly on Jeremy), and when Jennie took over, one of the first things she did was to take on extra staff so as to deal with the large backlog of A/S cases that had accumulated AND to speed up the process of dealing with cases and bring them to a conclusion. So THAT of course is the reason why more cases were dealt with when she was GS. In other words, your accusation is false, as is your smear that she was useless. So YOU and the FIVE people who gave you Likes (at the time of writing) – along with Jack T below – can all fuck off!

      AND as good as comparing Jennie to a devious, duplicitous and totally corrupt sociopath such as McNicol REALLY takes the biscuit! And the ONLY person doing any ‘conniving’ with the witch-hunters Jack was McNicol, apart from which – as I understand it – cases are dealt with by panels of NEC members (and the NCC), and Jennie has no say in the outcome of cases. Yes, Ken and Jackie and Marc and Chris and Pete (Willsman) and more than a few others were falsely accused of anti-semitism, and the majority of people on the left know that to be the case AND that it’s all a massive Smear Campaign – ie a black op by the fascists – BUT millions of people out there don’t have the faintest clue that it is, and believe it’s all for real, and the fact that respondents to the poll conducted for the authors of Bad News For Labour believed, on average, that 34% of LP members had been reported for anti-semitism, is testament to their power and effectiveness. When you own and/or control the MSM then you have total control of the narrative and, as such, can turn reality on its head, and transform a lifelong anti-racist into a toxic anti-semite, and his supporter members into brown shirts. As Malcolm X said:

      “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

      1. Oh, and congratulations Jack for your lightening quick ‘response’ to Richard Lowton, in less than one minute, and you now hold the record for the fastest ever Reply on skwawkbox!

      2. Allan Howard – White Fag Man, please calm down, your neurotic outbursts do you no favours.

        There are many ex LP members who can confirm they were suspended and maybe expelled, on the strength of an accusation alone and were never given any prior evidence of the charges. Chris Williamson was one of those. Jennie Formby signed off on all of these cases and should have sent them back until the accused had had a chance to put their case, which in many instances never happened.

        Even though Chris Williamson did get a hearing of sorts, they still couldn’t make any specific charges stick and suspended him because of a ‘pattern of behaviour’. This was found by the courts to be false and as a consequence the LP had to pay out £thousands.

        Jennie Formby was involved in all of these cases, which were a vendetta against Corbyn supporters by the JLM. She should have protected member’s interests, which she patently failed to do.

    2. Oh dear, such a naive reply. McNicol was a reptile, Formby was given the poison chalice of correcting his scheming against Corbyn. Formby did not decide the fate of members as I believe you well know, that was the NEC complaints executive, which generally contained the right wing MP’s who started the false narrative.

      1. What did Formby do for the left? Please give me a list, I’ll give you plenty of time to scratch you head

  2. After conniving with Witch Hunters, Formby is certainly no hero to those she helped to suspend and expell.

  3. I’m backing Howard but if this is the best the labour movement can do as an endorsement, god help us. She’s even worse at reading an auto-cue than Starmer, and that’s saying something. Love her to pieces, really sorry to lose her as GS, but this isn’t going to butter any parsnips.

  4. I am still undecided, between Howard Beckett and Steve Turner. An endorsement by Jenny Formby isn’t going to cut it for me, I am afraid.
    I am sympathetic towards Jenny Formby, she had a rough personal time but she wasn’t the most efficient General Secretary. She should have suspended those named in the internal report pending investigation, that allegedly engaged in the type of racist language I associated with the far right.

    1. Yes Maria, but remember that Keir Starmer became the leader of the Labour Party just one week before the report was leaked, and I doubt that he was gonna let anyone start suspending the very people that to a large extent assisted him in becoming the leader. No doubt he and his ‘moderate’ chums wanted for the MSM et al to disseminate their totally distorted coverage of the report first!

      1. Another question. Why didn’t Corbyn and McDonnell delay the leadership election until after the report was published? Why the hurry? Left wing Corbyn supporters were shit on and abandoned, I am just as angry with the so-called left than the RW Bastards. Corbyn & McDonnell promised the members more power more involvement yet we got sweet FA. Could someone name ONE socialist MP who openly supported Chris Williamson? = NONE

      2. David knows EXACTLY why no socialist MP openly supported Chris Williamson, but he pretends that he DOESN’T!

        You wouldn’t happen to be a reincarnation of windchimes, would you?!

  5. I guess I’m going to have to knuckle down and read the rule book.
    I didn’t think the GenSec had the power to suspend or expel anyone – I thought that power was reserved to the NCC and now the NEC.

    1. Yes, that’s what I thought. The usual process is that someone makes a complaint against an individual, and then the individual is suspended if the complaint is deemed worthy of investigation, but quite who it is that makes the decision to suspend (or not) I’m not quite sure. Maybe it IS the GS, cos I vaguely remember it being McNicol that decided to suspend Ken for a further year or whatever it was. But as I said above, I have little doubt that Keir Starmer ‘intervened’ to make sure no one was suspended at the time, no doubt on the grounds that there was going to be an investigation.

      I wonder what would have happened if the report HADN’T been leaked??!

      1. Labour Rule Book 2019 – Chapter 6 Disciplinary rules Clause I. National action by the Party 1. The NEC shall take such disciplinary measures as it deems necessary to ensure that all Party members and officers conform to the constitution, rules and standing orders of the Party. Such powers shall include:
        A. In relation to any alleged breach of the constitution, rules or standing orders of the Party by an individual member or members of the Party, the NEC may, pending the final outcome of any investigation and charges (if any), suspend that individual or individuals from office or representation of the Party notwithstanding the fact that the individual concerned has been or may be eligible to be selected as a candidate in any election or byelection. The General Secretary or other national officer shall investigate and report to the NEC on such investigation. Upon such report being submitted, the NEC may instruct the General Secretary or other national officer to formulate charges against the individual or individuals concerned and present such charges to the NCC for determination in accordance with their applicable procedures. Without prejudice to Chapter 1.VIII.5, the powers of the NEC and General Secretary under this sub-clause may be exercised, as the NEC deems appropriate, through such persons as may be designated.

      2. SteveH, “The General Secretary or other national officer shall investigate and report to the NEC on such investigation” plainly cannot mean the GS should personally investigate every case, or any individual case – that would be completely beyond the capabilities of any individual.
        The investigation function must obviously be delegated but I don’t know to whom – if it’s not the NCC’s responsibility as I understood then it would have to be done by staff – staff that were corrupt enough or stupid enough to believe they had a right or a duty to act factionally on behalf of the right wing PLP majority against the elected leader.
        “Corbyn won’t last – if you don’t work with us your jobs will be at risk” might have been how they were corrupted.

      3. David – Of course you’re right it is a delegated function. I don’t think anyone would expect anything else, particularly as rule 6 makes specific provision for delegation. I think the investigations are carried out by the Compliance Unit, (a few of the ex-members appeared in the infamous Panorama ‘documentary’)

        As I understand the procedure, complaints are received by the Compliance Unit (equivalent to the Police), they then pass their findings in the form of a report to the NEC (CPS), the NEC then makes a decision on whether to lay charges and then passes it to the GenSec/Compliance Unit to lay the charges if appropriate. Then rather bizarrely the NEC/NCC switches roles from being the equivalent of the CPS and low and behold becomes judge and jury. Hopefully this is another obvious flaw will be addressed by the creation of an independent complaints procedure.

        My central point is that the Compliance Unit are the employees of the GenSec, carrying out the GenSec’s delegated duties so she has direct responsibility for their actions. The MET police officers act within the guidelines, regime and ethos dictated by their boss Cressida Dick and the law, the Compliance Unit similarly operates within the ethos dictated by the GenSec and the rulebook and as far as I can see nether Formby or the NEC did much to correct the obvious faults within the respective units that were carrying out their designated functions and responsibilities.

      4. SteveH, my point was that they were employees with employee rights and were almost certainly still loyal to McNicol.
        All they had to do was drag their feet.

    2. Seems that McNicol had more power than the Labour Leader but when it comes to holding Formby to account, your excuses for doing sweet FA is that ‘Formby’ had no power to do anything to protect the left.

      1. Just out of interest David, is this the first time you’ve commented on Skwawkbox, cos I don’t recall coming across your name before – ie in this thread? And what’s it got to do with excuses! If Jennie isn’t involved in investigating complaints and allegations and dishing out sanctions, whether it be regarding A/S or whatever, then she’s NOT. So perhaps you could elaborate as to what you think she could have done to ‘protect’ the left, as you put it. Protect them from what exactly? One thing’s for sure, that when Tom Watson tried to interfere she soon put him in his place.

        As for the ‘power’ McNicol had, his ‘power’ was in secretly beavering away with the other saboteurs to do whatever he could to undermine Jeremy. As for holding Jennie to account, account for WHAT exactly? Forgive me for saying so, but your posts just seem to be a series of platitudes.

      2. Allan – “If Jennie isn’t involved in investigating complaints and allegations and dishing out sanctions, whether it be regarding A/S or whatever, then she’s NOT”

        Given that the rule book clearly states that the GenSec is responsible for investigating the complaint and producing the report that the NEC will act on then it is difficult to see how the GenSec doesn’t bear some culpability for the outcome.

  6. Well it does say Ken’s extended suspension was an NEC decision and that the letter from them informing him of that fact was simply signed by McNicol, scotching the Huffington Post claim as far as I can see.
    That suggests to me that hanging blame for suspensions on Jennie Formby is unfair.

  7. Jenny Formby was responding to demands from Corbyn’s office to “get it sorted”, it being the problem Corbyn was having with accusaisions of antiSemitism coming at him from the enemies of the left inside and outside the party.Formby could have argued against such a foolish policy but that was unlikely given the circumstances when Corbyn was striving to bring “unity” to the party.It is rather missing the point to blame Formby for what went on.

    1. I don’t only blame Formby at all, I blame all those on the left including Corbyn himself. So please don’t put words in my mouth or take my words out of context like Mr Howard is trying to do. Oh and ready my other comments.

  8. Really? “Demands to get it sorted” from ‘someone’ in Corbyn’s office or from Corbyn himself?
    Why would anyone on our side imagine Jennie could do the impossible when everyone must have known the JLM, everyone with ‘promissory notes’ from Blair and the dregs of McNicol’s staff were in on the antisemitism scam up to their filthy necks?
    Why would he place such an all-or-nothing 24/7 burden on a seriously ill friend?
    I may be wrong but I don’t believe it.

    1. I took “get it sorted” from the leaked report,though I was writing from memory,I think that is a reasonable summation of what went on.

  9. As I understand it, the ‘demands’ to get things sorted were to the GLU precisely because cases such as Ken and Jackie’s were just draging on and on and on and taking forever to be dealt with.

    AND deliberately, as we now know from the leaked report.

    1. To be precise, they WEREN’T dragging on and on, they were being sat on, and deliberately so, so as to reflect badly on the LP, and Jeremy in particular, so that saboteurs like Hodge could endlessly complain in the media that cases weren’t being dealt with, as she DID.

  10. Apologies for so many posts, but for your information, the BBC decided to extend the deadline to watch the Panorama hatchet job ‘Is Labout Antisemitic’ by a few days for some strange reason, and it’s now available on Iplayer until 4.00am on Tuesday. So if you’ve never seen it (or want to watch it again) you’ve got a couple more days in which to do so. As an example of black propaganda I highly recommend it and it’s well worth watching, and they obviously put a lot of thought into the presentation, and it’s all very carefully choreographed as such. There’s only one thing missing (and I expect John Ware and Co considered it), and that was interspersing the shots – the sequences – of the Labour Party Conference, with shots of Hitler at a Nazi Party Rally, along with some menacing background music of course!

    Needless to say, it is one BIG Nazi-style Lie from start to finish and, as with all good propaganda, it’s designed to emotionalise the audience from the outset (the propaganda rags do it with their headlines). Joseph Goebbels would have been very impressed! And if you’re not aware of it, seven of the ten people who were ‘presented’ as ordinary Jewish Labour Party members were – and still ARE – executive committee members of the Jewish Labour Movement, and one of the other three their former Campaigns Officer (up until a few months before the program aired), but Ware and Co omitted to mention it (in a caption, which they did with everyone else who participated in the program) as such, although I can’t for the life of me understand why!

  11. Who?

    I resigned from @unitetheunion and became a non-union person for the first time since 1983 when it became clear they were happy to donate mine and my fellow members’ cash into the Tory Party Mark II’s coffers.

    Presumably Beckett is okay to continue with this. So the question is … WTF is wrong with him…?

    Is he of the hard right persuasion?


  12. Jennie thoughts irrelevant, i care not about what you think of her, again this comes down to cold hard calculations, be as ruthless as them, if there was two left candidates then they need to get heads together
    Some things are more important

  13. Speaking of which who is up for GMB
    Who is going to make sure left candidate gets more than 3%
    How many GMB members are Labour members

  14. Just got my renewal email for party membership today TBH I don’t think I’ll bother, after leaving years ago in the Blier era I rejoined because of Corbyn , I trust Sturmer as much as I trust Boris so why would I renew it’s not a SOCIALIST party yet again, I don’t want to support Tory party light so I guess I’m homeless again:(

    1. I was homeless too after Corbyn resigned but now I’ve joined the Greens.
      I haven’t actually read their manifesto yet 🙂 but they’re bound to be way to the left of Starmer.
      If all the Corbyn surge joined them (there are only 48k Greens) and the Socialist Campaign Group crossed the floor, Green Labour would instantly be a credible and growing political force.
      Greta Thunberg will soon be old enough to run for parliament too 🙂
      Wouldn’t THAT make some waves… the media wouldn’t know which way to turn. Attacking socialism is one thing but they’d destroy their credibility by opposing green issues, and socialism genuinely is green – we just haven’t been selling it on its greenness.
      Which Green wouldn’t like to actually get something done?
      As socialists we’ve always been opposed to the capitalists who wreck the planet – I believe all thinking people are genuinely on the same side as the Greens anyway so it’s not subverting them if we join their party – and they get their policies enacted now rather than after the Earth’s already melted.

  15. The latest episode of Witness on Aljazeera is a MUST watch (30 mins approx):

    ‘Ashes to Ashes: US Lynchings and a Story of Survival’

    And Chris Williamson is on this weekend’s edition of Sputnik with George Galloway (on RT), and in the second half it’s Julian Assange’s friend Vaughan Smith. I just finished watching it on the box about 35 minutes ago, and it’s on again at 2.30pm, then again this evening a couple of times, and the last showing is at 5.30am tomorrow morning, after which they’ll put it on their website at some point. If you’re not familiar with the website, just click on Shows at the top of the page and then scroll down and click on Sputnik. Oh, and I just learnt something (if I heard him right), and that is that Chris is a vegan. Good Man!!!

      1. Just kidding of course (that’s for the security services monitoring the site!).

        Must go now, there’s someone knocking on the front door……

  16. I’m reading a fair bit of how Formby allegedly sold Chris Williamson out (It was the NEC binned Chris, NOT Formby), to the zionist element(s) and it’s no surprise to see it coming from the same quarter that don’t so much as utter a peep about the reason behind Laura Pidcock and other decent MPs losing their seats and the party getting trounced in the election…

    It wasn’t the second referendum that was losing the nation’s interest – it was the antisemitism allegations that were alienating the public from the party, according to these people.

    Of course, in reality, the public generally weren’t arsed about antisemitism anywhere near as much they were Brexit, but the persistent whining of the anti-zionists AND (predominately jewish) zionist factions brought just as much attention to the problem as the supposed problem itself – which further increased the public’s perception of the party being antisemitic. (Themore shit gets hurled, the more sticks)

    The rabidly anti-zionist, pro-european whoppers within the party allowed stammer to connive and conspire against Corbyn and socialism, manifestly through his second referendum ‘wrecking ball’ which was nothing more than a masquerade for a future powergrab when the party had been trounced in the election – exactly as predicted by the more perspicacious amongst us.

    It was ‘democracy in action’, they deludedly cried, without trace of irony, hypocrisy OR shame.

    And NOW look at the grip the zionists have on the party, then ask yourself: ‘Who brought this upon themselves?

    The answer’s clear as day to me. It’s those that shouted loudest about their hatred of the zionists, coupled with their anti-democratic reneging of the promise to uphold and respect the referendum result.

    If Formby is lending support to someone that starmer isn’t (Or hasn’t said so at least) then to me that’s a good enough reason for backing him. But as Wirralinittogether says, the paradox (or the uncomfortable truth, if you like) is that unite still fund stammer…

  17. Guess that with Howard Beckett name checked in every other posting here for the past month and a bit, you are backing him for the soon to be vacant post at UNITE, but it would be both helpful and interesting to provide, in their own words, what the other contenders, Steve Turner and (if I hear correctly “independent left” Claire Graham) are saying so we can come to an individual make ones mind up call.

    1. *Sharon* Graham, I presume you mean. And check out why the millionaire solicitor Beckett was fined by the solictors’ governing body due to his firm’s handling of miners’ compensation claims.

      1. Will do. I am sure all issues have to be weighed in the selection of who is to lead Labour’s biggest affiliate.

      2. Let’s hope that whoever replaces McCluskey they manage to attract enough votes to at least look like they have something approaching a mandate. Len only managed to persuade <6% of Unite's membership to vote for him, hardly what you'd call a ringing endorsement.

  18. James – I was less than happy when at the 2019 Conference she ‘spoke her mind’ by overruling the chair’s decision on a vote and then refused a card vote. Who was she representing then, the members or McCluskey.

    1. Oh, you were ‘less than happy’ that formby refused a vote, were you?

      How sad. Well guess what? I seem to remember you saying something about a ‘members led party’ and complaining on other threads about how the delegates were being sent by stitch up to conference(s).

      The electorate weren’t happy starmer undemocratically reneged on respecting the referendum result and the membership were denied a vote.

      Just about every comment you make in this thread I’ve linked is about a ‘members led party’.

      But this quote’s the winner (From the same link)

      SteveH21/09/2019 AT 6:06 PM
      Cut out the the unrepresentative block votes and hold a full ballot of all the membership (incl. affiliate members). In our ‘members led party’ OMOV is the only method that will give a definitive answer to where the party stands on Brexit.

      Or how about THIS (Again from the same thread linked)

      SteveH21/09/2019 AT 5:39 PM
      Personally I have little faith in a so called ‘special conference’. If you want to know what the members think then FFS ask them. The party should decide it’s stance on Brexit by conducting a ballot of the full membership. No more block-votes, OMOV is the only democratic way forward.

      Weren’t we promised a members led party?

      But he was representing you and your precious 70% then, weren’t he? You were only too happy for your membership to be ‘delegate led’ then, weren’t you, hypocrite?

      Just sod off and take your hypocrisy with you.

      1. Toffee – Well thanks for all your hard work and research it was good of you to highlight these posts but I fail to see how wanting a more democratic set-up is in conflict with being pissed off with Formby for denying democratic process under the current system which may be far from perfect but its all we’ve got at the moment.

      2. Weren’t hard to find evidence of your hypocrisy, hypocrite. It’s almost getting to the point where you’re contradicting yourself in your very next post.

        As for stammer supposedly ”outperforming” de piffle….So what? The f’ing moon is outperforming that gormless toff twunt.

        Nowt good about replacing a power-obsessed tory with an ambitious one..

      3. ”What hypocrisy” You have the brass balls to ask – even though you’ve given the same excuse on each & every occasion I’ve previously asked you.

        Looks like I’ll have to ask again, then:

        Where was the vote taken by the membership that seen the 2nd referendum bulldozed into policy? How many of your precious 70% got to vote for it?

      4. Toffee – . I’ve already pointed out to you on several occasions that this policy was voted for at the 2019 Conference. FFS even Brexit Central reported on the vote, don’t be a numpty.


        Which is EXACTLY what you were crying out for.

        No, you monumental hypocrite -It was bulldozed through by right-wing delegates who only got to go to conference via their CLP’s rigging of the delegation processes. But you got the result YOU wanted, so democracy can swivel in this instance, eh bollocks?

        And you call ME the numpty?

      6. Toffee – I’ve made my position clear but please feel free to rant on.

  19. Oh – looks like I missed ”competent” as well.

    Fuck right off even further. Why not just knock round at starmer’s with an industrial-sized barrel of KY jelly ffs.

  20. OK steve – forget the KY jelly. I nearly forgot that stammer secretes enough slime of his own anyway, so he wouldn’t be ‘going in dry’ on ya.

      1. Did it, indeed? Ok then, if you say so.

        But I WILL ask:

        Have you no self-awareness, or do you actually enjoy making a complete knobhead of yourself? My guess is it’s the latter because being derided by just about everybody hasn’t even affected the ‘quality’ of your inane, imbecilic posting.

      2. Toffee – It’s a bit tragic and sad that you’ve run out of arguments so quickly Tory Boy,

      3. Says the bellend that resorts to ‘tory boy’ bercause he’s got nothing else…

        And you even got THAT one wrong, didn’t you, starmerite?

        So, tell us the difference between starmerism and toryism then; we’re all desperate for the benefit of your infinite wisdom on this matter…

  21. Not gonna answer again then, stevey boy? Not even gonna give us your ‘argument’ that starmer ISN’T just another tory?

    I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to know he can count on you when push comes to shove…

    Once again, my accusation against you has been completely validated by your actions, not mine. I guess we’ll next see you back on here when you think we’ve forgotten you’ve swerved another awkward question….And then watch you plead you’ve answered it, without realising I’ll have bookmarked this for future reference, you shameless, lying hypocrite.

    1. Toffee – Do you recognise these words?

      “I tried to bridge that gap with the proposal that we should do a trade deal with the European Union and put that alongside Remain as a choice for the people and that was a decisions taken at last year’s Labour Party Conference

    2. What have those words got to remotely do with your bleating for OMOV, your ‘member led party’ and then you saying that it was ok for delegates – only there by virtue of their CLP’s rigging the delegation process in many many cases – to have the be all and end all on the 2nd ref, hypocrite?

      you wanted OMOV but wheree was YOUR vote for the 2nd ref?

      It’s not hard to work out, so stop trying to swerve and obfuscate.

    3. Toffee – I thought you would have already been familiar with the Labour Party Manifesto, read it and your questions will be answered.

    4. Toffee – Was Jeremy Corbyn lying when he said “that was a decision taken at last year’s Labour Party Conference”

      Your pathetic ‘augment’ about hypocrisy is silly nonsense.

      1. And WHO took the decision.

        Did YOU?

        NO you DIDN’T. And nor did the overwhelming majority of the half million or so members in the ‘member led party’ you were shrieking about having.

        You fucking irredeemable cretin.

    1. brianbotou – Oh I see, you ran out of arguments on another thread so you thought you’d have a go at piling in behind Toffee’s pathetic nonsense instead

      1. If the cap fits wear it. It suits you to a tee. You have been found out son as Joe stated previously and I notice you can’t defend what you wrote with Toffee either!!!

      2. brianbotou – Don’t be a saddo all your lifea person perceived as contemptible or pathetically inadequate.

  22. …………………………………………………………. year after year
    Runnin’ over the same old ground … what have we found?

  23. Steve H,4.04pm. You have been rumbled son, the game is up, time to stop the masquerade. You cannot defend what you have written. Time to contemplate a new career!!!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: