Unison NEC members demanded investigation into John Stolliday but current general secretary Dave Prentis backed him. Report’s WhatsApp messages include discussion of halting the Labour leadership election
Giant union Unison has refused to comment on reports that it has put John Stolliday in in charge of the election processes in the contest to replace outgoing general secretary Dave Prentis, even though Stolliday is one of the former Labour staff accused in the leaked Labour Party report still under investigation by the Forde Inquiry.
When the Labour report leaked, a large number of members of the union – including many members of Unison’s National Executive – publicly demanded that current general secretary Dave Prentis launch an immediate investigation and that
if UNISON’s own investigation into this report shows conduct by staff (including at another employer) to be so extreme and prejudicial that UNISON can no longer have faith in the integrity of these staff, it must take appropriate steps to protect the union, its reputation and ability to function
Instead, Prentis promised to back Stolliday and Emilie Oldknow, another former Labour staffer mentioned in the report now occupying a senior position in Unison.
Among Stolliday’s more than 500 mentions in the leaked report is a WhatsApp discussion with a colleague about options for causing the 2015 Labour leadership election to be halted when it started to become clear Jeremy Corbyn was on course to win:
With NEC and lay members calling for Stolliday’s and Oldknow’s activities during Corbyn’s leadership to be investigated, the threat could resurface if a left-winger was elected to replace Prentis, so the conflict of interest seems indisputable.
Yet when asked to comment on why Stolliday was still in charge of the process in his union role as ‘Head of Member Liaison’, Unison declined to comment, saying that the enquiry would have to be directed to the candidates – who, of course, do not decide Stolliday’s job description.
John Stolliday was also contacted for comment, but did not respond.
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