Analysis comment

2017 Labour campaign committee member takes apart – forensically – Heneghan’s defence of ‘saboteur’ actions and misuse of election funds

Both former campaign director Patrick Heneghan and documentary-maker John Ware have now admitted right-wing staffers diverted Labour campaign funds for their own ends during the 2017 general election. A key member of that campaign dismantles Heneghan’s attempt to justify himself and others accused by leaked Labour report

Former Labour campaigns director Patrick Heneghan has published a self-defence of the conduct of himself and other right-wing former senior staff – on a website set up specifically for the purpose but used widely by the so-called ‘mainstream’ media in what appears to be a concerted effort to discredit the leaked Labour report.

That report accuses those former staff of an array of misconduct ranging from racism to obstructing disciplinary proceedings, from leaking damaging information to journalists to diverting party funds to a secret ‘Ergon House’ project to spend on right-wing MPs already in safe seats – and much else in between.

Some of Heneghan’s self-defence looks decidedly shaky. He tweeted denying that he has ever ‘seen’ Diane Abbott crying in a toilet – hardly surprising given it would have been the ladies’ – and that he has ever contacted Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick. But – as pointed out in a comment on his blog post – his own WhatsApp messages stated that Crick had already been told about the Abbott incident:

Heneghan has now tried to dismiss his comments about Abbott and Crick as “part of an ongoing series of jokes about Mr Crick in the WhatsApp group”.

He has also tried to go on the offensive to discredit former Corbyn staff who have pointed out the behaviour of HQ staff who were supposed to be working for a general election win – but looked foolish and desperate in the process:

But by far the biggest blow to Heneghan’s attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility is a detailed thread by Steve Howell, who worked closely with Corbyn’s office on the 2017 general election campaign.

In a 14-tweet thread, Howell says that:

  • Heneghan has now admitted that the right-wing staff diverted party funds for their own purposes
  • this is unequivocally a breach of the party’s rules and the staff’s obligations
  • Heneghan talks about the official election campaign committee as if it reported to him
  • the diverted funds were used on the seats of notable right-wingers who already had big majorities – and had already received ample funds: Tom Watson, Yvette Cooper, Caroline Flint, Dan Jarvis, Kate Green, Bridget Phillipson, Rachel Reeves, Chris Bryant, Seema Malhotra, Angela Eagle and Kevan Jones (described elsewhere as the front-bench right-wing staffers would have wanted if the 2017 election had gone badly and led to a leadership challenge)
  • Heneghan’s claim that Corbyn was focusing funds on allies is nonsense when the likes of Ian Austin and John Woodcock were supported
  • right-wing staff ignored the ‘Corbyn surge’ even after it became obvious
  • Heneghan’s claim that the diverted funds didn’t affect the result is absurd ‘political gymnastics’
  • funds Heneghan claimed were channelled to the safe seat of Corbyn ally Jon Trickett actually benefited two right-wing MPs
  • Heneghan’s claim that Corbyn was unpopular ‘on the doorstep’ in 2017 was nothing more than the usual varied opinions of voters – a view that the Labour surge on 8 June that year proved
  • Heneghan’s article is mere ‘deflection’ intended to divert attention from the serious issue – now an admitted issue – of party staff misappropriating funds for their own priorities

In fact, on the Trickett issue Howell doesn’t go far enough. Not only did the advert not go to Trickett’s seat alone, Trickett specifically asked for the funds to be spent on ads in papers that would benefit Yvette Cooper and Mary Creagh, two entrenched Corbyn critics, but that the ad should appear in the Leeds seat lost in 2015 by right-wing former Chancellor Ed Balls, and not Trickett’s.

This is what ‘forensic’ looks like – and Heneghan’s attempt to excuse himself and others wilts under its spotlight.

Patrick Heneghan was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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  1. There HAS to be a court case. Inquiry after inquiry is useless.
    Criminal case preferably, so that withholding or destroying evidence carries greater penalties. (by my limited understanding anyway)

    1. A greed David. Any “inquiry” will be loaded and with terms dictated by the very people who have defended the right-wing staffers. At the moment, the trial by the media continues … the trial of Corbyn. We need the truth to get out there and it won’t if left to the media and the current “leadership.”

  2. Well THAT was quick! Only five months to come up with a ‘defence’!

  3. British pseudo democracy at work:
    “How Labour climbed 26 points to match the Tories in opinion polls
    A combination of Boris Johnson’s policy confusion and a change of opposition leader has had a dramatic impact on the public” according to The Observer. Once one poll swings, others will follow. It’s why people invest so much time and money in them. Labour will decide, ‘in the interest of party unity and good polling’……to do nothing about the fifth columnists.

    1. The Observer Opinium Poll always shows what the Observer wants it to show. Likewise, the YouGov poll doesn’t, and it is showing Labour falling behind the Tories even now with Tories up 3% and Labour down 2%, and a gap of 7%.

      Papers pay for polls at this stage of a Parliament because it pulls in readers. Nothing more.

      In any case, the current Labour leadership hasn’t done anything at all about the current government (remember all those repeating that “Corbyn should be 20 points ahead – he’s useless!” posts?), and nor has it been attacked yet by the right-wing media. We’ve not even had the Tory “Wall of noise” in the Commons. All those “delights” are yet to come. But one poll in a centrist paper isn’t going to alter a thing.

      1. YouGov polls show what people who do online surveys for money think. They are partisan, mostly elderly social Conservatives. YouGov itself was started by Tories. Tho only polls that are not designed to form opinions are exit polls.

      2. So Lundiel, you don’t think that polling companies load their questions to find the answer their paymasters require? Maybe you never contemplate why “94% of respondents agree” is a typical line in an advert? (Do you really think “94%” of people give a stuff about the product?

        Polling companies are notorious for setting questions to find the “right” answer, and frequently in political terms find the “wrong answer.”

        You’re now trying to justify why one polling company should find the parties neck and neck, and another has the gap widening, and choosing the one YOU WANT to be true. Basically, you’re the answer to a polling companies dream – VERY open to suggestibility.

      3. You are an argumentative idiot. I despise polling companies and said in my first post that polls are tools used for opinion forming. However, they don’t “load questions”, they have a code of ethics that gives them public confidence (allegedly). What you are describing are ‘push polls’, a less sophisticated but potentially more damaging propaganda tool. The advantage of ‘ethical’ polls is the media constantly quote them as being a true opinion, which they aren’t.
        I don’t give a toss about Opinion, YouGov or any other poll. My point was that the road to changing/modifying public opinion is assisted by polling. Starmer will trumpet the results of this particular poll as vindication of the new NewLabour.

      4. I was invited to take part in this poll. After I put my details in I had the message I was not elegible to take part. I thought at the time they must have been poling students and they rejected me on the basis of my age. But now I suspect they wanted pro Starmer views only.

  4. “How Labour climbed 26 points to match the Tories in opinion polls
    A combination of Boris Johnson’s policy confusion and a change of opposition leader has had a dramatic impact on the public” according to The Observer. Once one poll swings, others will follow.

    Dear God! Once he’s finished jerking himself off into a stupor, the stammerite idolator’ll be on here attempting to use that as fact…As for what he thinks about heneghan’s shithousery, expect the resident stammerite oddball to use those same deflectionist tactics, as per.

    What I’d really like to know is where are the lawyers on this? stammer’s no longer DPP.

  5. Right lads and lasses
    Time to get back to the day job
    The only case going to court is the class action and they need your help
    Go to Mark Howell at Crowd Justice
    This is further evidence that cases against JC and JVL havnt got a snowballs chance of going ahead
    The class action has the potential to bring to Justice those who prefer a Tory government, we cannot carry on with Quislings and Bad Actors in party

    1. Doug, Marks case is hitting problems and needs our help;

      Court of Appeal now dealing with sham hearing that purported to strike out claim

      On 30 July, at a sham hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice that took place (but should not have) before a biased judge, who, without warning, organised a premeditated ambush concerning my previous complaint of several months ago, the court purported to strike out my claim against David Evans and Iain McNicol.

      I had considered whether to request that a different judge deal with the hearing but concluded that the listed judge would obstruct this, which could have made matters worse.

      I spoke to the senior administrator at the Court of Appeal immediately afterwards who, as a result, has now linked the court’s review of the removal of the internal report from the High Court file on 19 June, which had already threatened to undermine the 30 July hearing, together with its consideration of the defects in the dramatic strike out decision at the end of the hearing, including the previous complaint.

      In doing so, I should make clear that, quite properly, the internal report and all of the other relevant evidence is very much part of the Court of Appeal’s file. It aims to come to a provisional conclusion before the end of August.

      I also spoke to supporters immediately afterwards, who I am moved to say seem to whole heartedly back me in the light of this further peculiar development.

      1. Mr. Howell’s claim appears to be breach of party rules and breach of a non-existent contract – the ‘pact’?
        “Labour staff breached party rules by promoting the election of rivals of party candidates
        The party therefore breached its contract with the claimant and its non-contractual pact with the voting public of the UK.”

        I’ve read nothing else of the case but I can imagine it’s a constant struggle just to keep it before the Court, the ‘contracts’ being so thin.

        Seems to me misfeasance in public office should be the claim – ‘MP’ is the epitome of public office and a good argument could be made that political party staff, certainly when an election is underway, hold a duty to the public.
        Personally diverting election funds to personally-favoured candidates is as much theft as diverting them to one’s own bank account would be.
        Breach of contract > no jail time.
        Misfeasance in public office > jail time.
        I’d say the evidence supports misfeasance – but I doubt breach of contract can be proved.

        Mr. Howell needs a further £29,000. There are far larger funds earmarked to assist deserving claims, but a legal assessment of the prospects of the case really ought to be carried out before spending money donated by us all.

      2. A political party has a duty to its members rather than to the public and for staff of a party to carry out an act of which they are knowingly aware will be detrimental to the wishes of the majority of members, i.e. not making every effort to support Jeremy Corbyn, they would be guilty of malfeasance rather than misfeasance.

      3. Jack T, I don’t know whether misfeasance, malfeasance or misconduct would be most appropriate – I’d be guided by the lawyers as to what charges the evidence would support.

      4. Oh – and it wouldn’t be the party being charged, but individuals.
        I wasn’t referring to Mr. Howell’s case, but fresh cases against those individuals who behaved corruptly.

  6. What the Labour staffers did was ultra vires (4/14) and they should be prosecuted and jailed for theft. I don’t know if party members can bring a case as it looks unlikely the corrupt party itself will.

    (Does the current leadership have a legal obligation to protect its members’ interests, and in failing to do so is opening itself up to legal action?)

    1. Same grounds for case against settlement with Cockwombles
      Temporary Embarrassment was entitled to settle and pay out of his own pocket
      Not members money

  7. And to nobody’s surprise the resident stammerite gobshite won’t even come on this thread to defend the indefensible.

    But he’ll continue to maintain stammer was democratically elected, despite all the evidence of shithousery lying firmly at stammer & co’s feet.

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