Analysis Exclusive

Exclusive: humiliation for Harman as she retracts NEC election email that breached code of conduct and members’ privacy

Labour’s centrist former interim leader Harriet Harman

Labour MP and former interim leader Harriet Harman has suffered a humiliating rebuke after emailing local party members encouraging them to vote for right-wing candidates in the ongoing elections to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

Labour rules – and GDPR data protection regulations – do not allow members’ details to be used for purposes for which those details were not expressly provided. The party’s Code of Conduct for the NEC elections states:

The use of any other party data to which a candidate or their supporters have access to by virtue of holding another office should not be used for the purpose of the candidate’s election campaign; such use may lead to disqualification as a candidate and potential further disciplinary action...

In addition, the appendix to Labour’s rules governing access to members’ data is clear:

ii. Misuse of information contained within the membership lists could be a breach of the Data Protection Act, and should be reported immediately to the Data Protection Officer at Head Office.

Despite this, Harman sent out the following email to local members on Monday encouraging them to vote for particular candidates in the NEC elections:

Later the same day, Labour’s HQ sent out an email to all members warning them that they must not use member lists to ask members to vote for particular candidates in the election – on pain of disciplinary action including disqualification as a candidate if they breach the rule:

“for the avoidance of doubt this applies to all those with access to data… including elected representatives

By the following lunchtime, Harman had emailed local members retracting her appeal for their votes for her preferred candidates:

But this wasn’t Harman’s first such email. On 2 September, she sent a similar email to members:

This prompted a response later the same day from Camberwell and Peckham Labour party’s secretary, in an email sent to all the CLP’s members:

although packed with information and opinion, Harriet’s e-mail leaves some key pieces of information unexplained or addressed, particularly for those new to our Party.

For newer members, the NEC is Labour’s National Executive Committee. It is made up of representatives from each section of the Party – the Shadow Cabinet, Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), councillors, trade unions, affiliated organisations, Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), Young Labour and BAME Labour. All sections have elected representatives but our local Party will be dealing only with nominations for the CLP places this month. You can find out
more about the role and composition of the NEC on Labour’s website here.

Harriet’s personal preferences for the CLP NEC positions, whilst perfectly legitimate, are just that – nothing more and nothing less. She will have the opportunity to support and advocate on behalf of the nomination of these candidates in her own CLP when they meet to discuss this. Harriet will also have a vote in deciding who is elected as the PLP representatives on the NEC – so will have two bites at the cherry.

I did toy with the idea of sharing with all members my personal preferences for NEC nominations by our CLP, but have decided to rise above this – because two wrongs don’t make a right. This is the second time that Harriet has intervened
in processes that are legitimately the Constituency Party Leadership Team’s to manage – the last time being the election of a new Leader & Deputy Leader, earlier this year.

One local Labour member described Harman’s first email as “an outrageous factional abuse of access to data”. Data protection specialists also confirmed to the SKWAWKBOX that such misuse of members’ data without their permission to do so would be prohibited under the law in their opinion.

Harriet Harman was contacted for comment but did not respond.

The SKWAWKBOX is aware that she is just one of an array of right-wing Labour MPs who have written to members to ask them to vote a particular way, in spite of the party rule and the relevant data protection legislation. In some cases, they have been helped or protected by regional Labour staff. If you have received such an email from your MP, send details in confidence to tips@skwawkbox.com.

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15 comments

  1. It will be interesting to see if the Snr Vice President, Marketing and Franchise Operations, as the centrist right want to rename the post of General Secretary, David Evans ( or indeed anyone in Labour’s’new management’) actually invokes the “further disciplinary action” which the Party’s GDPR rule allows.

    Probably won’t happen

  2. Remember when certain MPs sent out emails to constituents asking them to support the Zionist oops, Jewish Labour Movement who were campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn?

  3. I wonder if she will be taken to task on this. As a Branch sec I received an email warning me what would happen to me if I abused my access to members details to influence them to vote for certain candidates whoever they may be. I am really interested to see if anything happens. Quite honestly, I do not hold out much hope.

  4. I remember 97and being a serving Labour councillor in Surrey and this odious woman defending her rights to send her children to public schools.I started then to realise I had made a mistake in wasting my time and life propping up a corrupt and immoral political system and the New Labour project was part of it.She represents all thats rotten in the Labour party rabble within then and now.and I should never have rejoined the Labour party I left as a disillusioned Labour councillor who didn’t want to “play the game” anymore.Still Jeremy could have made a real difference for the people of Britain…and now look at the mess..!

  5. “Potential disciplinary action” mmmmh, potential, great wording, very fair
    Is it just me being cynical, thinking the left would be treated differently to the right?

  6. “cancer survivor”………How desperate can you get? I suppose it illustrates just what little good there is to say about Luke Akehurst.

  7. Another example of how the left are shocked by what the right can get up to. Why don’t we beat them to it rather than waiting?

  8. You know what conservative thinking is on the Labour party? They think Corbyn was the genuine article, a force for good and happily for them, unelectable. They consider the right of the party to be the real danger to our way of life, hidden Marxists who once they get power can’t help releasing their inner authoritarian. They see ‘wokeness’ and identity politics as tools the hidden Marxists use to undermine the family and society and they point to the backgrounds of leading Labour right wingers: Trots and Communists to a man/woman.
    I think we need a deeper debate on the state Capitalist/neoliberal/globalist/authoritarian aims of New Labour and it’s enduring partnership with the EU. When you think about people like Harman, Blair, Blunkett etc, the Tories have a point.

    1. I remember many of the old CPGB, ok there were some vile characters and dubious policies, but there were some real idealists.warning after warning about the people at Marxism Today fell on deaf ears. The party was liquidated and it’s assetts robbed. They slipped of into the SDP, Greens, wet Tories and who knows what other rat holes they need in. I believe that it began with an intended distortion of Gramsci and the creation of The Euros. This was when the various strange beings emerged blinking into the light. Odd meetings with Fourth Internationalists, the YCL insisting on single issue politics, the denigration of the Trade Unionists, racism in Hackney, one councillor; cde Peck in Nott’s, Sure there was Prague and the lies about Afghanistan but this was a long time coming. They were organised to the nth degree, they could pack obscure meetings and they had rich resourceful friends. When Sue Slipman appeared on QT and asked if it was difficult to enlist in the SDP, she replied that, no it was the most natural progression. There are many there and they will not be strangers to you. There are others posing as eternal, life and death enemies of the left, who one would call me mad for even hinting at. They are as much the enemy of socialism as are racism and Toryism. Here comes nurse. ☮️ Keep the faith and stay secure.

  9. Harriet Harman – Chamberlain’s niece & a Blair/Brown babe Minister for Women & Equalities………..interesting word EQUALITY.

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