Readmission comes after right-wing ‘coup’ on NEC
Keir Starmer has poured further contempt on his own ‘inquiry’ that he set up to buy time rather than take action himself on the damning internal party report that was leaked to the public after he became Labour leader.
According to the Huffington Post, former party director Emilie Oldknow has been reinstated as a member along with ‘a number of Labour officials’ after being suspended because of the material and allegations in the leaked report – but Starmer instituted the Forde Inquiry to examine the report’s allegations (and, shamefully, the circumstances of its leaking).
And the Forde report has not yet been published – or even provided to Starmer internally – according to an email the SKWAWKBOX received today from the inquiry’s press office.
The report was originally meant to be published last summer, but was then supposedly delayed to December – and then delayed again to ‘early 2021’. The SKWAWKBOX contacted the inquiry press office earlier today to ask whether a firm date had been set for the release of its findings and to ask for comment on recent claims that the report had been delayed again in order to whitewash figures close to Starmer accused in the report.
And the response made explicitly clear that the Forde Inquiry has not yet finished its deliberations or reached its findings:
Thank you for your email. The Forde Inquiry is continuing to carry out its work with scrupulous independence. Any suggestion that there has been any interference, in the form of requests for rewriting or otherwise, is completely false.
As a result of the excellent response to the consultation, the Panel has had a large amount of material to consider. As you would expect, the Panel also wanted to have the benefit of the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to inform its work (published 29 October 2020).
The Inquiry Panel has been working consistently ever since it was established and its intention remains to make recommendations in line with the Terms of Reference it was given.
According to Forde, the Labour staffers have not been reinstated because the inquiry has cleared anyone – and its investigation isn’t even finished yet . Instead, Labour insiders have told the SKWAWKBOX that the decision has been pushed through as a consequence of the recent right-wing coup that removed every left-wing sub-committee chair on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). According to insiders, former disciplinary committee chair Yasmin Dar had refused to reinstate the staffers after they ‘apologised’ to the party, on the basis that the leaked report’s allegations – which included the diversion of general election campaign money into a secret right-wing fund – were too serious and the Inquiry’s findings must be seen first.
But after Dar was replaced in the coup by right-wing MP Shabana Mahmood, the reinstatement was rubber-stamped in accordance with the leadership’s wishes.
Keir Starmer has now twice poured contempt on his own inquiry – and on the members horrified by the contents of the leaked report. Last year, he pre-empted Forde’s findings by paying out approximately £600,000 to a group of ‘whistleblowers‘ – in a case Labour’s lawyers said the party would win – who were among those accused by the leaked report Forde was supposed to investigate. And now he has reinstated others, while the investigation is still unfinished.
What little remained of Starmer’s credibility is doubly shredded by his own hand.
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