Analysis Breaking Exclusive

NEW: Starmer replaces departing private health lobbyist – with ‘Labour leaks’ staffer who praised secret plan to divert 2017 GE funds

Steph Driver, who featured in damning ‘Labour leaks’ report endorsing ‘Ergon house’ fund, to take over from private health lobbyist Ben Nunn as Starmer’s head of communications

Keir Starmer’s new communications director, Steph Driver

Keir Starmer has appointed a replacement for Ben Nunn – the private health lobbyist ousted on Friday as Starmer’s head of communications.

His new communications director is Steph Driver. Ms Driver makes an appearance in the notorious ‘Labour leaks’ report on the alleged misdeeds of right-wing former HQ staff – one in which she praises the infamous ‘Ergon House’ plan to divert funds, intended for the campaign to win the 2017 general election, into a secret pot to fund the protection of right-wing Labour MPs.

In WhatsApp messages among right-wing staff, Ms Driver – at the time a ‘Political Advisor – Press and Comms’, according to her Linkedin – is seen describing the plan as ‘brill’ and saying that she endorsed it – and promising to ‘very much’ keep it secret from anyone else:

Keir Starmer has previously poured contempt onto the Forde Inquiry – which Starmer ordered himself – into the events and conversations revealed by the leaked report, among other ways by readmitting staff accused in the report while the inquiry was not yet completed.

The Forde report still lies buried in the proverbial ‘long grass’ on a pretext revealed by Skwawkbox to be as flimsy as can be imagined, but apparently not buried so far or so deep that Starmer cannot reach to pour yet more scorn on the inquiry, on party democracy and on the members whose tireless efforts to win the 2017 general election were undermined by right-wing staff desperate to get rid of Corbyn.

Update: former Corbyn aide Steve Howell tweeted this article this morning with his own illuminating commentary:

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  1. Steph Driver used to be Corbyn’s Head of Events Does she get any other mentions in the ‘leaked report’.

  2. Was I the only person present at the “Not The Forde Inquiry” meeting to note the remarks made by one logged in as “Patrick Haseldine” to the effect that the report itself is slated for release on 21st June (ie in 2 days time, on Monday) ?

    1. That’s interesting in the fact it hasn’t been given much coverage as a release date. Also if this is true Starmer must be confident that the report is going exonerate those mentioned in the report, especially Steph Driver.

      1. Backodbeyond, I agree with you. Otherwise it would be delayed for after the Batley bi-election.

  3. We had control of the Labour party and it was in our hands to build on the socialist revival.We the membership were betrayed by our own lot who were too inept or cowardly to do the job and trust in the power of a massive membership who had faith in our shy socialist mps and leader.Unfortunately they had no faith in the membership and threw sacrificial lambs to the slaughter rather than a clearout by any means of staff and mps who brought down the democratic socialist Labour party…Betrayel?in the last chance saloon.And now we have the enemy of the people defending Labour from the bunkers hoping that the Labour party will outsell the Conservative and unionist party or the libdems in the neo liberal alliance of Westminster politics.

  4. They will hang the Forde Report around Starmer’s neck when he gets the push after Batley and Spen. With him gone and “his” report they will hope to get themselves off the hook.

    1. This does seem plausible, if Starmer knows it’s not working (he probably does), he’d likely be happy to clear the way for a successor as for all his faults he doesn’t seem to be driven by ego.

      Keir’s to do list:
      1) Push the Forde report out, soak up any residual blame
      2) Make sure Rayner doesn’t have a chance.
      3) Clear the way for annointed successor who is being chosen in the background.

      “Meet the new boss
      Same as the old boss”

      1. Party machine can pick anyone they like. It won’t be what we want, and it won’t change Labours direction or destination.

        The right wing has killed the party in their effort to kill Corbyn

      2. Didn’t the ‘great researcher’, pen those words? Just asking.

  5. Imagine if this were Corbyn? There’d be dozens of media outside his door asking “when you going to resign”.

  6. Interesting piece by David Broder in Jacobin:

    The Last Thing Labour Needs Is a “Progressive Alliance”

    The Liberal Democrats’ by-election victory in a seat long held by the Tories has fed talk of an electoral pact between Labour and the Lib Dems. But Labour needs to be rebuilt as a party of the working class — not just another brand of vaguely defined progressives.

  7. Yes Right Wing Labour staffers contributed to millions suffering under the Tories/DUP post 2017? Then Starmer and the Right finished Labour off in 2019 with their push for a 2nd PV – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Glad I left 10 seconds after Neo-Liberal Trilateral Commission member Right Wing Starmer’s election as Leader. Diverse working people deserve better.

  8. ITs interesting and thought provoking that the resignation of a DUP flat earth society leader has managed to unite both sides of the border between the Irish government and the unionist in a coming together of the neo liberal alliance against the only socialist party on both sides of the border Sinn Fein.I think it’s amazing to think how supportive of the DUP the Irish government have become.Just like Corbyn the fear of the Socialist can lead to the strangest bedfellows…?

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