Money doesn’t talk, it swears: the multi-millionaire who tried to stop Jeremy Corbyn

sainsbury

EXCLUSIVE

THIS is the richest and most powerful man in British politics whose money is behind every move to destroy Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

And as Mr Corbyn is set to be re-elected leader, we can expose the true power of Lord David Sainsbury’s staggering £12million of donations to his opponents.

It is all part of his mission to stop the trade unions and Labour becoming an inclusive anti-austerity socialist party.

And it’s a mission which shows no sign of slowing.

David John Sainsbury, Baron of Turville is a multi-millionaire British businessman.

From 1992 to 1997, he was chairman of the Sainsbury’s supermarket empire, established by his great-grandfather in 1869.

He was made a Labour life peer in 1997 by Tony Blair and served in the government as the Minister for Science and Innovation from 1998 until 2006.

He joined the Labour Party in the 1960s, but was one of the 100 signatories of the right wing Limehouse Declaration in February 1981, in opposition to then Labour leader Michael Foot.

He went on to be a member of the breakaway Social Democratic Party (SDP).

After the 1983 election Sainsbury was by far the biggest donor to the party, giving about £750,000 between 1981 and 1987.

But along with David Owen, Sainsbury opposed merging the SDP with the Liberal Party after the 1987 election, and provided office space for Owen to help him re-establish the “continuing” SDP in 1988.

That party was wound up in 1990, and Sainsbury changed allegiance back to the Labour Party, rejoining them in 1996.

Between 1996 and 2006, when he stood down as a government minister, Sainsbury donated £16 million to the Labour Party, usually in batches of £1 million or £2 million each year.

But in April 2006, Sainsbury faced a possible probe into an alleged breach of the ministerial code “after admitting he had failed to disclose a £2million loan he had made to the Labour Party.”

He subsequently apologised for “unintentionally” misleading the public, blaming a mix-up between the £2 million loan and a £2 million donation he had made earlier.

In July 2006, he became the first government minister to be questioned by police in the Cash for Peerages inquiry.

On 10 November 2006, he resigned as Science Minister, stating that he wanted to focus on business and charity work.

He categorically denied that his resignation had anything to do with the Cash for Peerages affair, stating that he was “not directly involved in whether peerages were offered for cash”.

He was the Blair government’s third-longest-serving minister after Tony Blair himself, and Gordon Brown.

Because of his importance to the Labour Party as a donor, contemporary press reports described him as “unsackable”.

But now, thanks to the Electoral Commission filings, released on Tuesday, the continuing influence of Lord Sainsbury’s wealth and influence can be revealed.

 

For while Jeremy Corbyn has relied on £187,000 in personal and trade union donations since first standing for election as Labour leader in 2015, Lord Sainsbury has donated almost £25 million to MPs and political groups in the past 10 years.

Some £12million of this has gone to right wing opponents of Mr Corbyn. This dwarfs the donations of his Blairite contemporaries: property developer David Garrard’s £1.6million; hedge fund manager Martin Taylor’s £1.3million; and showbiz agent Michael Foster’s £470,000.

Of Lord Sainsbury’s donations since 2006, about £8million went directly to Labour (but that stopped when Ed Miliband became leader),  over £2.1million went to the Lib Dems (who may also be seen as opponents of Mr Corbyn) and £4.2million to various Scottish and Europe referendum lobby groups.

This left about £12million for cash hand-outs to groups vehemently opposed to Mr Corbyn and to individual Blairite MPs: Alan Johnson, David Lammy, David Miliband and Tristram Hunt received £227,329 between them.

These figures only include those submitted to the Electoral Commission. We have no way of knowing whether Lord Sainsbury may or may not have donated through other companies or agencies.

His favourite group is Progress, which has received £4.22million of his cash since 2004.

Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs plotting, since last year, to oust Mr Corbyn.

Progress runs on £282,000-a-year funding from Lord Sainsbury. Its income since 2010 is about £1.85million.

Tristram Hunt MP is a particular Sainsbury favourite — he was Lord Sainsbury’s personal spokesman before he became a Labour MP.

Hunt was working for Sainsbury when Progress was formed out of the money left over from the original campaign to make Tony Blair leader of the party.

Progress is deeply committed to pro-privatisation and pro-corporate policies. It has also steadily campaigned to reduce trade union influence in the Labour Party and latterly to do away with one member one vote for the Labour leadership.

Progress is vehemently opposed to Mr Corbyn and his left wing policies.

It is chaired by Alison McGovern. Vice-chairs are fellow Labour MPs Jenny Chapman, Stephen Doughty, Julie Elliott, Tristram Hunt, Dan Jarvis, Liz Kendall, Seema Malhotra, Toby Perkins, Lucy Powell, Steve Reed, Jonathan Reynolds and Nick Smith.

Prior to 2015, Progress was chaired by John Woodcock – the same MP who has viciously attacked Jeremy Corbyn on a number of issues.

Current members of the Progress strategy board include: Baroness King of Bow, Gloria De Piero MP, Nick Smith MP and Phil Wilson MP.

But there are other more shadowy groups besides Progress.

The right wing Movement for Change kitty of £1.75million has been almost exclusively funded by Lord Sainsbury.

The Movement for Change grew out of Citizens UK, the community action group established by Neil Jameson, former director of Save the Children and the Children’s Society, and Lord Maurice Glasman.

The organisation – which was a strong supporter of David Miliband – has a strong base among a diverse range of faith communities, which in turn has a strong influence over its culture and agenda.

But there is a political ambiguity to its aims which many in the Labour Party find troubling as it seems anti-trade union.

Maurice Glasman said: “The unions are the great silent, awful fact in all this. They are the self-organised wing of the Labour movement. They are dominated by a narrow crust of progressive activists, they are disengaged from their members.”

Peter Mandelson’s Policy Network & Communications Ltd has also been funded to the tune of £291,349 by Lord Sainsbury.

Policy Network is an international right wing progressive think tank and lobbying group.

Its president is Lord Mandelson, who has consistently briefed and spoken against Jeremy Corbyn, often in derogatory terms.

Other directors are Lord Roger Liddle, former special adviser to President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Tony Blair, is its chairperson.

Other anti Corbyn groups, the soft left Owen Smith supporting Labour Together, received £85,000 and the Blairite Labour Tomorrow received £453,000, largely from Martin Taylor.

  • An excellent piece from 2015 on donations to the Labour Party can be read here. But interesting that little of no mention is made of Lord Sainsbury!

 

 

The denial of democracy by Labour’s #chickencoup and their chicken soup of dirty tricks

PROTECTING democracy requires that the general public be educated on how people can be manipulated by the Establishment and media into forfeiting their civil liberties.

After the insidious assault on democracy over the past year by forces within the Labour Party Establishment we certainly need protecting.

Or in the words of the late US satirist and political agitator Lenny Bruce we must “shine a light in their beds”.

On the eve of the Labour leadership election declaration, the time has come to shine a light onto some of the most hideous examples of the gerrymandering of democracy ever seen in modern times.

  • It started on 12 September 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party with a majority of almost 60% of the vote on the first ballot alone, and huge mandate for change.

He received 121,751 votes from Labour Party members, 88,449 votes from Registered Supporters and a further 41,928 votes from Trade Union Affiliated Supporters.

But within minutes of his election Progress backed Labour MPs were briefing journalists in the print media and the BBC on their plans to unseat him.

By 11pm on 12 September 2015, the normally Labour friendly Daily Mirror reported on plans to bring Blair acolyte David Miliband back as leader, the moment Jeremy Corbyn could be seen to fail:

Labour MPs are already plotting to bring back David Miliband after Jeremy Corbyn’s victory, reported the Mirror:

The triumph of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has spurred on the Labour MPs who are secretly working for a dramatic Miliband comeback ahead of the 2020 general election.

His allies at Westminster believe Mr Miliband could be persuaded to make a sensational return to the Commons by 2018 at a by-election for a safe Labour seat.

A senior Labour MP said: “If Corbyn is not up to the job as leader, there will definitely be another leadership contest.

“The best person for the job by a country mile would be David Miliband and overtures have already been made to him about a potential return.

“If things turn out as horrendously as we fear they will under Corbyn, David would be the only hope of saving the Labour Party.”

In a separate move, several MPs are also looking at ways of changing the Labour Party’s rules to make future leadership challenges easier.

At present, anyone trying to oust a Labour leader needs to put themselves forward and win the backing of a fifth of Westminster’s Labour MPs.

But a rival plan put forward earlier this year by right wing Labour MP Frank Field would mean just 30 anonymous Labour MPs could trigger a vote of confidence in the leader to get rid of a “deadbeat” leader.

  • It became an uneasy autumn and a winter of discontent for Mr Corbyn, with 66 of his own MPs rebelling against him on the vote to bomb Syria and Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips stating she would knife her leader in the front, being some of the lowlights.

But nothing quite prepared Labour Party members or the general public for the sinister shenanigans which emerged on 7 January.

Mr Corbyn’s long expected Shadow Cabinet reshuffle led to the revelation, that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil and Labour MP Stephen Doughty planned his live resignation on their programme, hours before it began.

The producer of the programme revealed in a BBC blog (quickly deleted) that Neil, Kuenssberg and himself manipulated the news to negatively impact Mr Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Questions.

In the blog, the producer – Andrew Alexander – admitted that the BBC team were not just reporting the day’s news but trying to influence it:

“This was a story where we could make an impact,” he wrote.

“We took a moment to watch the story ripple out across news outlets and social media. Within minutes we heard David Cameron refer to the resignation during his exchanges with Jeremy Corbyn.”

The broadcasting set-up was conceived by Mr Doughty – under advice from fellow Progress backed MPs – to create the maximum damage to Mr Corbyn.

  • On the morning of 23 March, just hours before Mr Corbyn was to tackle David Cameron in Prime Minister’s Questions on the Tories’ Budget U-Turn, a confidential list of loyal and disloyal Labour MPs was leaked to The Times.

The result was predictable: Mr Cameron used PMQs, not to defend the Budget U-Turn, but repeatedly mock the Labour leader for the leaked ‘list’.

It later emerged that the list was compiled three months earlier, yet it was leaked just as Mr Corbyn’s popularity was increasing in the opinion polls, just as the Tories were taking a big hit, just before a PMQs when Cameron was likely to be in very serious trouble, and weeks before the May council and mayoral elections.

So only an enemy within would deliberately leak the list at a key moment in order to help the Tories and do as much damage to Labour under Mr Corbyn as possible – to make them ‘a laughing stock’, as Labour plotter John Woodcock MP put it.

Ironic then that Woodcock privately tweeted to a journalist that it’s a ‘fucking disaster’, presumably to further damage Mr Corbyn. Only he inadvertently tweeted publicly so we can all see what he’s up to and give momentum to the plot against the leader.

  • On 13 June, The Daily Telegraph published an article which gave a deeper insight into the scheming of the Labour MPs, who hoped to topple Mr Corbyn.

The piece entitled: Labour rebels hope to topple Jeremy Corbyn in 24-hour blitz after EU referendum lays out the scheme:

Labour rebels believe they can topple Jeremy Corbyn after the EU referendum in a 24-hour blitz by jumping on a media storm of his own making.

By fanning the flames with front bench resignations and public criticism they think the signatures needed to trigger a leadership race can be gathered within a day.

They see the tactic as a way of securing public support for the move while targeting what is perceived as one of the Labour leader’s major flaws – indecision.

After the referendum Labour splits will return to the fore as the Tories call a string of parliamentary voters on Trident renewal and banning councils holding Israeli boycotts to help rebuild party unity.

While losing the EU referendum is seen as fatal by many to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, continued speculation remains about a challenge if the referendum brings a Remain vote.

Rather than naming a date to make their move some rebels now believe taking advantage of an opportune row holds the beast chance of success.

“It is not going to be a date in the calendar, it will be on the back of a media firestorm. It could happen within 24 hours,” said one Labour MP.

Asked how the coup could take place, another said: “Things go wrong, people have had enough, you start to see resignations and it spirals from there.”

A third Labour MP who served in the shadow cabinet said: “After the referendum there is going to be an immense number of lessons to learn and decisions to make.

“It is likely to be a pang of frustration that makes one colleague say ‘enough and enough’ and just resign. If one person did it and said to others ‘how about it’, things are desperate enough that it will happen.”

  • Now  fast forward to the so-called Morning After the Night Before: Saturday 25 June – less than 36 hours after the Brexit referendum result.

Eight right wing Labour MPs broke cover to use the Brexit vote to knife their leader Mr Corbyn in the back.

MPs Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey submitted a motion of no confidence against him to the Parliamentary Labour Party chairman, John Cryer.

Almost immediately six other Labour MPs went on record backing the motion.

Mr Corbyn defended his conduct in the Euro referendum campaign amid criticisms that he offered no more than lukewarm support for remain, blaming government austerity cuts for alienating voters.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused many of the would-be assassins of being linked to Progress.

“They all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the organisation Progress,” he said.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

  • Within two days – hot on the heels of Mr Corbyn sacking Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary for his part in organising the coup – a battle for the heart and soul of the Parliamentary Labour Party began.

By the evening of Monday 27 June, 34 Labour MPs publicly announced their intention to try and oust Mr Corbyn as leader – with carefully timed resignations from the Shadow Cabinet.

Paul Flynn MP stated what many onlookers were thinking: “Orchestrated treachery. Resignations on the hour by the future Blair Tribute Party. Self-indulgent party games as steel jobs are in new peril.”

One of Mr Corbyn’s staunchest allies Ian Lavery MP said: “If we don’t respect democracy then we stand for nothing. The Labour Party membership gave Jeremy Corbyn a massive mandate. I’m supporting the membership and Jeremy.”

And as a shock to the plotters, shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham stood with the membership.

“At an uncertain time like this for our country, I cannot see how it makes sense for the Opposition to plunge itself into a civil war,” he said.

“I have never taken part in a coup against any leader of the Labour Party and I am not going to start now.

“It is for our members to decide who leads our Party and 10 months ago they gave Jeremy Corbyn a resounding mandate. I respect that and them.”

Angela Eagle was among the resignations from Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet on that Monday, in the wake of the Euro Referendum result and the sacking of Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

But while heaping the blame for Brexit on Mr Corbyn, Ms Eagle failed to admit that just two weeks earlier she publicly said of Mr Corbyn campaigning for Remain: “Jeremy is up and down the country, pursuing an itinerary that would make a 25-year-old tired, he has not stopped.”

And within hours of her resignation, it was revealed that Ms Eagle’s leadership campaign website Angela4Leader was registered at 6pm on Saturday 25 June, hours before Hilary Benn was sacked and two whole days before she resigned.

The website was registered by Joe McCrea, a PR executive who served as a special adviser in Downing Street during Tony Blair’s tenure.

But as we all now know, Ms Eagle’s candidacy was that of a stalking horse for the more media-friendly Owen Smith to step in.

  • The next attempt to subvert democracy occurred on Tuesday 12 July, when a hastily called meeting of Labour’s NEC had to determine whether Mr Corbyn needed the nominations of fellow Labour MPs and MEPs in order to stand for re-election as leader.

The crunch meeting at Labour’s Westminster headquarters began at 2pm and continued well into the evening

NEC members voted 18-14 in a secret ballot that he was not subject to parliamentary nominations and could automatically stand for re-election.

But in a separate decision taken after Mr Corbyn had left the room, the NEC ruled that only those who had been Labour Party members for more than six months would be allowed to vote – while new supporters would be given two days to sign up as registered supporters to vote in the race, but only if they were willing to pay £25.

  • The firestorm was now ablaze and the #chickencoup plotters decided to disenfranchise over 100,000 existing Labour voters, and in doing so deliberately destroy the incentive for people to join the Labour Party.

But the undermining of democracy didn’t end there.

Following the NEC ruling that Labour members who had joined the party since 12 January 2016 had been banned from voting in the upcoming leadership election. They were also denied attending their own constituency Leadership Nomination meetings – even as a non-voting observer.

Yet nowhere in the 12 July NEC ruling is any mention made of banning new members from attending Nomination meetings!

  • The next affront to democracy was done in the open, when millionaire Labour Party donor Michael Foster applied to the High Court to stop Mr Corbyn standing in the leadership election.

But despite the overtly vindictive application, by this close friend of Tony Blair, on 28 July, Mr Justice Foskett ruled that Mr Corbyn could automatically appear on the leadership ballot.

Speaking after the decision was announced Mr Corbyn said: “There should have been no question of the right of half a million Labour Party members to choose their own leader being overturned.

“If anything, the aim should be to expand the number of voters in this election.

“I hope all candidates and supporters will reject any attempt to prolong this process, and that we can now proceed with the election in a comradely and respectful manner.”

  • Having exhausted almost every trick, the leaders of the coup were now so convinced that Jeremy Corbyn would win the leadership contest that they began planning to elect their own leader and launch a legal challenge for the party’s name.

Leading Blairites leaked to the Daily Telegraph that they are looking at plans to set up their own “alternative Labour” if Mr Corbyn remains in post:

The move would see them create their own shadow cabinet and even elect a leader within Parliament to rival Mr Corbyn’s front bench.

They are also already planning to go through the courts to get the right to use Labour’s name and assets including property owned by the party across the country.

They would also approach John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, and argue that having more MPs than Mr Corbyn means they should be named the official opposition.

“The notion that we’ll all go back to happy families is nonsense,” said one prominent Corbyn critic, saying that the plan would help avoid the “nuclear” option of a full party split.

But support for the move is not universal, with some Labour centralists saying a legal challenge would be unlikely to succeed and warning creating a de facto alternative leader would be too provocative.

But the fact the plans are actively being considered by some of the party’s most senior moderate figures shows the level of despondency at Owen Smith’s chances of success and their contempt for democracy.

  • Then on Monday 8 August, came some welcome news. Five new members of the Labour Party won a High Court battle over their legal right to vote in the leadership election.

The five accused the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) of unlawfully “freezing” them and many others out of the high-profile contest even though they had “paid their dues”.

To gain the right to vote, members were given a window of opportunity, between July 18 and 20, to become “registered supporters” on payment of an additional fee of £25. Non-members were given the same opportunity.

But Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled that refusing the five the vote “would be unlawful as in breach of contract”.

The court action gave hope to almost 130,000 Labour supporters who were victims of the freeze.

The judge overturned the requirement that they must have been party members since before 12 January – the “freeze date”.

But it was a short-lived hope.

A few days later – using more than £40,000 of membership money to fight the case – Iain McNicol and the Labour Party elite won an appeal against the High Court ruling.

They also applied to recoup £30,000 towards the legal costs from the five ordinary members who brought the case.

Mr Corbyn’s campaign team responded angrily to the news.

“We think that this is the wrong decision – both legally and democratically,” they said.

“The Court’s ruling disenfranchises nearly 130,000 Labour members, who joined the party since January and were explicitly told that they would have a vote in any leadership election.

“Crucial to the outcome was the introduction of a new argument by the Labour Party HQ’s lawyers, who invoked an obscure clause in the Labour Party rules (Chapter 4, Clause II, 1A), which could be read as giving the NEC the right to ignore all of the rules laid out for leadership elections. In other words, this is a ‘make it up as you go along’ rule. We do not think that making it up as you go along is a reasonable way to conduct democracy in our party.”

  • And then came the now infamous purge of Labour Party members and supporters who were supportive of Mr Corbyn.

The seemingly ad-hoc purge went on throughout August and September, allegedly based on examples of abuse and bullying on social media.

Among the thousands suspended and expelled were Paralympic athlete and disability rights campaigner Kristina Veasey, Ronnie Draper, the leader of the Bakers Union, one member for stating on Facebook that she “fucking loves the Foo Fighters”, one lady who had no access to social media at all and…… me!

I won’t bore readers with my own case. But if interested you can read my appeal against my expulsion here.

Labour deputy leader John McDonnell publicly stated that there was a “rigged purge going on”.

And the purge was conducted in an overtly hypocritical manner.

It’s bad enough that Jeremy Corbyn supporters were purged from the party for stuff as trivial as liking the Foo Fighters too much on their personal Facebook feed, while anti-Corbyn members of the Labour Party establishment were allowed to get away with abuse like calling other members of the party “Nazi stormtroopers” in the mainstream press

But one of the most disgraceful things was the people were being purged for having posted social media comments supporting other political parties long BEFORE they joined Labour.

When the civil rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti delivered her report into alleged cases of anti-Semitism the Labour Party and the NEC agreed to abide by its findings.

One of the clearest recommendations of the whole report was her call for “a moratorium on the retrospective trawling of members’ social media accounts and past comments”.

Instead of heeding this call for a moratorium on social media trawling, the Labour Party NEC instead decided to orchestrate what is almost certainly the most invasive McCarthyite mass trawling exercise in British political history.

Not only were they trawling back through people’s social media accounts to look for signs of disloyalty or thought crime from when people became party members, they were trawling back through comments that were made long before the intended victims of their witch-hunt ever joined the Labour Party.

One of the worst examples of someone being purged for supporting other parties long before Mr Corbyn even became Labour leader is the case of Gemma Angel who was purged from the Labour Party over a Tweet from May 2014 in which she explained her reasons for voting Green.

Another example is Ben Crawford who was also purged for the “crime” of posting Tweets in support of the Green Party between 2014 and 2015.

Then there are the trade union members who are known to support Mr Corbyn.

Steve Hedley, Senior Assistant General Secretary of the RMT, said recently that many RMT members had been excluded in the current purge.

This included a 38 year long member of the Labour Party who put a “like” against a TUSC candidate on Facebook, who was a friend of his.

A close friend and leading lawyer had this to say about the purge: “Nic, I can’t see any way for them to have done the mass purge other than by some form of software that trawls for your name and then terms like “Corbyn”, “Labour” and “traitor” within 10 words of each other or whatever.

“Some flunky will then give the results a cursory glance and fit the briefest of details into the pro forma purge letter.

“When I used to lecture in law we used software called Safe Assignments for plagiarism and needless to say, all the lazy and useless teachers loved it because it highlighted sentences and paragraphs in students’ writing that had apparently been taken from elsewhere on the web and gave them “evidence” for not having to read and assess the essays of their students. I always thought it raised more questions than answers and refused to use it myself.

“I’d really suspect that something like that is being used here, and to “lazy and useless” we can add a few other epithets for the fuckers who are using it on good Labour Party members like you.”

And this hypocritical purge has been far more insidious than we might think.

Iain McNicol put out some figures on 8 September of Labour members excluded/suspended around the leadership election.

A spokesperson for the party declared, “The speculation that huge numbers of applicants have been denied a vote has been wildly exaggerated.” He went on to claim that less than 0.5% of the electorate had been denied a vote.

It is worth drilling down into the figures released by Labour’s Compliance Unit.

The 0.5% claim refers to the entire Labour Party electorate of 650,000, not to new members where the purge was targeted.

After the failed parliamentary coup in June there was another wave of tens of thousands of people joining the party to defend Jeremy Corbyn.

This produced the decision by the July NEC to deprive these members of a vote in the leadership election by setting the freeze deadline at 12 January. Despite this around 180,000 members and supporters paid £25 to be able to vote.

So far, of this group, 21,000 were excluded because “they did not provide details that matched the electoral roll”. This has been interpreted extremely tightly; a slight variation in the person’s name as it appears on the electoral roll, a Flat 1 down as Flat A etc.

Many of these people will never know why they did not receive a ballot paper and did not chase it up and appeal.

Another 3,107 were ruled ineligible on grounds of party rules and a further 1,616 cases are awaiting a decision – that is 4,720 excluded up to 1 September.

Another 3,791 people apparently failed to make the necessary £25 payment – maybe because the website process wasn’t that easy.

So just taking the first two groups, nearly 26,000 people were excluded from voting out of 180,000 who applied, that is 14.4% not 0.5%.

The Compliance Unit then turned its attention to Labour conference delegates with one Labour blogger learning of five Corbyn mandated delegates excluded in 24 hours.

Ian McNicol claimed all these suspensions/barrings have “been approved by the NEC”, but of course the NEC has not met since July.

They are in fact approved by an NEC sub-committee run by the right – the NEC Oversight Panel – the new left leaning NEC does not come into being until next week – after this weekend’s Labour Party Conference.

  • And yesterday, the #chickencoup guns turned heavily towards the conference and the ruling NEC.

The Labour NEC, which includes several imminently-defunct members who will be replaced by Corbyn supporters at the weekend.

But last night at an eve of conference NEC meeting the right wing dominated committee voted by 16-14 to increase its number by two – one member each to be nominated directly by the Blairite leaders of Welsh and Scottish Labour:

Tellingly, no such move was made to put a representative of Northern Ireland Labour on the NEC – doubtless because Labour in Northern Ireland has seen 500% growth in membership under Mr Corbyn and is overwhelmingly pro-Corbyn.

It is another brazen snub to the memberships of the Labour Party and democracy itself.

The move must still be ratified by the Labour Conference, and the outcome of that vote is unclear.

But if the measure passes a Conference vote,  Jeremy Corbyn must take any actions necessary to negate it, whether that be shuffling people like Jon Ashworth, who has voted against Corbyn in every NEC vote, out so that they are removed from the equation and replaced by a better MP, or by withdrawing the whip to disqualify right-wing members so that the post-Conference NEC can overturn it or bring in rules that negate this deeply, shamelessly anti-democratic tactic.

It will go against the grain to take such steps, even to correct such an egregious and underhand wrong – but turnabout is fair play and the anti-democratic faction in the Labour party must not be allowed to succeed. They have underhandedly exploited the rulebook to open this door, so they can’t complain if the rules are used to firmly close it again.

These are the dying efforts of a right wing in retreat at all levels in the Labour Party; an attempt to fight to the last by gerrymandering democracy at every turn.

On the path forward to true democracy, the current General Secretary Iain McNicol must resign.

The Compliance Unit must be abolished and replaced by something that welcomes new members and holds all members to collective discipline – left or right.

We need a sustained effort to involve the new members into an outwardly focused party, campaigning against austerity and against the Tories.

Protecting democracy requires that the general public be educated on how people can be manipulated by the Establishment and media into forfeiting their civil liberties.

Together things can and will change.

  • Thanks to Stuart King for purge statistics section

Eight Labour MPs who should hang their heads in shame

plotters

IN an act of narrow self-interest and political opportunism, eight right wing Labour MPs are using the Brexit vote as a chance to knife their leader Jeremy Corbyn in the back.

MPs Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey yesterday submitted a motion of no confidence against Mr Corbyn to the Parliamentary Labour Party chairman, John Cryer.

Mr Cryer will decide whether it is debated. If accepted, a secret ballot of Labour MPs could be held on Tuesday.

This morning, six other Labour MPs were on record as backing the motion, another 47 are said to have signed support.

The letter, sent to John Cryer, chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) will result in a discussion about Corbyn’s leadership at the next PLP meeting on Monday. It could then lead to a secret ballot of MPs on Tuesday.

Mr Corbyn, a long-time Eurosceptic, defended his conduct in the Euro referendum campaign amid criticisms that he offered no more than lukewarm support for remain, blaming government austerity cuts for alienating voters.

“I’m carrying on. I’m making the case for unity, I’m making the case of what Labour can offer to Britain, of decent housing for people, of good secure jobs for people, of trade with Europe and of course with other parts of the world,” he said last night. “Because if we don’t get the trade issue right we’ve got a real problem in this country.”

Asked about the vote of no confidence, he said: “Margaret [Hodge] is obviously entitled to do what she wishes to do. I would ask her to think for a moment. A Tory prime minister resigned, Britain’s voted to leave the European Union, there are massive political issues to be addressed.

“Is it really a good idea to start a big debate in the Labour party when I was elected less than a year ago with a very large mandate, not from MPs – I fully concede and understand that – but from the party members as a whole?”

The move to oust Mr Corbyn is outrageous, and more than 145,000 ordinary Labour members and supporters have already signed an online petition of total confidence in Mr Corbyn – who already has a mandate as leader from the vast majority of party members.

Yet the  MPs have no mandate whatsoever and most have been plotting their move for a long time.

Indeed six of the eight MPs I named in my investigation back in January entitled The Enemy Within – the 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accuses many of the would-be assassins of being linked to the Blairite campaign group Progress.

“They all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the organisation Progress,” he said.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

So let’s shine a searchlight on these shifty eight MPs and expose their real agenda, which has little or nothing to do with the European referendum or its Brexit outcome:

Margaret Hodge (Barking)

A senior Labour MP and the prime mover of the motion to oust Mr Corbyn. She is a Blairite. She also voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

As chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee she is the party’s fiercest critic of tax avoidance but today it was revealed she was handed more than £1.5million in shares from a tax haven.

The Times reported the multi-millionaire had benefited from a controversial scheme that lets wealthy Britons move undeclared assets back to the UK without facing criminal action.

  • One of my original list of 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn
  • On an official list – leaked from Labour HQ – of MPs ‘most hostile’ to Jeremy Corbyn

Ann Coffey (Stockport)

Co-mover of the motion and a solid Brownite. She voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

  • One of my original list of 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn
  • On an official list – leaked from Labour HQ – of MPs ‘most hostile’ to Jeremy Corbyn

Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)

A Blairite and vocal right winger, openly hostile and an ongoing critic of Mr Corbyn. He voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

  • One of my original list of 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)

Another Brownite and vocal critic of Mr Corbyn. He voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

  • One of my original list of 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn
  • On an official list – leaked from Labour HQ – of MPs ‘most hostile’ to Jeremy Corbyn

Frank Field (Birkenhead)

A senior right wing Blairite MP and probably the fiercest open critic of Mr Corbyn. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

  • One of my original list of 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn

John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness)

Another Blairite and prominent among the attack dogs on Mr Corbyn. He is the former chairman of the Progress group. He voted for bombing Syria. In January he resigned in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s so called ‘purge’ of right wing MPs from his front bench team. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn. In March he tweeted that Mr Corbyn’s performance at the despatch box had been: “A fucking disaster”.

  • One of my original list of 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)

The son of former Labour leader and multi-millionaire European commissioners Neil and Glenys Kinnock. He is married to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish Prime Minister, and as a fervent Euro campaigner probably had more to lose from the Brexit vote. His father Neil Kinnock has been opposed to Mr Corbyn’s politics for more than 30 years.

Back in March Stephen publicly gave notice of a leadership challenge if Labour failed to come second in the Scottish parliament election (Labour came third) and if Mr Corbyn failed to mobilise Labour voters for Remain.

He is viewed as a potential leadership contender from the right wing of the party.

Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge)

Another vocal right winger and former party whip. She voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times

In March she gave notice of a leadership challenge and accused Mr Corbyn of “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” after failing to “skewer” David Cameron over the Budget.

“If Corbyn is not prepared to buckle down and show proper leadership he should just go, and give us a chance to get a leader who can properly take on the Tories,” she said.

But Mr Corbyn still has a number of allies within the parliamentary party, led by John McDonnell, Andy McDonald, Dennis Skinner, Jon Trickett, Catherine Smith, Graham Morris and Diane Abbot.

Outside parliament, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, has been a close ally of Mr Corbyn for three decades, and gave warning to the plotters.

“If your local MP is undermining Jeremy Corbyn, opposing the anti-austerity measures that we want, people should have a right to say: ‘I’d like to have an MP who reflects my view.’ It shouldn’t be a job for life,” he said.

He reiterated his support for automatic reselection, saying it was one of the things he disagrees with Mr Corbyn on.

“The Parliamentary Labour Party does not represent the party outside,” he added.

The remarks by Mr Livingstone fuel suspicions among Labour MPs who oppose Mr Corbyn’s leadership that their time in Westminster may be numbered.

The redrawing the parliamentary boundaries, as part of plans to shrink the size of the Commons from 650 MPs to 600, will provide the opportunity to move against some right wing Labour MPs.

Under the Labour rules for boundary changes, existing MPs have the right to be reselected for a new seat if they can claim a “substantial territorial interest” of at least 40% in the new seat.

But reselection battles could be triggered under the current rules in many of the 206 Labour-held seats in England.

Just 36 will remain unchanged while in 54 of the seats the proposed boundary changes will be larger than 40% of the territory of the constituency, potentially opening them up to new candidates.

  • An hour after publishing this piece, Caroline Flint (Don Valley) – another from my List 28 – was interviewed on Radio Five Live. She celebrated the capitalist free market and denigrated Jeremy Corbyn as a failed leader.

 

 

The Enemy Within – the 28 Labour MPs who Oppose Mr Corbyn

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: of shoes, and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings… and Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies.”

RIGHTLY or wrongly our print and broadcast media have been tied into knots over Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called ‘Revenge Reshuffle’ and the ensuing sackings and resignations from Labour’s front bench team.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accuses many of the rebels involved in these shenanigans of being linked to the Blairite campaign group Progress.

“We have had a few junior members resign and of course that’s their right but they do all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the organisation Progress.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

But this watershed for Mr Corbyn’s Parliamentary Labour Party was always a matter of time.

Those right wingers who have taken the fight to their leader believe they were right to do so. But they can hardly complain when he fights back.

Which leaves them with a simple choice: follow the leader and the refreshing new direction the Labour Party is following – supported by half a million paid up members – or resign from the front bench and other positions of responsibility.

Such actions would produce clear red water between Mr Corbyn and his Westminster detractors and neutralise the betrayal narrative.

Take Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk for example, who courted media attention by suggesting that the floods in the north of England would have been preventable if the government were not so generous with foreign aid, particularly to Bangladesh.

Views that would not be out of place in UKIP or the Conservative Party.

Mr Danczuk has certainly been the most vocal opponent of Mr Corbyn.

In the House of Commons he voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

He even suggested he would stand as a stalking horse candidate later this year in a leadership election bid to oust Mr Corbyn.

But poor Mr Danczuk was suddenly discredited and had the Labour Party whip withdrawn over sexual predator allegations after it was revealed he sent sexually explicit text messages to a teenage girl.

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone says that Labour MPs rebelling against Mr Corbyn need to get behind the leader and has defended his earlier calls for disciplinary procedures against them.

“If Labour looks divided it undermines our chances of defeating the Tories,” he said.

“These MPs like Danczuk, who at least does it honestly on the record unlike some others who are doing nasty snidey things anonymously.”

“They have to decide, ‘do you want another five years of a Tory government or do you actually want to get in behind Jeremy.”

Mr Livingstone, who has been a close ally of Mr Corbyn for three decades, said: “If your local MP is undermining Jeremy Corbyn, opposing the anti-austerity measures that we want, people should have a right to say: ‘I’d like to have an MP who reflects my view.’ It shouldn’t be a job for life.”

He reiterated his support for automatic reselection, saying it was one of the things he disagrees with Mr Corbyn on.

“The Parliamentary Labour Party does not represent the party outside,” he added.

The remarks by Mr Livingstone fuel suspicions among Labour MPs who oppose Mr Corbyn’s leadership that their time in Westminster may be numbered.

The redrawing the parliamentary boundaries, as part of plans to shrink the size of the Commons from 650 MPs to 600, will provide the opportunity to move against some right wing Labour MPs.

Under the Labour rules for boundary changes, existing MPs have the right to be reselected for a new seat if they can claim a “substantial territorial interest” of at least 40% in the new seat.

But reselection battles could be triggered under the current rules in many of the 206 Labour-held seats in England.

Just 36 will remain unchanged while in 54 of the seats the proposed boundary changes will be larger than 40% of the territory of the constituency, potentially opening them up to new candidates.

However, although the voices of dissent within the Parliamentary Labour Party are amplified by the right wing media, an investigation has found that out of 231 MPs, only 28 of them could be regarded as a real threat to Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

Who are they?

For the first time we can name the so-called ‘Enemy Within’… the Labour MPs that Mr Corbyn has most to fear:

Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West – Majority: 5,651)

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle – Majority: 9,333)

A Blairite and vehement opponent of Mr Corbyn, but he is set to retire before the 2020 General Election.

Alison McGovern (Wirral South – Majority: 4,599)

A Blairite and chair of the Progress group. Voted for bombing Syria. Resigned last week from Mr Corbyn’s front bench team.

Ann Coffey (Stockport – Majority: 10,061)

Brownite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times

Ben Bradshaw (Exeter – Majority: 7,183)

Blairite and vocal right winger. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Caroline Flint (Don Valley – Majority: 8,885)

Blairite. Touted as a possible future leadership contender. Voted for bombing Syria.

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle North – Majority: 10,153)

Did not vote to bomb Syria but resigned from Labour Shadow Cabinet last week citing division among Labour MPs

Chris Leslie (Nottingham East – Majority: 11,894)

Brownite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times

Chuka Umunna (Streatham – Majority: 13,934)

A Blairite and former leadership contender. Voted for bombing Syria.

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central – Majority: 12,435)

Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group. Voted for bombing Syria.

Frank Field (Birkenhead – Majority: 20,652)

A Blairite with a huge parliamentary majority. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times. A vocal critic of Mr Corbyn.

Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston – Majority: 2,706)

Blairite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Graham Jones (Hyndburn – Majority: 4,400)

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East – Majority: 14,333)

Voted for bombing Syria. Although in the Shadow Cabinet, a leaked email reveals her private fears that Mr Corbyn’s “hard-Left agenda” is out of touch with the views of voters. She earlier told activists in her constituency that Mr Corbyn would cause ‘division within the party’, and make Labour unelectable.

Helen Jones (Warrington North – Majority: 6,771)

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Ian Austin (Dudley North – Majority: 4,181)

Brownite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Jamie Reed (Copeland – Majority: 3,833)

Blairite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Jenny Chapman (Darlington – Majority: 3,158)

Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group.Voted for bombing Syria.

John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness – Majority: 795)

Blairite. Former chair of the Progress group. Small parliamentary majority. Voted for bombing Syria. Last week resigned in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s so called ‘purge’ of right wing MPs from his front page team. Has previously openly mocked Mr Corbyn.

Kevan Jones (North Durham – Majority: 12,076)

Brownite. Quit the Labour front bench last week and was described by John McDonnell as being “part of a narrow right wing clique”. He also voted for bombing Syria.

Liz Kendall (Leicester West – Majority: 7,203)

Leadership contender. Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group.

Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Margaret Hodge (Barking – Majority: 16,555)

Blairite. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

Mary Creagh (Wakefield – Majority: 2,613)

Voted for bombing Syria and a high profile vocal critic of Mr Corbyn.

Michael Dugher (Barnsley East – Majority: 12,034)

Voted for bombing Syria. A vocal critic of Mr Corbyn and was sacked from his front bench team last week.

Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East – Majority: 10,767)

Sacked from Labour Front Bench last week for briefing against Mr Corbyn. Voted for bombing Syria.

Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden – Majority: 16,922)

A Blairite who voted for bombing Syria.

Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth – Majority: 7,453)

Publicly quit the Labour front bench on live TV last week and described by John McDonnell as being “part of a narrow right wing clique”. Also voted for bombing Syria.

Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central – Majority: 5,179)

Blairite. A vice chair of the Progress group. Touted as a possible future leadership contender. Voted for bombing Syria and was one of 20 rebels who did not oppose George Osborne’s law banning the government from borrowing to fund infrastructure during normal times.

In addition the following senior Labour MPs have sharp ideological differences with Mr Corbyn, but for reasons of party loyalty are not seen as a threat:

Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood), and Gloria De Piero (Ashfield) are all Blairites and each voted for bombing Syria but are reportedly happy in the Shadow Cabinet

The same is true of former Cabinet ministers Blairite Margaret Beckett (Derby South) and Brownite Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) who both voted for bombing Syria.

Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill) the founder of the Progress group, who was once bracketed with Tristram Hunt as an opponent of Mr Corbyn, has yet to rebel against his leader.

Footnote: For a good background to the reshuffle and the Labour rebels, read this from Evolve Politics: http://evolvepolitics.com/labours-right-wing-dissent-only-strengthens-the-tories-and-whats-worse-thats-their-aim/