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

The twisted power of loaded language in the Labour Party

YESTERDAY, Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson claimed that Trotskyists (sic) were seeking to influence the result of the party’s leadership election.

In an article in The Guardian Mr Watson said that members of the Socialist Party (formerly Militant), the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party had infiltrated Labour as part of the surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn.

He claimed that these “Trots” did not have the party’s “best interests at heart”, but saw it as a “vehicle for revolutionary socialism” and were “not remotely interested in winning elections” and they were “twisting young arms in this leadership process”.

Mr Watson’s “Trotsky Twist” claim is interesting for many reasons, primarily because he has introduced the word Trot or Trotsykist (it is Trotskyite, Mr Watson) as terms of abuse against the followers of Mr Corbyn.

This word Trot can be added to a growing dictionary of abuse used by the anti Corbyn camp vis: Hard Left, Loony Left, Commies, Infiltrators, Extremists, Momentum Thugs, Entryists, Dogs, Mob, Brick-Lobbers, Cyber Bullies, Trolls, Anti Semites, Sexists, Vandals and many more.

Remarkable double standards when less than two weeks ago Labour’s NEC decided to ban Labour Party members from using the word Blairite under threat of being barred from voting in the leadership election.

The word Blairite has been added to a list of proscribed words – which also includes Scab, Scum and Red Tory – provided by Labour HQ.

Interestingly the edict didn’t ban Labour right-wingers from using the slanderous, misleading and abusive terms defined above, to describe the 300,000+ new members from all ages, areas and demographic groups attracted to the Labour Party since last summer.

As far as the NEC is concerned it’s perfectly fine for Labour right-wingers to damage the reputation of the Party by referring to hundreds of thousands of their own members with vicious and inaccurate slurs, yet anyone who refers to Tony Blair acolytes as Blairites has committed such a severe crime that they could be stripped of their right to vote in the leadership election.

Yet, it’s obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of British politics that the Blairites are the entryists who took over a left-wing political party and switched it to the promotion of Rupert Murdoch approved Thatcherism (driving away 5 million Labour voters between 1997 and 2010 in the process).

It’s remarkable how so many of the terms of abuse that the Labour right-wingers hurl at Jeremy Corbyn supporters (bullies, infiltrators, cultists, entryists) are so much more applicable to themselves than the victims of their slurs.

But that is how psychological bullies operate.

They project their own character traits onto their victims, and then continually blame their victims for the abuse they subject them to.

Loaded language is their stock in trade, learned assiduously from their Tory friends and their pals in the print media.

Last December, then Prime Minister David Cameron was repeatedly asked to apologise for labelling MPs who might vote against bombing in Syria as “Terrorist Sympathisers”.

It was a failed but oblique attempt to score points against Jeremy Corbyn for his historical support for Hamas and Sinn Fein.

Biased use of language, with a nakedly political motive, is clearly poisonous.

UK tabloids like the Murdoch-owned Sun that has compared immigrants to cockroaches recall the dark days of the Nazi media attacking those they sought to eliminate, says the UN’s human rights chief.

“The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches,” said UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

He singled out an article by far right media columnist Katie Hopkins, published by the Sun, in which she wrote: “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches.”

The use of language to load news reporting and political rhetoric is used regularly in domestic situations.

The British press regularly use the adjectives Far Left, Hard Left and Loony Left to describe Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party, while referring to more right wing MPs as being Moderates.

Never do they seek to define what the word Moderate means or ever refer to David Cameron or Theresa May as being Far Right or Hard Right.

What we are observing is an adjectival degradation.

Every report, coming from inside governments or institutions outside is, if it contains some form of criticism, therefore “damning”, “devastating” or “scathing”.

Warnings, which most of the time were not heeded anyhow, are “stark”, differences of opinion between politicians of the same party are “dramatic splits“, developments are “alarming” – the consumer of the media is confronted with a permanent linguistic overkill.

Remember how Tony Blair and his spin doctors rebranded the Labour Party as New Labour and Blair’s Labour as he courted Rupert Murdoch and the so-called Middle England vote in the 1990s.

For marketing and propaganda purposes he even banned the use of the word socialist or socialism among his MPs.

The final irony is that now almost 20 years later the word Blairite is considered a term of abuse by the Labour Party.

Is that the final abuse?

 

Corbyn’s chimes of freedom give hope beyond the Blairite lies

blair

YOU usually only get the true measure of a person when you meet them face to face.

And so it was for me when I first interviewed erstwhile Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, soon after his election victory in 1997.

I had briefly met Mr Blair two years earlier in Glasgow while he was celebrating Labour’s landslide wins in the local council elections. He was triumphant, beaming and pressing flesh in every direction. The Scottish faithful loved him.

I had helped elect him and his Labour Government on 1 May 1997, thus ending 18 years of Thatcherism and Majorism and the class-ridden Tory ruination of our country.

Like millions of others I was now hopeful for a brighter and more socially equal future… after all, things could only get better!

So when, in early December I was asked by my news editor at the Sunday Sun (a North of England Sunday tabloid, not to be confused with the poisonous rag the Sun on Sunday!) if I would like to interview the new Prime Minister on his return to his Sedgefield constituency, I jumped at the chance.

On a sunny Saturday morning, armed with a hand-held tape recorder and full of questions, I made my way to the Labour Club at Trimdon in County Durham.

The club was full with the local faithful and many more had gathered outside. Here was the return of the conquering hero.

Looking tall in a dark suit, white shirt and equally dark blue tie, Mr Blair addressed the audience inside the club about his hopes and plans for a New Labour Britain.

It was typical political rhetoric, the type I had heard many times from other party leaders. But Blair was convincing and comfortable in the knowledge that he was among friends.

He finished to a standing ovation and began to mingle with party activists.

I approached his agent John Burton and requested a few minutes of the PM’s time for an interview which I could guarantee we would run the next day.

Ten minutes later John tapped me on the shoulder and told me Mr Blair was ready for ‘a chat’.

So I faced our new leader, introduced myself and asked him about his proposed cuts in benefits to lone parents. He noticeably winced at this first question, and in words which would not be alien to David Cameron, he said: “I think most people understand that we have got to reform the system. Because if you are spending more on benefits than you are on schools, hospitals and law and order put together, there is a problem.”

Asked if stalwarts in his constituency shared many fellow Labour MPs’ fears over benefit cuts, he became slightly more agitated.

He said: “Look, I have always said that whenever you are doing change then it is always difficult to begin with. We have got to make these reforms and I think people will accept them as changes we have to make.”

Then in words which could have come straight from Conservative Central Office he gave a stark indication that the disabled and sick would be the next to face an overhaul of their benefits.

“We spend more on disabled and incapacity benefits than we do on the entire school system in the UK,” he told me, before adding: “Benefit fraud – estimated at £4 to £5 billion a year – is enough to build 100 large hospitals.

“If we achieve these reforms then it will be a magnificent legacy that the New Labour Government has left us in a new millennium.”

We talked for another ten minutes before the Prime Minister moved away to the safety of his constituency friends.

This was my political watershed.

Personally I felt my interview with Mr Blair was enlightening for many reasons.

Primarily because during the course of the conversation, Mr Blair avoided any eye contact and instead looked right through me, as if reading from an auto cue.

Secondly, because these were not the words, or message to the poorest in our society, that I was expecting from a new Labour Prime Minister. A Prime Minister charged with turning back almost two decades of Conservative pillage and division.

And finally, when all else failed, Mr Blair seemed to rely on cheap soundbites and a pre-learned script.

There was not one ounce of sincerity in anything he said.

He had lost me!

And over the next four years, the actions and policies of Mr Blair’s New Labour government confirmed my worst fears.

While I still voted Labour in the June 2001 General Election, I had lost all confidence in this light blue successor to Thatcher or any dreams of a more equitable Britain.

The events of post 9/11, Mr Blair’s unswerving support of the moronic George W Bush, the illegal invasion of Afghanistan and the lies over the justification for war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, finally nailed it.

I felt that like many, I had been caught in a web of lies and propaganda and lost in a smokescreen of rhetoric and deceit.

The poor were poorer, the rich got richer, and the innocent victims of Blair’s wars lay charred and dead.

So by 2005, for the first time in my life I did NOT vote for any party or political leader.

Under Thatcher, Major, Blair and Cameron our country had been sleep walking into a world of personal greed, arrogance and self-importance with totems such as The X Factor, Top Gear, designer clothes labels and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Human kindness, gentleness, peace, society and social justice were jettisoned for a winner takes all mentality and a scapegoating of the homeless, those claiming benefits, Muslims, asylum seekers and the poor in general.

All of this was underpinned by our malicious gutter press who daily smeared and pilloried anyone who dared question the status quo or suggest alternatives.

And the Labour Party, which should have been standing and campaigning for a more just society crumpled into a Tory Lite modelled in the image of war monger Tony Blair.

Following Cameron’s election victory in May 2105 I published a lengthy report stating that the Left “must begin now to unify around a leader or leadership we can all trust, organise and start the fightback, or we wave farewell to any hope for a fairer and better future.”

Deep inside I cried a million tears as I thought it was a vain hope.

Then something dramatic, wonderful and unexpected happened.

Last September’s landslide election of Jeremy Corbyn as the first truly socialist leader of the Labour Party since Clement Atlee was a pivotal moment in British politics.

And profound moment for me personally.

Two months ago I re-joined the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn’s messages of justice, care, peace and equality caught the hearts and minds of millions and a world away from the capitalist greed of Tony Blair and his minions.

The world was turning again and people became engaged with their own future and the power that collectively we can wage for a better tomorrow.

Now as Jeremy Corbyn is under daily assault from those same minions and their friends in the media, we must dig deep and ensure his re-election as leader on 24 September.

#Together4Corbyn

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind An’ the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales For the disrobed faceless forms of no position Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts All down in taken-for-granted situations Tolling for the deaf an’ blind, tolling for the mute Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Even though a cloud’s white curtain in a far-off corner flashed An’ the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale An’ for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

(Bob Dylan, 1964)

 

 

The longest suicide note in history and time to deselect a Labour MP

AT 1pm today (Tuesday) more than 600 members of Wolverhampton South West Constituency Labour Party were informed by email that their Leadership Nomination meeting – scheduled for tomorrow – had been cancelled.

The CLP executive said the cancellation was due to: “The High Court ruling yesterday, we would have to invite over 600 members, which can’t be accommodated and it is not possible to find a larger venue in 24 hours and inform all members”.

A final denial of democracy in this gerrymandered leadership election.

Sharp intake of breath.

Then with a bitter twist of irony, a letter arrived from the sitting Labour MP Rob Marris explaining why we (ordinary Labour Party members in Wolverhampton South West) should NOT be voting for the incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn.

But this was no ordinary letter… it was a SEVEN page epistle of Marks and Spencer’s proportions dripping with bile, innuendo, misinformation and personal vitriol.

It was one of the most nasty and poisonous attacks by an MP on his party leader that I have seen in over 30 years as a journalist and political commentator.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all, Mr Marris is the MP who:

  • Emailed party members on 25 June explaining why he had lost confidence in Jeremy Corbyn – a full five days BEFORE he took his turn to resign from the Shadow Cabinet.
  • Blamed Mr Corbyn’s failure to address Eastern European immigration as the reason for the Brexit referendum vote. In doing so he took a leaf out of Nigel Farage’s book of blame by stating that this was the “perception” of his constituents.
  • And now backs Owen Smith for leader (he included Mr Smith’s leadership campaign leaflet with his letter) – the former PR professional whose blundering handed thousands of Welsh votes to UKIP in the 2014 EU elections.

So let’s address some of what Mr Marris has to say in his seven page assault. It starts quite tamely but gets a lot worse.

My observations and answers are in bold:

  1. I have observed with dismay the declining state of the Labour Party since the missed opportunity of May 2015.  Firstly there was the precipitate resignation of Ed Miliband.  Next there was the lacklustre 2015 leadership campaign, in which I nominated no candidate. That led to the election of Jeremy Corbyn.

“Lacklustre” leadership campaign! I and many others view the 2015 leadership campaign as the most exciting ever witnessed. It engaged young and old alike, bringing in tens of thousands of people who had been disengaged from British politics for far too long.

  1. I loyally supported Jeremy Corbyn as a shadow minister for 10 months.  However, after the PLP ballot showed that 80% of the PLP had lost confidence in his leadership, I then told him that I regarded his position as untenable.

See my note above: Mr Marris had emailed Wolverhampton South West Labour Party members on 25 June explaining why he had lost confidence in Jeremy Corbyn well before the ballot result of 28 June and his resignation two days after that.

  1. The May 2016 results in England were quite a bit worse than they should have been, given six years of an unpopular Conservative government and George Osborne’s failed medicine of extreme austerity. However much he wants to spin and deny it, Mr Corbyn is the first opposition leader since 1985 to lose council seats in a non-General Election year.

Labour’s results in the May elections were better than Tony Blair, David Cameron and Ed Miliband for a leader of party in his first year in office. If we ignore the debacle in Scotland – caused by a Blairite Scottish leadership under Progress backed Kesia Dugdale – Labour finished the elections in control of 58 English councils and 1,326 seats, compared to the Tories 38 councils and 842 seats – in addition the Tories LOST 48 seats! The smokescreen of Mr Corbyn’s poor showing in the May elections, is just that: a smokescreen.

  1. All of this happened before Jeremy Corbyn fired Hilary Benn which precipitated the wave of resignations.

Mr Corbyn fired Mr Benn because the Leeds Central MP admitted that he was organising a coup and telephoning fellow MPs, persuading them to resign from the Shadow Cabinet.

  1. Over the last two months, Labour’s standing in opinion polling has gone from bad to worse. The July ICM opinion poll saw the Conservative lead stretch to 16%, and we are seeing regular double-digit Conservative polling leads in polls generally.  42% of those who voted Labour in May 2015 will no longer commit to voting Labour again at a general election.

During the last week of June – days before the coup against Mr Corbyn, Labour was neck and neck with the Tories in all opinion polls – and ahead in two polls. The demise of Labour in opinion polls is wholly due to the party being split by the coup and those like you, Mr Marris who seek to undermine the leader and party unity. As Joe Public I certainly wouldn’t vote Labour at this present time!

  1. Mr Corbyn has not been able to command the political respect of those who have worked most closely with him and observed him close-up.  His decision not to resign when he is unable to command the support of even a “substantial body” of MPs, let alone a majority, flies in the face of the recognition of the need for such support when the new system for electing the party leader was drawn up.

Why should he resign? He was elected by us, the membership and NOT by you Mr Marris or most of the MPs who have plotted against him. Democracy starts and ends with the members and is NOT vested in the hands of 172 self-seeking career MPs. Let’s now wait and see whether the members re-elect Mr Corbyn. Then maybe it is time for you to seek a new party?

  1. Given the result of that ballot of MPs, on Wednesday morning 29 June I texted and e-mailed to Mr Corbyn saying that I believed his position was untenable.  Rudely, he did not bother to respond.  He continues stubbornly to cling to office.  So on Thursday 30 June I resigned as a junior Shadow Treasury minister.

See my answer to #2 above. Mr Corbyn was hardly the one being rude as he struggled to reform the Shadow Cabinet amid the treachery of MPs like yourself.

  1. Mr Corbyn’s supporters try to hoodwink people as to his mandate.  In 2015 Mr Corbyn got 251,417 (= 59.5%) votes cast by Labour members and supporters.  In 1994 Mr Blair got 507,950 (= 57.00%) of the votes cast by members and supporters – well over twice what Mr Corbyn achieved.

The clue is in the percentage. Mr Blair was elected by a larger electorate. It is still true that Mr Corbyn has the biggest mandate (59.5%) on a first ballot than any Labour leader in history. Political analysts have calculated that if the election had progressed to a 4th ballot (Corbyn v Burnham) his likely share of the vote would have been closer to 70%, as many supporters of Yvette Cooper are now backing Mr Corbyn!

  1. It saddens me to have to say that Mr Corbyn is a hypocrite as well.  In 1988 he and the handful of his fellow MPs in the tiny Campaign Group voted out of the blue to launch Tony Benn’s challenge to the leader Neil Kinnock.

In 1988 Mr Corbyn was a backbencher and free to vote for whoever he wanted in what was then an open leadership election. He was NOT a Shadow Cabinet minister sworn to loyalty to the leadership, as you were in June 2016. And he was never part of coup!

  1. Jeremy Corbyn as an MP voted against the Labour whip over 500 times – and now he lectures us on loyalty! Mr Blair had an almost equally strong mandate from the Party.  In addition Mr Blair had the overwhelming support of Labour MPs.  Furthermore he also won three General Elections.

Mr Corbyn was a backbench MP free to vote on conscience and stayed true to his principles and his constituents. Mr Blair may have won three General Elections, but he also took us into an illegal war in Iraq on the back of a raft of lies. A war which saw the murder of 500,000 innocent people. In addition, undisputed UN figures show that 1.7 million Iraqi civilians also died due to the West’s brutal sanctions regime, supported by Mr Blair. Winning elections and murdering women and children is not why I support a Labour leader. Do I sense a bit of a Blairite in you, Mr Marris?

  1. The problems Labour now faces certainly did not start under Jeremy Corbyn, but he was lukewarm about Remain, and so the Labour Remain campaign never really got out of second gear. The BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, used evidence from correspondence between the Leader’s office and the Labour Remain campaign to report last month how: “documents passed to the BBC suggest Jeremy Corbyn’s office sought to delay and water down the Labour Remain campaign”, verging on deliberate sabotage.

I find it most interesting that you take anything that the Tory BBC correspondent Laura Kuenssberg says as either evidence or true. She is the most overtly politically biased reporter I have ever had the misfortune to come across.

  1. He sounded as if he were comparing the government of Israel to Islamic State a when he spoke his own press conference on anti-Semitism on 1 July this year, reportedly in prepared remarks. He said:  “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”  What a maladroit comparison.

As a history graduate, former history teacher and campaigner for the liberation of Palestine, I suggest you look more closely at (a) How Israel came into being by the wholesale theft of land (b) Its ongoing atrocities against the Palestinian people and (c) The murder of 2,200 (United Nations OCHA figures) innocent men, women and children in Gaza in the summer of 2014. But more importantly, you (like John Mann MP and others) are deliberately equating Jews with Zionist Israel to smear Mr Corbyn and others with the anti-semitism brush. Not all Jews are Zionists, just as not all Zionists are Jews. Something Mr Corbyn was trying the illuminate.

  1. At that same press conference an anti-racist campaigning MP was abused by a member of the audience, yet Mr Corbyn said nothing; nothing.

The MP was Ruth Smeeth – a Progress backed MP and opponent of Mr Corbyn – who span the incident for her own advantage. Mr Corbyn had no locus to intervene as the meeting was being chaired by Shami Chakrabarti.

  1. Mr Corbyn has made several appearances on Press TV, for which he was paid (and duly declared) several times.  Press TV is part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s tightly controlled broadcasting machinery.  Its director is appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader – the country’s chief religious and political authority – which means that its output is often biased in favour of strict establishment ideology.

Iran is the victim of black Western propaganda, instigated by the US following the fall of the Shah in 1979 – the Shah was a puppet of the West who came to power in an Anglo-American coup d’état in 1953. Iran is not perfect but a darn sight fairer and less aggressive than Turkey or Israel. It is a bastion of true Islam – unlike the capitalist Islam of Saudi Arabia or the UAE. And judging by recent reporting and the LSE study of media bias, the BBC’s output is also “often biased in favour of strict establishment ideology”. 

  1. For many years he has offered apologetics for dictatorship and anti-democracy.  For example, he has championed/made excuses for the IRA, the Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez, the undemocratic Fidel Castro, and of course Hamas and Hezbollah.

A study in the history of the island of Ireland, Venezuela, Palestine, Lebanon and Cuba is recommended. I tend to remember Mr Cameron and Margaret Thatcher describing Nelson Mandela and the ANC as terrorists. One man’s terrorist is far too often another man’s freedom fighter.

  1. On 12 July the NEC met to discuss how to proceed with the leadership election. NEC member Johanna Baxter later said of that meeting:  “The leader of the Labour party voted against the proposal that we conduct our vote in private in order to protect NEC members who were receiving threats, bullying and intimidation. He voted against it. He endorsed bullying, threats and intimidation, by the fact of that vote.”

The bullying smear and smokescreen appears again! Johanna Baxter’s cyber bully was a woman named Claire Khaw – a far right Nazi who had no links to the Labour Party and certainly none to Jeremy Corbyn. At the NEC meeting Mr Corbyn was defending transparent democracy and not the antics of some far right nutter.

  1. On Monday 27 June 2016 Mr Corbyn addressed a rally of his supporters outside Parliament, where several participants were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “eradicate Blairite vermin”.  Mr Corbyn did not upbraid let alone castigate them for doing so, even though this took place less than a fortnight after a Labour MP was murdered.

There were an estimated 3,000 people at that spontaneous rally. While most were Labour Party members, others (such as two friends of mine) had no party allegiance while others belonged to the Socialist Workers Party, The Greens, Class War and many other organisations. Evidence has also emerged that the people wearing crisp new “eradicate Blairite vermin” T-shirts were backed by Progress as part of a stunt to undermine the supporters.  Mr Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party… he is NOT the Messiah!

  •  Post Script: In my opinion Mr Marris is out-of-touch with the Labour membership, out of touch with his constituents and out of touch with what is happening around him. His letter is the longest suicide note in history and I hope that once the leadership election is over, we as Labour Party members will seek his deselection and that of other MPs with similar views.

 

The right wing incontinence of the Progress plotters

IT is more than 30 years since former Labour leader Neil Kinnock began his attack on Militant – as a left wing ‘Party within a Party’ seeking to undermine core Labour values.

Within six years Militant had been proscribed by Mr Kinnock and banned from ever being part of the Labour Party.

Now in 2016, his son Stephen Kinnock is part of a sinister group known as Progress – a right wing ‘Party within a Party’.

More sinister and undermining than Militant ever was.

And Mr Kinnock Junior is now talking openly about a right wing breakaway from the Labour Party – working title: Continuity Labour (or should it be Incontinence Labour?) if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected Leader in September.

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

Progress runs on £260,000-a-year funding from Lord Sainsbury.

He used to fund the Labour Party, giving over £6.3 million between 2005 and 2010. But he stopped funding Labour when Ed Miliband got elected. Angry at Miliband’s shuffle to the left, Sainsbury went on a rich man’s strike.

But he didn’t just take his money and go home. Instead of funding Labour, he funds Progress, whose job is to keep Labour right wing and Blairite. Its income since 2010 is about £1.5 million.

Progress, through its website, its weekend school, its meetings at Labour’s conference and its activist network push the candidates and policies Sainsbury likes.

Tristram Hunt 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.

Sainsbury originally got Derek Draper to run Progress.

He soon disgraced himself and Labour by claiming he could get influence with the New Labour government for corporate lobbyists.

Despite this early link to a lobbying scandal, Progress still relies on money and contacts from lobbyists, alongside Sainsbury’s cash. In fairness, Progress is more open about its income than it used to be. Its website advises that in 2014 it relied on money and support from Bellenden Public Affairs, a lobbying firm that represents privatisers like Serco and NHS outsourcer Care UK.

Progress also took money from Lexington, another lobbying firm whose clients include Interserve, another major privatiser, and the “Giant Vampire Squid” of banking, Goldman Sachs. The City of London Corporation put some cash into the Progress operation as well.

Progress is deeply committed to pro-privatisation and pro-corporate policies. It has also campaigned to reduce trade union influence in the Labour Party.

During last year’s Labour leadership election Progress supported Liz Kendall for Labour leader and Tessa Jowell for mayor of London.

Progress could not pick a candidate for deputy leader — which shows how deeply Progress is embedded in the parliamentary party. The three deputy leader candidates — Caroline Flint, Ben Bradshaw and Stella Creasy — are all Progress members, so they couldn’t choose which one to back.

Progress’s attempts to shift the party towards privatisation and other business-friendly policies favoured by their funders aren’t hard to find.

But they don’t get reported that much because most national journalists both rely on Progress members for their stories and agree with their Blairite arguments.

Only now are people waking up to the sinister nature of Progress’s coup attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn.

Paul Flynn MP (Newport) condemned the plotters as:

“Orchestrated treachery. Resignations on the hour by the future Blair Tribute Party. Self-indulgent party games as steel jobs are in new peril.”

Even former SNP leader Alex Salmond – a politician I know personally and someone steeped in honesty – called out the Progress plotters.

The mass resignation of senior Labour MPs over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party is a “disgusting, organised coup”, he said.

But their plotting has been an open secret.

An article in the Telegraph dated the 16 June detailed that the Progress led

“Labour rebels hope to topple Jeremy Corbyn in 24-hour blitz after EU referendum.”

Further evidence that these Labour MPs have been plotting against Mr Corbyn and would have assailed his leadership regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the MPs in Progress as a “narrow right-wing clique”, “conservative” and “hard right”.

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

In 2012 the GMB openly accused Progress of being a “party within a party”.

It unsuccessfully submitted a resolution to Labour’s annual conference in September that year to try to “outlaw” the group.

The Labour Party said it would consider the GMB motion but stressed that it was “not in the business of excluding people”. A cruel irony considering what it is now doing to supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

“We are a party that is reaching out to people, gaining new supporters and offering real change for the country in these tough times. The Labour Party is a broad church and we are not in the business of excluding people,” said a party spokesman at the time.

The GMB expressed concerns that Progress was operating to undermine the party, accusing it of attempting to sabotage Labour’s London mayoral campaign.

A motion passed at the union’s congress in 2012 accused “prominent members” of Progress briefing against Ed Miliband and said was responsible for persuading Labour’s front bench “to support cuts and wage restraint”.

It went on to say: “Congress notes that Progress advances the strategy of accepting the Tory arguments for public spending cuts.

“Congress believes that such factional campaigns to undermine Labour candidates, and to soften opposition to Tory policies, endanger the unity of the party and the movement in our fight against the coalition government.”

Progress hit back claiming there was “no evidence whatsoever” of its members briefing against the Labour leader, and that any attempt to suggest it had not backed Ken Livingstone for London mayor was “uncomradely”.

Detailed research carried out by Walking The Breadline adds more detail to just who is who within Progress:

Progress is chaired by Alison McGovern. Its 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. Its honorary president is former Minister Stephen Twigg.

Progress is constituted as a private company limited by guarantee, with a legal board of directors in 2012 consisting of Jennifer Gerber, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Robert Philpot and Stephen Twigg.

Prior to 2015, Progress was chaired by John Woodcock – the same MP who viciously attacked Jeremy Corbyn during the Trident debate last week.

Prior to 2012, Progress was chaired by MP and former Minister Stephen Twigg, and the honorary president was Alan Milburn, the former Secretary of State for Health. Jonathan Mendelsohn was its treasurer.

Current members of the Progress strategy board include: Baroness King of Bow, Gloria De Piero MP, Nick Smith MP, Phil Wilson MP, Cllr Florence Nosegbe (Lambeth), Cllr Claire Reynolds (Tameside), Cllr Rachel Hodson (Doncaster), Cllr Paul Brant (Liverpool) Cllr Mandy Telford (Cumbria), Hopi Sen, Joan Ryan and Joe Mann.

Since its inception Progress has had a number of operational directors: Derek Draper (former aide to Peter Mandelson), Darren Murphy (former Special Adviser), Patrick Diamond (former Special Adviser), Jennifer Gerber, Jessica Asato (acting director), Richard Angell (acting director), Robert Philpot (retired October 2014) and Richard Angell.

Progress donations and sponsorship since 2001:

Lord Sainsbury – £2,022,500

Lord Montague (trust) – £875,500

Pfizer/Pharmacia – £52,287.50 (Owen Smith’s former employer)

Sir Frank Lowe – £49,999.98

Lord Bhattacharyya – £20,000

John Mendelsohn – £10,000

Sovereign Strategy – £12,000

Network Rail Infrastructure – £5,875

Total donations – £3,059,673.16

It is also worth noting that Conor McGinn MP who alleged bullying against Jeremy Corbyn might have overlooked mentioning this fact.

Kate is Chair of the Young Fabians, the under-31s section of the Fabian Society and Political Adviser to leadership contender Owen Smith MP.

Seema Malhotra who last week accused aides of Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell of violating her security and effectively breaking into her office after her resignation, is also a member of Progress, as is Ruth Smeeth who accused Mr Corbyn of  anti-semitism three weeks ago.

To sum up, these right wing Blairite plotters, who undermine democracy at every turn, must now be put on notice: We are watching you, have noted your actions and your time as a Labour MP is numbered:

  • Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
  • Alison McGovern (Wirral South)
  • Angela Eagle (Wallasey)
  • Ann Coffey (Stockport)
  • Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)
  • Caroline Flint (Don Valley)
  • Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)
  • Chuka Umunna (Streatham)
  • Conor McGinn (St Helens North)
  • Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)
  • Frank Field (Birkenhead)
  • Gloria de Piero (Ashfield)
  • Hilary Benn (Leeds Central)
  • Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East)
  • Jamie Reed (Copeland)
  • Jenny Chapman (Darlington)
  • Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley)
  • John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness)
  • Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge)
  • Julie Elliot (Sunderland Central)
  • Keir Starmer (Holborn & St Pancras)
  • Kevan Jones (North Durham)
  • Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill)
  • Liz Kendall (Leicester West)
  • Lucy Powell (Manchester Central)
  • Margaret Hodge (Barking)
  • Maria Eagle (Garston)
  • Michael Dugher (Barnsley East)
  • Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent)
  • Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East)
  • Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)
  • Ruth Smeeth (Stoke on Trent North)
  • Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston)
  • Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)
  • Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South)
  • Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)
  • Stephen Twigg (West Derby)
  • Steve Reed (Croydon North)
  • Toby Perkins (Chesterfield)
  • Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central)
  •  

Legal view in favour of Jeremy Corbyn

I have been friends with Gordon Dangerfield for more than 25 years. In case you don’t know him, Gordon is one of Scotland’s top lawyers and for the past few years has been handling the Tommy Sheridan v Murdoch case.

His brilliant blog piece re-blogged here sets out why his legal opinion is that JC does NOT need nominations to stand as leader. I find his opinion and words refreshing:

NOW THEY WANT CORBYN TO CHALLENGE HIMSELF

By Gordon Dangerfield

As everyone with a functioning brain knows, the Chicken Coup plotters against Jeremy Corbyn — and against democracy — have been coming out with outrageous whopper after whopper ever since the man was elected in a landslide, each one reported faithfully as gospel truth by our utterly corrupt and craven media.

One of the best whoppers, which according to the Herald  will give rise to “intense legal argument”, is that the Labour Party Rules prevent Corbyn from even standing for his own job — the job he was democratically elected to do in a landslide less than a year ago.

Of course, in a functioning democracy, with a media willing to engage in — and intellectually capable of engaging in — independent thought and research, this whopper would be instantly exposed as such.

But then, if we had a functioning democracy, with an independent and competent media, all of the treachery and lies of the Chicken Coup plotters would have been nailed long since.

So let me do here what any journalist capable of actual journalism would have done for you the moment this ridiculous lie was first floated by the plotters.

Let me just quickly show you why the notion of Jeremy Corbyn having to challenge himself for the leadership of the Labour Party is utter bollocks.

You can find the current version of the Labour Party Rules here:

Paragraph 2 of clause II of Chapter 4 of the Rules  deals with the election of the party leader and deputy leader. Part B of paragraph 2 says this:

Nomination

  1. In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be supported by 15 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP.

Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

  1. Where there is no vacancy, nominations may be sought by potential challengers each year prior to the annual session of party conference. In this case, any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP.

Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

So there are two situations covered by the Rules.

In the first one, the leader has resigned, and there is a vacancy. In that case, every candidate for the leadership needs the support of 15 per cent of the Commons members of Parliament and of the European Parliament  (let’s just call them MPs) before (s)he can stand.

In other words, in the first one, there’s no sitting leader, and no challenger, and every candidate is a nominee of equal standing, each requiring 15 per cent support of MPs.

In the second one, things are very different.

In the second one, there is a sitting leader who has not resigned but who is open to challenge at any time. In that case, every potential challenger to the leader needs the support of 20 per cent of MPs before (s)he can stand.

Yep, that’s right. It’s only the challenger who needs the support.

And the support needed to mount a challenge is higher than in the first case — 20 per cent instead of 15.

The reasons for the differences between the first and second cases are blindingly obvious to anyone capable of actual thought.

The Rules are different in the second case precisely to discourage the inevitable turmoil caused by stupid and malicious challenges to sitting leaders (even ones not elected in a landslide less than a year before).

If you need any evidence for that proposition, well, just read the papers or watch the TV news.

But still, don’t take my word for this.

Scroll back up and check the actual wording of the Rules themselves.

See it?

…potential challengers…

Only a potential challenger to a sitting leader needs the 20 per cent support of MPs to be nominated.

The sitting leader doesn’t need any nomination or support because he’s the one being challenged.

There can only be a challenger where there is a sitting leader in place who is not that challenger and to whom the the requirements for challengers do not, by definition, apply.

That’s precisely the difference between the first and second cases.

So this is what the “intense legal argument” comes down to.

The Chicken Coup plotters and all their media pals say that Jeremy Corbyn  must now challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the job of leader of the Labour Party.     

And if Jeremy Corbyn the challenger can’t muster up enough support to challenge Jeremy Corbyn the leader, then…

Well, what exactly?

It’s all bollocks, pure and simple.

Only our brain-dead and hegemonic media could even repeat it with a straight face.

If the plotters are stupid enough to take their “argument” to court, they’ll be laughed out of it right quick.

When that happens, please remember to have another good laugh at our ridiculous media too.

Song for Jeremy

Go ahead and smear him because he makes you doubt

Because he has denied himself the things you can’t live without

Laugh at him behind his back just like the others do

Remind him of what he could have been when he comes walking through

 

But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone

 

Stop your conversation when he passes on the stairs

Hope he falls upon himself, no-one really cares

Because he can’t be exploited by media moguls anymore

Because he can’t be bribed or bought by the things that you adore

 

But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone

 

When the whip that’s keeping you in line doesn’t make him jump

Say he’s hard-of-hearing, as ridiculous as Donald Trump

Say he’s out of step with reality as you try to test his nerve

Because he doesn’t pay tribute to the Queen that you serve

 

But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone

 

Say that he’s a loser because he uses common sense

Because he doesn’t increase his worth at someone else’s expense

Because he’s not afraid of trying, he embraces others with a smile

Because he doesn’t threaten foreigners, say he’s got no style

 

But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone

 

You can laugh at austerity, you can play your nuclear games

You think that when you rest at last you’ll go back from where you came

But you’ve pocketed your bonuses and you’ve changed since the womb

What happened to the real you, you’ve been captured but by whom?

 

But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone

 

(with thanks to Bob Dylan for the inspiration)

Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner share my badge of honour

TO me this means more than any press award I have won, any degree I have worked for and more than any story or book I have ever published.

It is simply a Motion in the House of Commons signed jointly by five of my political heroes.

It stays with me and now as the Blairite knives are turned on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, it becomes even more precious.

It goes back 22 years to when I was working as an unknown reporter on a weekly local newspaper in south west Scotland.

A year earlier in 1993 I began investigating a report into high levels of radiation in the local waters of the Solway Firth.

This in turn led to a huge investigation into the test firing of depleted uranium (DU) artillery shells (the same used by Allied forces in both Gulf Wars) at a nearby MoD proving ground and a link with  local clusters of childhood cancer.

The full story can be read here: Suppression of the Truth: Depleted Uranium – The Deadly Killer.

Then suddenly, and without any warning, in the late Spring of 1994 I was given two press awards for my newspaper investigations – the first was a Judges’ Special Award for Investigative Journalism.

I was gobsmacked!

But a second shock was in store… I was informed that 41 MPs had signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons praising my investigation (and that of a dear and late colleague at the Sunday Mail) into the link between DU shell firing and the serious risks to health – including cancer.

The EDM read: “That this House congratulates Nic Outterside, chief reporter of the Galloway Gazette, for his special award of the year ‘for his investigative journalism and individual tenacity’, and Angus Macleod of the Sunday Mail, for his ‘talent for disclosing stories in an aggressive and attacking writing style’ in winning the journalist and reporter of the year award in the Scottish Press Awards made on 26th April; notes that both reporters revealed the hidden dangers of depleted uranium shell tests at Ministry of Defence test ranges, and unveiled the links between vapourised depleted uranium dust and the Gulf War or Desert Storm syndrome; believes these Scottish reporters have properly publicised a problem of national and international importance as recognised by investigations in the United States Congress and the United Nations Compensation Committee; and reiterates its call for an urgent public inquiry.”

Some of my all-time political heroes signed that EDM: the late and great Tony Benn MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, the much missed Alan Simpson MP, Ken Livingstone MP and the Beast of Bolsover Dennis Skinner MP.

These names next to mine remain a personal badge of honour. Now 22 years on, they are a vindication of our shared hatred of warfare, nuclear weapons and the military establishment.

Exposing the right angle on Angela Eagle

A truth can walk naked… but a lie always needs to be dressed  – Kahlil Gibran

Eagle

 Eagle’s Background

Angela Eagle, 55, has been the Member of Parliament for Wallasey since the 1992 General Election. She was born in Bridlington and studied PPE at Oxford University, before working for the CBI and the trade union COHSE.

She served as the Minister of State for Pensions from June 2009 until May 2010. She was elected to the Shadow Cabinet in October 2010 and was appointed by Ed Miliband to be Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

In October 2011, she was appointed Shadow Leader of the House of Commons when Miliband reshuffled his Shadow Cabinet. She was appointed as both Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in September 2015 in Jeremy Corbyn’s first Shadow Cabinet. She resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in June 2016.

As I reported in January, Angela Eagle is supported by the right wing Progress group.

Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs who sought a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn two weeks ago.

Progress runs on £260,000-a-year funding from Lord Sainsbury.

Read more about this shadowy cabal in Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant.

Eagle’s Selection as Parliamentary Candidate

Wallasey is now a solidly Labour-voting constituency, and Angela Eagle, who enjoyed a 16,348 majority in last year’s General Election, has been its MP since 1992.

Before that, by contrast, Wallasey had historically been a Conservative seat. It was represented by Tory MP Ernest Marples from 1945 to 1974, and then by his successor Lynda Chalker from 1974 to 1992.

In 1987, though, Chalker only narrowly held on to the seat, with her majority reduced from 6,708 to 279, in the face of a vigorous campaign by the local Labour party in support of its candidate Lol Duffy.

Duffy would very likely have won, had it not been for the intervention of Frank Field, the right wing Labour MP for the neighbouring Birkenhead constituency.

Field circulated a letter attacking Duffy, who at the time was associated with the Socialist Organiser group. He declared that he would not be supporting Duffy’s candidacy and would refuse to appear on any platform with him. The letter was published on the front page of a local newspaper, during the election campaign, under the headline Marxist Lol slammed by Frank Field.

No action was taken by the Labour Party against Frank Field over this political scabbing that ensured a Tory victory in Wallasey. Instead, in response to his denunciations of the role of Socialist Organiser activists in Wirral Labour Party, the Labour national executive committee (NEC) launched an investigation into the group. A report by the party’s director of organisation, Joyce Gould, led to the proscription of Socialist Organiser in 1990.

One result of the move against Socialist Organiser was to delay the parliamentary selection in Wallasey.

The Wallasey Labour party officers pressed for a prompt start to the selection procedure. After all, this was now a highly winnable seat and it made sense to have a candidate like Lol Duffy in place as early as possible. But the national Labour Party and the regional office prevaricated.

In December 1991 the regional office was forced at last to agree a selection timetable with the constituency officers.

Duffy received over 70% of the nominations including the support of five of the six local party branches, the women’s section and numerous trade unions.

His 24 nominations far exceeded the tally of five achieved by his nearest rival, Angela Eagle.

But in January 1992, in a move which now stinks of a rancid coup, the NEC decided that the imminence of a General Election demanded the intervention of an emergency ‘by-election panel’ to interview potential candidates and shortlist contenders in those constituencies without a Labour candidate already in place.

During the panel’s interviewing of Wallasey candidates, Roy Hattersley asked Lol Duffy how he would reconcile his personal beliefs – notably his support for unilateralism and repeal of all anti-union laws – with the party’s current policy. Duffy made it clear that he would have no problem with this. But Hattersley’s NEC panel then excluded Duffy from the Wallasey shortlist.

Under the rules of the Labour Party, if more than 50% of those who vote in a parliamentary selection return blank ballot papers the selection must start from scratch with new nominations.

Contrary to party rules, no independent scrutineer was allowed into the Wallasey count held at the regional office in Warrington. When pressed, Eileen Murfin (Labour Party regional organiser) admitted that the officials had not bothered to count the blank votes, again in contravention of the rules.

But sources leaked the total to the media, which reported that 163 blank papers had been returned by local members in protest at the exclusion of Lol Duffy. Only 57 votes had been cast for the ‘winning’ candidate, Angela Eagle. Under the party constitution the selection was null and void; but party officials glossed over this detail.

To add insult to injury, the NEC not only dismissed the complaints of party members but threatened to mount yet another ‘investigation’ of the constituency after the General Election.

Lol Duffy worked diligently for Angela Eagle during the General Election. And thanks to the years of hard work put in by himself and others in the constituency, the seat was taken from the Tories, and Eagle became the first Labour MP for Wallasey.

Given this record, it is hardly surprising that Angela Eagle has shown such contempt for the democratic decision made by party members last September, when they elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader with 59.5% of first-preference votes, and has joined his enemies in the parliamentary Labour party in a disgraceful attempt to overturn that decision.

She is firmly embedded in, and indeed owes her parliamentary career to, a political culture that accepts party democracy only when it produces the ‘right’ results.

Eagle’s Voting Record

Angela Eagle’s voting record since becoming a Labour MP makes very interesting reading. Most readers will be aware that she was one of the 66 Labour MPs, who last December, voted for bombing Syria, but thanks to the parliamentary website They Work For You her broader voting on key issues bares closer scrutiny.

Ms Eagle has:

  • Generally voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
  • Consistently voted FOR the Iraq war
  • Consistently voted AGAINST an investigation into the Iraq war
  • Generally voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
  • Almost always voted for strengthening the Military Covenant
  • Almost always voted against local councils keeping money raised from taxes on business premises in their areas
  • Almost always voted for introducing ID cards
  • Generally voted against a statutory register of lobbyists

Eagle’s Leadership Campaign

Ms Eagle only launched her leadership campaign a few days ago, but it is already marred by murky accusations, duplicity and crocodile tears.

She resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet on 27 June in the wake of the Euro Referendum result and the sacking of Hilary Benn as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Her letter of resignation as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, included these sentences:

“I was devastated by the result of the EU referendum. Too many of our supporters were taken in by right-wing arguments and I believe this happened, in part, because under your leadership the case to remain in the EU was made with half-hearted ambivalence rather than full-throated clarity.

“In such turbulent times, we need a Leader who can unite rather than divide the Labour Party. We need a Leader who can heal the deep divisions in our country, stand up for our communities, and ultimately to keep our United Kingdom together.”

But while heaping the blame for Brexit on Jeremy 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.”

But that was only the beginning.

Within days 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.

And there was more to come.

Earlier this week a window at the Wallasey Labour Party constituency office was smashed with a brick.

Ms Eagle was quick to blame the vandalism on supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that it was “bullying” against her that had “no place in politics in the UK and it needs to end”.

The hypocrisy of this outburst beggars belief, as there was no evidence of any kind that supporters of Mr Corbyn had actioned this vandalism. Indeed there has been suggestions that it may have been broken by supporters of Ms Eagle to frighten members of her own CLP who had called for her resignation.

One Labour Party member Mike Sivier wrote a hard-hitting open letter to Ms Eagle on the back of her claims. Part of that letter says: “As a Labour voter of many years’ standing, and a member of the party for the last six, I am writing to express my outrage at your comments following the vandalism of the Wallasey Party office.

“We can agree that the damage to the window – like any crime – is unacceptable. However: How dare you claim that it was carried out by a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, “in his name”? Do you have any evidence? Do the police already know who did it? I think not.

“Mr Corbyn has made it abundantly clear – many times over the past few weeks, that he finds such behaviour abhorrent and wants members of the party to discuss their differences in a cordial manner.

“How dare you try to pontificate to the rest of the party about “bullying”, after the behaviour you have forced Mr Corbyn to endure, together with the other 170+ PLP rebels?

“Look at the behaviour that has occurred in YOUR name:

  • Months of secret plotting against Mr Corbyn after he won the Labour leadership last year.
  • The intention to mislead the public into thinking the Labour ‘coup’ was prompted by Mr Corbyn’s performance in the EU referendum when it had been pre-planned over many months.
  • The co-ordinated, on-the-hour resignations of shadow cabinet members throughout June 26 in an effort to BULLY Mr Corbyn out of the Labour leadership.
  • The hasty and unconstitutional calling and passing of a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Mr Corbyn in another attempt to BULLY him out of office.
  • The attempted BULLYING of Mr Corbyn himself at a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting.
  • The fabricated smear stories intended to undermine Mr Corbyn’s support among members and, again, BULLY him into resigning – including your claim about this broken office window.

“If you are serious in your claim that bullying “has absolutely no place in politics in the UK and it needs to end”, then perhaps the best way to start would be by ending your own challenge to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, submitting yourself to the mercy of your constituents who are holding a ‘no confidence’ vote on your conduct later this month, and considering your own future in politics.”

Then yesterday the latest instalment of dirty tricks was opened amid claims that Ms Eagle (an open Lesbian) has been subjected to “homophobic slurs” from members of the Wallasey CLP.

But she did not count on local activist and fellow lesbian Emma Runswick who immediately hit back with another open letter exposing the duplicity of the Eagle campaign.

Part of Ms Runswick’s letter says: “I am a queer woman. My mother Kathy is the Chair of Wallasey constituency Labour party, and a Momentum supporter. An attempt has been made to paint Wallasey CLP and Momentum supporters as homophobic and violent, so I’d like to share some personal stories of my family.

“The allegations started when Baroness Tessa Jowell, a Labour peer, said on Daily Politics about the Wallasey CLP AGM: “I spoke to Angela about that meeting, she faced homophobic abuse at that meeting”.

“But Angela Eagle wasn’t at the meeting, and nor was any complaint of homophobia raised in her absence. Since then, accusations have been made, but I struggle to comprehend the abusive language alleged going unchallenged.

“I came out to my family aged 13. Throughout the abuse and ignorance from others, my parents were behind me. When my school banned me and my girlfriend from each other’s form rooms in response to a parent complaint, and I couldn’t face the fight, I had to stop them going in all guns blazing in my defence.

“When I wanted to support a transgender student, they helped me navigate the bullying report system, and held me when I cried in frustration.

“As trade union reps, my parents explained all the legislation, we talked about the Equality Act and the protection it gave me and other LGBTQ people. 

“There is zero tolerance of homophobia in Wallasey CLP. My mother would come down on it like a tonne of bricks. My dad, a branch delegate, would do the same.

“Kathy Miller, the Secretary and proud mother of a gay man, would do the same. Other Wallasey CLP members are LGBTQ themselves and would do the same.

“I don’t believe anybody in Wallasey CLP, Corbyn supporters or otherwise, would allow homophobic abuse or gesture to go unchallenged in any meeting.”

Now Ms Eagle is facing a no confidence vote from own Constituency Labour Party.

But even now, more dirty tricks are at work as Labour’s NEC yesterday announced that ALL Labour Party constituency and branch meetings have been suspended until the completion of the leadership election in September.

Time and the party members will wait for you Ms Eagle.

As Kahlil Gibran once wrote: “A truth can walk naked… but a lie always needs to be dressed.”

 

These MPs voted Confidence in Jeremy Corbyn

FORTY MPs voted full confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party… in Tuesday’s vote. We name 39 of them.

Updated and revised at 11 August 2016.

Also note that since voting confidence in Jeremy Corbyn, Pat Glass has since resigned from the Shadow Cabinet for family reasons.

  1. Andy McDonald
  2. Angela Rayner
  3. Barry Gardiner
  4. Bill Esterson
  5. Carolyn Harris
  6. Cat Smith
  7. Catherine West
  8. Clive Lewis
  9. Dave Anderson
  10. Debbie Abrahams
  11. Dennis Skinner
  12. Diane Abbot
  13. Emily Thornberry
  14. Gerald Kaufman
  15. Gill Furniss
  16. Graham Morris
  17. Ian Lavery
  18. Ian Mearns
  19. Imran Hussain
  20. Jeremy Corbyn
  21. Jo Stevens
  22. John McDonnell
  23. Jon Trickett
  24. Jonathan Ashworth
  25. Kate Hoey
  26. Kate Osamor
  27. Kelvin Hopkins
  28. Margaret Greenwood
  29. Pat Glass
  30. Paul Flynn
  31. Peter Dowd
  32. Rachael Maskell
  33. Rebecca Long Bailey
  34. Richard Burgon
  35. Ronnie Campbell
  36. Rosena Allin Khan
  37. Steve Rotheram
  38. Tulip Siddiq
  39. Yasmin Qureshi
  • We are unsure how Andy Burnham and Liz McInnes voted. At the time of the vote they both expressed public confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. It seems that at least one of them abstained on the vote. We believe that Shadow Cabinet “returner” Sarah Champion probably also abstained.