A bombshell report into the Labour Party’s handling of antisemitism allegations has revealed the collusion of senior Labour Party staff members in Jeremy Corbyn’s narrow defeat in the 2017 General Election.
The leaked report, which contains large amounts of email and WhatsApp evidence, implicates members of Labour’s Senior Management Team (SMT) including former General Secretary Ian McNicol.
The evidence shows the staffers actively worked towards making Jeremy Corbyn lose because they opposed his socialist views. It also shows they held Corbyn and his supporters in contempt, and were deeply upset when Labour came close to winning the 2017 election.
The party was only a few thousand votes away from forming a government in 2017 after it won 40 per cent of the popular vote.
Novara Media has dissected the 850 page report and says in a conversation that took place on January 13, 2017, just before a few crucial by-elections, members of the SMT remained intent on Corbyn’s removal.
Julie Lawrence, then director of the general secretary’s office, said: “I may be jumping the gun here, and JC is a proud and selfish man with a team to match, but if we lose these elections [Stoke and Copeland] we could have another leadership election. We should set up at some stage a discrete WG [working group] to go over rules, timetable scenarios and staff servicing the process. Just so we’re prepared.”
On 18 April, 2017 Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election. With Labour well behind in the polls the SMT decided early on to “throw cash” at Labour deputy leader Tom Watson’s seat of West Bromwich East:
Patrick Heneghan: Ok. But we need to throw cash at Tom’s seat… Even if just 50k for that
Emilie Oldknow: We should do this.
According to the report, the SMT went so far as to assign significant resources to a “secret key seats team” in May 2017, without the knowledge of Corbyn or his office. The team worked to protect MPs, including Watson, who were factionally aligned with the SMT – diverting funds away from marginals.
On the eve of the election and with the polls narrowing, Labour staffer Tracey Allen said: “I am getting seriously weirded out by all this PM talk. I don’t think I can cope with the idea. 6 more bloody days is too long.”
When the exit poll came in at 10pm, predicting a hung parliament, much of the senior staff were in a state of shock with the director of the general secretary’s office offering a “safe space” in Iain McNicol’s office.
Julie Lawrence: Patrick if anyone in war room needs some safe space time they can come to gso .
Tracey Allen: More like in need of counselling!
Emilie Oldknow: What’s the atmosphere like there?
Simon Mills: Depends which side of the building!
Patrick Heneghan: Awful
Patrick Heneghan: Help
Simon Mills: Split between euphoria and shock
Julie Lawrence: We are stunned and reeling.
Tracey Allen: They are cheering and we are silent and grey faced. Opposite to what I had been working towards for the last couple of years!! 😞
Emilie Oldknow: We have to be upbeat
Emilie Oldknow: And not show it
Emilie Oldknow: And at least we have loads of money now…
Julie Lawrence: Not if we go into coalition and lose short money
Julie Lawrence: “Steve” walking the floor
Emilie Oldknow: Oh no
Patrick Heneghan: Everyone needs to smile
Patrick Heneghan: I’m going into room of death
Emilie Oldknow: Everyone needs to be very up beat
Julie Lawrence: Its hard but yes
Iain McNicol: I’m not in smiling and mixing and doing the 2nd floor.
Iain McNicol: Everyone else needs to do the same.
Iain McNicol: It is going to be a long night.
Less than a year later, with Corbyn’s leadership firmly established, Iain McNicol was replaced as party general secretary by Corbyn ally Jennie Formby. McNicol was later appointed to the House of Lords.
Within a few months figures like Oldknow and Heneghan would leave, while McNicol staffers Tracey Allen and Julie Lawrence would move on later.
None of the figures implicated in the report have yet made a public comment, and neither has new Labour leader Keir Starmer. However, some analysts on the right of the Labour Party have dismissed the report as the work of “Corbynistas.”