I’m not buying this, and I don’t think anybody else should either.
After Tuesday’s meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee – the party’s ruling body – a tearful Johanna Baxter made several media appearances in which she tearfully berated Jeremy Corbyn for opposing secret voting at that meeting.
Ms Baxter, who is a representative of constituency Labour parties on the NEC, said Mr Corbyn effectively wanted to lay her and her colleagues open to abuse from members.
At face value, it might be persuasive to some.
But in the midst of lie after lie from opponents of Mr Corbyn, we should not accept it without question – and under question her claims fall apart.
Look at the World at One interview that is featured in the article I quote below. At first, the only threats Ms Baxter mentions are legal.
She said NEC members were shown a letter threatening legal action if Mr Corbyn was not allowed on the ballot paper automatically; saying that court orders would be sought to reveal the result of secret ballots; and saying that general secretary Iain McNicol would be held legally liable for that high court action.
And she said Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham presented a proposal for mediation and said if the NEC did not adopt his proposal, the Shadow Cabinet would have to meet later that day to consider legal advice on the NEC’s decision.
She did not mention personal threats against members until she was prompted. The interviewer asked “To what extent was [the decision to vote in secret] driven by people’s worry that they would be threatened and intimidated?”
So This Writer is not convinced.
All along, the implication is that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are responsible for the alleged intimidation, despite the fact that – as Ms Baxter acknowledged – he has already said he strongly disapproves of any such activity.
It occurs to me that we have seen far more unacceptable behaviour from supporters of the so-called (and failed) ‘coup’ against him.
Only yesterday (July 14), we discovered that Angela Eagle lied about her reasons for cancelling a visit to a hotel in Luton earlier in the week.
She had claimed it was due to threats from Corbyn supporters.
In fact, the hotel itself cancelled the meeting because staff had not been informed that it would be a political event.
A local online news source reported: “A spokeswoman for the hotel said: ‘We can confirm that the event has been cancelled as we were unaware of the nature of the meeting.’
“But according to other reports, Angela Eagle’s constituency office has claimed it has cancelled the event due to earlier threats being made.”
It’s another lie to add to the list.
If Ms Baxter had made her comments clear of this context – without the catalogue of lies connected to the ‘coup’ that she clearly appears to support – then they might have some credibility.
As it is, I strongly advise everybody who has heard her claims to ignore them.
Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised by a teary Labour executive member who accused him of not protecting vulnerable colleagues.
Johanna Baxter, a member of the party’s National Executive Committee, which last night voted on rules governing the high-stakes leadership election, broke down in an interview discussing the event.
She spoke out about the six-hour long meeting when senior Labour officials ruled Corbyn should be automatically included on the leadership election ballot.
“It was a very difficult meeting, it was highly emotionally charged,” Baxter said.
“There were a number of colleagues very upset, including myself, and there were a number of threats made… and a number of incidents that I thought were not acceptable.”
She recounted the tense meeting, and, verging on tears, chastised Corbyn for voting against a bid that allowed committee members to vote by secret ballot.
Baxter claimed the Labour leader had failed to protect colleagues subjected to threats from party members by calling on them to make their votes public.
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