It refers to the deletion of files about the Finance Bill from a shared, Labour Party, hard drive by former shadow finance secretary Rob Marris or one of his team.
Mr Marris has reacted angrily, stating that the information did not belong to the Labour Party and was his.
In that case, why was it being stored on a Labour Party machine? Was he using Labour Party resources for his personal projects?
It seems unlikely, doesn’t it? The information was about a current Parliamentary bill and its loss was said to have hindered Labour in its response to the Finance Bill.
So we come back to the issue of whether Mr Marris should be punished and whether deselection would be appropriate.
If it is destruction of Labour Party property to sabotage the leadership – and remember, there appears to be precedent for believing in this, thanks to the strange behaviour of former Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander – then he should be kicked out of the party. If legal proceedings are possible, then they should be taken.
If it is destruction of Mr Marris’s property, then it is still sabotage of the Labour leadership, who should consider further action very carefully.
Whatever happens, it is likely to set a precedent.
Fundamental to all this is the following:
It seems very odd that an MP would describe material generated while he was a Shadow Minister, to help his party in its job as the official Opposition to the Conservative Government, as being nothing to do with that party.
On Saturday night, Corbyn’s allies accused the parliamentary party of sabotaging Labour’s ability to hold the government to account.
One Labour source said those at the top of the party were livid when it emerged that files on a shared Labour party hard drive relating to the finance bill going through parliament had been deleted as the shadow finance secretary Rob Marris resigned.
An internal email seen by this newspaper said: “Unfortunately, it looks like someone from Rob Marris’s office has deleted the vast majority of the finance bill records and notes on each clause from the shared drive.”
A Labour source raised the spectre of deselection, adding that it fitted in with a campaign of sabotage. He said: “The finance bill is a hugely important bit of legislation. Under normal times the party’s severest punishment to my knowledge for such transgression could go as high as deselection.
“This is because such a bill normally includes important measures involving things like tax avoidance and pensioners and working families.
“For example, in this case his actions could have led to undermining things such as our opposition to the tampon tax, which – if he had his way – would have prevented us from ending it sooner.”
Responding to the criticism, Marris said that the material he removed did not belong to the Labour party but had been funded through his own parliamentary staff allowance.
He said: “I have not removed Labour party material from a shared computer drive.
“The material removed did not belong to the Labour party. It was created by my own office to help me as a shadow Treasury minister. I paid for this material using my parliamentary staff allowance to help fulfil my role as a shadow minister. The Labour party did not pay a penny for it, and it had not been stored on a Labour party drive.”
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