Bravo, John McDonnell.
He killed Seema Malhotra’s selfish outburst about her office in less than a minute, with his impassioned plea for Labour MPs who want to oust leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Ms Malhotra claimed yesterday that staff members working for the Labour leadership had broken into her office.
But Mr McDonnell revealed that the space isn’t Ms Malhotra’s office any more.
She had been expected to swap offices with Rebecca Long-Bailey, the MP who took over as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury after Ms Malhotra resigned.
Mr McDonnell’s office manager had spotted a pile of boxes outside her office, nearly a month after she resigned and assumed that office was empty, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.
So the big question isn’t why somebody ‘broke into’ Ms Malhotra’s office, but why she was still there – and why she was accusing innocent office staffers of burglary.
But his tone remained conciliatory – a remarkable act of tolerance when one considers the sheer volume of unsubstantiated allegations that have been made against the Labour leadership by the shadow cabinet “quitters” like Ms Malhotra and Angela Eagle – and other opponents in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Perhaps it is right to adopt this attitude in the run-up to the leader election – a more hard-line approach might only provide ammunition to the opposition.
Personally, This Writer would like to see every Labour MP who has made evidenceless allegations face disciplinary procedures and possible expulsion by the National Executive Committee.
The NEC acts quickly enough when Corbyn supporters like Ken Livingstone are accused. Are we to believe that its members have not received any complaints?
Perhaps it is time the members remedied any such omission.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has made an impassioned plea for Labour supporters to stop “trying to destroy our party just to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn” after it was claimed a member of his staff broke into a rival MP’s office.
Pausing in the middle of a live television interview and asking “what camera am I on?”, McDonnell issued a direct appeal to Corbyn’s opponents after being questioned over the allegedly illegal intrusion in Sheema Malhotra’s Westminster office.
Malhotra, the former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, had claimed on Saturday that a member of McDonnell’s staff gained entry to her office without her permission, and had lodged a formal complaint with the speaker of the House of Commons.
“My office manager has apologised,” McDonnell said about the alleged incident, which Malhotra said amounted to intimidation and harassment of her workers and illegal and unauthorised entry into her Westminster office.
Breaking with the traditional question and answer format of the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the shadow chancellor turned to the camera and said: “Let me say this: we’ve got to stop this now. There is a small group out there willing to destroy our party just to get rid of Jeremy.”
Dismissing the allegations and turning the claims of harassment over to Malhotra, he added: “Don’t pick on staff who can’t defend [themselves].
“I have a member of staff, a widow with daughters. She is now worried she will lose her job and face prosecution because it is being described as break-in. My office said it was an error, a month after we thought she’d moved out,” he added.
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