An email to the Labour Party about Owen Smith

Foot-in-mouth disease: Owen Smith defends his use of inappropriate language on the BBC's Today programme but it is too little, too late. He is a persistent re-offender. If Labour is serious about upholding standards, then he must pay the same price as others.

Foot-in-mouth disease: Owen Smith defends his use of inappropriate language on the BBC’s Today programme but it is too little, too late. He is a persistent re-offender. If Labour is serious about upholding standards, then he must pay the same price as others.

Nobody else seemed to be doing it, so I did:

To: [email protected]

I wish to report Owen Smith MP, the candidate in the Labour leadership election, for breaking party rules on acceptable behaviour.

On August 23, Mr Smith told supporters: “What you won’t get from me is some, you know, lunatic at the top of the Labour Party.”

Regardless of whether he was referring to himself or fellow candidate Jeremy Corbyn, this is clearly a pejorative use of the word that demeans sufferers of mental health problems.

This is not the first such offence.

On July 27 (if I recall correctly) he declared that he wanted to “smash Theresa May back on her heels” – violent and sexist language directed at a fellow MP, the Conservative prime minister.

Afterwards, he tried to trivialise it by saying it was “rhetoric”. It was unacceptable rhetoric.

Prior to that, in 2015, he told Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood she was only ever invited onto the BBC’s Question Time because of her “gender” – another sexist comment.

And in 2010, referring to the Liberal Democrats’ coalition with the Conservative Party, he used the language of domestic violence: “Surely, the Liberals will file for divorce as soon as the bruises start to show through the make-up?”

This man is a serial offender. It should not matter that he is a candidate in a current leader election; the rules that have been made for the rest of the membership must also count for him.

I believe it is appropriate to suspend this man from membership of the Labour Party until the extent of his violent, sexist and abusive behaviour has been ascertained and a proper punishment has been carried out. He certainly should not be allowed to vote in the current leadership contest, no matter that he is a candidate. His candidacy should be revoked.

To be honest, I am surprised that the Party has not seen fit to cancel the process after the remark about Theresa May. That would have been the responsible thing to do.

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38 thoughts on “An email to the Labour Party about Owen Smith

    1. Darren Cahil

      I think we can get too obsessed with bureaucratic policing of language, it can get to the point when almost anything can be deemed offensive or against the rules. Is that not what the justification of the Labourpurge2 is about? Yes, it’s about denying people a vote in this leadership because inappropriate comments were made on twitter or something, eg. using words like ‘traitor’. I have no problem with such freedom of expression and we should not be encouraging the Labour party bureaucracy (Compliance Unit), to crackdown on our free expression. Yes Smith was being sexist about Leanne Wood, and correctly called out on it. However, to go over every word that could be deemed offensive is excessively policing free expression that can easily be applied to those of us on the left of the party too!

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I didn’t go over every word – just the most famous moments.
        I could have thrown in his betrayal of the sick and disabled last year, and the lawsuit with which he threatened me after I exposed it – for example.

      2. Stephen Kelly

        That may be so but labour are purging for the most trivial of reasons. Smiths bebaviour isnt trivial. Good luck Mike. I dont expect them to do anything. Even reply. But let us know.

  1. John

    Mike,
    Thank you for doing that – it needed doing.
    McNicol should also be removed for breaching the legal rules of natural justice.
    No appeals procedure has been put in place where affected members can appeal to.
    They have not been given an opportunity to confront the alleged “evidence” or witness testimony being used to deprive them of membership.
    Jeremy Corbyn and his team must stand up to this breach of natural justice.
    They should be calling – NOW – for McNicol and his collaborators to go.

    1. Lin Wren

      I totally agree with and also what he is doing now. Stalking members on Facebook records and intruding on their privacy to evict them from the party.

  2. Angela Free

    You forgot devaluing the humiliation and fear of the employees of Sport Direct by using it as an analogy as to working under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

      1. Junius

        Only if Satan skates to work, or they’re citing this as the reason for suspension. The latter is more a response than a reply.

  3. pj21516

    Good piece Mike, unfortunately you know as well as I the NEC and the PLP are making the rules up as the Leadership Election draws ever closer, and they are getting more and more ridiculous it is perfectly clear that both the NEC and PLP are standing on the edge of a cliff and their behaviour is becoming more bizarre and frankly beyond belief, the sheer desperation in their relentless attack on Mr Corbyn is as embarrassing for the Blair Witch Project as it is entertaining for us just like watching the Keystone Cops only funnier.

  4. Wanda Lozinska

    Well done, Mike. Other Labour MPs have been regularly breaking the rules, but because they’re anti-Corbyn nothing appears to have been done about them.

  5. Lin Wren

    You might find that what they are doing is trolling and stalking infringing our right to privacy n private life to evict members illegally

  6. JulesY

    The only thing I’d be inclined to change is the bit where it refers to his violent, sexist & abusive (behaviour) *language. Other than that hear, hear!

  7. Dai

    You could have added a few more names to that email..

    Also this PLP syndicate should be barred from writing in Tory rags..

    The drip drip of tittle tattle is becoming so predictable, if you want to use the Tory press, it should be policy driven, not LABOUR internal affairs..

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I know I could’ve added more names but I’m fighting a cold at the moment and my thinking isn’t fantastically clear.
      Feel free to send your own email!

      1. Phil Woodford

        Your thinking isn’t that clear because of a cold? Forgive me when I say, I hadn’t noticed any change!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        That’s because “not that clear” to me is still razor sharp to you.
        Others may have noticed the difference.

  8. rotzeichen

    Have tweeted the BBC with this article, asking if they would check what action the Party has taken. Am not expecting them to do anything which gives us more ammunition to throw at them. Bias.

  9. plhepworth

    Owen Smith’s policy statements have been impeccable from a socialist viewpoint, and I agree with his stance over Brexit. However, he has no excuse for being part of the untimely rebellion against Corbyn that has understandably damaged the public perception of the party, and there seems to be an undercurrent of macho aggression and sexism in his character that he can’t disguise, and which you rightly seek to hold him to account for. He’s patently far too raw and unsophisticated to be a serious candidate for PM, and as I think you’ve already said, the Blairites (whoops, New Labourites) must have put him up solely for disruptive reasons as part of a desperate and unscrupulous attempt to save their skins.

    1. Zippi

      The whole anti-Corbyn tings is totally unnecessary. Why can these people not just accept that we have a leader and get behind him so that we can hold the Tories to account, instead of this nonsense? Who does this really serve, we have to ask? They have wanted rid of Jeremy Corbyn sonce he was NOMINATED! Disgusting! Who are the politics for? Clearly, not for us!

  10. Zippi

    I cannot fault your e.mail. I fear, however, that the only negative response will be towards you. I cannot believe that these people are so blatantly opposed to democracy and everything for which the Party stands. I have not been a member for long; I have not belonged to any Party but this…? It is not inspiring, to put it mildly.

  11. therealmisterjones

    Would seem it’s one rule for them, and another rule for the rest of us. Always been that way in this country, those with their snouts in the trough have never been accountable for their actions. You see it in daily life, and it’s hardly any wonder when these are the examples that are set. I think Thatcher made a BIG mistake saying “There’s no such thing as society.” We’re learning now, with the disintegration of our country, that society is what keeps us afloat.

  12. Jsteel

    I think you should be careful what you wish. Corbyn congratulated Galloway for his by election win in 2012 on Twitter. he actually could be banned on this.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why should he be banned for congratulating a former colleague on a by election win?

      1. Junius

        If one can be banned for saying something nice about a Green, then Galloway is well beyond their pale.

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