Labour members celebrate as Iain McNichol steps down as general secretary – but is it good or bad for the party?

The man who barred applications for membership of Labour for – among other things – “sharing inappropriate content” such as tweeting their love of the Foo Fighters has resigned as general secretary of the party.

According to the Labour Party’s official press release, Mr McNichol “decided to stand down as General Secretary of the Labour Party to pursue new projects on behalf of the party and wider Labour movement”.

Other sources suggest he was told to sling his hook by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, possibly as early as Tuesday, with Mr McNichol allowed to put his affairs in order and tender his resignation in order to save face.

The decision for him to go – no matter who made it – has been welcomed by, shall we say, a certain sector of the Labour membership. I refer to those who were denied membership in 2016, for a period just long enough to ensure they could not vote for Mr Corbyn in that year’s leadership election. The reasons were specious – in some cases they were ridiculous – and all the rejection letters were signed by Mr McNichol.

Rachael Swindon’s tweet refers to the case of Catherine Starr, whose application was rejected because of this tweet:

I don’t think the objectionable part was the swear word; I’m sure I’ve seen tweets by Labour MPs containing profanities, albeit perhaps not so extreme. And the message had nothing to do with the Labour Party or politics. Labour does have rules requiring members to hold themselves to a certain standard – installed after multiple allegations of anti-Semitism against members – but it seems extreme to apply those rules in this case.

That’s why some people are posting material like the following:

But let us be fair; Mr McNichol has his supporters too.

Of course, his detractors were swift to point out the logical errors here:

And while Mr McNichol may have been Gen Sec during a huge membership expansion, he wasn’t responsible for it. In fact, as we’ve seen, he tried very hard to restrict the membership boost created by Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader in 2015.

The media will, of course, try to spin this as further evidence of the supposed “hard-left” takeover of the Labour Party. Apparently the return of democracy to at least one of the country’s main political parties is not to be welcomed.

At the end of the day, it seems this is the reason Mr McNichol had to go:

But who will replace him? HuffPost‘s Paul Waugh has a few ideas – although it seems his fact-checking skills aren’t what they ought to be:

At the end of the day, the least that can be said is, this is the end of an era for the Labour Party, with the departure of this controversial figure.

But, of course, it’s possible that commentators like This Writer have got it all wrong. What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Labour members celebrate as Iain McNichol steps down as general secretary – but is it good or bad for the party?

  1. aunty1960

    HURRAH!! still banned for 5 years, the B*****D using my objection to stealing mine and dads pensions, raising corruption and abuse within party and local govt and using and misrepresenting my disability against me. How Low Can You Go.

    Been told my disability and abuse history and been passed around for all to see by local Labour Party do not be expecting me to join them soon.NOT A PENNY MORE!

    Jeremy on becoming leader should have automatically reinstated all those purged and removed without question. I have no intention of being examined and cross examined by that lot.

    I promoted and supported Jeremy as I believe he would make a difference to the Party and open party and politics up to the public again.

    Is doing, long way to go. Not bowing or going cap in hand to them.

    Telling me I deserve my disability and glad my family suffered and HOPED IT HURT in regard to abuse is disgusting. wont be crawling back. Have to be BIG CHANGES

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