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Vindicated: John McDonnell was lectured by Labour colleagues Lisa Nandy and Wes Streeting on Robert Peston’s ITV talk show – but he was right and they were not.

A bid to backstab Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell backfired in the faces of Lisa Nandy and Wes Streeting after all three appeared on Robert Peston’s ITV chat show yesterday (February 27).

Ms Nandy and Mr Streeting were keen to suggest their own party had failed to act appropriately in the early days of anti-Semitism accusation against members, citing the case of their colleague Naz Shah as an example.

But Mr McDonnell contradicted them, saying he had intimate knowledge of that matter as Ms Shah was his Personal Private Secretary (PPS) at the time.

Here’s part of the discussion – and note how Peston describes it:

The impression you are intended to get is that Mr McDonnell was in the wrong. But he was right.

James Mills is a former director of communications for Mr McDonnell and the Shadow Treasury Team (STT). He tweeted his recollection of events to put the record straight:

Isn’t it interesting that we can see the same pattern here as faced Diane Abbott on the BBC’s Question Time a few weeks ago, when she rightly said that Labour was doing well in the opinion polls but other panellists – and even host Fiona Bruce – ganged up on her and gaslighted her with false claims that she was mistaken?

We can learn several things from this:

Firstly, the backstabbers in the Parliamentary Labour Party are now lining up to make their treacherous intentions known to the general public. Wes Streeting was already on my list; now we can add Lisa Nandy (unless she wants to plead stupidity; this is doubtful as she argued with Mr Mills on Twitter, pushing a claim that he was wrong). They probably thought they could get away with this story because the sequence of events was not reported when Ms Shah was accused in 2016. More fool them.

Secondly, we should also be making a list of mainstream news reporters who can’t be trusted to report events fairly and accurately. Again, I have to say that Robert Peston was already on my own list.

Finally, the reason this was being discussed is a claim by Ms Nandy and Mr Streeting that nothing has changed in the nearly three years since Ms Shah was accused. Their story was that the Labour leadership had to be challenged before any action was taken – as it was in the case of Chris Williamson yesterday.

But Chris Williamson’s case is different from that of Naz Shah. Ms Shah admitted that she had made a series of Twitter posts with anti-Semitic intent as a reaction to the deaths of many Palestinians during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014, after the tweets were brought to light by the Guido Fawkes blog two years later. In contrast, Mr Williamson has made it abundantly clear that he opposes anti-Semitism; his statement that Labour has been “too apologetic” over accusations arose from a desire to support innocent party members who have been wrongly accused.

And that is the heart of the matter. For some reason, some MPs and officers of the Labour Party are desperate to hide the fact that party members – and former party members, like myself, who have been wrongly expelled – have been treated unfairly.

That is why they keep telling these tall stories.

It is also why they keep coming unstuck. Please draw your own conclusions regarding what this means about Chris Williamson, Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s “anti-Semitism” row.


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