Socialist Labour MPs – in other words, proper Labour MPs – have demanded action from party leader Keir Starmer, after a report showing how party officers sabotaged the party was leaked to the public.
The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs has issued a statement as follows:
“In light of the recent revelations about senior officials undermining the 2017 general election campaign, we, as members of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, make the following demands:
“1. The report should be published in full officially by the Labour Party.
“2. An emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting should be convened to discuss its contents.
“3. That NEC meeting must establish a transparent process to investigate the conduct alleged in the leaked document, with the terms of reference set by the NEC officers.
“4. This process must produce a report, that is publicly available, which restores faith among Labour members in the practices of our party.
“We understand the disappointment and frustration that many Labour members will feel with the details revealed in this report. It contains revelations of senior officials undermining the 2017 general election campaign and suggests there are cases to answer on bullying, harassment, sexism and racism.
“We express our solidarity with Labour volunteers who give up their spare time to fight for a better society and to get a Labour government.
“We believe people must stay and fight for a Labour Government, organise to defend our socialist manifesto and push for action.”
The statement is signed by Diane Abbott, Paula Barker, Apsana Begum, Olivia Blake, Richard Burgon, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Mary Foy, Rachel Hopkins, Imran Hussain, Kim Johnson, Clive Lewis, Ian Lavery, Rachael Maskell, John McDonnell, Ian Mearns, Nav Mishra, Grahame Morris, Kate Osamor, Kate Osborne, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Zarah Sultana, Sam Tarry, Jon Trickett, Beth Winter, Claudia Webbe, Mick Whitley and Nadia Whittome.
But Mr Starmer has released a statement of his own, saying he intends to investigate: the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned – despite the fact that we’re told he has been in possession of the report for more than a week; the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report – which suggests an intention to find that it is not accurate; and the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain – which suggests that he wants to attack the people who leaked it because he thinks that is much worse than gross misconduct and betrayal of every single Labour member and voter in the United Kingdom.
So it seems this has become a matter of trust.
The wider membership of the party will have to base its future choices on what Starmer chooses to do. But I will say this:
There is enough prima facie evidence in this report to justify the suspension of every Labour official, MP and member who is named in it as having acted against the interests of the party. Starmer should take this step, to justify members’ continued support – and to ensure that the accused don’t end up investigating themselves.
Postscript: And now we learn that Starmer bypassed Labour’s National Executive Committee – which is supposed to be it’s sovereign decision-making body – to announce that an independent investigation on the lines he described would take place. The NEC’s chair is furious:
The weird part of it is, Starmer didn’t have to do this to rubber-stamp a decision not to carry out the obvious investigation – into the behaviour of the Labour officials, MPs and members cited as having acted wrongly. Labour’s NEC is now predominantly right-wing and probably would have agreed to a whitewash anyway.
But now he will – or at least, should – be open to questions about why he thinks he is above the scrutiny demanded by the party of its leaders… People like Jeremy Corbyn, to name a topical example.
At this rate, it won’t be long before other leading party figures can demand a quick “no confidence” vote and he can go home.
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