Tag Archives: Angela Eagle

Labour anti-Semitism report: Starmer acts – to cover his supporters’ arses

No Labour leader: Instead of taking action to identify and expel the wrongdoers in the leaked Labour report on anti-Semitism, Keir Starmer seems to be trying to protect them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has issued a statement on the leaked Labour report that shows evidence that right-wing party staff members actively campaigned to undermine previous leader Jeremy Corbyn – by promising to protect the members implicated in wrongdoing, and investigate how the public got to find out about them.

Or so it seems to me.

In a joint statement with deputy leader Angela Rayner, he said the following. I’ll comment on his words [in bold] as we go through it:

“We have seen a copy of an apparently [apparently? It is an official Labour document on anti-Semitism and as such he is certain to have known about it. Isn’t he? Skwawkbox reckons he had a copy of the report shortly after his election as leader was announced yet he was completely relaxed about it until it was leaked] internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism. The content and the release of the report into the public domain raise a number of matters of serious concern.

“We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter. This investigation will be instructed to look at three areas. First, the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved [which, as leader, he should already know. In any case, it is made explicitly clear in the text of the report]. Second, the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report [which suggests an attempt to deny the findings and whitewash the wrongdoers]. Third, the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain [which suggests he would have preferred it to remain secret and the wrongdoers to go unquestioned, let alone punished].

“We have also asked for immediate sight of any legal advice the Labour Party has already received about the report.

“In the meantime, we ask everyone concerned to refrain from drawing conclusions before the investigation is complete [why? The report is complete and its conclusions are clear] and we will be asking the General Secretary to put measures in place to protect the welfare of party members and party staff who are concerned or affected by this report [but not party members and former party members who were clearly victimised by those party members he is trying to protect].”

I would not want to see anyone face unreasonable abuse – either verbal or physical – for having taken part in the activities mentioned in the report.

But the behaviour it describes is utterly vile and, if true, anybody who was involved in it should – no, must – be expelled from the Labour Party forever.

If anyone thinks a lifetime expulsion is too much, bear in mind that these senior Labour staff used language that was considerably more abusive and inappropriate than that cited as justification for suspending many Labour members who supported Jeremy Corbyn in 2016.

Labour members past and present are lining up to demand action.

But it seems Mr Starmer is more interested in protecting the perpetrators of these offences.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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If Angela Eagle or any other Labour MP is deselected, it’s because they’re NOT good at their job

Oh dear: Maybe Angela Eagle wishes she had spent a little less time falsely accusing Wallasey’s followers of Jeremy Corbyn of vandalising her office and more time standing up for the Labour Party.

Let’s get something perfectly clear: Labour’s reselection process is not about stabbing good MPs in the back; it is about getting the best possible election candidates.

If Yvette Cooper’s constituency party decides to let her go, then that’s the prerogative of the members.

That goes for Hilary Benn – he can’t dine out on his father’s reputation forever; Margaret Beckett; Jess Phillips; Margaret Hodge; Angela Eagle; Louise Ellman or whoever.

And if it means 70 sitting Labour MPs get replaced on the orders of their constituency parties, then that’s what will happen.

The fact that some Corbyn loyalists may also get the push shows that this isn’t some leftie conspiracy, despite what some of the sore egos in the party are telling the news-hacks.

Apparently, incumbents have until July 8 (Monday) to tell the Labour executive whether they want to stand for election again. One or two have already said they won’t – and it would probably be more dignified for some of the others if they did the same.

After Monday, the process moves on to the members; if one-third of a constituency’s branches vote to remove their MP, then the matter will be decided by a “trigger” ballot.

To be honest, many MPs who are “triggered” probably won’t lose their chance to be re-elected, because one-third of branches is not a majority of members; while incumbents may have to stand for re-selection, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

It seems some are trying to organise a way of manipulating the system to prevent de-selection. But in light of the above, this seems over-the-top.

So when the i online quotes MPs as saying

“It’s another example of how they [the Corbyn leadership]aren’t going to take their foot off our throats until they’ve choked us.”

or

“People are really angry about it. It could mean a lot of really good, hard-working MPs are affected.”

it’s likely to be hyperbole.

This is about clearing the wheat from the chaff – not about divesting Labour of talented representatives.

Source: 70 Labour MPs including Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn face deselection before next election

Wallasey Momentum on accusations of homophobia against Angela Eagle: ‘Evidence first – verdict later!’

Almost 400 people crowded Wallasey civic hall at a meeting to discuss the local Labour party's suspension [Image: Liam Murphy on Twitter].

Almost 400 people crowded Wallasey civic hall at a meeting to discuss the local Labour party’s suspension [Image: Liam Murphy on Twitter].

A report attacking Labour Party members in Wallasey that was leaked after being presented to the ruling National Executive Committee has now been savaged by the constituency’s Momentum group.

The response, below, was originally published on Wirral In It Together, along with a comment on behalf of that blog. This Writer recommends that you visit that site and read the comment there, in order to gain further insight into the situation.

The Momentum comment mentions This Blog and the Skwawkbox blog, both of which have already published articles about the report to the NEC – saying Momentum does not endorse all the comment and analysis we have provided. That’s fine – these are all opinion pieces. The more points of view are available to the reader, the more likely it is that they will reach an informed opinion.

Here’s what Wallasey Momentum has to say, published as on Wirral In It Together:

The consequences of Angela Eagle’s disastrous decision to resign from the Shadow Cabinet and launch a botched attempt to challenge Jeremy Corbyn continue to be played out in Wallasey.  The attempted coup did massive damage to Labour’s standing in the polls.  Locally, the continued trashing of the Party’s reputation may come to bite Labour in marginal Council seats and in the general Election across Wirral.

The next move by those trying to defend Angela is an inaccurate report on the local Party.  Just one example will give the flavour: “A small number of members held a public meeting to discuss their concerns about the suspension of Wallasey CLP”.  The Liverpool Echo live streamed this meeting called by Wirral TUC.  The Echo reported that over 400 people attended.  Prior to Jeremy’s election the normal attendance at all member CLP meetings was 15 to 20.

The “confidential” report was immediately leaked to the Liverpool Echo.  Local Party members first saw it in the media.  It has now been published online by a blog Skwawkbox.  There is analysis on that blog and also on Vox Political.  It’s worth reading but Wallasey Momentum does not endorse all the comment and analysis.

The enquiry concludes that it is highly likely that the brick incident was related to Angela’s leadership challenge.  But the very specific allegations by Angela’s supporters, never contradicted by Angela despite being offered a chance to do so on national TV, were that it was a Wallasey Labour Party member, at the behest of Jeremy Corbyn, who threw the brick.  No evidence is produced to support those wild allegations.  However the report says that calls for members to be disciplined if they can’t substantiate their allegations are “intimidation”.

All this is bad enough, but for a Party that stands for fairness, the most worrying aspects are how the allegations of homophobia are treated.

In the leaked report, under “Allegations of homophobia” it says “The investigation has found that some members have truthfully claimed that homophobic instances occurred during the AGM.  Others truthfully said that they were not aware of those instances.  It is possible for the events to have occurred without the knowledge of all members.  The allegations are not that the CLP is institutionally homophobic or that members were aware of homophobia but took no action, but are specific to individuals.  These allegations will be reported to the next meeting of the Disputes Panel regarding individual disciplinary action.”

Party members who are interested in truth and justice should study this passage carefully.

They will see that the investigation has reached a verdict before any individual has been charged.  They conclude “Some members have truthfully claimed…” But no allegation has yet been put to anyone.  No-one has had no [sic] chance to respond, and to call witnesses.  How can the enquiry have concluded that the allegations are true?  It is like the trial scene from Alice in Wonderland.

Even worse, the Labour Party is apparently going to move to “individual disciplinary action”.

There is no mention of having a hearing, looking at the evidence, or of any process at all for the accused.  At the time of writing, months after the alleged incident, no-one has been informed by the party that they are the ones about whom the secret allegations have been made.  When they are informed, they will know that they have already been publically [sic] convicted – by the National Executive Committee!

So where does this leave the Labour Party if the evidence does not in fact support the allegations?

The central claim made in the media was that someone used an offensive homophobic term about Angela Eagle.  If it is true, that would be an outrage deserving of disciplinary action.

However, in order to test the validity of this claim, the person or persons eventually accused will need to know who their accuser is.  They will then know where the accuser was sitting in the room.

And the people sitting near the accused, near the accuser, and in between, can then be asked for their version of events.  If none of those people heard the abuse, as the Party report suggests was the case for most people present, how credible is the accuser’s claim?

As we have stated for months now, what is being alleged is a hate crime.  Labour Party procedures tell complainants in these circumstances to report the matter to the Police.  Officers of Wallasey CLP responded to the initial reports by asking the complainants to do just that.  It appears they did not do so.

Party procedures then require that the Labour Party report the issues to the Police. Again, that does not appear to have happened.  Why might that be?  It is essential that the Police are now brought into this since the NEC sub-committee has concluded that there was homophobia.

The worry must be that having reached a verdict, the Labour Party will now feel obliged to stand by it whatever the evidence shows.  A finding of homophobia against an individual could cost them their job.  If there is no reliable evidence, it will be libel.  This could all end up in court.  Have the Labour Party NEC and its full time officials thought this through?

We should add that Wallasey Momentum is not behind the reported “crowd funding” of legal action –and we don’t know who is.  It could be a hoax.  But legal action is clearly possible if and when an individual is accused.

The Labour Party NEC must urgently reconsider the train of events that they seem to have set in motion.  A proper independent investigation of the allegations must take place, with a fair hearing, and the conclusion following the evidence.  The Party procedures are clear and fair – but they have not been followed.  Any specific allegations against individuals must be shared with them, and that should happen now, not in January 2017 or Spring 2017.  An unbiased interviewer who has not already decided the result should question the accuser, the accused, and their witnesses.  An independent panel should then consider those facts, and there should be a right of appeal.  It is going to be hard for the Party to recover from this massive procedural blunder, but they must try.

Evidence first – verdict later!

Source: UPDATED – Wallasey Momentum’s Response to Labour NEC Report ~ Alleged Homophobia Towards Angela Eagle | Wirral In It Together

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Corbyn is right to support Labour’s grassroots against critics


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is making his position clear, as the UK political scene quietens down for Christmas: Grassroots members are not out of line; his Parliamentary opponents are a minority; and it’s time for Labour to come together.

It’s a good message: Togetherness at Christmas.

The message, delivered in a Sunday Times interview, makes it clear that he won’t tolerate any criticism of grassroots members who have expressed dissatisfaction with dissenting MPs.

Those Parliamentarians are upset because their decisions – to attack Corbyn in the press, to support the Conservative Party over air strikes in Syria – have been roundly condemned by the party at large. They seem to think their choices should be above criticism.

Corbyn is telling them, “No”.

They aren’t above criticism; they do need to consider the repercussions of their actions among the wider Labour Party and their own constituencies in particular.

Conversely, they shouldn’t need to fear deselection at this time – as he has already said. This is probably more than he can promise. Labour members have long memories and will be making notes in the run-up to the next round of selections.

But then, Corbyn is asking the rebels in his Parliamentary party to come back into the fold; accept the new order and contribute their talents toward it. If they don’t, he may change his mind.

The BBC, of course, Tory mouthpiece that it is, has concentrated on Angela Eagle’s apparent failure to show support for the Labour leader. It’s a complete non-story that does nothing other than reinforce the fact that the BBC newsgathering staff must be purged of pro-Tory political bias.

Asked if he expected to lead the party in the 2020 general election campaign, Mr Corbyn said: “Absolutely. I’m not going anywhere.”

He urged MPs to recognise the support that swept him to to the leadership and dismissed suggestions his supporters were attempting to intimidate his opponents.

“They should recognise that I was elected with a very large mandate from a very wide variety of people from all parts of the movement,” he told the newspaper.

“There is no imposition of any mob. What there is is a development of participatory democracy. The parliamentary party is a part of the party, a very important part, but it is not the totality of the Labour party.”

Source: Jeremy Corbyn tells critics: I’ll lead Labour in 2020 – BBC News

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Corbyn appoints his shadow cabinet

John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor.

John McDonnell, the new Shadow Chancellor.

Congratulations to John McDonnell, in particular, on his appointment as Shadow Chancellor.

Mr McDonnell is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn and a man who is not afraid to stand up for his beliefs. Reports state that Angela Eagle could have been offered the job, but This Writer is glad that Mr McDonnell took it instead – even if it has led to gripes that nobody in the ‘top four’ jobs is a woman.

Instead, Ms Eagle has been named Shadow Business Secretary and Shadow First Secretary of State, meaning she will stand in for Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions when David Cameron is away.

According to the BBC:

Defeated leadership rival Andy Burnham is shadow home secretary, while Hilary Benn remains shadow foreign secretary. Other confirmed appointments are:

  • Lucy Powell, who was Ed Miliband’s general election coordinator, will be shadow education secretary
  • Lewisham MP Heidi Alexander will take over from Mr Burnham as shadow health secretary
  • Lord Falconer, a former flat mate of ex-PM Tony Blair, will continue as shadow justice secretary
  • Seema Malhotra is shadow chief secretary to the Treasury
  • Diane Abbott is made shadow minister for international development
  • Shadow Northern Ireland secretary is Vernon Coaker
  • Rosie Winterton to continue as chief whip
  • Ian Murray to continue as shadow Scottish secretary.

This Writer – and no doubt readers of This Blog – will be particularly interested to see who is chosen as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary.

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Labour launches plan to attack political corruption

westminsterfromwater

If there’s one area of British life that needs reform, it’s politics.

Every day, Vox Political receives at least one comment from somebody saying that the system is corrupt and desperately needs an overhaul. Today (Tuesday, March 3), Labour is due to announce its plans for tackling this very issue.

The trouble is, of course, that many people are saying Labour is part of the problem.

The claim is that the party and its high-level members have a vested financial interest in keeping the system as it is – and the gravy train rolling along. How will Labour combat these?

Well…

There are plans to consult on new powers for the Speaker to tackle the worst and repeated instances of rowdy behaviour in the Chamber with a so-called ‘sin bin’.

Former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans described the idea as “rubbish”, pointing out that the speaker already has the ability to remove MPs in certain circumstances and has lots of discretion at present.

But the Speaker himself, John Bercow, has given a cautious welcome to the suggestion that MPs face a rugby-style “yellow-card” temporary ban for bad behaviour in the Chamber. Answering questions at a Hansard Society event at Westminster, Mr Bercow said: “I think there is merit in it, it’s not for me to decide, it’s for the House to decide.”

Other measures will be revealed at an event in Parliament, by Shadow Leader of the Commons Angela Eagle. They include:

  • Overhauling elections with measures including introducing votes at 16 and trialling online voting
  • Changing how Parliament works with a Prime Minister’s Questions for the public and a new process for law-making that gives people a say
  • Tackling vested interests by regulating MPs’ 2nd jobs and creating compulsory rules for lobbyists, and
  • Devolving power across the UK and replacing the Lords with a ‘Senate of the Nations and Regions’.

Some of these measures have already been trailed, like votes for 16-year-olds, public PMQs and regulation of MPs’ second jobs. One has been claimed by the Conservative Party, although Labour’s Austin Mitchell describes the plan for devolution to Greater Manchester as a “deathbed repentance by a government which had centralised continuously in a country that is over-centralised already”. He claimed that a concentration of power in London and the south-east of England “needs to be reversed so the rest of us can have a chance”.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Angela Eagle said: “The recent debate over MPs’ second jobs reminds us that so much needs to change in Westminster. When trust in politics and politicians is already at a record low, only radical reform will restore faith in our political process.

“Labour’s plan will deliver the reform our politics needs. We will reform the Commons to strengthen its ability to hold the government to account. And we will ensure our political system always puts people before rich and powerful vested interests.

“Our politics works on an adversarial system, but sometimes MPs take it too far and it turns the public off. A Labour government will consult on new powers for the Speaker to curb the worst forms of repeated barracking.”

This writer is particularly keen on online voting. It is to be hoped that the trials go well, so that this may help restore interest – and confidence – in democracy.

Does it go far enough? Undoubtedly people will say it does not – but at least, it seems, Labour will do something to arrest the corruption that seems to have seeped into the very bones of the Palace of Westminster (the building will be unusable within 20 years, it seems, unless expensive restoration work is undertaken).

What would you do?

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Two women who could help change Britain – David Hencke

Margaret Hodge; A practical route map for Labour

Margaret Hodge; A practical route map for Labour

The most exciting part of political conferences is not the main conference hall but the fringe. It is here that people are much more likely to speak their mind and real issues are debated – not set piece presentations, writes David Hencke.

Angela Eagle, shadow leader of the Commons, chair of the conference and the national policy forum made a refreshingly off message analysis of present British society and where it is going.

Speaking at a Unite union fringe organised by Class (Centre for Labour and Social Studies)- analysing the rapidly widening gap between the mega elite and the ordinary worker – she actually described the present situation in society as ” immoral”.-pointing out that  top directors now earn 130 times more than their workforce.

Angela Eagle providing Labour with a  moral compass. Pic credit: The Guardian

Angela Eagle providing Labour with a moral compass. Pic credit: The Guardian

The second feisty contribution came from Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons public accounts committee. She was speaking on a different platform with the Policy Network Here the issue was how Labour could make a difference by accepting the present economic situation and using public money more effectively.

Superficially  you might think the two women were on  different planets but actually they complimented each other.

Margaret Hodge, with enormous experience of investigating Whitehall scandals, tax avoidance and the dodgy behaviour of private companies providing public services, had a practical route map on how Labour could handle this.

Her solution including forcing the companies to become transparent with the way they spend or misspent our money, using public procurement to secure the living wage for all workers, clamping down far more effectively on tax avoidance including collecting the taxes, and looking at radical five-year plans to innovate public services, rather than the Treasury knee jerk reaction top impose cuts with three months notice.

Both women  have enormous talents. Angela provides a moral compass, Margaret a practical route map  out of an increasingly unfair society.

For the full article, please visit David Hencke’s blog.

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Don’t make a cuppa during the Queen’s Speech – you might miss it!

Frack Cameron: In advance of a new bill to allow fracking under private homes, Greenpeace did this to David Cameron's Chipping Norton home. Fair comment?

Frack Cameron: In advance of a new bill to allow fracking under private homes, Greenpeace did this to David Cameron’s Chipping Norton home. Fair comment?

Picture the scene if you can: Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty is seated, getting on with monarchical business. A staff member knocks and enters with an envelope from Downing Street, containing the proposed text of the Queen’s Speech, which is swiftly opened.

HM takes out a single piece of paper, scans it, turns it over (the back is blank). She speaks:

“Is this it?”

Yup. We could well be about to hear the shortest Queen’s Speech in the history of broadcasting. The evening news bulletins will probably be able to broadcast it in its entirety, instead of the usual excerpts.

Only 11 new bills are to go before Parliament. They involve:

  • Plans to change the pension system (again), split among two bills – look out, pensioners!
  • A bill to make it easier for companies to frack for gas under private property – look out, homeowners!
  • Measures to implement a promise to provide up to £2,000 worth of free childcare – probably not enough.
  • A proposed right for voters to recall their MP – to be judged by other MPs if the rumours are correct. Corruption?
  • The outlawing of “modern slavery” – except, one presumes, that enshrined in law by this government’s own Mandatory Work Activity schemes.
  • Powers to tackle lawyers and other professionals who help criminal gangs – clearly, in this world of government-aided tax evasion (for example), they are helping the wrong criminal gangs.
  • Measures to tackle the abuse of zero-hours contracts – one can’t help feeling that the Tories were shamed into this one by bad publicity.
  • Legal protection for people carrying out “good deeds” such as volunteering or planning local events, who become involved in liability claims. Can you spot the opportunities for corruption in this?
  • The curb on public sector employees claiming huge redundancy payments and then taking new jobs in the same sector, that was mentioned on this blog recently.
  • Help for pub landlords.
  • And a plan to charge 5p for plastic bags in England – copying a successful scheme in Wales. Doesn’t this government mock Wales as a failure? Why, then, is it copying Wales?

Six more bills have been carried over from the last Parliamentary session – which wasn’t exactly brimming with work either.

Considering the scale of the problems facing the UK – many of which have arisen because of Coalition government policies – it is a hopelessly inadequate programme of government.

David Cameron and Nick (who?) Clegg have claimed it shows the government is still capable of “taking bold steps”. Baby steps, more like!

Angela Eagle, Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, responded: “Just because the government announced it’s a bold programme, that does not mean actually that it is.”

What do you think? Do you think the bills listed above with do anything to solve Britain’s biggest problems?

I don’t.

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Bullying in Parliament over Universal Credit?

The "bully": Perhaps Parliament is merely giving Iain Duncan 'RTU' Smith enough rope to hang himself, as the saying goes - but when considering the huge list of his misdemeanours, one has to ask how much rope he needs.

The “bully”: Perhaps Parliament is merely giving Iain Duncan ‘RTU’ Smith enough rope to hang himself, as the saying goes – but when considering the huge list of his misdemeanours, one has to ask how much rope he needs.

Sometimes information becomes public that boggles the mind. It seems Iain Duncan Smith bullied members of the Public Accounts Committee into blaming his permanent secretary, Robert Devereaux, for the failings of Universal Credit.

That’s right – it is alleged that the man who is afraid to reveal how many people have died because of his policies, whose mandatory work schemes have proved less successful than doing nothing, who changed the law after his rules for Workfare were found to be illegal – only for the Supreme Court to rule they were still illegal, whose departmental annual report is now nearly eight months late, who lied to Parliament and the public about the success of his benefit cap and who is afraid to face the Commons Work and Pensions committee to account for himself, has resorted to intimidation because he doesn’t want to take the blame for his latest – or rather, longest-running, catastrophe.

Let’s not even get started on the Bedroom Tax!

The allegation appears in a BBC News report, under a headline that claims David Cameron is supporting the unrepentant Work and Pensions secretary. Does this mean Cameron approves of such ungentlemanly behaviour as bullying? The report states that “Downing Street said the work and pensions secretary was ‘doing exactly the right thing’ with the new scheme.”

Smith has denied claims he tried to “lean on” members of the committee to place the blame on Mr Devereaux, but Labour sources on the committee told BBC News there was a “concerted” effort by Tory members to shift the blame, with extra meetings and discussions over amendments “pointing the finger” at the permanent secretary.

But David Cameron’s official spokesman was vague in his support from the Secretary-in-a-State. Asked if it was proper for a secretary of state to approach members of a select committee ahead of publication of a report, in the way alleged of …Smith, he said: “There are procedures that are in place for the relationship between departments and select committees and that is something the Department for Work and Pensions have been very clear about.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?

Labour’s shadow leader of the Commons, Angela Eagle, has demanded an urgent statement from …Smith: “This morning we learn of a wholly improper attempt to lean on members of an independent select committee of this House by Mr Duncan Smith and his parliamentary team to try to put the blame on the permanent secretary.”

She was wrong.

We don’t need a statement. We need disciplinary procedures.

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