… And actually briefs a right-wing, fake-news blog site about the sacking before telling the person he has sacked, too.
Classy moves, Sir Keir!
So it’s true. As first reported on the Skwawkbox blog late yesterday (September 23), Labour leader Keir Starmer has sacked Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter and Olivia Blake from positions as Parliamentary Private Secretaries because they voted against the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21.
They were objecting to provisions in the Bill that would protect soldiers from prosecution if they participate in acts of torture while on duty overseas.
It will come as no surprise that the Conservative government relishes the idea of UK soldiers torturing Johnny (and Janey) Foreigner.
Starmer’s decision to abstain on the Bill (a U-turn from a previous position in which Labour would have opposed it) was, as Skwawkbox pointed out, reminiscent of the abstention on a Welfare Bill ordered by Harriet Harman years ago – that fuelled support for Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 leadership contest.
In all, 19 Labour MPs voted against the Bill:
Diane Abbott, Apsana Begum, Olivia Blake, Richard Burgon, Ian Byrne, Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Lavery, Rebecca Long-Bailey, John McDonnell, Kate Osamor, Kate Osborne, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Zarah Sultana, Jon Trickett, Claudia Webbe, Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter. ✊✊✊
— Socialist Steve ✊ (@TheSocialistDad) September 23, 2020
The other 16 – including Mr Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery and the previously-sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey – were all backbenchers.
The public response has not just been critical of Starmer for supporting the Bill and for the sackings…
Nadia Whittome has essentially been sacked for voting against war crimes.
The Labour Party is the Party of War criminality again then.
— Mark Hebden (@unionlib) September 23, 2020
If it’s true that Nadia Whittome has been sacked then this is perhaps the biggest mistake that has been made by the Labour leadership to date. A young, rising star who worked during the first wave of this crisis as a carer. Sacked? Big mistake.
— Liam Young (@liamyoung) September 23, 2020
Credit to 3 Labour MPs tonight for quitting the front bench
• Nadia Whittome
• Beth Winter
• Olivia Blake
They opposed Starmer’s decision to back a law that would exempt UK War Criminals from prosecution for Extraordinary Rendition, which is outlawed by international law.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) September 23, 2020
… but also for the fact that he briefed right-wing trash blog Guido Fawkes on what he had done before he bothered to tell her, so it could say she couldn’t resign properly:
Keir Starmer is a trash person.
He undermined RLB until he could find a fig leaf excuse to sack her.
And now he’s not only sacked Nadia Whittome & others for voting against war crimes…he briefed right-wing shithouse media ahead of time to look “tough”.
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza 🏳️🌈🏴 (@TheMendozaWoman) September 24, 2020
So let’s get this right. Celebrated Human Rights Barrister, Sir Keir Starmer, abstained on legislating against torture, and sacked Nadia Whittome for voting against it.
His people also went to far-right site, Guido Fawkes, and told them before they told her.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) September 23, 2020
Labour say they're going to oppose the bill.
Then they abstain on the bill.
Then they sack Nadia Whittome, Beth Winter and Olivia Blake for voting against (opposing) the bill.
And brief a far-right, racist, fake news blog before informing them.
But no, nothing to see here. 🙄
— Chris Henry #TimeForAntiFascism (@Socialist_Chris) September 24, 2020
Labour has form on briefing members of the so-called press about action taken against members. When This Writer’s party membership was suspended on fake charges of anti-Semitism, I found out about it from a reporter for the Western Mail, who phoned me up a day before I was notified by email.
From this we may infer that the people in charge of the party’s disciplinary procedures at the time were right-wing factionalists and not supporters of then-leader Jeremy Corbyn. Or so it seems to me.
All this comes on top of reports that Labour under Starmer is less likeable now, compared to when Corbyn was in charge.
Here’s (and I apologise for this) the Daily Express:
A new Ipsos MORI poll has found in November 2019, under the leadership of Mr Corbyn, the likeability of the Labour was 49 percent.
Just 10 months later, and five months since Sir Keir took over the leadership, the figure has fallen to 38 percent.
The poll did show support for Starmer himself was higher than that for Corbyn ever reached – possibly because Starmer has support from rags like The Express? – but this was before the latest scandal.
Starmer’s letdowns are becoming legendary: he sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey under a false claim (it seems clear now that she opposed his plan to support Boris Johnson in reopening them too soon. She was right and he was wrong); he called the Black Lives Matter movement a “moment” after having a publicity photo taken to profess support for it; he betrayed the many party members who (like me) have been falsely accused of anti-Semitism; and he betrayed nine of the 10 pledges he made in his leadership election campaign.
He may be popular among a general public that is being spoonfed propaganda by a right-wing press that wants to keep a “safe pair of hands” – meaning a member of the Establishment who won’t rock the boat – in charge of the main Opposition Party.
But some of us know better – including increasingly-disillusioned Labour members.
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.
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