Starmer and his team are working behind the scenes to stop Labour MPs from criticising the Conservatives.
After significant rebellions against one-line Labour whips on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligent Sources Bill (the so-called ‘Spycops’ bill that allows government agents to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape), the whips office has broken party protocol to issue written reprimands to the rebels.
The letters stipulate a reprimand period of six months, to be extended to twelve if the recipient continues to break the whip.
They have been shared with Labour’s parliamentary committee – a group of backbench MPs elected by the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), and currently dominated by the right – which will determine whether to inform the MP’s constituency Labour party (CLP), as well as the party’s national executive committee (NEC).
This information could then be considered when an MP seeks reselection ahead of a general election.
“That’s the fear factor,” one MP told Novara Media. “This could impact your reselection [and] it might be over a one-line whip. It’s intimidation plain and simple.”
A number of those who received letters are seeking legal advice from union representatives, the MP added.
But that’s not all.
It seems someone in Starmer’s office has taken it upon themselves to water down criticism of the Tory government’s failure to protect people with disabilities by reducing the disability employment gap and mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on them, and in its new COVID-19 guidance for people placed in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group.
Someone in the office of the shadow minister for people with disabilities, Vicky Foxcroft, sent a draft of her comments to John Pring of Disability News Service which differed significantly from the official version of her comments released by the Labour Party.
The changes include the removal of a reference to the “vital” role played by trade unions in protecting disabled people from discrimination, along with any reference to disability discrimination.
Read the DNS article and see for yourself. It states,
Responding to the new pandemic guidance… her official statement said that disabled people were just “anxious” rather than “extremely worried”. Her call for disabled people who might need to shield again needing to be “properly compensated and not left without enough money to survive” had vanished.
This represents a serious policy change from Labour – back to the indifference to anti-disability discrimination that marred the New Labour years and Ed Miliband’s leadership.
People with disabilities can no longer rely on Labour MPs to stand up for them because it seems the party leadership now supports the Tories’ campaign to punish them, just for existing.
Starmer seems determined to let Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories do whatever they want – harm whoever they want – while threatening to sabotage the careers of anybody in his own ranks who dares to protest.
The big question is: What is to be done about this?
The union Unite has already cut its funding to the Labour Party by 10 per cent, and the decision to remove a supportive reference to trade unions from an official comment could be interpreted as an attack – or even a retaliation. Should that union – and others – cut support for Labour even more?
And what about constituency Labour parties? The threat to MPs – which includes sanctions that could lead to their deselection (to be replaced by right-wingers parachuted in by head office, no doubt – that was Tony Blair’s practice) – is also an indirect attack on the power of members to choose their representatives.
Will they act? Should they?
What do you think?
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