The Labour Files documentary is a report on the content of leaked Labour Party files acquired by Al Jazeera, revealing “a criminal conspiracy against its members”.. “the wholesale hacking of the press”… “a hierarchy of racism.. under Starmer’s leadership” and the physical surveillance of members and their families, including children. The documentary found…
- Former General Secretary, Iain McNicol and Head of the Governance and Legal Unit, John Stolliday, blocked the progress of any staff appointments considered, in any way, favourable toward Jeremy Corbyn.
- In 2016, during the Chicken Coup, the party started a smear campaign targeting Corbyn supporting constituencies.
- Tessa Jowell, a known Corbyn opponent, claimed that Angela Eagle had been subjected to vile homophobic abuse at a Wallasey CLP meeting and that people had been intimidated by pro-Corbyn supporters (Wallasey supported the Corbyn leadership) but the then Chair of Wallasey Labour (Kathy Runswick) and Vice Chair (Paul Davies) revealed Eagle wasn’t even at the meeting, there were absolutely no homophobic comments or gestures and no one tried to intimidate anyone else.
- Shortly after, Angela Eagle announces her own bid for leadership of the Labour Party. As Runswick explains, Wallasey would not have supported Eagle’s leadership bid, so the smear campaign was more of a pre-emptive strike, designed to undermine the credibility of any dissenters.
- Paul Stuart, a Wallasey Labour Cllr, compiles a so-called ‘dossier’ of complaints that he claims were made by members of Wallasey, alleging homophobic comments were made at the meeting and sends it to Labour HQ, along with a slip of paper, which he says was given to him by an un-named Momentum member, outlining a plot to take over the party. However, this note included, word for word, entire extracts taken from a book review of ‘The Militant Tendency’ previously undertaken by a right wing think tank (the Militant Tendency was a hard left faction within the Labour Party that had been accused of trying to take over the Labour Party in the 1980’s). This note was picked up by the then Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, another known Corbyn opponent.
- Watson writes to Corbyn claiming there was clear evidence of “tightly organised factions.. organising within Momentum and the Party.”
- Shortly after, the note gets leaked to the mainstream media and starts the whole debate around hard left entryism and a “Trotskyist infiltration.”
As journalist Peter Oborne points out, the media weren’t interested in doing their jobs and failed to “question the official [Labour Party] versions of the truth.”
- The evidence shows that Cllr Stuart, Angela Eagle, Emilie Oldknow and Iain McNicol then conspired to suspend Wallasey constituency.
- Cllr Stuart makes up a story about Wallasey’s Vice Chair, Paul Davies, over an alleged data breach. He demands Davies be expelled and even reports him to the police. However, the allegation falls flat when its revealed that Davies was away in London at the time of the alleged breach.
- Following an investigation of Stuart’s claims, it’s discovered that only 4 of the 17 members on his list confirmed they’d heard homophobic comments at the meeting and 3 of those happen to share the same surname as Stuart.
- Despite all this and despite the fact that no CLP member was ever suspended over the allegations, Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes (2016-2018), suspends Wallasey CLP for over a year.
The files reveal that Sam Matthews was aware that Wallasey were pro-Corbyn and would not be supportive of Eagle’s leadership bid. Matthews is a known Corbyn opponent and made a number of allegations against the Corbyn leadership when he appeared in the Panorama documentary ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic.’
- Brighton & Hove CLP also found themselves the target of Labour HQ ire. Shortly after Corbyn’s election, and immediately before their upcoming general meeting, they organised a rally attracting about 800 people. This spooked the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove Council, Warren Morgan, who then emailed his supporters telling them he believed that “a group of individuals from Momentum.. and other left wing fringe groups” affiliated to ‘Militant’ were planning to take over the constituency. He tells them they must face them down.
- At the Brighton & Hove CLP AGM, the Momentum left slate wins 65% of the vote and is duly elected.
- Warren Morgan immediately files a complaint to regional office claiming “venue staff were allegedly spat at, others were verbally intimidated, our organiser was assaulted and abused”… “I’ve no hesitation in saying that this is a hostile takeover of the party.”
- Greg Hadfield, the elected Secretary for Brighton & Hove in 2016, describes how the party then proceeded to spread false claims about their CLP and chose to ignore the fact that he’d given them statements from 78 attendees who all swore that there had been no spitting, intimidation, assaults or abuse of any kind. In fact, it wasn’t until Hadfield gave them CCTV footage of the event, proving nothing had happened, that “the allegations disappeared.”
- Within days of the Brighton & Hove AGM, the results of a democratic election are overturned and the CLP is suspended.
The Labour Files reveal that Katherine Buckingham, from the disputes unit and John Stolliday, had discussed overturning the results of the Brighton AGM and that Stolliday wanted to “deal with individuals.” Buckingham agreed and proposed taking immediate action and worrying about the legalities after.
- In Harrow West CLP, angry members met to discuss their MP’s involvement in the Chicken Coup. They put forward a motion criticising Gareth Thomas for resigning from the shadow cabinet. Labour Cllr, Pamela Fitzpatrick, who was against the motion, describes how the mood changed when another Labour Cllr, Michael Borio, suddenly stood up and starting shouting aggressively at her. Fitzpatrick chose to ignore him but shortly after the meeting, she found she had been suspended without explanation. Borio had filed a complaint against Fitzpatrick saying that ‘she’ was the one who had, in fact, heckled ‘him.’
- Harrow West MP, Gareth Thomas, then writes to the then General Secretary, Iain McNicol, asking for pro-Corbyn supporters, who he describes as infiltrators, to be treated more harshly. At the same time, a regional organiser writes to Head of Disputes, Sam Matthews, letting him know that Gareth had some concerns about Fitzpatrick. Matthews replies to say Gareth had already contacted Iain McNicol, proving, beyond doubt, that Thomas was instrumental in trying to remove Fitzpatrick, simply because she was pro-Corbyn.
- Pamela Fitzpatrick’s suspension is eventually overturned and she is elected to stand as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harrow East CLP.
- Harrow East CLP then debates and approves a motion to affiliate with Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), a group known to be critical of the state of Israel and supportive of Palestinian rights.
- Fitzpatrick is immediately bombarded by aggressive tweets attacking her personally over her CLP voting to affiliate with JVL. They demand that she condemn JVL, who they claim are Holocaust deniers, which is categorically not true. Fitzpatrick does not respond to their tweets so they then started accusing ‘her’ of being a Holocaust denier.
- Labour party activist, Luke Stanger, is one of the people tweeting Fitzpatrick. Determined to get her removed as Labour’s candidate for Harrow East he implies that her selection had upset members of the Jewish community. He then informs Fitzpatrick’s team that another Harrow Cllr had entasked him with the job of compiling a dossier on Fitzpatrick.
- Stanger calls Fitzpatrick a “nasty sectarian mouthpiece for the hard left.”
It turns out, Luke Stanger has a long record of abuse toward women and it seems he has support in very high places indeed…
- Ann Mitchell, a member of the executive committee for Hove CLP (2017-2018) describes how she suddenly started to get abusive tweets from Stanger where he’d use highly offensive terms like ‘crazed’, ‘deranged’, ‘repellent’, ‘rancid’, ‘grandma.’
- Stanger, a member of Sussex Friends of Israel, would also frequently be seen trying to intimidate and take videos of pro-Palestinian campaigners.
- After a whole series of complaints, the party finally decided to suspend Stanger and start an investigation.
- Stanger gets a questionnaire asking him to respond to the allegations, to which he replied “I reject the accusation that I have broken any of the party’s rules or codes of conduct”
Al Jazeera have looked at the meta data behind Stanger’s letter and discovered that the letter wasn’t even written by Stanger. In fact, the source was none other than Luke Akehurst, who happens to be a friend of Stangers. Akehurst has been very active within the pro-Israel lobby for a while, he is the Director of ‘We Believe in Israel’ and he currently sits on Labour’s NEC.
- Although Stanger had been suspended and is therefore not permitted to represent the party, in any capacity, he was still out campaigning during the 2019 general election.
- Damian McCarthy, Social Media Officer, Hove CLP (2019-2021), reports that he spotted Stanger while walking his youngest son to school. He didn’t know him personally so just ignored him but was then surprised to receive a private message from Stanger saying “Good to see you on the morning run with your son.” Given that they were not acquaintances, McCarthy sensed that this was not a friendly act.
- Suddenly, Stanger starts tweeting and falsely accusing McCarthy of being “a vile anti-Semite” and threatening to dox him to his employer.
- Stanger further escalates matters by calling and leaving a message at McCarthy’s place of work saying that he was calling on behalf of Labour Against Anti-Semitism (LAA) and informing them that they had compiled a dossier on Damian McCarthy.
- McCarthy and his stepfather, who happened to own the law firm they both worked for, opted not to respond or engage with Stanger in any way.
- A few days later they get another phone call, this time from Jonathan Hoffman, a pro-Israel activist and an advisor for LAA, (Hoffman has previously been convicted of aggressive and bullying behaviour). Hoffman, again, informs them about the ‘dossier’ but this time he emails it directly to McCarthy’s stepfather, having managed to somehow get hold of his private email address.
- The dossier included an exchange between McCarthy and a particularly vile pro-Israel troll who had threatened to behead McCarthy’s entire family. It also included disgusting comments, such as wishing McCarthy’s mother were dead and then proposing to dig up her remains in order to “skull f*** her.”
- McCarthy tells Al Jazeera that his stepfather was extremely upset after seeing the dossier and he believes that the shock was more than he could bear. McCarthy’s stepfather’s passed away shortly after.
- McCarthy and the family now live in constant fear of what this man might do next. He explains that they’ve had to improve home security and that he is now constantly worried about his family’s welfare.
Even now, despite the fact that McCarthy reported everything to the Labour Party and despite Labour’s disciplinary body voting to expel Stanger, nothing has actually been done and Stanger is yet to be expelled. Furthermore, Stanger continues to get endorsements from friends in high place, who ask that he ‘not’ be expelled. This includes senior Labour Party figures like Steve Reed, the MP for Croydon North (who, by some twisted irony, happens to be the Shadow Minister for Justice), as well as the former head of the Governance and Legal Unit, John Stolliday.
Incidentally, Stanger has hired a rather expensive city law firm to challenge his suspension from the Labour Party and he’s managed to acquire character references from 14 right wing Labour MPs (including Gareth Thomas, Peter Kyle, Lloyd Russel-Moyle and Steve Reed), 30 Cllrs and dozens of party activists. Ann Mitchell (Executive committee for Hove CLP- 2017-2018) firmly believes that this demonstrates that “the Labour Party now welcomes apartheid supporting racists and abusers of women”
According to Al Jazeera, the Labour files show that there are also many examples of MPs being directly involved in the removal of pro-Corbyn supporters.
- In August 2016, the current MP for Hove, Peter Kyle, emailed the GLU demanding they investigate and remove a local member, Rebecca Massey, and directed them to her online activity. He also accused her of being aggressive towards him and his staff. The accusation were unproven so Rebecca did not face disciplinary and even managed to get elected as Chair of her local branch.
- Ivor Caplin, former MP for Hove, who is a member of Rebecca’s local branch, writes to regional demanding she be suspended and that they investigate claims of anti-Semitism made against her by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA). The CAA had taken issue over a couple of tweets criticising the Israel lobby’s political influence in the UK. This story then got picked up by the mainstream media and, as a consequence, Massey has had to endure 6yrs of abuse.
By way of contrast, serious allegations and genuine requests for investigations made by members on the left, would often fall on deaf ears. For example, Al Jazeera’s ‘The Lobby’ documentary contained clear video evidence of Ella Rose, the leader of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and an ex-employee of the Israeli embassy, actually threatening to “take” Jackie Walker (a pro-Corbyn activist and supporter of Palestinian civil rights). In the clip, Rose tells a colleague that, as far as she’s concerned, people like Jackie Walker “can go die in a hole.” A number of official complaint were sent in to Iain McNicol but were simply ignored.
- In the mean time, Rose requests and gets a urgent meeting with Head of Disputes, Sam Matthews, but instead of apologising, she simply tells him that she wouldn’t have said those things if she was aware she was being filmed. Days later, Sam Matthews writes to Rose, letting her know “the Labour Party will be taking no further action on this matter.”
- Not satisfied with the decision on Rose, one of the complainants, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, emails Iain McNicol asking him to bring the decision on Rose before the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Documents show that McNicol then forwarded Naomi’s email to Stolliday, Matthews and Oldknow. Stolliday responds to the email to say there was no need to respond to Naomi’s email as they’d already declared the matter closed.
- Shortly after clearing Rose, Stolliday emails Oldknow, to let her know he’d spoken to a certain member of the NEC about the Rose case and that she’d agreed with him and told him “don’t take it to the NEC where everyone will get worked up,” proving Stolliday was instrumental in ensuring the Rose’s case would be brushed under the carpet and would never reach NEC.
Incidentally, while working at the Israeli embassy, Rose worked alongside Shai Massot, the disgraced Israeli diplomat who appeared in the Al Jazeera documentary, The Lobby, where he was secretly filmed plotting to “take down” UK MPs.
Journalist and Broadcaster, Peter Oborne, agrees there are double standards at play here.. “Ella Rose is being treated in a different way, more friendly way, after abusive behaviour, which she acknowledges, than people in Brighton and in Wallasey etc” but it’s also worth pointing out here that, unlike Rose, the people in Brighton and Wallasey were falsely accused and there was no actual evidence supporting any of the claims being made against them.
When the previous Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, was arrested in December 2020, over allegations of bribery and witness intimidation, a selection process began to look for a new Labour candidate for Liverpool Mayor…
- Anna Rothery was one of 3 Labour candidates to be shortlisted. Rothery had the endorsement of Unite Union, Jeremy Corbyn and a number of other left wing Labour MPs. Rothery wins and is duly elected Lord Mayor of Liverpool in Sept 2019. However, in February 2021, Rothery set herself at odds with the Starmer leadership when she made a public statement saying that she would “like to see the whip restored to Jeremy and the CLP officers who faced arbitrary suspension to be reinstated.”
- Files show that when Rothery was next up for re-selection, senior officials at Labour HQ discussed what action they could take against her.
- Rothery gets a letter from HQ informing her that they had decided to revisit the selection process.
- Former local Labour Cllr, Alan Dean, writes to the party’s new General Secretary, David Evans, telling him Rothery was an unsuitable candidate because she was a Corbynista and had the support of “various senior Corbynista MPs.” In his letter, Dean includes a number of rather nasty and slanderous lies about Rothery and her children. He calls her “untrustworthy, dishonest.. someone who is solely motivated by her ego, status and financial gain” and tells Evans of an incident that allegedly happened between Rothery and another local Cllr, Nick Small, at Rothery’s CLP many years earlier. Small claimed that Rothery had prodded him in the head but an internal investigation had found there was no truth to the claim and he was, in fact, forced to apologise to Rothery.
Rothery tells Al Jazeera what really happened was that Small had walked over to her and made a racist comment, telling her.. “you only got that position because your black.” Rothery chose to ignore him but Small was already determined to get her removed…
- When Rothery was invited back for her 2nd interview with the selection panel she sensed some hostility. One member of the panel brought up the incident with Nick Small and argued that because she’d supposedly attacked Small that her candidacy would bring the party into disrepute.
- Rothery sets the record straight and informs the panel that ‘she’ was the victim in that incident and she had, in fact, raised a complaint against Small.
Rothery then tells Al Jazeera, that when the panel learned the truth they “looked a bit deflated.” Rothery feels the whole attack on her candidacy was orchestrated, although she is unsure by whom or what reason.
- Rothery decided to seek legal advice. Her lawyer accused the panel of subjecting her to “an unfair, arbitray, capricious and irrational process” and informed them that they would be seeking an emergency interim injunction allowing her to remain on the ballot as a mayoral candidate. They also advise them to temporarily halt the selection process in order to give themselves time to put forward a case for why they wish to reject Rothery’s candidacy.
- The lawyer reminds the panel that they are legally required to “preserve all relevant documents in your control,” including “any documents between you and the other panel members”
- The panel responds to the lawyer to say that they’ve had some new information come through and have decided to exclude all 3 shortlisted candidates and re-open the contest.
- Rothery’s lawyer continues to seek an injunction and ask to see “all additional information presented about our client.”
The party refuses to provide any additional information so the letters from Alan Dean and Nick Small were never made available to Rothery’s lawyers. This meant they were unable to present them to the judge and, sadly, the injunction is refused.
Peter Oborne points out that, in this case, the Labour Party did not observe “due process and fair dealing” and if the Labour Party today, under the leadership of Keir Starmer (the former Director of Public Prosecutions), is prepared to be this underhanded in opposition then what would they be capable of while in government?
Greg Hadfield concludes this episode with a statement…
“The Labour Party is a criminal conspiracy against it’s members. It acts unlawfully, it libels it’s members, it gives no natural justice to those accused of offences and it tears up the rule book, the constitution, on a whim”
Al Jazeera have discovered that Stanger is still on the campaign team for Peter Kyle MP.
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