Statement from the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs

We repost the statement issued by the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs on the leaked report, together with a longer article by two of the Group’s members,  Jon Trickett and Ian Lavery, which appeared in Tribune.

The latter expresses the deep shock at finding out that “some of the most senior employees of the Labour Party held its elected leadership in contempt, despised their own party members and even acted in a conspiratorial manner that undermined our 2017 general election campaign”.

We know this shock and dismay is widely shared in the Labour movement.

Ian Lvery & Jon Trickett

Click on the text below to sharpen the iamge

 


‘The Leaked Labour Report Is Shameful – It’s Time for an Urgent Investigation’

By Jon Trickett and Ian Lavery, Tribune, 13 April 2020

Casual snobbery. Sexist and racist commentary. Clandestine plotting. Contempt for democracy. A sense of privilege and entitlement.

This is not the Bullingdon Club, it is what runs through the messages revealed in the leaked document which found its way online yesterday.

Many of its revelations are truly shocking.

It shows that some of the most senior employees of the Labour Party held its elected leadership in contempt, despised their own party members and even acted in a conspiratorial manner that undermined our 2017 general election campaign.

These were people at the top of the party with extensive knowledge and experience of elections. Their jobs were paid for with party funds. Yet, they entered the 2017 election hoping we would lose and setting up a shadow operation to protect their chosen sons and daughters.

We worked with them. We were the National Campaign Co-ordinators for the Labour Party for some time. We attended every meeting of the strategy group with the party leader up to the day of the election itself.

We vividly recall the Sunday night meetings during the 2017 election. The country was turning towards the Labour Party and, as election day approached, the possibility of denying the Tories their majority was palpable.

But we, as elected members and campaign co-ordinators, could not obtain vital information from the party apparatus, not even the feedback from the thousands of conversations which our members were having every day as they went out campaigning.

This information – together with opinion polling – is a tool in the hands of party managers. It determines where we put our resources, it influences our messaging and it helps to direct our activists.

It is sometimes hard to recall, in retrospect, the excitement which the manifesto release produced. It changed the landscape of that election. As campaign co-ordinators, we needed to know what impact it was having on the electorate, and which demographics were turning towards Labour.

It quickly became clear that Labour needed to move on from a defensive strategy of just protecting our own seats and go on the attack to target increasing numbers of Tory seats. But when we asked where the data was, the party managers met us with blank faces.

Instead, we were presented with a paper which suggested that we pour resources into seats with large Labour majorities which were never under threat. We were astonished to see the candidates’  names who it was suggested should be the beneficiaries of those resources. They almost exclusively belonged to one wing of the party.

The leaked document makes clear that this was a deliberate strategy. It appears to reveal the existence of an ‘Ergon House Project,’ where party resources to the tune of six-figure sums were secretly reassigned during the election for factional purposes.

This revelation poses enormous questions. Who was involved? How much money was spent without sign-off by elected representatives? Who signed the cheques? Where was the money spent and on what priorities? Was the expenditure ultra vires?

Did the undermining and obstruction stop with this Ergon House Project? Maybe not. To what extent did scheming and malfeasance stop us winning the Copeland by-election, the Birmingham or Tees Valley mayoralties?

In the end, we lost the 2017 general election by just a handful of votes. It is possible that the actions of these party staff denied us a Labour government that would have transformed millions of lives.

Clearly, there are also disciplinary implications to the report. It suggests there are cases to answer on bullying, harassment, sexism and racism. It implies that the battle against antisemitism in the party was undermined by a factional obsession with fighting ‘Trots.’

If a party member on the Left had engaged in any of these behaviours, they would have been suspended subject to an investigation. The same rules must apply here.

The most important question is what should happen now.

First, the report needs to be published officially by the Labour Party. It will almost certainly be requested by the EHRC, so the party should also get out in front and submit it.

Second, we need an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to discuss its contents.

Third, that 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.

Fourth, this process must produce a report, available to the public and not tucked away in a drawer, which restores faith among Labour members in the practices of our party.

This report must be presented to both the NEC and to party conference itself.

After this weekend’s revelations, there can be no going back. We must never again allow a permanent aristocracy of party managers to overrule democratic decisions. We must never again allow our members and their efforts to be treated with such contempt.

For all those socialists in the Labour Party, there is one final lesson: don’t let this demoralise you. Stay in the party and seek justice. As this document makes clear, the very worst elements of our party would be only too happy for you to leave.

Comments (9)

  • And maybe there needs to be some serious questions asked about some of the things that seem to have gone on at PLP meetings and of course there are questions about the influence of ‘senior figures’ who boasted of waking up each morning and asking what could be done to undermine the party leader.

  • kevin harnan says:

    and 290000 members never voted in the leadership election ,,mmmmmmm ??

  • Camille says:

    I wonder what they thought of the awful treatment of Chris Williamson by the Labour party? I wonder why they did not make a statement about that?

  • Charles Carter says:

    Act now root out the traitors who stole our trust (and therefore stole party funds via their wages) Time is running for us to convince people NOT to leave the party and to promise the policies put forward by JC (why many joined in the first place) will be implemented.

  • Patsy says:

    Thanks for your work.

  • Bala Nair says:

    Thank heavens for the statement. It is time that we insist that the Party stands for principles/manifesto and not personalities. Those people who undermined the leadership should be highlighted. Any legal action on data protection should be foughtwith public right to know. I will support your every move and sustain that by gathering further support among members of our branch and CLP.

  • Kevin Taylor says:

    Hi
    Will a redacted copy of the report go forward to the EHRC? How will they be able to produce a meaningful report on the Labour Party’s response to antisemitism if they don’t have access to all of the evidence?

  • Brian Burden says:

    I agree.

  • Brian Burden says:

    Kevin Harman: Apart from the fact that your comment falls under the heading “simple dismissal” and should not have been allowed to stand, it makes little sense. Even if your numbers are accurate, members had not one but two chances to oust JC after the initial leadership vote. They gave him a resounding vote of confidence on both occasions. Those who did not vote clearly had no quarrel with the leadership. Despite the barrage of hate in the media, they were not galvanised to vote against him.

Comments are now closed.