Mon, 11 December 2023

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Union demands Keir Starmer investigate leaked anti-Corbyn messages from Labour officials

3 min read

A Labour-backing union has urged Keir Starmer to act against “wreckers” who they say conducted a “vicious sabotage campaign” against Jeremy Corbyn.

The Fire Brigades’ Union are calling on the Labour leader to launch an inquiry in the wake of a leaked report on the party’s disciplinary processes.

They joined left-wing campaign group Momentum in calling for “disciplinary action” against party officials named in the 860-page dossier.

The report, which was compiled amid the Equalities and Human Rights Commission's (EHRC) ongoing investigation into Labour’s handling of anti-semitism, includes a string of WhatsApp conversations it says are from senior party staff.

The dossier says the conversations show an “abnormal intensity of factional opposition to the party leader” during Mr Corbyn’s time at the top, with much of its focus on the governance and legal unit (GLU) of the party in the early years of his leadership.

It is understood the document is a draft internal report that was put together to inform Labour’s response to the EHRC probe.

But party sources said it covered a time period longer than that under investigation, and does not represent a submission to the equalities watchdog.

'Particular shame should be felt by those who were planning to oust Jeremy Corbyn less than four months after he had won a second leadership election' - FBU general secretary Matt Wrack

A Labour Party spokesperson meanwhile said: "The Party has submitted extensive information to the EHRC and responded to questions and requests for further information, none of which included this document."

The report has already been dismissed by Sam Matthews, the former head of disputes at the party who appeared in a damning Panorama documentary on its handling of anti-semitism last year.

Mr Matthew told Sky News it represented a “highly selective, retrospective review of the party’s poor record, not deemed good enough for submission by the party’s own lawyers and conducted in the dying days of a Corbyn’s leadership in order to justify their inaction”.


But the document has sparked fury among some of the most staunch defenders of Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

The FBU’s general secretary Matt Wrack said: "This is clear evidence of what many party members knew all along - that whilst Jeremy Corbyn was trying to deliver a Labour government, senior Labour officials were conducting a vicious sabotage campaign against him.

"This abuse - which included repeated attempts to weaken Jeremy Corbyn's position - was taking place at the very same time that Labour activists were knocking on doors day and night to try and deliver a Labour government.

"Particular shame should be felt by those who were planning to oust Jeremy Corbyn less than four months after he had won a second leadership election.”

And the union boss demanded of Labour’s new leader: “Keir Starmer has said he wants a united party.

"He should therefore use his new mandate to urgently address this issue, including taking disciplinary action, as appropriate.

"These people should never again be in senior positions in the Labour Party."

"Without this internal wrecking, the hung parliament in 2017 could have instead been a Labour government - those involved should wear that for the rest of their professional lives."

And in a statement Momentum, the grassroots organisation which was set up to support Mr Corbyn’s leadership, called for a “full inquiry” into the leaked report.

They said: "Anyone found to have worked against a Labour victory must never again be allowed to hold a senior party position."

Meanwhile former frontbencher Dan Carden said: “Solidarity with every Labour member who slogged their guts out in 2017 to build a kinder, fairer society. How different things could've been.”

But the campaign group Labour Against Anti-Semitism said it was seeking legal counsel over the report’s use of “unredacted personal and inaccurate information regarding some of our activists”.

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