Jeremy Corbyn urged to sack top aides keeping him 'captive' and back second referendum
Jeremy Corbyn has been warned by senior shadow cabinet allies to sack his top aides for keeping him “captive” as fresh claims about anti-Semitism in the party have emerged.
According to the Sunday Times, Dianne Abbott and John McDonnell have demanded the Labour leader stop listening to his chief of staff Karie Murphy and director of communications Seamus Milne or risk his leadership being mortally damaged.
The action comes as the BBC is getting ready to air new claims about how the party leadership has handled anti-Semitism within its ranks in a Panorama documentary. this week
It is believed up to half a dozen former Labour staffers have broken non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with the party to speak to the programme, alleging Ms Murphy and Mr Milne had intervened to protect left-wing members accused of anti-Jewish hatred.
Whistleblowers could face legal action from Labour, while the party is also launching a formal complaint to the BBC’s director general over concerns of the programme’s “bias”.
According to the paper, Ms Abbott is “furious” that Ms Murphy and Mr Milne and other party insiders have driven a wedge between Mr Corbyn and grassroots supporters, dissuading him from backing another referendum on EU membership.
The shadow home secretary is said to have told Mr Corbyn: “We have to move in that direction. You’re the one whose leadership will be trapped.”
A source close to Ms Abbott told the Sunday Times: “Diane is a Jeremy Corbyn supporter 100%, but she doesn’t think the direction Karie and Seumas are taking is helpful to Jeremy.”
Meanwhile, the party has come under fire from its own MPs as it was revealed Labour plans to take action against its former staffers who breached their NDAs to speak to the BBC.
MP Wes Streeting called out the move as apparent hypocrisy.
He Tweeted: “Labour opposes NDAs yet seems to impose them. I’m protected by Parliamentary privilege. I’ll whistleblow in House of Commons for anyone who needs me to do so.
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant. No more excuses or hiding places. You should promise the same @jeremycorbyn.”
Lord Falconer also weighed in, adding: "This is deeply wrong.
"The public interest supports fullest public disclosure of those matters to ensure AS [anti-semitism] cases are handled properly by Labour. It is hypocritical to campaign against NDAs but use them to prevent embarrassment to Labour."