EXCL Karie Murphy given bigger Labour party role despite election campaign disaster

Posted On: 
19th January 2020

Karie Murphy has strengthened her position within Labour despite being the architect of the party's worst election campaign in 85 years, PoliticsHome has learned.

Karie Murphy with senior Labour figures Ian Lavery. Jon Trickett and Andrew Gwynne.
PA Images

Party officials were told by Jennie Formby, Labour's general secretary, last week that Ms Murphy will be taking on extra responsibilities from now on.

In particular, she will oversee party membership, a crucial role as an estimated 100,000 new people sign up to the party in order to elect Jeremy Corbyn's successor.

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News of the beefed-up role for Ms Murphy - who is already Mr Corbyn's chief of staff - emerged after it was revealed that she is set to enter the House of Lords as a life peer.

Critics said the moves amounted to a reward for the person who ran the party's general election campaign, which ended with an 80-seat Conservative majority.

At last week's meeting, Ms Formby said that Ms Murphy had effectively taken on the role vacated by Emilie Oldknow, Labour's former executive director for governance, membership and party services, who quit her job in 2018.

Party sources confirmed the meeting took place and said it was "about the way we manage and organise some of the responsibilities around member campaigning".

A Labour spokesperson said: "We don't comment on staffing matters."

But one Labour MP said: "Karie Murphy’s role in ensuring dozens of Labour MPs lost their seats in the Commons has gained her an unelected one for life in the Lords - a reward for failure that couldn’t be a better epitaph for the Corbyn project and her role in it.

"Anyone else who had overseen an organisation being investigated for institutional antisemitism and ran Labour’s most disastrous election campaign in a century would be shown the door.

"Whilst hundreds of staff face losing their jobs, Karie Murphy has instead been given a promotion effectively overseeing the leadership election and nominated for a £60,000 per year, tax free job for life in the House of Lords.

"It’s one rule for the few, another for the many."