Richard Burgon: I have been bullied by anti-Corbyn MPs

Posted On: 
29th July 2016

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has accused Labour MPs opposed to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of trying to "bully and intimidate" his supporters in the House of Commons.

Richard Burgon is one of Jeremy Corbyn's most loyal supporters
Credit: 
PA Images

The left-winger also compared Labour members accused of threatening behaviour towards moderate MPs to the miners and their families who took on the "establishment" in the 1980s.

His comments, in an article for the Labour List website, are further evidence of the deep splits within the Labour party.

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Supporters of Mr Corbyn have been accused of being behind a brick attack on former leadership challenger Angela Eagle's constituency office.

More than 40 female Labour MPs have also written to the Labour leader urging him to do more to clamp down on the threats they have faced.

Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips also revealed yesterday she had been forced to install more security in her home after receiving threats.

But launching a pro-Corbyn fightback last night, Leeds East MP Mr Burgon insisted he and other Jeremy Corbyn allies had also been on the receiving end of abusive behaviour.

"Unacceptable behaviour isn’t confined to Twitter users unknown to the public," he said. "I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the way a minority of my Parliamentary colleagues have treated party members on Twitter, in person and at meetings.

"MPs deserve to be treated with respect but so do Labour members. As MPs we need to understand it’s not 'all about us'.

"That’s why I haven’t been press-releasing the energetic but failed attempts by a tiny minority of MPs to bully and intimidate myself and other MPs who support the leader of the Labour party."

SMEAR

Mr Burgon said Mr Corbyn had made clear his opposition to intimidation, but he added: "I am not – and others are not – going to stand by whilst hundreds of thousands of decent Labour members are dismissed and demonised as bullies, brick-throwers, misogynists and thugs. It’s just not right.

"And this kind of thing is nothing new. Labour people must remember that in the 1984/5 miners’ strike the establishment attempted to dismiss and demonise hundreds of thousands of striking miners and activists from Women Against Pit Closures as bullies, brick-throwers and thugs.

"They were smeared as 'the enemy within'. But their real crime, in the eyes of the establishment, was to get together and organise to take on the establishment, stand up for working class interests and build a better society.

"Just as it was morally wrong to smear hundreds of thousands of striking miners and Women Against Pit Closures activists in this way in 1984/5, it is morally wrong to dismiss and demonise hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members in this way in 2016."

EMBARRASSING

Labour MPs last night reacted angrily to Mr Burgon's remarks.

One told PoliticsHome: "Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader we have had abuse, especially against women, on an unprecedented scale in Labour.

"For the first time in history, all local Labour party meetings have been banned by the NEC because of the levels of intimidation and nastiness. This all happened on Corbyn's watch.

"Given Richard Burgon is Corbyn's most embarrassing cheer-leader, I think we can safely file his latest intervention in that big round filing cabinet known as the bin."

Another said: "Richard is a to-the-manor-born MP who was four-years-old during the miners' strike. So he is perhaps not Britain's leading authority on that period. Maybe he read all about it at Cambridge."