The role played by Labour’s unpopular General Secretary, Iain McNicol, in the Falkirk scandal was laid bare in this morning’s Times. Emails implicate him in the stitch up as far back as January, yet McNicol has not always been so tolerant of Labour staff bending the rules. At the height of Labour’s internal “Blairites under the bed” paranoia back in 2012, Guido revealed that McNicol had written to all party staff demanding they stay out of selections:
Date: 1 June 2012 12:04:13 GMT+01:00
Subject: Staff and Internal Elections
Over the past week I have received a number of complaints about staff interfering with internal elections.
Although no rules have been broken, the spirit of the rules has been tested and the timings questionable. With NPF and NEC as well as Police Commissioner elections coming up, there is a lot of attention being given to these key selections.
Recently emails have gone out to members from some people seeking to gain positions in these elections. I must remind staff that helping candidates to contact members whilst they are seeking election unless it is part of your constituency responsibilities is not acceptable.
I came into this job to change the way our party operates. I want to create a party that empowers and respects its staff, but at the same time I want to create a party that is open and transparent. To this end I have asked the chair of the NEC – Michael Cashman and Executive Director for Governance and Party Service, Emilie Oldknow alongside chair of the JTUC, Ray Walker to work on a code of conduct for staff covering internal elections as I do not feel the current staff handbook deals sufficiently with the issue.
I hope that staff based in head office, across the nations and regions and those working in local offices understand the severity of the issue. Upholding our own rules and remaining fair is the role of all our staff and any failure to do so can only undermine our internal democracy which does us no favours.
After such great results in May, of which you all contributed, I hope we can have a summer where we build on these successes that lead to us being a one term opposition. Creating a fair, open and transparent party is a vital step in the right direction.
The following month McNicol told LabourList:
“…as long as I am General Secretary a fixing culture will not be tolerated and I want to make sure that the party understand its role in internal elections and administrates them fairly, never interfering in them.”
Yet behind the scenes he himself was doing dirty deals with “Lennie”:
“I will personally collect their direct-debit details once we have given them a reason to support the Labour Party. I will do this after the selection process, this is what Lennie [McCluskey] agreed with the Labour Party GS [McNicol]“
So much for that “fair, open and transparent party” he promised. Perhaps a good read of the internal party report would help, or is the fact McNicol is implicated a key reason Labour will not release the document?