The glee with which Corbynistas reacted on Twitter to the announcement on Friday that Labour’s general-secretary Iain McNicol was stepping down, and the praise with which he was showered by moderates, tells all you need to know about the internal party battle. The Sunday papers reported this accordingly, something they did not report was the process part of the story, his exit terms are not yet agreed. He is now in a strong negotiating position to get a bumper package, and there is nothing trade unionists like better than negotiating pay-offs.
Guido understands that McNicol had agreed the wording for his stepping down but not the timing of the announcement. The NEC have to sign off his package otherwise he could theoretically sue for wrongful dismissal. Karie Murphy jumped the gun and the statement was issued without him knowing and before exit terms were finalised. McNicol, like any good trade unionist, wants to maximise his pay-off for going quietly.
McNicol’s message emailed to all party staff on Friday after the leader’s office put out the pre-announcement, hints accordingly:
“I won’t be leaving just yet, I will work with our NEC Officers to deliver a smooth and proper transition to a new General Secretary, ensuring that the Labour Party remains on an election footing.”
It is worth emphasising that McNicol hasn’t formally resigned yet, he will be seeking assurances for his peerage and have reason to be grateful that he will now go down in Labour Party history as martyr for the moderates rather than a so-so administrator who merely hindered the Corbynistas’ advance. Even McNicol’s allies think he would have been out of the job sooner if Yvette Cooper had won…