McDonnell’s Socialist Campaign Group is driving a wedge between Labour’s hard left and the party’s new leadership in response to the leaked Antisemitism report. Labour’s former leadership duo have resisted speaking publicly about the document, written by their allies before their toppling from power. Until now…
Speaking to a video conference of Momentum’s new internal faction ‘Forward Momentum’, the former shadow chancellor said, “the recent leaked report has demonstrated just what we were up against. Even for me, even though we knew there was undermining taking place, even to me it’s pretty staggering”, claiming to have been ‘staggered’ at the “language used, the bullying, the racism and sexism”.
McDonnell drove the wedge between the former and current Labour leadership further, claiming Sir Keir’s response – in the form of an investigation into how the document was leaked – does not go far enough, and arguing the main focus of any investigation “has got to be the substance of the report and the way in which people were abused and the undermining of the Jeremy Corbyn campaign to win that election in 2017.” Guido’s not sure an investigation drawing public attention to the content of the 850-page report will do the Labour Party any favours…
Read the full transcript of McDonnell’s comments in full below:
“Well the recent leaked report has demonstrated just what we were up against. Even for me, even though we knew there was undermining taking place, even to me it’s pretty staggering – the revelations, the emails and communications traffic that went on – looking at the statements that were made the levels of abuse were appalling. Have to say, the language used, the bullying, the racism and sexism is just staggering.
If this is all true – and again we have to be careful of the language we use – if this is all true it does demonstrate actually in 2017 we came so close to forming a government and what this did is undermine that opportunity to form a Labour government with a radical socialist programme.
I think this report is truly shocking. Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner today have put out a statement saying that there will be an investigation. My socialist campaign group have put out a statement too, which I fully agree with, which is the NEC now needs to undertake that process of establishing an independent investigation. It needs to be done fast, and it needs to concentrate on the real issues.
Keir and Angie’s statement talks about investigating how the report was commissioned and how it was leaked, as well as the content of the report itself. It’s all well and good trying to find out how the report was developed, but the main focus has got to be the substance of the report and the way in which people were abused and the undermining of the Jeremy Corbyn campaign to win that election in 2017. But also the undermining of the ability to tackle antisemitism effectively as well, which many of us were calling for.
So I think now Keir needs to appoint someone independently – or a group of people independently – working with the NEC, so there’s a proper independent report, but really time-limited and brought back very very quickly.
One of the key lessons, I think, is the lesson that we’ve got to learn right the way across our movement: we must never allow our movement to be bureaucratised and run by a small group of bureaucrats with their own agenda. The best way of overcoming that is what we’ve argued for time and time again, that we have democratic structures which are effective, which engage with people and which people feel they can have real shared responsibility in the decision making takes place – that’s one of the key lessons we have got to learn.”