All kicking off between the Parliamentary Labour Party and their new general secretary Jennie Formby after she put PLP secretary Dan Simpson on gardening leave this week. PLP chair John Cryer has written to Labour MPs complaining it “shows a worrying set of priorities” and that the decision to replace him with a Corbyn crony without any interview or due process is “deeply troubling”.
I am writing to update you following yesterday’s decision by Jennie Formby, the Labour Party’s new General Secretary, to disallow Dan Simpson from working his notice period as the PLP Secretary and Director of Political Services, and force him into a period of ‘gardening leave’, rather than remaining in the service of the PLP until the summer as had been previously agreed.
Since this was communicated to Dan and to myself, I have made it absolutely clear to Jennie that to use her first day in the job to effectively remove our Secretary with immediate effect shows a worrying set of priorities.
Our Secretary has always enjoyed the confidence of the PLP, a confidence that has been necessary to carry out the demands of the role. This confidence has been derived from the fact that the PLP have been instrumental in their appointment. We, through the Chair, have always chosen who we trust to conduct affairs on our behalf. It is deeply troubling that we have not been afforded that right on this occasion.
I can inform you that Jennie has asked Ben Foley, who currently manages Jeremy’s relationship with the PLP, to act as Interim Secretary to fill the role until Sarah Mulholland returns from maternity leave during the summer recess. While I am deeply disappointed that no interview or due process has taken place, I know that Ben will work hard for the short period up until the summer recess to manage the support that is provided to our Frontbench. The Parliamentary Committee will, of course, continue to directly manage the business of the PLP and delegate the administration of our affairs as is appropriate.
More words and no actions from Labour moderates…