Less than two weeks after being elected Labour Leader, Keir Starmer’s already suffered his first frontbench resignation, with former Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol quitting last night as a Labour Whip in the Lords. Corbyn managed three months before suffering a shadow cabinet resignation…
Lord McNicol’s move comes in response to the pending investigation into the recently-leaked dossier on Labour’s handling of Antisemitism, in which McNicol is mentioned frequently; including claims that when Corbyn’s office questioned senior Labour staff about antisemitism cases, including McNicol, they repeatedly:
The report also implies McNicol was amongst those secretly disappointed in Labour’s 2017 election performance, claiming he and others discussed “hiding their reactions, saying “everyone needs to smile” and “we have to be upbeat. And not show it”.
WhatsApp messages from McNicol also show him ridiculing Labour policies as they were being announced, including free school meals with comments such as “Next we will be saying most poor people are criminals. And the best way to reduce future offending is by forced castration.” McNicol is in an awkward situation, however if Starmer makes him to be the fall guy Labour’s centrists will not be happy…
Ahead of the appointment of Jennie Formby as the Labour Party’s general-secretary, some long-standing HQ staff are jumping before they are pushed out. Exitism from the party by long-standing moderate activists is also on the rise as the once entryist crypto-commies and toytown trots are welcomed into the party by Corbyn…
John Stolliday, Director of Governance and Legal is off, as the ‘compliance unit’ boss he will be quitting before he inevitably gets pushed out. The PLP secretary Dan Simpson is also quitting. Along with the outgoing general secretary Iain McNicol; Patrick Heneghan,Tracey Allen, Julie Lawrence, Neil Fleming and Emilie Oldknow are going.
Most will be gone after the May local elections. If Chuka is going to launch his centre party he’ll have some experienced operators available to hire…
UPDATE: Simon Jackson, Labour’s Director of Policy And Research, has quit today.
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…
Labour HQ staff have been told tonight that the party has no election slogan, no agreed key seats list and no campaign budget signed off. Revealing the chaotic response to the snap election announcement in Victoria Street, Labour HQ sources tell Guido that, in a briefing to party staff, a defeatist General Secretary Iain McNicol warned “This is going to be tough” and unconvincingly, according to recipients of the briefing, that “we can win seats”. Optimistic.
Guido is told Labour staffers spent today repeatedly asking their superiors for a key seats list of constituencies where resources should be targeted, only to be informed the list had yet to be decided. Regional managers have no idea on what resource basis they can plan. An astonishing lack of planning from the fans of centralised state planning given that a snap election has been a possibility that Corbyn and McDonnell had been warning of for months. Staff were also told that Labour has no election strapline slogan, and that the campaign budget had yet to be signed off. Sources say discussions took place throughout the day between McNicol and trade union bosses to try to secure funding, yet no budget guidance has been given. 50 days to go…
Publicity-loving Labour MEP Seb Dance last week stirred up a full-blown internal investigation into claims that pro-Brexit group Labour Leave made improper payments to UKIP during the EU referendum campaign. Such payments would be in breach of Labour’s rulebook. The party’s largest donor and Labour Leave founder millionaire John Mills was caught up in the story, with Dance calling for him to be thrown out of the party.
“I am satisfied that the money was transferred for the purposes of meeting shared costs for joint referendum events that had been paid for by UKIP. This has been reported as such by Labour Leave in your spending return to the Electoral Commission. In addition, the Commission advised you to report this payment as a “donation” for regulatory purposes. There is no indication that the money has, or will be, used for any other purposes.”
After the Sun got hold of Labour’s pre-Christmas grid, general secretary Iain McNicol has emailed staff threatening them with discplinary action for leaking to the press. Naturally his email has leaked:
Before we all escape the ofﬁce for a well-deserved Xmas break, I wanted to email you all regarding recent leaks in the media which contain either sensitive or conﬁdential Party information.
I am very clear; no member of staff should pass on information which they think will be used by our opponents to oppose and damage the Party and its reputation. This damages the organisation and relationships which we are all trying to build and maintain.
As laid down in our staff handbook; if a member of staff is found to have leaked confidential information either to a third party with the intent that this is passed on, or directly to a journalist, then disciplinary proceedings will be initiated.
l have discussed this matter with the Labour Party Staff JTUC and they are fully supportive. If you have any concerns about the contents of this email, or would like to talk it through, please contact either Emilie Oldknow or Holly Snyman in HR who can assist.
A festive LOLabour…