MPAC’s Campaigning for Labour Reported to Electoral Commission

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee‘s (MPAC) campaigning for Labour has been reported to the Electoral Commission and they have been put on legal notice to answer concerns over its possible breaches of election, election finance and data protection laws.

MPAC will also be reported to the police and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if it does not give a satisfactory response to a seven-page legal letter sent on behalf of the new Campaign for Ballot Integrity, chaired by former Labour MP John Woodcock.

  • The legal action comes after questions were raised about MPAC’s apparently irregular and potentially illegal activities in the General Election, including: why the group has not registered with the Electoral Commission as a non-party campaigner, despite publicly attempting to raise at least £20,000 and indicating it intends to campaign in 14 constituencies;
  • Whether it is authorised to incur targeted spending by the Labour Party;
  • Whether it has complied with electoral law on spending limits, particularly in relation to constituency spending;
  • Whether it has been authorised by election agents to incur expenses on behalf of any candidate in the constituencies in which it is campaigning;
  • Whether it is using paid canvassers, illegally;
  • What personal data it is processing, on behalf of whom and whether it has consent to do so;
  • Why its privacy policy does not accord with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“the GDPR”).

MPAC’s pro-Labour and constituency-focused campaign activity is on the public record. MPAC’s website explicitly states it is targeting and seeking to unseat Conservative candidates in at least 14 constituencies, part of its ‘Operation Muslim Vote 2019’. It admits to activities in Bolton West; Chingford & Woodford Green; Chipping Barnet; Harrow East; Hastings & Rye; Milton Keynes, North; Milton Keynes South; Pendle; Pudsey; Reading West; Southampton Itchen; Stoke-on-Trent South; Uxbridge & Ruislip South and Wycombe.

MPAC’s support for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party is overt:

“The Tories have ignored and actively side-lined all Muslim organisations that have criticised them. They have zero interest in addressing Muslim concerns. We need to kick them out. And we can, but only if we are organised. This General Election is our time to get them out of power and replace them with a Corbyn-led government.”

Chairman of the Campaign for Ballot Integrity, the former Labour MP, John Woodcock says:

“MPAC’s activities at this election give cause for serious concern over its compliance with registration, campaign finance and data laws. We rightly have strong electoral law so that we have a fair playing field at our elections. Given public concern that the electoral process is increasingly subject to improper interference, swift action must be taken to ensure the integrity of this general election. The public will be concerned to hear about the allegations of antisemitism which have also been made against this group. The new Campaign for Ballot Integrity, which I am proud to Chair, will be taking robust and immediate action to call out, question and challenge any illegal or improper activity which has become apparent through the course of the general election campaign, including but not limited to taking legal action in the courts. Today’s action against MPAC is the beginning of the fightback against electoral wrongdoing that has gone unchallenged for too long.”

The Campaign for Ballot Integrity is a non-partisan initiative that opposes electoral malpractice and campaigns for the integrity of elections. Woodcock is encouraging anyone with evidence of electoral malpractice to contact the relevant authorities and inform them by emailing: submissions@ballotintegrity.net

Download legal letter [PDF]

Another Former Labour Minister Urges Voters to Back Boris

Following the wide-spread coverage of Ian Austin and John Woodcock calling on the public to back Boris and block Corbyn, a third former Labour MP – Tom Harris – has used a column in today’s Scottish Mail to back Boris for PM. Just about counteracts David Gauke’s u-turn this morning to stand as an independent against the Tories…

Harris – who served as a transport minister under Blair and Brown – has invoked the words of Theresa May (of all people), in writing “I will be voting Tory… to save the country that I love”, and goes on to say:

“Jeremy Corbyn, the present leader of UK Labour, cannot and must not be trusted with the security of our nation. Nor, frankly, can he be trusted with safeguarding the Union”

Harris – who also served in Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet and backed leaving the EU in 2016 – wrote a similar column in 2017 warning of the dangers of Corbyn, but stopped well short of overtly calling on people to vote Tory. Austin, Woodcock and he really are Mainstream…

Woodcock Joins Austin Saying “Vote Conservative”

Guido was at the Mainstream election campaign launch earlier today, former Labour MP John Woodcock joined Ian Austin in calling on voters to back the Conservatives, because Jeremy Corbyn could not be trusted on national security and is unfit to lead the country. When he said his piece to camera Woodcock visibly hesitated before saying the words “vote Conservative”. Guido got the sense that it wasn’t a dramatic pause, it was just genuinely hard for him to say. McDonnell and the rest of the hard left are calling the two of them Tories. Labour activists are convinced peerages are on their way. Perhaps. After Tom Watson quitting it is pretty clear that the moderate wing of the Labour Party is finished for at least a decade or so…

New Independent Group in Parliament Launches

Just in case things weren’t confusing enough after the Change UK/Independent Group split, a new grouping called The Independents has now launched, including some – but not all – of the rump of the Independent Group. Rather than being a party they say they are structured as a “co-operative” instead. Hopefully they manage to work together more cooperatively than Change UK did

At launch they have five MPs – Independent Groupers Heidi Allen, Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker and Angela Smith plus former Labour MP John Woodcock, although there’s no sign of Sarah Wollaston. Looks like they won’t be following Chuka to the Lib Dems just yet…

They are making a big feature of their values, rather than political positions, and their independent complaints procedure which Woodcock has already referred himself to in order to resolve the outstanding Labour complaint which Labour deliberately left hanging over him. Can they succeed where TIG/CUK/RA/FC_N failed…?

UPDATE: Even more confusingly, they’re separate from another pet project launched today by Heidi Allen called “Unite to Remain” which will try to get the unruly mass of pro-Remain parties to work together. Or alternatively, try to maintain any sort of media relevance for Heidi herself…

PA’s Woodcock Replacing Indy’s Watts

Guido hears Andy Woodcock from the Press Association has been appointed political editor of the Independent to replace Joe Watts. More when we have it…

UPDATE: Following Guido’s story, Woodcock has confirmed the move. Guido hopes he gets speedier once he has moved to the digital-only Indy…

Woodcock Won’t Back No Confidence Motion, Says Corbyn “Unfit to Lead the Country”

Ex-Labour MP John Woodcock has told MPs that he won’t be backing the no confidence motion in Theresa May tonight, instead dropping a truth bomb about Corbyn’s total unfitness to be Prime Minister:

With a heavy heart I have to tell the House that I cannot support the no confidence motion tonight. Some of my friends mutter disgrace, I hear some of them tutting, I have to say that many of them have privately said “Thank God that you have got the freedom to actually not support this”. Because they are wrestling with their consciences of wanting definitely a Labour Government, knowing that the leader of their party is as unfit to lead the country as he was when they voted against him in the no confidence motion of the party those years ago.

More than a few of his former Labour Party colleagues know he’s right…

Labour’s Saudi Squad

Yesterday Guido brought you the Tory MPs who have been the beneficiaries of Saudi largesse. Of course the Tories weren’t the only ones – there are numerous Labour MPs who have also enjoyed the generous hospitality of the House of Saud. Five Labour MPs enjoyed lavish all-expenses-paid trips to Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Who were the lucky five…

  • Mike Gapes (Lab) Visit to “deepen understanding of Saudi Arabia.” 9-13 April 2018. Paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shura Council. Value: £8,762
  • Kevan Jones (Lab) Visit to “deepen understanding of Saudi Arabia.” 8-13 April 2018. Paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Value: £8,762
  • John Spellar (Lab) Visit to “deepen understanding of Saudi Arabia.” 9-13 April 2018. Paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shura Council. Value: £8,762
  • Paul Williams (Lab) Visit to “deepen understanding of Saudi Arabia.” 9-13 April 2018. Paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shura Council. Value: £8,762
  • John Woodcock (Ind, formerly Lab) Visit to “deepen understanding of Saudi Arabia.” 9-13 April 2018. Paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shura Council. Value: £8,762

John Spellar has since interrupted Emily Thornberry in a recent Commons debate to object to her opposition to the UK selling planes to Saudi Arabia, without declaring his interest. The total value of the MPs’ junckets came in at a cool £43,810. It’s safe to say that they got better treatment than tortured and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi…

John Woodcock Resigns From Labour Party

Labour strongly disputes the claims in the letter and a source points out that Woodcock’s resignation handily means his sexual harassment investigation cannot be concluded, denying justice to the complainant.

Guido has been told Woodcock was informed a few days ago of the date of his hearing by the National Constitutional Committee. And he has resigned before that hearing could take place…

UPDATE: Woodcock has gotten in touch to say that it is a lie to say he was given a hearing date. We have asked Labour for substantiation of the claim… developing…

Via Laura K

Woodcock Suspended Over Sex Harassment Claims

HuffPo with the scoop. A Labour Party spokesman said:

“John Woodcock has been suspended from the Labour Party pending due process. It would not be appropriate to comment further on an ongoing case.”

Woodcock had been rumoured to be considering quitting in protest at Corbyn’s leadership… Instead he has been booted out…

UPDATE: More on the sex harassment allegations – which Woodcock denies – here.

UPDATE II: Woodcock says he has been stitched up by the leaking of details of the allegations at a “politically charged time”:

In November last year a complaint was made against me alleging sexual harassment. The following month, after considering initial evidence, I was informed that Labour’s harassment panel had referred the complaint to the party’s national constitutional committee and I should expect a hearing ’early in the new year’. I was advised to maintain the confidentiality of the case to ensure the fairness of the process and to reassure other complainants that they could bring forward cases without being exposed to unwelcome publicity.

I do not accept the charge being brought against me but have been cooperating fully with the process and remain committed to a thorough and fair investigation of the case. I am therefore very concerned that one of the very few individuals with knowledge of the case chose to place selective details of it in newspapers this weekend. Labour’s new general secretary has cited this publicity as a reason to suspend me from the Labour whip.

The decision at this politically charged time to place details of my case in the press and then suspend me places a serious question mark over the integrity of the process, which serves neither those making complaints nor those facing allegations.

I want this complaint to be judged in a way that is seen to be fair. In the meantime, I will continue working hard for my constituents in parliament and in Furness, and will continue to speak out when I believe it is right to do so.

Curiouser and curiouser…

Woodcock on Williamson

John Woodcock:

“Last week Chris Williamson told me I belonged to the wrong party. He appears to believe he belongs to the wrong country.”

Labour MPs Accuse Corbyn of “Deliberately Baiting” British Jews

Labour MPs are queuing up to condemn their leader in response to our scoop last night. Wes Streeting tells Guido it was a “deliberate affront to the majority of British Jews”:

“What on earth was he thinking? This demonstrates either extraordinarily bad judgement or a deliberate affront to the majority of British Jews. Probably both. It calls into serious question the sincerity of every public statement Jeremy Corbyn has made on antisemitism during the past week, just as many of us hoped we had begun to make progress.”

John Woodcock accuses Corbyn of “deliberately baiting” mainstream Jews:

Angela Smith says:

Jewish Labour Movement:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to spend his evening with an organisation that said “F *** you ” to Jews who have serious
and well founded concerns over antisemitism within the Labour Party, has truly topped off the worst week on record of awful relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community.

When we called on the Leader of our Party to show moral leadership, and take decisive action to stamp out antisemitism, this is not what we had in mind.

Jewish Party activists have spent the weekend knocking on doors for local candidates for Council elections across the country. They do not deserve the indignity of our Leader making this situation even worse.”

Elsewhere, Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust is even more damning:

Stay tuned – more on the group Corbyn chose to meet coming up…

Woodcock v Corbyn and Williamson

As John Woodcock lays into Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons, Chris Williamson tells him to go and join the Tories. Keep an eye out for Woodcock cupping his ear…

Richard Burgon’s Weekend Hat-Trick of Idiocy

Labour dunce Richard Burgon had a tough weekend. The Corbynista simpleton began by appearing once again on Putin mouthpiece Russia Today, a baffling decision particularly for someone with the justice brief. Then he warned “what risks faith in democracy is political class as a club”, forgetting that he is only an MP because his uncle Colin was too. He then attacked Hillary Clinton for hugging George W. Bush, not realising the photo was taken at Nancy Reagan’s funeral:

As John Woodcock put it:

Richard Burgon: bad for his constituents and “faith in democracy”, great value for the rest of us…

Woodcock Knocks Out Handjob on Twitter

Nina Warhurst, the BBC’s political editor for the North West, was shocked to discover the cost of living down south in London. Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock boasted about what he could get for that in his constituency.

For some reason he subsequently regretted tweeting the promotional boost to the tourist industry in Barrow. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Woodcock’s Comedy Legal Threat

Shouty-crackers Corbyn hater-in-chief John Woodcock got very upset with former Corbyn spinner Matt Zarb-Cousin last night. Zarb-Cousin wouldn’t take Woodcock’s pious whinging and accused him of briefing against Corbyn “pretty much every day”. Woodcock responded by calling the tweet “defamatory” and threatening Zarb-Cousin.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Woodcock’s Loyalty Rewarded With Re-Selection

Just last week John Woodcock posted a video on Facebook making clear he was the “independent Labour candidate” firmly against Jeremy Corbyn in Barrow and Furness, and that he would work with the Tory government. Despite hopes from Corbynistas that he would be deselected, Woodcock has been confirmed as the Labour candidate.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Woodcock: I Can’t Endorse Corbyn, Still Time For Him to Stand Down

Corbyn-hating Labour moderate John Woodcock, who has a majority of just 795, has said he cannot endorse his party leader to be Prime Minister and called for him to step down:

“I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain’s Prime Minister… I cannot countenance endorsing him for a role which I think even he does not think he is fit to carry out… There is still of course time for Jeremy to stand down rather than lead Labour to defeat.”

Expect that won’t be the last he hears of this from the Corbynistas…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

John Woodcock’s Fake News

Labour MP John Woodcock tells his 26,000 Twitter followers this morning that “Brexit campaigners promised we would stay in” the single market:

This is just a lie. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom from Vote Leave all said Brexit meant leaving the single market.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Popular SW1 Figures Caught Up in Nice Attack

The Speccie’s Isabel Hardman was in Nice at the time of the attacks last night, her report can be read here:

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

John Woodcock Deletes Another Social Media Post

A very generous offer from the MP for Barrow and Furness now withdrawn:

Two in two days…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Seen Elsewhere