Grab your popcorn: the Labour General Secretary race is already descending into bitter briefing and attacks from Corbynistas on Momentum’s Jon Lansman. Skwawkbox, the pro-Corbyn website which is regularly briefed by the Leader’s Office, has attacked Lansman’s pitch as “confusing” and called on him to explain why he is standing against a “widely-supported female applicant” (Jennie Formby, Lansman’s opponent, is the choice of the Leader’s Office.) Skwawkbox go on to say they “understand that Jon Lansman has spent the last twenty-four hours or so trying to persuade a female former employee of Jeremy Corbyn to stand. His announcement today may be a signal that he was unsuccessful”. Who could possibly have been behind that anti-Lansman briefing?
This from McDonnell last night was hardly subtle:
I’m delighted @JennieUnite is standing for @UKLabour General Secretary. She’s a fantastic organiser and fighter for justice who we’ve campaigned with for years. She’s the person with the skills to deliver Jeremy’s vision of a members-led mass party to get him into Downing St.
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) March 1, 2018
Meanwhile Labour Against the Witchhunt, the mental group led by Jackie Walker which tries to get anti-Semites let back into the party, has launched a vicious attack on Lansman and endorsed Formby. They say Lansman “lacks the democratic credentials to become the kind of general secretary that the Labour Party now needs” and “We believe that Unite’s Jennie Formby would be the best choice for general secretary”. Surely nothing to do with Lansman taking exception to Walker’s awful anti-Semitism and removing her as vice-chair of Momentum. How does Formby feel about having these people on her side?
Iain McNicol’s last act as Labour General Secretary has been to give Ken Livingstone an indefinite suspension, top trolling of the Corbynistas who wanted to get Ken back in from the cold. This afternoon Jon Lansman has formally announced he is running for McNicol’s job “to open up the contest and ensure we have a wide range of candidates”.
— Jon Lansman (@jonlansman) March 1, 2018
You might have thought the Momentum boss would be the choice of the Leader’s Office, but instead Team Jezza are backing the Unite candidate Jennie Formby. Lansman has had a fractious relationship with Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy and Andrew Fisher ever since they refused to give him a job first time round. The Leader’s Office has clearly been whipping public declarations of support for Formby and against Lansman:
— Andrew Gwynne MP (@GwynneMP) February 27, 2018
Delighted the amazing @JennieUnite has put herself forward to be the next Gen Sec of @UKLabour. Jennie’s knowledge of our movement is second to none, she has incredible organisational ability & huge respect within the party. She has my backing to take us to the next level #JenSec https://t.co/dRHPhEPXxp
— Laura Pidcock MP (@LauraPidcockMP) February 27, 2018
I’ve known and worked alongside Jennie Formby and she will make an outstanding General Secretary of the Labour Party. Can’t think of anyone more experienced, hardworking, principled and kind hearted! https://t.co/Z686FIcLSo
— Dan Carden MP (@DanCardenMP) February 27, 2018
Great to see @Redlabour2016 backing @JennieUnite to be Labour’s next general secretary.
Jennie Formby is a woman of integrity and a socialist. She would be a first class gen sec.#JenSechttps://t.co/iS3mY3TZ4m
— Chris Williamson MP (@DerbyChrisW) March 1, 2018
Solidarity forever ✊🏽 and a very public endorsement for my good friend and comrade Jennie Formby @JennieUnite for @UKLabour General Secretary 🌹 😃 #ForTheJennie #ForTheMany #JenSec https://t.co/kXsjRDl25B
— Grahame Morris (@grahamemorris) February 27, 2018
There is also talk Lansman sees himself as a kamikaze candidate to take out Formby and allow another woman to come through the middle – indeed in his statement he invites other candidates to throw their hats in and even calls for a woman to get the job. Guido took a look at the potential other names here. Hardly the best timing given this is in the middle of Labour’s local election campaign, for which Momentum are doing a lot of the groundwork and Unite are providing the cash. This is going to be bloody…