Posts Tagged ‘Jennie Formby’

The Labour MP’s dilemma: when does this become party before country?

22/03/2018, 09:19:22 PM

by Rob Marchant

If there were a week for Labour MPs to question their continued acceptance of the party whip, it was surely the last one.

Should we cite the lack of apparent sanction on Chris Williamson MP, who appeared onstage with Jackie Walker, suspended from the party for anti-Semitism along with Tony Greenstein, and then proposed their readmission to the party, to rapturous applause?

Or the stitch-up of the General Secretary choice, effectively handing control of the party machine to Len McCluskey and his acolytes? Triggering the resignation of six key staff-members? While the aforementioned Walker and Greenstein celebrated outside party HQ, barracking the party’s remaining staff and telling them they were coming for the rest of them? And a General Secretary herself, notorious for questioning the neutrality of Baroness Jan Royall to run an anti-Semitism inquiry, on the spurious grounds that she had once visited Israel?

But the real question for Labour MPs is simple: can you genuinely look yourself in the mirror in the morning and say “I want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister”?

Yes, we know there are millions of supporters to whom we owe a Labour government. Yes, we know you may well think he’ll probably never get there, but that’s not the point. What if he does?

What if someone who has shown, as Corbyn did last week that he cannot support the Prime Minister even in a fundamental matter of national security, like an attack by foreign agents on British citizens on British soil? A feat which is probably a first in postwar Britain?

That he cannot, in short, be trusted in that most fundamental governmental matter of all, the security of the nation?

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Disunity at Unite means trouble for Labour

11/06/2013, 02:05:43 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Yesterday’s sudden departure of Unite’s long standing national political director, Steve Hart, was enough to make head’s turn in Labour leadership circles. That he then followed up with a tweet (now deleted) saying he was told that he was “too close to Labour,” will have set alarm bells ringing.

Given the apparent reason for Hart’s ejection, his replacement, Jennie Formby, seems an odd choice. Unlike Hart she sits on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee. In terms of Labour’s structures, it’s difficult to be any closer to the party.

However, the organisation chart does not tell the real story of what has happened.

Three factors seem to have been pivotal in Steve Hart’s downfall: clashes at the top of Unite over the union’s proximity to Labour, Ed Balls’ speech last week and the fall-out from Unite’s ham fisted attempts at fixing candidate selections, particularly in London for the European elections.

Steve Hart has been at the heart of London Labour politics for over a decade, having forged close relations with Ken Livingstone’s mayoral administration. When Livingstone’s former chief of staff, Simon Fletcher moved in to a senior position at the London Labour party before the last election, Hart’s influence increased.

When the continuity Kennites took control of key positions in the London Labour party after the general election, Steve Hart’s role in London Labour grew.

And when Simon Fletcher joined Ed Miliband’s office with responsibility for union liaison, earlier this year, Hart’s personal connections extended right to the top of the party.

But unions are jealous, internecine places. Their internal politics are largely masked to the outside world but as with all large organisations, the competition and back stabbing are vicious.

Steve Hart’s increasing influence would not have been welcome, particularly to those on the left of the union vying for control of Unite’s political direction.

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