Posts Tagged ‘Sheila Murphy’

Wirral councillor quits party blaming hard left ‘parasites’

28/08/2018, 06:57:28 PM

A Wirral Labour councillor has dramatically quite the party claiming his local branch has been ‘over-run by a narrow, ideological cult where bullying and intimidation of the many by the few is now the norm.’

Coun Michael Sullivan, who represents the Pensby and Thngwall ward, will continue as an independent, ‘without the harassment and pressure of the small number who have taken control of our party structures.’

In a strongly-worded resignation letter to Wirral Council Leader, Phil Davies, Sullivan said: ‘I will not be cowed and threatened by those who have campaigned against us in the recent past and are now seeking to drive their personal and political ambitions forward under the cover of the Labour Party.’

Hitting out at newer left-wing members, Sullivan wrote: ‘They are too meek to stand for election themselves and make their real views public.’

He added: ‘They have tried in the past to win support for their extremist views and failed and it is a travesty that like parasites they have infiltrated and now wormed themselves into positions of power in our party.’

‘I regret this has come to pass,’ his letter concludes, ‘but I hope you and my Group colleagues understand the extreme circumstances we are now facing in Wirral.’

His resignation follows revelations by former senior Labour official, Sheila Murphy, earlier this week on Uncut of widespread bullying from far left activists.

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Screaming, bullying, laziness and voting for the opposition: Welcome to Wirral Labour party

27/08/2018, 10:32:25 AM

Uncut interviews veteran Labour official and northern legend, Sheila Murphy

“I’m holding onto my membership by my fingertips,” says an exasperated Sheila Murphy as we sit having coffee pondering the state of the party. It’s a sobering comment from Labour’s former top official in the north of England. However, she wants to voice her frustrations in public for the first time.

“I accept the left has have taken over. We’re a democratic party and I accept all that. I just think our electoral chances, both locally and nationally are at risk because of their behaviour,” she says.

What she means, it turns out, is a combination of bullying, extreme levels of micro-control and indolence from the hard left in her local party on the Wirral where she now lives, after retiring as the party’s former ‘super’ director covering the three northern regions.

“Forty-nine years a member and I’ve campaigned for every leader since Harold Wilson. I worked as hard for Michael Foot as I did for Tony Blair.”

For Sheila Murphy, campaigning for Labour is just second nature – but not to the thousands of new members that have flocked to the party under Jeremy Corbyn. Campaigning duties are still mainly carried out by the old hands who turn out to knock on doors, deliver leaflets or staff the phone banks, week in week out, all-year round.

Annoying though that is, she wants to speak out after facing bullying herself by some of the new members. “We have a new hard core whose behaviour is nasty, vicious, and controlling,” she says. “It’s a return to the factionalism of the 1980s. And we all know how that worked out.”

One recent incident saw a local male councillor scream in Murphy’s face demanding to know who had “given her permission” to be out door knocking. One of the women activists Murphy was with was so distraught she had to be driven home.

She reports this kind of aggravation and centralising control is now commonplace, but her major gripe concerns the behaviour of the hard left during the last local elections. Murphy was asked by the leader of the council and the local candidate to lead the campaign in a target ward as they tried to oust a Green councillor.

They lost, narrowly, by 72 votes. “We managed to speak to 4,000 people during the campaign and it was clear that some of our new members were actually voting Green,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

“We were knocking on these people’s doors and they were openly telling us they were voting Green instead of Labour and even had Green posters in their window.  I reported them to the Local Campaign Forum and was told: ‘It’s their choice’.” For good measure, the local branch even posted on their Facebook page that the Greens were not the problem – their Labour council was.

Banned from attending the branch by officers to offer a de-brief on the campaign, she had her efforts dismissed as “crap” by the local chair. Undaunted, she organised a “thank you” letter to voters. This act of defiance saw the chair post another message on Facebook, warning local people that the group out campaigning, which included the leader of the council (in his own ward), were not representing the Labour party.


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Councillor complains that Liverpool MP made his life “unbearable”

05/06/2013, 07:00:48 AM

The spat between Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger and one of her local councillors is hardly in the same league as the epic battles fought within the Liverpool Labour party – (remembered this month as its thirty years since Militant seized control of the city council) – but it’s a strange little row nonetheless.

To recap, a messy war of words between Berger and one of her local councillors, Jake Morrison, has poured forth into the public domain – largely thanks to Morrison publishing the contents of a letter of complaint he received from Berger last Friday.

In it, Berger, the upwardly-mobile shadow minister for climate change, complains to Morrison about “your complete lack of team work and respect for other members.”

She alleges he “ignored” emails about a training session with Ed Miliband’s campaign guru, Arnie Graf, and that he is the only councillor in her constituency who doesn’t “engage with my office”.

The letter was copied to Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson and the party’s chief whip.

Morrison published the letter on his Facebook page before responding with his own complaint to Ed Miliband about Berger’s behaviour.

He alleges that Berger and her constituency aide, Sheila Murphy, “orchestrated” a campaign enlisting party members in a bid to put pressure on him to quit before his term of office ends after announcing last month that he will not contest his seat at the next election in 2015.

He protests to Miliband that Berger has made his life “unbearable” and that “at every opportunity Luciana has undermined me, rather than supported.”

Sensationally elected to Liverpool City Council in 2011 having only just turned 18, Morrison managed a notable giant-slaying, beating formidable ex-Lib Dem council leader Lord Mike Storey.

At the time, Ed Miliband telephoned to congratulate him.

Morrison says that he wasn’t invited to the session with Graf, but fully supports his campaigning methods, which seek to develop a more meaningful conversation with the electorate rather than just identifying voting intentions – an approach he already uses as a local councillor for the Wavertree ward.


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