Labour’s civil war as Jeremy Corbyn’s top team ‘turn on him’ and demand he ousts aides holding him ‘captive’

 

JEREMY Corbyn’s closest allies have turned on him and demanded he oust some of his top aides, it’s been claimed today.

Labour was plunged into a fresh civil war this weekend as new claims of how the party deals with anti-Semitism claims and whistle-blowers swirled around Westminster.

Jeremy Corbyn’s allies have turned on him over Brexit, it’s been claimed
PA:Press Association

Sources told the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday that allies Diane Abbott and John McDonnell confronted the Labour boss and demanded he sack Karie Murphy and Seumas Milne.

Ms Abbott told colleagues that she and Mr McDonnell staged a showdown with Mr Corbyn, warning him that his leadership would be mortally damaged unless he backs a new referendum as the only way forward.

Ms Abbott told Corbyn: “We have to move in that direction. You’re the one whose leadership will be trapped.”

She told friends that the aides “are keeping him captive.”

A source close to Abbott said: “Diane is a Jeremy Corbyn supporter 100%, but she doesn’t think the direction Karie and Seumas are taking is helpful to Jeremy.”

However, she later told the paper: “I am completely committed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of our party and the election of a radical Labour government with Jeremy as prime minister.

“I do not believe that removing any member of staff working for Jeremy and the Labour Party would help that cause.”

Today Mr McDonnell said the reports of a split were a “myth” and “rubbish”.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s not true at all. Jeremy and I go back years, we are the closest of friends.”

And he said: “I have not told anyone to be sacked or anything like that.”

The party is performing at its worst levels in the polls since the height of the financial crisis under Gordon Brown back in 2009.

Last week one put them on just 18 per cent of the vote.

The news comes as a fresh BBC Panorama documentary threatens to reveal fresh details of the party’s process of dealing with anti-Semitism claims.

Up to a dozen ex-Labour staff are said to have spoken to the BBC about how the party processes complaints, and whether senior staff intervened in cases.

Last night Labour accused the BBC of bias and interference in the political progress, and said they would be formally complaining to the corporation’s Director General Lord Hall.

The Sunday Times revealed details of letters sent to ex-staffers warning them they could face legal action if they speak out.

Lawyers Carter Ruck have written to Sam Matthews, the party’s former head of disputes, warning him about breaking his non-disclosure agreement.

It said that the party “cannot be expected to and will not tolerate its former employees wantonly disregarding their obligations by selectively leaking information to the media”.

The party has previously vowed to end NDAs and stand up for whistle-blowers – and the party’s MPs came out to slam the news.

Deputy Tom Watson said that “using expensive media lawyers in [an] attempt to silence staff members is as futile as it is stupid.

“It’s not the Labour way and I deplore it.”

Labour’s Wes Streeting blasted: “Labour opposes NDAs yet seems to impose them. I’m protected by Parliamentary privilege. I’ll whistleblow in House of Commons for anyone who needs me to do so.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant. No more excuses or hiding places. You should promise the same @jeremycorbyn.”

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Ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger said Labour had “sunk to a new low”.

“This from a party whose leadership have vociferously supported whistleblowers and championed whistleblowing policies,” she said.

“They just don’t want it to apply to themselves.”

Mr McDonnell said that in every Labour staffer’s contract there is a “confidentiality clause – that will continue” to prevent spilling of data.

And Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow trade secretary, told Sky’s Sophy Ridge that the agreements were only meant to stop leaks of confidential information.

“We absolutely do not use gagging orders to hide anything that is illegal or improper,” he said.

“We use gagging orders only to stop former members of staff from leaking confidential information where we have an obligation to protect individuals and for doing that in a party political or partisan way for political purposes.”

Those speaking to the BBC for the documentary has a “political axe to grind”, he claimed.

Top Corbyn ally: Labour are for ‘Remain and reform’

LABOUR are in favour of “Remain and reform” rather than delivering on Brexit, a top ally of Jeremy Corbyn said today.

Barry Gardiner insisted that the party had “tried” to respect the result of the referendum “sincerely” but hinted that it hadn’t been possible.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that the party’s election policy would be decided at a clause five meeting of top Labour executives in the usual way.

“We have always been a Remain and reform party,” he said.

“We tried to reconcile ourselves with what the democratic will of the people was at that referendum and we tried to do that sincerely.”

But Labour MPs would never back a No Deal Brexit, he insisted.

Meanwhile, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the party should decide on its Brexit policy “sooner rather than later” because of the possibility of an upcoming snap election.

He would vote to Remain in the bloc and would want Labour to do the same, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Mr Corbyn will have more chats with stakeholders and union bosses before deciding on what to do, he said.

“I think on this issue, you need to bring people with you.”

 

Diane Abbott is reported to have discussed Brexit with Mr Corbyn 10 days ago
Getty – Contributor
John McDonnell denied he had called for anyone to be sacked
PA:Press Association

A Labour source said of the documentary, which will be aired on Wednesday: “Rather than investigating anti-semitism in the Labour Party in a balanced and impartial way, Panorama appears to have predetermined its outcome and created a programme to fit a one-sided narrative.

“With a possible general election around the corner, this smacks of bias and interference in the political process by the BBC and a clear breach of their own editorial guidelines.

“We’re complaining to the director-general. We have serious concerns about how they have used taxpayers’ money to produce this programme.”

But the BBC insisted: “The Labour Party is criticising a programme they have not seen.

“We are confident the programme will adhere to the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

“In line with those, the Labour Party has been given the opportunity to respond to the allegations.”


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