Al Jazeera’s investigative unit (I-Unit) has obtained the largest leak in British political history, revealing how unelected officials have undermined democracy within the Labor Party.
The leaked data includes 500 gigabytes of documents, emails, video and audio files from the Labor Party between 1998 and 2021. I-Unit will be released a flurry of reports of leaked files over the next week.
Data reveals how party officials, whose nominal function is to serve the party’s interests, have tried to undermine pro-members Jeremy CorbynLabor team leader from 2015 to 2020.
Until his election as party leader in September 2015, Corbyn was a little-known figure in British politics, active in grassroots activism, from the anti-war movement to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
As the party’s first explicitly socialist leader since the 1980s, he fueled a wave of popular discontent against the political establishment, grounded in public ownership of industries. key industries, a consolidated welfare state, and an end to austerity measures imposed by the conservative government at the time.
However, the Labor Records show that discontent within the Labor Party is flaring, leading to internal battles over which side of the party – the leftist “Corbynites” or the centrists before the year. 2015 – will have control.
The party bureaucracy
The party bureaucracy, which Corbyn had inherited from his predecessors, played an important role in these battles.
At the time, the bureaucracy was led by Iain McNicol, who has been the General Secretary of the Labor Party since 2011.
Labor records show that, before McNicol was replaced by Jennie Formby in 2018, the party was against Corbyn’s political line.
While the party leadership office sets the party’s political line, internal affairs, including the party’s disciplinary process, rest with the general secretary, the highest non-political post in the party. The party disciplinary process is overseen by the Governance and Legal Unit (GLU).
The files obtained by Al Jazeera include Labour’s disciplinary records from 1998 to 2021 and document their handling by the GLU. They show that some Corbyn supporters have been smeared with false accusations of abuse submitted to the GLU, including homophobia and anti-Semitism, with the intent to suspend or testify exclude them from the party.
In some cases, local branches of the party, known as the Constitutional Labor Party (CLP) were suspended, preventing local members from holding Labor Party meetings. In other cases, individual members were suspended or expelled from the party for reasons of controversy.
At Wallasey’s CLP in North West England, party members allied with local MP Angela Eagle, who was challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the party at the time. Following UK Brexit vote, members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet mass resignations – Eagle then announced her leadership challenge against Corbyn, whom she gave up in favor of Owen Smith.
Allies of Eagle’s Wallasey accused pro-Corbyn activists of making homophobic remarks and gestures during a party meeting in June 2016. Pro-Corbyn activists strongly denied it. these allegations.
These allegations were then used by officials within the GLU to suspend the constituency, thereby preventing local members from holding official party meetings.
Email sent between employees of the party (pdf) found in Labor Records showing how CLP was suspended in accordance with Eagle’s wishes, with the employee writing “we have to do what Angela wants in these circumstances”.
Impeded mayoral candidate
In 2019, Corbyn stepped down as leader following the party’s defeat in the December general election. He was eventually replaced by Keir Starmer, the former Chief of Public Prosecutions.
Shortly after Starmer became leader in April 2020, Formby resigned as secretary general. She was replaced by David Evans. Labor Records reveal that he has continued the McNicol-era hostility towards leftist members of the party.
In early 2021, Liverpool Councilor Anna Rothery launched a bid to be the party’s candidate for mayor of that city.
A Labor Councilor since 2006 and a ceremonial mayor from 2019 to 2021, Rothery is aiming to become the city’s first black elected mayor. . She has been linked with Jeremy Corbyn.
After being selected along with two other councilors to the party’s shortlist, Rothery – and two other candidates – were suddenly called back for an interview by a five-man selection panel. Monday. Rothery described the second interview in a hostile tone.
In preparation for his second interview with Rothery, David Evans passed on to the panel a letter he had received from former Liverpool Councilor Alan Dean in February 2021. That letter was included Labor Profile.
Dean has been a Labor Commissioner for 31 years and has represented the Princes’ Park ward with Rothery for 12 of them.
In the Letter (pdf), he describes her as a “screaming banshee” with a “Jekyll and Hide [sic] personality.” The letter also made deeply personal comments about Rothery’s private life, which Al Jazeera had compiled to protect her privacy.Rothery strongly denied his identity. about her, and all the other accusations contained in the seven-page letter.
Dean’s letter also said that the “support” for Rothery among senior politicians supporting Corbyn was “of great concern”.
Shortly after the panel interview, Rothery and two other candidates were removed from the shortlist. The party stated that it made the decision after “carefully considering the additional information presented to it”.
Rothery sought an order in the Supreme Court to force the party to keep her on the shortlist of candidates. As part of this, Rothery’s attorneys demanded that the party disclose all documents relating to Rothery’s selection panel. Alan Dean’s letter was never disclosed to Rothery’s attorney, nor to the Supreme Court, documents obtained by Al Jazeera show.
Rothery lost the case and had to pay $90,000 in costs to the Labor Party. She has now left the party and founded her own independent political group in Liverpool City Council.
Feedback on Labor Profile
The Labor Party declined to comment on any individual cases that Al Jazeera will present. However, it did say it was a rules-based organization that strictly followed its own rules and told us it was under no obligation to disclose Dean’s letter to Rothery’s attorneys or Court.
Iain McNicol told us his sole focus has always been on securing victory for the Labor Party. He denied any charges against him and said he always supported his professional staff during the party.
Party officials who responded to Al Jazeera told us that they always act in accordance with the law, party charter, their job description and appropriate commensurate standards.