Jeremy Corbyn accuses Labour party officials of ‘sabotaging’ his 2017 election campaign

Jeremy Corbyn accuses Labour party officials of ‘sabotaging’ his 2017 election campaign by diverting funds away from ‘winnable’ target seats

  • Former leader and aides accused party staff of trying to sabotage 2017 election
  • Officials ‘were uncooperative and refused to give resources to winnable seats’ 
  • Accusations denounced as ‘a mythical “stab in the back” conspiracy theory’

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership team have accused their party officials of trying to sabotage the 2017 election out of hostility towards him, reports say.

It is believed that Mr Corbyn, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and seven other former shadow ministers and aides have made a submission saying there is ‘overwhelming evidence’ of sabotage from certain staff members in Labour’s headquarters.

According to The Guardian, the document suggests that it is not impossible that Jeremy Corbyn might now be in his third year as a Labour prime minister ‘were it not for the unauthorised, unilateral action taken by a handful of senior party officials’.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership team have accused their party officials of trying to sabotage the 2017 election out of hostility towards him

The 2017 election was narrowly contested and resulted in a hung parliament, with the Theresa May’s Conservatives winning 318 seats to Labour’s 262.

The officials, who are not named, were uncooperative and refused to allocate resources to winnable target seats, the submission reportedly argues.

The dossier is said to be strongly opposed by the officials involved, with one of whom allegedly calling it a ‘a mythical “stab in the back” conspiracy theory to absolve themselves’, the paper suggests.

Mr Corbyn’s claims, which the newspaper has apparently seen, are made jointly with Labour’s 2017 election committee which includes Mr McDonnell, the former shadow ministers Jon Trickett and Ian Lavery, and five senior aides to Mr Corbyn at the time: Karie Murphy, Seumas Milne, Andrew Fisher, Andrew Murray and Steve Howell.

It is believed that Mr Corbyn, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and several aides have made a submission saying there is 'overwhelming evidence' of sabotage from certain staff members in Labour's headquarters

It is believed that Mr Corbyn, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and several aides have made a submission saying there is ‘overwhelming evidence’ of sabotage from certain staff members in Labour’s headquarters

It is reported the joint submission states the group ‘believe that there is clear evidence of factional activity by senior paid employees of the party against the elected leadership of the time’.

They allege that in 2017, officials hostile towards Mr Corbyn set up a shadow operation in Westminster to plot their own election course which included refusing to give potential target seats money and focusing funds on MPs not allied to the former Labour leader.

The submission reportedly argues that if the claims of money being spent in this manner without authority are correct, then it may have constituted fraudulent activity.

Trade documents ‘stolen from Liam Fox by Russian hackers’ 

Secret UK trade documents used by then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to attack the Government were stolen by Russian hackers from the email account of former international trade secretary Liam Fox, it was reported today.

The Department of International Trade documents on post-Brexit trade talks with the US were brandished by the hard Left MP at a press conference in November, days before he led his party to a catastrophic vote defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson.

The Reuters news agency today cited sources who said they  were taken from the email of Dr Fox, who had been removed from his post by Boris Johnson the previous July.  

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a criminal investigation is underway, said the hackers accessed the account multiple times between July 12 and October 21 last year.

The account was said to have been the victim of a ‘spear phishing’ message, where users are tricked into handing over their log-in details and password. 

They declined to name which Russian group or organisation they believed was responsible, but said the attack bore the hallmarks of a state-backed operation.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment today. 

The Department of International Trade documents were brandished by the hard Left MP at a press conference in November days before he led his party to a catastrophic vote defeat at the hands of Boris Johnson 

The Reuters news agency today cited sources who said they were taken from the email of Mr Fox, who was removed from his post by Boris Johnson the previous July

The Reuters news agency today cited sources who said they were taken from the email of Mr Fox, who was removed from his post by Boris Johnson the previous July

Among the stolen information were six tranches of documents detailing British trade negotiations with the United States, which Reuters first reported last year were leaked and disseminated online by a Russian disinformation campaign.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab confirmed that report last month, saying that ‘Russian actors’ had sought to interfere in the election ‘through the online amplification of illicitly acquired and leaked Government documents’.

Reuters was not able to determine which of Mr Fox’s email accounts was hacked and when it was first compromised. It is not clear if Mr Fox, who is still an MP but stood down as trade minister on July 24 last year in a cabinet reshuffle, was a minister at the time.

On November 27 last year Mr Corbyn staged a stunt claiming to reveal the sensitive documents about US-UK trade talks, as he fought of attacks over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

The documents date from 2018, well before Boris Johnson was PM, and only includes officials rather than ministers. 

The unredacted versions were also shared on Reddit for months before the conference, and were even tweeted by a Labour MEP five days previously without attracting any attention.

Mr Fox’s replacement, Liz Truss, is currently in the US for talks with Donald Trump’s administration. 

She is scheduled to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday and Tuesday, his office said. 

A British government spokeswoman said today: ‘There is an ongoing criminal investigation into how the documents were acquired, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point.’

She added that the government had ‘very robust systems in place to protect the IT systems of officials and staff.’

Representatives for Fox declined to comment on the details of Reuters findings.

The hack of Fox’s account – which has not been previously reported – and subsequent leak of the classified documents ahead of last year’s election is one of the most direct examples of suspected Russian attempts to meddle in British politics.

In the past, Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of election meddling in Britain, France, the United States and other countries. Russia’s foreign ministry described the latest British accusations by Raab as ‘foggy and contradictory’.

A British parliamentary report released last month found that Moscow had tried to influence a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and that Britain’s government had failed to adequately investigate possible Russian attempts to sway the 2016 vote on Brexit.

Fox’s email account was hacked using a so-called ‘spear phishing’ message, which tricks the target into handing over their password and login details, the sources said.

The sources said it was not clear if the hackers who stole the trade documents were the same people who later leaked them online.

After first being posted online by an anonymous internet user in the run-up to last year’s vote, the stolen documents were seized on by Britain’s opposition Labour Party during the election campaign.

It said they showed a government plot to sell the much-loved National Health Service to the United States, an accusation Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied.

Unite chief Len McCluskey ramps up threat to cut Labour funding

Unite chief Len McCluskey ramps up threat to cut Labour funding over Keir Starmer’s ‘reckless’ payout to anti-Semitism whistleblowers

  • Len McCluskey has said it is ‘perfectly legitimate’ for Unite to look at donations
  • Union baron voiced concerns about decision to settle case with whistleblowers 
  • Labour is paying damages to staffers who blew whistle over anti-Semitism cases 

Len McCluskey today ramped up threats to cut Labour funding over Keir Starmer‘s ‘reckless’ payout to anti-Semitism whistleblowers.

The Unite chief said it was ‘perfectly legitimate’ for the union to look at its donations to the party following the damages settlement. 

Mr McCluskey, an ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, said ’eminent barristers’ had advised Labour it could win the case. 

He also delivered a warning to Sir Keir that Unite expected to be ‘influential’ and the Left should be ‘very much involved’ in policies. 

The comments come after seven former employees from the party’s governance and legal unit, who were responsible for the investigation of allegations of misconduct by party members, sued Labour after it issued a press release describing them as having ‘personal and political axes to grind’.

Len McCluskey (pictured left earlier this year) has ramped up threats to cut Labour funding over Keir Starmer’s ‘reckless’ payout to anti-Semitism whistleblowers

The legal action followed the broadcast in July 2019 of a BBC Panorama programme titled Is Labour Anti-Semitic?.

The party has refused to disclose how much the settlement would end up costing, but fees and damages are thought likely to amount to nearly £375,000.

Sir Keir’s predecessor Mr Corbyn called the decision to settle ‘disappointing’ and claimed it was a ‘political decision, not a legal one’.

Mr Corybn said his team was advised while he was leader that the ‘party had a strong defence’.

Panorama reporter John Ware is taking legal action against the Islington North MP following the remarks.

Mr McCluskey suggested in an interview with the Observer yesterday that donations would be reconsidered.

And speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, he said Sr Keir had made a ‘miscalculation’.

‘It was a clear miscalculation, I’m afraid, it’s like pinning a sign up to people saying ”queue here with your writ and get paid out by the Labour Party”,’ he said. 

Asked if he had ordered a review of the trade union’s funding of the party, Mr McCluskey said: ‘I haven’t ordered a review, I was asked a question in an interview and I replied by saying … when my executive meets I’m quite certain that they would want questions answered. 

‘It isn’t a question about ordering reviews, but of course we do make donations, affiliations, to the Labour Party. 

‘It’s our members’ money, their pennies and pounds, and they expect us to be influential… 

Mr McCluskey also delivered a warning to Sir Keir (pictured on a visit to Peterborough last week) that Unite expected to be 'influential'

Mr McCluskey also delivered a warning to Sir Keir (pictured on a visit to Peterborough last week) that Unite expected to be ‘influential’ 

‘It is perfectly legitimate for us to raise concerns when money is being spent, especially if we believe that money is being spent recklessly.’ 

He added: ‘I have made it clear that we support Keir… my only message to him is that he needs to be careful that the balance he is approaching with policies makes certain that the Left is very much involved in that.’ 

Under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, the party was dogged with allegations that it had failed to take action over members accused of promoting anti-Semitism. 

Labour has not commented on Mr McCluskey’s donation threat, but Sir Keir’s spokesman previously said all three candidates in the final of the party’s leadership contest, which concluded in April, had agreed they wanted to see the case settled.

The spokesman told reporters last month: ‘I think it is worth remembering that during the leadership contest, all three candidates – Rebecca (Long-Bailey), Keir and Lisa (Nandy) – said, and all pledged at the Jewish Labour Movement hustings, that they would seek to settle this issue and that also they believed the party had not taken the right approach at the time.’ 

Fury as ex-Brexit Party MEP who ‘defended’ the IRA is awarded a peerage

Fury as ex-Brexit Party MEP who ‘defended’ the IRA is awarded a peerage in latest criticism of honours system

  • Boris Johnson is facing a growing row over the elevation of 36 peers to the Lords 
  • There was also fury at the decision to send Claire Fox as a non-affiliated peer
  • She has been accused of failing to condemn the IRA for its 1993 terror outrage

The honours system faced fresh criticism last night after a peerage was awarded to a former Brexit Party MEP accused of ‘defending’ the IRA.

There was also anger that the new batch of Labour peers includes an academic who retweeted claims that the ‘Jewish establishment’ had ‘taken out a contract’ on Jeremy Corbyn over the antisemitism controversy.

Boris Johnson is facing a growing row over the elevation of 36 peers to the Lords including Tory donors, his brother Jo and long-term friends such as the Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev.

Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, yesterday branded the new 830-strong upper house as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘not necessary’.

But there was also fury at the decision to send Claire Fox, a former Brexit Party Euro MP for the North West, to the Lords as a non-affiliated peer. 

But there was also fury at the decision to send Claire Fox (pictured), a former Brexit Party Euro MP for the North West, to the Lords as a non-affiliated peer

She has been accused of failing to condemn the IRA for its 1993 terror outrage in Warrington which killed two children – aged three and 12 – and injured more than 50.

At the time, Ms Fox was a leading figure of the Revolutionary Communist Party which defended ‘the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures are necessary in their struggle for freedom’.

And yesterday, Colin Parry, whose 12-year-old son Tim was killed in the bombing, said the decision to make Ms Fox a peer ‘offends me and many others deeply’. In a tweet, Mr Parry added: ‘Claire Fox never apologised for defending the IRA bombing of Warrington which took the life of my son Tim and Johnathan Ball.’

However, Ms Fox hit back yesterday to deny she had defended the IRA terrorists. She pointed out she had issued a statement some years ago that said: ‘Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, I do not support or defend the IRA’s killing of two young boys in Warrington in 1993. I have not mentioned the horrific times of over 23 [now 27] years ago since then and do not believe there is any justification for violence in Ireland today.’

She added: ‘The killing of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry was a terrible tragedy… The 1994 IRA ceasefire and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement drew a line under the conflict. It is surely time to move on.’

Among five new Labour peers ¿ all nominated by previous party leader Mr Corbyn ¿ was Professor Prem Sikka (pictured), a defender of Mr Corbyn during the antisemitism rows

Among five new Labour peers – all nominated by previous party leader Mr Corbyn – was Professor Prem Sikka (pictured), a defender of Mr Corbyn during the antisemitism rows

But Warrington North Labour MP Charlotte Nichols said last night: ‘Does the Prime Minister understand the hurt that giving her a seat in the House of Lords will cause to the families of those who lost their children?’ 

Among five new Labour peers – all nominated by previous party leader Mr Corbyn – was Professor Prem Sikka, a defender of Mr Corbyn during the antisemitism rows.

Labour insiders yesterday voiced their concerns Prof Sikka had tweeted a link to an article which questioned the motivations of British Jews saying ‘to whom is their loyalty’ – a classic antisemitic trope. He claimed ‘everybody needs to read’ the article, which also stated: ‘The Jewish establishment in Britain and the Israeli propaganda machine have taken out a contract on… Jeremy Corbyn.’

Allies of Prof Sikka last night pointed out the academic was simply retweeting an article written in a well-respected Israeli newspaper.

One former Jewish Labour MP last night told The Mail on Sunday that the remarks would have fuelled antisemitic sentiment at the time.

Prof Sikka could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Boris Johnson approves Labour rebels for House of Lords – but not Jeremy Corbyn or John Bercow

Boris Johnson has approved Labour rebels in the Government’s proposed list of 36 new peers in the House of Lords – but has not named Jeremy Corbyn‘s reported nominations Tom Watson and John Bercow. 

The Government published its list of proposed peerages and political honours on Friday, confirming that Labour Brexiteers are set to be elevated.

Former MPs who rebelled against Labour to back Brexit, including Kate Hoey, Ian Austin, Frank Field and Gisela Stuart, are all set to receive peerages.

But the list failed to include Tom Watson and former speaker John Bercow, who were both reportedly approved by the former Labour leader. 

Boris Johnson has approved Labour rebels in the Government’s proposed list of 36 new peers in the House of Lords, including Vote Leave campaign chair Gisela Stuart

Former Labour MP Frank Field, who quit the party in protest at Mr Corbyn's stance, was also included in the list of proposed peerages published on Friday

Former Labour MP Frank Field, who quit the party in protest at Mr Corbyn’s stance, was also included in the list of proposed peerages published on Friday

Former MPs who rebelled against Labour to back the Brexit, including Kate Hoey, Ian Austin (above), Frank Field and Gisela Stuart, are all set to receive peerages

Former MPs who rebelled against Labour to back the Brexit, including Kate Hoey, Ian Austin (above), Frank Field and Gisela Stuart, are all set to receive peerages 

Ms Hoey, who served as Labour’s Vauxhall MP for 30 years until not standing for re-election last year, was among five MPs who defied the whip to vote with the Conservatives on a Brexit amendment in 2018.

Ms Hoey was a member of the Labour Leave group, alongside Mr Field, who has also been approved for a peerage.

The Vote Leave campaign was chaired by Ms Stuart, defying the Labour Party’s Remain stance.

John Woodcock, who never backed Brexit and supported a second referendum, is also among those set to be given a peerage.

But Mr Woodcock, who had the Labour whip withdrawn after a sexual harassment allegation, which he denied, did not support former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

Mr Woodcock said he would vote for the Conservatives to stop Mr Corbyn ‘getting his hands on the levers of national security and defence’.

He was joined by Mr Austin, who urged voters to support Boris Johnson to stop Mr Corbyn from becoming prime minister. 

Mr Austin and Mr Field both quit the party in protest at Mr Corbyn’s stance. 

Mr Woodcock has taken to Twitter to announce his delight at the nomination.

He said: ‘It’s a huge honour to be put forward as a peer. I’ve agreed to continue my work as UK special envoy on countering violent extremism as a non-aligned member.

‘Relishing the chance to speak up once again for the causes I championed as an MP and for the community we love.’ 

John Woodcock, who never backed Brexit and supported a second referendum, is also among those set to be given a peerage, according to the Government's nominations

John Woodcock, who never backed Brexit and supported a second referendum, is also among those set to be given a peerage, according to the Government’s nominations

Mr Woodcock, who said he would vote Conservative to block Jeremy Corbyn, took to Twitter to announce his delight at being approved for a peerage

Mr Woodcock, who said he would vote Conservative to block Jeremy Corbyn, took to Twitter to announce his delight at being approved for a peerage

Kate Hoey, who served as Labour's Vauxhall MP for 30 years, was among five MPs who defied the whip to vote with the Conservatives on a Brexit amendment in 2018

Kate Hoey, who served as Labour’s Vauxhall MP for 30 years, was among five MPs who defied the whip to vote with the Conservatives on a Brexit amendment in 2018

Mr Austin, a former Labour minister, urged ‘decent, traditional, patriotic Labour voters’ to back the Conservatives.  

But there were some notable absentees from the list, as some of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s reported nominations were not included.

The Prime Minister has not named Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson and the last Commons speaker John Bercow on the list, despite it being tradition for the Government to put the retiring speaker’s name forward for a peerage. 

But Mr Bercow was said to have been rejected by the independent Lords appointment commission because of a series of bullying claims, which he denied. 

Mr Watson, Labour’s former deputy leader, is thought to have been blocked because of his role in highlighting fantasist Carl Beech’s false allegations of a paedophile ring in Westminster.

This led to dawn raids on the homes of the late military chief Lord Bramall, former Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan and ex-MP Harvey Proctor.

But Mr Johnson did pick Conservative former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond for peerages, after he stripped them from the Tory whip after they defied him over Brexit.

The Prime Minister has also come under fire since the peerage list was announced, being accused by his political rivals of ‘cronyism’. 

Boris Johnson has not named Labour's former deputy leader Tom Watson and the last Commons speaker John Bercow on the list of proposed peerages

Boris Johnson has not named Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson and the last Commons speaker John Bercow on the list of proposed peerages

John Bercow (pictured), said to have been rejected for a peerage by the independent Lords appointment commission because of a series of bullying claims, which he denied

John Bercow (pictured), said to have been rejected for a peerage by the independent Lords appointment commission because of a series of bullying claims, which he denied

He approved his brother Jo Johnson, his chief strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister and several Tory grandees for peerages. 

Lord Fowler, a former Conservative cabinet minister, said the House will ‘soon be nearly 830 strong’, accusing Mr Johnson of ‘the abandonment of an established policy’ to reduce its size. 

The Liberal Democrats’ leader in the Lords, Lord Newby, added: ‘By giving a large number of his cronies peerages, he has shown that the Tories have abandoned any pretence of reducing the size of the bloated House of Lords.’ 

Mr Johnson’s long-term ally Sir Edward, who supported him as London mayor, also made the nominations. 

Theresa May’s husband Philip is also destined for a knighthood, the list of nominations revealed.  

Others to get nominations include Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph editor and Margaret Thatcher biographer, and Claire Fox, who was a Brexit Party MEP.