Labour leadership candidates must take action on abuse

Party members who engage in threatening behaviour should be disqualified from voting

 

Yesterday a tweet  was sent to a Labour Party member from someone who expressed hope that Jeremy Corbyn ‘clears out the Blairites like you. With a f*****g machine gun.’

The person who sent that tweet had a banner under his profile picture saying ‘I’m with Corbyn.’

Last night’s Newsnight programme revealed details of the death threats sent to Angela Eagle which did so quite explicitly in the name of Jeremy Corbyn.

This after Ms Eagle’s Facebook tribute to her murdered MP Jo Cox was spammed by those who’s intentions were solely to support Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour’s MP for Lewisham Deptford, Vicky Foxcroft has received a tweet threatening to “kick the f**k” out of her if she “doesn’t support Corbyn.”

Kevin McKeever who works at Portland Communications that many Corbyn supporters believe had been behind the resignation of Shadow Minister has received a death threat. Including an sickening reference to the death of Jo Cox the note he received at his home read:

“Hello comrade

“we’ve watched you leave this building

“we’ve watched you on the strand

“your blood is the price of your treachery

“prepare to be coxed

“:-)”

It was the head of the Unite Union, Len McLuskey who had accused Portland of behind a “sinister” plot to oust Corbyn.

The stories could go on, but what clearly links them is hostility towards anyone who believes Jeremy Corbyn is not positioned to take Labour into government, with many threats explicitly making clear that they are being made in his name.

It is to be welcomed that Corbyn has issued strong statements against such behaviour and I do not doubt that he, as we all are, is appalled by such threatening behaviour and intimidation.

And that, incidentally, includes any threats made to Corbyn himself, which are completely unacceptable.

With a leadership contest now under way however, there needs to be action, and not just words.

As such, it is time for each of the leadership contenders to make a pledge, alongside Labour HQ that anyone who issues a threat on Twitter or elsewhere who is subsequently found to be a party member or registered supporter will be thrown out of the party and denied a vote in the forthcoming leadership contest.

That means also now considering the position of Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell. From the person who has been calling for a new, kinder, gentler politics that brings the party back together, his comments last night at a pro-Corbyn rally that those wanting to unseat Mr Corbyn are “f*****g useless” was juvenile and pathetic from someone who, I assume, would like to be Chancellor one day.

Jeremy Corbyn then came on stage to declare Mr McDonnell to be a “great comrade” and that ‘we treat people with respect, we don’t throw abuse around.’

Why did Mr Corbyn not then criticise Mr McDonnell’s abuse?

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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