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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10 Responses to “Labour leadership candidates must take action on abuse”

  1. Boffy

    Yes, and we must also condemn all those who have a privileged position and access to the Tory media, who use that privilege and access to launch unsubstantiated allegations against real supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. Jo Cox was not killed by a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, or even anyone claiming to be acting in his name. Just because right-wing members of the LP get attacked, it does not mean they are being attacked by left-wing people, any more than left-wing people being attacked means that they are being attacked by right-wing people.

    Accusing Jeremy Corbyn or his supporters of attacking Angela Eagle, because a brick was thrown through her office window is itself a form of abuse an intimidation, because you are immediately assuming, and inferring that this must be the source of the attack. If such an inference were made in another context to assume that it was a black person who must have thrown a brick, that would be labelled for what it is, bigotry and racism.

    The brick could have been thrown through Eagle’s window by a disgruntled constituent, annoyed that Eagle had been spending time organising coup’s rather than protecting constituents, for example. Or it could have been kids just doing what kids do. Or it could have been a fascist trying to provoke a response, or indeed it could have been the work of an agent provocateur. The truth is we do not know who threw the brick, and your immediate insinuation that it must have been another member of the Labour Party is concerning in relation to where your own politics are coming from.

    We have had the allegations of antisemitism that Shami Chakrabarti’s Report addressed, and yet she had to slap down people who still tried to accuse Corbyn of anti-semitism, when he was she said accurately reflecting what was in her report. We have had MP’s running off to the Tory media to accuse members of Momentum, or supporters of Corbyn of engaging in bullying behaviour, on spurious grounds.

    Its as though members of the PLP have never heard of Internet trolling, the majority of participants in which are affiliated to no set of political ideas, but simply get a kick out of provoking flame wars, and making ridiculous statements.

    Its an indication 1) of how out of touch with reality the participants in the Westminster bubble really are, and 2) how desperate they now seem to clutch at any straw to make an argument against Corbyn and his real supporters, rather than face up to a real political accounting of their actions over the last thirty years, and the extent to which the massive support for Corbyn amongst Labour members and voters – watch Channel 4’s interviews with real Labour voters in Stoke last night – is the consequence of it.

  2. Boffy

    Incidentally, apart from the use of the word “f***ing”, how is McDonnell’s claim that those who want to unseat Corbyn are useless differ from the claims by all of the Blair-rights, with all of their access to the Tory media, differ that Corbyn is useless, which has been the sole basis they can give for launching a coup against him. After all, despite having voted for the illegal war in Iraq, ID Cards, the war in Libya, Student Fees, and failing to impose the Tories Welfare Bill, or other austerity measures, whereas Corbyn was on the other side of all those issues, people like Angela Eagle claim to have no real “political” differences with Corbyn, having had some kind of Damascene conversion over the last few months!

    In fact, Eagle only a couple of weeks ago was proclaiming how active Jeremy had been during the EU Referendum campaign, having a schedule of activity that a much younger person would have had difficulty keeping up with. Then as soon as the coup is launched she suddenly forgot what she had said about his activism! Inconsistency, much?

  3. s rossiter

    I note he doesn’t concede that any threats have actually been made toward Corbyn, but he has checked the wording of all those sent to Saint Angela. Presumably evil Corbyn refused to talk to him when he asked.

  4. Jacko

    This reinforces why the Labour Party is unfit for government. It just shows the kind of hard-left thugs that now support Labour, and will frighten away even more mainstream voters (you know, the people that win elections). Can you imagine this story about the Conservative leadership? I think not.

    The Labour Party is now a minor protest group, supported by a very loyal but very small minority.

  5. Boffy

    “Can you imagine this story about the Conservative leadership?”

    The Tories have always just subcontracted out any thuggery to the state itself, for example at Orgreave, or else to their associates in the various fascist organisations like Moseley’s Black Shirts, or more recently to the National Front, BNP and so on, whose members flit backwards and forwards into the Tory Party, as conditions dictate.

  6. Robert Jones

    Of course people who issue actual physical threats, or who actually attack other members – and I’ve known that to happen, before Jeremy Corbyn or Momentum were household words and before the latter existed – should be expelled. McDonnell’s comment was vulgar but not inaccurate, and I don’t know what reference to it is doing here: it’s quite irrelevant.

    Not acting on physical abuse, and I regret to say that the assault which took place on a member of my CLP was not proceeded against since the person attacked refused to complain: had I been party Secretary at the time I should have proceeded anyway – is a huge mistake that will have long-term repercussions.

  7. Robert Jones

    Incidentally, Jacko – yes, I can. And I know it’s happened.

  8. Saul Sorrell-Till

    What a grotty display of Corbynite denialism this comments section is.

    I find Jeremy Corbyn charmless, humourless, appalling with the media, ideologically skewed in his willingness to shill for RT and Iranian Press TV and support Hamas and Hezbollah, arrogant, stubborn, and most of all utterly unwilling to engage in the kind of meliorist compromises that are required of a genuinely electable Labour leader. I believe this as passionately as other commenters believe that Corbyn is a wonderful, inspirational leader – I believe it with as much conviction as Momentum and other Corbynites believe the exact opposite.
    And yet I don’t send death threats to McDonnell or Milne, or chuck bricks through Corbyn’s office window, or threaten to sexually assault any female MPs who express support for him. And I didn’t find it difficult to refrain from doing any of those things. In fact, not threatening to kill Corbynites came quite naturally to me.

    And I can remain(relatively) civil in spite of the fact that Corbyn has vapourised the left’s chances of getting the increasingly chilling Tories out of power, and he has destroyed any hope the liberal left and Europhile centrists had of uniting the 48% against this callous, shambolic, Brexit-happy, free-marketeering government. He is wildly celebrated by a group of supporters who make up between 0.5 and 1% of the UK’s total populace and is regarded as either incompetent or irrelevant by: the wider electorate, his MPs, the majority of union members(check the YouGov poll), Remain voters looking for a realistic anti-Brexit candidate…etc. But hey, who cares right? As long as he’s there in parliament, pointlessly propping up a ghastly Tory government, all is well with the left-wing world.

    Seriously, a vote for Corbyn is a vote for the Conservatives. The Tories are in heaven and the country is now essentially a one-party state, and yet Corbynites are still living in an alternate universe where their man is a spectacular triumph and all his enemies deserve everything they get…’and besides they’ve made everything up anyway; and a few MPs once called Corbyn unfit for leadership and that’s basically the same as a death threat right?; and those women MPs’ complaints about rape threats got reported in the Telegraph so they’re basically Tories anyway; and plenty of people have got reason to throw bricks through Angela Eagles’s window so it was probably just a disgruntled former lover; and what did they expect when they entered politics, the threat of murder’s just a hazard of the job,’ etc., etc.,…

    What a shambles.

  9. Susan Thomas

    Why are these MP`s not taking action against the bullying. The article states the bullying was from someone claiming to support Jeremy. The Labour MP`s are blaming Momentum, where is the evidence? If the writer of this article has a tweet , then where is the name of the sender? Any Labour person caught sending this should be expelled from the Party as abuse, bullying and harassment is against the law. Jeremy has already had to face an enquiry into anti-semitism? and he is clearly not a racist. He said that he regretted calling Hamas his friends in hindsight. What more can this man do? He has been vilified since he came into power by the press and fellow MP`s.. In the words of Tony Benn when speaking to Ed Miliband the Labour party has started to worship market forces and those who do not benefit from it become disenfranchised. People stopped voting, but are now joining the Labour party because of Jeremy and in my opinion the only reason the NEC decided to charge 25.00 is that if you are on a low income you cannot afford it. They do not want to represent the poorer in society. Yes New Labour introduced good things such as the minimum wage, working tax credits which helped, but tuition fees puts young people in debt before they even start in life. I support Jeremy , am against any kind of bullying and will pay the 25.00 if I have to. However, I am also a member of Unite Union communities and will probrably get a free vote anyway.

  10. Michael WALKER

    I note that most of the above replies blame the Tories or support violence by refusing to condemn it..

    And then they will wonder why they don’t win elections.

    But then I guess most of them prefer to demonstrate how pure rather than have to face the inevitable compromises of government.

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