Chapter 4: The suspension and/or expulsion of at least 10 party colleagues during the purge of socialists
This is the fourth chapter of what was always intended to be a single article. A compendium of all nine chapters — written and published since May 4 2019 — can be found together via this link to the single article (which will be regularly revised in the days and weeks after May 14 2020): Iain McNicol: The criminal conspiracy against the Labour Party, its leadership, and its members
Even after my experiences of the previous three years and more, I never had a full understanding of how profound the bureaucratic corruption was at the heart of the McNicol machine — until the leaked Labour Party report in April 2020.
The report has, however, exposed only the tip of the iceberg that sank Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and the dreams of socialists within the party. It only hints at the secret machinations of a network of party employees and on-the-ground right-wing Progress-supporting diehards — none of whom get a mention in leaked WhatApp messages, texts, and emails.
Morgan (passim) is an interesting example, and not because he was ever anything more than a small-city player in a stagnant political pond. Like Kyle, he does not figure, because he was always two degrees away from the McNicol conspirators; even Caplin is mentioned only because of a brief role as chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.
That is not to say Morgan, Kyle, and Caplin could not inflict significant damage.
Before addressing the first of many expulsions — for “entryism” — permit me an amusing aside about how Morgan (who you will recall had warned in 2016 in his secret email about entryists taking over the City Party) once let slip information that hinted it was he who was, in fact, the infiltrator, an entryist from the SDP after its collapse in the early 1990s. (You will recall that Lord Sainsbury, a founder of the SDP and by far its biggest donor, went on to fund Progress, which helped Morgan and Kyle — through its magazine, website, and conferences — to gain more prominence than they deserved.
Morgan has even paid tribute to a university friend whom he preceded as students’ union president at Hull University (see left). He wrote: “I joined the Labour Party in 1993, having been persuaded by a friend at university, Tom Watson, that the party had changed from the days of Militant and offered hope for the future.”
For a long time, it has been rumoured that Morgan was, in fact, an SDP member or supporter until Labour introduced “one member, one vote” (OMOV). Which is ironic, given that it was OMOV — originally championed by Morgan in the City Party in 2011 — that led to his ultimate fall into obscurity.
But I must not get ahead of myself.
After their defeat, the anti-Corbyn diehards went on the offensive, not only by disseminating and repeating the lies about “spitting” and “abuse”, but also by buttressing them with other lies about non-members being allowed into the City Party meeting on July 9 2016 and of “stuffing” multiple votes into buckets (a particular obsession of Caplin, of course).
So busy was Morgan spreading lies on the day after the meeting that he deliberately ignored the terrible truth behind an incident the previous evening at the Grand Central public house in Brighton, when Seema Chandwani —the secretary of Tottenham Constituency Labour Party who had spoken at the “Defend Corbyn” rally — was repeatedly told to “Fuck off back to London” by Harris Fitch (he of the farcical, failed “fix” of the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean selection) and an unknown accomplice.
I do not intend to go into the full awful details, about which I wrote at length on September 3 2016: Revealed: The anti-Corbyn “moderate” in Brighton and Hove who stands accused of the hate-crime against Seema Chandwani.
I do, however want to draw attention to the fact that Morgan and his cronies trumpeted their lies, while ignoring requests for comment from a Morning Star journalist about an incident that happened — almost literally — under their noses.
Many of the anti-Corbyn diehards had gone to celebrate their defeat, confident already that the City Party would be suspended and the elections annulled. Of which, more later.
One witness — who knew the culprits personally — was quick to tell me he would not answer any questions about any Labour Party officer or inquiry (although he said he would give a statement to Sussex Police, if asked. He wasn’t asked).
The Morning Star article, the catalyst for my investigation, was published online on Sunday, July 10, and then in print on Monday, July 11. Repeatedly, over those days, Morgan and others showed little or no interest in the Labour Party members involved in the events in the Grand Central.
Far from it, as one of several exchanges involving Morgan-supporting Labour councillors confirms:
Within a few days, Morgan and his gang returned to the “Twitterstorm” tactic that had served him and his gang well previously, including the fake incident involving him and Cattell (passim) and the partner of Green MP Caroline Lucas on April 2015: make unfounded and defamatory allegations online; attract the attention of the media (if necessary); and then — having achieved the appropriate headlines — hope they never have to provide evidence of their allegations. If the target of the lies responds with facts and/or a denial, this is regarded only as proof the original allegations were true and members of the network tweet and retweet versions of the (often increasingly-untrue) charges.
As a result of repeated contact with Gregson (passim) — and other McNicol employees (even as the City Party meeting on July 9 2016 was continuing) — Morgan’s network, especially Ivor “Buckets” Caplin (passim) knew they had already achieved their goal: to ensure the election results were annulled.
Now they turned to targeting individuals who had been elected to get them expelled, or at least suspended. In the hope they could win back lost ground when elections were held again after the Buckingham inquiry reported its findings.
The first target was Mark Sandell, who had been elected chair, and who had already been featured in The Argus, the local newspaper.
After much online research, the author argued —inaccurately, for reasons too tedious to go into— Sandell had been “a member” of the “proscribed”: Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, until September 2015 when it “formally wound up as a political party in an attempt to get around its longstanding proscription”.
By coincidence, Caroline Penn — from Hove actually, but a councillor for a Brighton ward — sent an email at 1.34pm on July 21 2016 to: Gregson (passim); Lord Bassam of Brighton; Margaret Lynch, a Labour Party compliance manager, and to the email address “email@example.com”.
Less than four hours later — at 5.16pm on July 21 2016 — Penn, a flatmate with her “best friend” Harris Fitch (of Grand Central infamy, see above) also submitted to Gregson (passim) a libellous email about me, including allegations I could easily and quickly have disproved. If I had been alerted to them.
By October 19 2016, Sandell had been summarily expelled (causing fresh outrage among party members). But only after an appallingly-dishonest edition — commonly known as a hatchet job — of Dispatches, the Channel Four documentary strand, on Monday, September 19.
On the same night, there was a more balanced but strangely-titled BBC Panorama documentary, with which I had been given the opportunity to participate in.
I subsequently published my reaction to both programmes.
Earlier, though, Sandell had given his response to Films of Record, the independent production company behind the Dispatches edition, entitled The Battle for the Labour Party. But executive producer Neil Grant — a Labour Party activist in London with a record of strident opposition to Ken Livingstone — was not interested in complaints that Sandell was selectively quoted after being secretly filmed — at a public meeting, in a public building! — with footage using the old prejudicial trick of shaky handheld footage, with blurred-out monochrome imagery. All to add a patina of [fabricated] skulduggery.
Soon after the broadcast, I took particular delight in “doorstepping” Grant at his office in Westminster, to give him a taste of his own medicine. He did not like it.
Grant was angry — even apoplectic — that I didn’t ask permission before taking this “snatched” photograph of him at the Films of Record office. So much so he chased me to the lift.
He clearly had momentarily lost his sense of irony. And humour.
Next it was my turn to be dealt with: I was told I had been suspended on October 26 2016, just over a week after the conclusions became known locally of the still-unpublished report by Buckingham (passim).
After learning of my suspension from two journalists from two separate media outlets — based on information from Caplin (passim) — I wrote a Medium article as soon as I eventually received, nearly 24 hours later, formal notice from John Stolliday (the Labour Party’s director of governance and legal, one of McNicol’s key henchmen who is mentioned 537 times in the leaked report; none of them flattering).
For a long time, I was puzzled why was I suspended on that particular day (October 25 2016) of all days. It was only when I pieced together heavily-redacted emails provided — after much unlawful delay by the Labour Party— that I understood what had happened.
Obviously, the suspension was clearly related to the false allegations (“spitting”, “buckets” etc) about the City Party meeting on July 9 2016, at which I was elected secretary.
Two emails (see left) provide the answer and the proof. At 11.46am on October 25 2016, an email was sent from Labour Party HQ to a City Party officer who had been left in position by the shocking decision to overturn the AGM elections (presumably the then-secretary John Warmington).
It listed the members of the steering committee imposed by McNicol to split the City Party into three constituency Constituency Labour Parties. As the most-recently-elected secretary, I am clearly — and correctly — named in the initial email as a designated member.
This caused much consternation among those who had spread the lies (“spitting”, “buckets” etc), especially Morgan (passim), who refused ever to be in the same room as me.
Within 68 minutes of the initial email about the steering committee membership, an internal email was sent between two senior figures at Labour Party HQ (presumably, one of the usual suspects: McNicol, Matthews, Creighton — all passim).
Interestingly (and unusually), it also says the author — Matthews (passim), I presume — will inform the [anonymous] complainants in advance. This explains how news of my suspension was given to news media — locally and nationally — before I knew anything about it.
It was another two years and four months before I was fortunate enough to be afforded a hearing, at the end of which I was immediately re-instated. On the same day Morgan (passim) quit the Labour Party.
By November 11 2016, Private Eye (1431, November 11 2016) — ie Nick “Ratbiter” Cohen — was certain (see left) why I’d been suspended: “…. treatment of Warren Morgan, the leader of the Labour group on Brighton council, and local party organiser Jack Spooner”.
There will be more about Spooner later.
Two years later, when I had an opportunity of a hearing, there was inevitably some mention of my “treatment” of Morgan, but no mention at all of Spooner. Strange.
It is clear I had repeatedly and publicly said Morgan had been reckless, even careless, with the truth about “spitting”. Ultimately, I had to conclude he was a liar.
Jack Spooner, Morgan’s paid organiser and close friend of Fitch, had played a key role in identifying the “spitter” at the July 9 meeting — even though he had been told he could not attend the annual meeting except in a personal — not official — capacity.
Over the next 48 hours, a two-page confabulation was secretly fabricated — in Kyle’s office in Church Road, Hove — by Spooner and several other anti-Corbyn activists and sent to Gregson (passim):
The document — from which I have redacted the most libellous allegations — continued:
I have already dealt with: the suspension (and ultimate expulsion, not for anti-Semitism) of Tony Greenstein; the expulsion of Mark Sandell; and my own suspension (which ultimately focused not on my “treatment” of Morgan, but on evidence almost entirely collated after my suspension — including, most vilely, a fake allegation of anti-Semitism).
Many others were quickly suspended and or expelled, increasingly after bogus allegations of anti-Semitism. But none was more tragic than that of Riad el-Taher, an Iraq-born Corbyn supporter who was the only BAME member elected in 2017 to the executive committee of the newly-constituted Hove Constituency Labour Party.
The anti-Corbyn offensive — engineered by Caplin (passim), in collusion with Nick “Ratbiter” Cohen of Private Eye — targeted Riad, a friend of Tam Dalyell and Robin Cook, for his attempts to save Iraqi lives (resulting, controversially, in a “spent” conviction and prison sentence), only to be portrayed as “an old ally of Saddam Hussein”.
This was all engineered by Caplin, a defence minister during the Iraq War.
Riad emailed his rebuttal — in vain — to Matthews (passim). Please read it.
Also, please also buy his remarkable memoir, published posthumously: O Daughter of Babylon: Journey of an Iraqi Patriot and What Chilcot Didn’t Say.
Most importantly, remember Riad. Who died of cancer on November 9 2018, without McNicol, Matthews and their cronies ever giving him the chance to clear his name.
More to follow…..Next:
This is the fourth chapter of an article that is related directly or indirectly to the shocking evidence contained in the recent leaked report entitled “The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014–2019”. [Separately, I have put online some relevant extracts from the report.]
The final complete article will be sent to Martin Forde QC, the chair of the official Labour Party inquiry into the leaked report (even though, strangely but unsurprisingly, its terms of reference do not appear to allow for such democratic engagement).
Please let me know what you think via @GregHadfield; if you have any further information about the individuals or events mentioned, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.