3rd August 2016 ~date of publication on Wirral In It Together blog
Source – Mr Paul Davies, Vice Chair, Wallasey Constituency Labour Party
Timeline to Wallasey CLP Suspension
- Total Unity in the Wallasey Labour Party until June 27th 2016
- June 2015 Wallasey CLP nominate Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Angela Eagle as Deputy
- CLP run by Angela Eagle’s closest supporters until June 24th 2016
- No complaints about intimidation, entryism or homophobia before June 24th 2016
- Friday 24th June AGM; Angela Eagle sends her apologies to her CLP Annual General Meeting which is the first meeting of her CLP since the EU Referendum and 3 days before she decides to resign and contemplate a leadership bid
- The AGM attendance is 44 delegates from a total membership of 1300. The vast majority are long-standing members and most were delegates the previous year
- The meeting elects new Chair and Vice Chair to fill seats that had been vacant all year
- There is a tie for the position of Secretary and incumbent, Bernie Mooney, a long time close supporter of Angela Eagle is replaced by long standing member Kathy Miller after the vote is tied twice and the result decided by drawing lots
- Most other positions are filled by the current incumbents who are long time supporters of Angela Eagle including the post of Treasurer with Bridget Frear, who works for Angela Eagle, elected unopposed. Helen Osgood [* here, quoted by a newspaper, but described elsewhere as a ‘whistleblower’. To be recognised as such under the Employment Act and the Public Interest Disclosure Act, whistleblowers need to exhaust internal processes with their employer – in this case, the Labour Party – before going public on their complaint or issues related to it] who also works for Angela Eagle is elected unopposed to the position of Campaign Co-ordinator
- The meeting agrees to send a letter to Angela Eagle congratulating her on her continued support for Jeremy Corbyn and asking her to continue this support
- Angela Eagle’s closest supporters oppose the sending of the letter on the basis that it is not appropriate to discuss it at an AGM. Around 5 of them vote against it
- Saturday 25th June, a web domain is set up “www.angela4leader.org” just 24 hours before the plot to oust Corbyn is launched by Hilary Benn who provokes Corbyn into sacking him
- The web site is set up by one of Tony Blair’s inner circle and previous Special Advisor Joe McRea who now works as a PR Executive
- Monday 27th June, Eagle resigns from Shadow Cabinet and states she is contemplating standing as Leader. Her reason is Jeremy Corbyn’s poor performance during the EU Referendum campaign
- Monday 27th June Wallasey CLP Officers state that the official position of the CLP is to support Corbyn as Leader and Eagle as MP and that will be the position until such time as the CLP meets on 22nd July when all 1300 members will be invited to attend and vote on the issue. This gains widespread Media Coverage
- Wednesday 29th June, members in Wallasey start getting phone calls claiming to be from Wallasey Labour. The callers ask members if they will support Angela’s Leadership Bid
- Thursday 30th June The Canary, first reports Team Angela Eagle’s tweet during the Referendum campaign:
“Jeremy is up and down the country pursuing an itinerary that would make a 25 year old tired. He has not stopped.”
- Thursday 30th June, CLP Secretary emails all members to advise them that the calls are not from Wallasey Labour, that somebody must have got hold of the membership data and if called they should ask for the caller’s name, who they are ringing on behalf of and their telephone number. The calls stop.
The Secretary immediately reported the unauthorised use of membership data to the Labour Party Regional Office (as the rules state she must) and is told that these things happen and perhaps the members had forgotten that they had given their numbers to someone in the past. Some members had noted the number down of their caller. If you rang the numbers there was an answer machine but no message as to whose phone it was.
The numbers reported were 0151 637 1976; 0151 630 5042; 0151 637 1979;
One member said that the person calling said she was Angela Eagle’s Assistant
On ringing 0151 637 1979 today you get an answer machine with the Voice of Helen Osgood , the case worker for Angela Eagle, and one of the people complaining about abuse at CLP meetings, saying, “you have reached the office of Angela Eagle”!
- Saturday 1st July report in Liverpool Echo that there had been threats of Violence at the AGM on the 24th June. It did not specify what the threats were , who made them or to whom directed. It is the first time anyone in Wallasey had heard about such allegations
- Sunday 2nd July Tessa Jowell goes on Politics Today TV programme and states;
“I spoke to Angela about her meeting. She faced homophobic abuse at that meeting”
She went on to say that this was because Angela had resigned and was to challenge Jeremy Corbyn
This is followed by an article in the Pink News which claimed;
“Angela Eagle has been subjected to homophobic abuse since resigning from the Shadow cabinet and revealing her plans to challenge current Leader Jeremy Corbyn according to a senior Labour Politician”
Angela Eagle could not have “faced” abuse at the meeting as she was not there. Such abuse was most unlikely as everyone thought she was supporting Corbyn. Even if there was any abuse it could not have been because she was standing against Corbyn – as that was not announced until 3 days after the meeting
- Monday 4th July Angela Eagle despite the Press being on standby says she is not making any decision but is still considering her position
- Thursday 7th July Notices go out to New Brighton Branch for meeting on July 14th the following week. Notice included motion to support Corbyn and Vote of No Confidence in Eagle
- Thursday 7th July Wallasey branch of Wallasey CLP meets and votes to support Jeremy Corbyn. Motion forwarded to CLP for meeting on the 22nd July
- Thursday 7th July Bernie Mooney a Wallasey Councillor , the Secretary of the Constituency until ousted at the recent AGM and former Trades Union Tutor appeared on BBC North West Tonight on 7th July 2016 and said:
“There were homophobic gestures made to our newly-elected LGBT member. There was hostile names called at Angela. At one point somebody called her a dyke. Now people will say that that didn’t happen, but there are people who will give evidence to that. That’s the type of thing that happened through this meeting”.
Bernie Mooney seems to suggest Angela was at the meeting as “names called at Angela”. She was not there. She does not say if she, the other Councillors or experienced delegates made any protest about the alleged behaviour or why she is only raising it now. She is not asked.
- Friday 8th July The Chair and Secretary of Wallasey CLP go public that they have gay children and have always been involved in campaigns against Homophobia. The Chair States that her daughter was getting married the day after the AGM and that the father of the bride was also at the AGM. All strenuously deny any homophobic behaviour at the meeting.
- Other Angela Eagle supporters who voted against the sending of the letter start to appear in the Press and on TV making unspecified allegations about intimidation and homophobic comments
- Sunday 10th July BBC reports that Angela Eagle will launch a Leadership bid in a bid the “heal the party”
“This is not about splitting this is about re-uniting our Party” she said
- Sunday 10th July in the Guardian Online Angela Eagle says the trouble in her Constituency is being caused by a “disruptive newly joined element, many of whom were thrown out in the 1990s, that are making a lot of noise.” She does not quantify how many of these alleged disruptive element there are among the 700 new members nor what they had been doing wrong.
Sunday 10th July In the Liverpool Echo her claims are repeated that her problems in the CLP stem from the fact that there are “a tiny minority of people who were thrown out in the 1990s who have come back. I can cope with that.”
- Monday 11th July Leadership campaign launched; Andrea Leadsom pulls out of Tory contest
- Tuesday 12th July Luton Meeting and threats
Angela Eagle’s meeting is moved from the Leaside Hotel to a nearby library. Around 12 people turn up and part of it is filmed
“Helen Osgood a senior caseworker at Angela Eagle’s Office said ‘I’ve spoken to Angela and she’s also had threats and intimidation. She was supposed to go to a meeting in Luton today but the hotel managers had (received) threats all night so the meeting hasn’t been able to go ahead’”
“The level of abuse is disgraceful and we have asked the Police too look into it” local councillor Bernie Mooney added
Sophy Ridge of Sky tweeted: “Angela Eagle’s staff have confirmed a planned event in Luton had to be cancelled this morning because of threats.”
A local Solicitor who was at the meeting and doubted her story of threats wrote to the Police and is informed that they have had no complaints about threats at the Hotel. The Hotel Manager says that he cancelled the meeting fearing there might be a larger turnout than his small meeting room could handle when he found out what the booking was all about.
- Tuesday 12th July A brick goes through the window of the stairwell in the office block Angela Eagle shares with other tenants. The Press reports say it was an attack on her actual Constituency office. The Stairwell window is not boarded up by a glazier until the cameras have all gone. It is boarded up with a Labour Party placard.
It reinforces a manufactured image of violent behaviour in the ranks of Corbyn supporters when it is reported that her actual office has been attacked. The Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, a close ally of Angela’s is on hand to be interviewed outside of the window which is boarded up with a Labour placard facing outwards. The Police and Crime Commissioner has seldom if ever been filmed at the scene of a crime on Merseyside before as she has always stated that she does not get involved in day to day policing.
Although the brick was not through Angela Eagle’s window, no-one was arrested over it and no-one knows who did it, Angela went on television saying, “Jeremy needs to call his people off.”
Tuesday 12th July Councillor Paul Stuart
The Vice Chair/membership Secretary Councillor Paul Stuart was next to go on TV to complain about intimidation at the CLP meetings. This interview was reported in the press. He said:
“Over the past 12 months meetings had been getting more ‘hostile’ with members refusing to attend because of the bullying and intimidation taking place,” which he claimed was getting ‘nastier and nastier’.
With no Chair or Vice Chair during the year he of course was the person who should have chaired the meetings, and sometimes did, including the start of the AGM. It should have been him who members would expect to keep meetings in order .
No reporter asked why such behaviour would take place before Angela resigned.
No reporter asked what the Eagle supporter and Vice Chair/Membership Secretary (and who chaired the first part of the meeting ) was doing whilst this terrible behaviour was supposedly going on at the AGM nor what the many Eagle supporters, including several Councillors, were doing.
- Tuesday 12th July Leasowe and Moreton East Branch meets and votes to support Corbyn and to propose a Vote of no Confidence in Angela Eagle as MP
- Tuesday 12th July NEC agrees Corbyn is on the Ballot paper
- Wednesday 13th July Notice goes out to all 1300 members inviting them to attend an all members meeting on July 22nd at which the vote to support Corbyn and the vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle will be debated
- Wednesday 13th July July New Brighton Branch, the largest with 350 members, due to meet with motions to support Corbyn and vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle
- Wednesday 13th July Labour Party announces that any member who joined in 2016 will not be able to vote in the Leadership election even though the Labour Party website for joining states that as a member you will be able to vote for the Leader. NEC issues an instruction that all meetings suspended immediately and the only meetings that can be held until October will be the Leadership Husting meeting in each Constituency. This prevents New Brighton branch from having an official meeting. These meetings would have been the first in many Constituencies since the mass resignations from the Shadow Cabinet and the suspension prevents CLPs from discussing that with their MPs
- Wednesday 13th July 65 members who have not heard about the meetings being suspended (many others had heard) turn up for the New Brighton meeting. They are told they cannot have a Labour Party Meeting but decide to stay and have a debate about what is going on. The motions are discussed with arguments for and against. Those present vote overwhelmingly to continue to support Corbyn and pass a vote of No Confidence in Eagle. Unanimous vote that all members should be able to vote
- Thursday 14th July Labour Party website changed and no longer says that if you join you can vote in Leadership Elections
- Friday 15th July Angela Eagle starts to talk about the dangers of Labour being a “nasty” Party with intimidation, misogyny, homophobia and anti Semitism affecting the Party. Misogyny and Anti Semitism are new claims from her.
She says she is launching her new campaign “Keep it Comradely”
She had never made such complaints before
She repeated her claim that members had been let down by the Leadership’s “lacklustre and half-hearted” EU Referendum Campaign. She was not asked about her tweet during the Campaign that Jeremy was rushing around the country like a 25 year old or that Labour voters returned a 63% Remain Vote beaten only by the SNP’s 64%
- Sunday 17th July Asked by Andrew Marr on his programme if , having said Corbyn should resign because of a vote of no confidence, she would resign if her CLP passed a vote of no confidence in her, Angela Eagle replied:
“The Constituencies have been suspended for the period of this election.”
- Wednesday 20th July Labour Party General Secretary writes to Wallasey CLP stating that it is suspended even though all CLP meetings have already been suspended.
Reason given is that there have been accusations of abusive behaviour both inside and outside of meetings
The suspension includes the CLP not being allowed to hold its Hustings meeting to nominate a candidate. The views of 1300 Wallasey members will not be made public as a result
There is no explanation why the Husting cannot take place under the supervision of the Regional Office of the Labour Party
All officers are immediately prohibited from performing their Executive duties (such as writing/emailing to members) except one. That one is Bridget Frear, the Treasurer, who works for Angela Eagle in her Constituency Office. Presumably she will now act as CLP Secretary