A former Labour staffer has accused the party establishment of a “shocking sabotage” against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, as an inquiry into the behaviour of senior party staff concludes today.
Joe Ryle, an ex-aide to the former Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, said that Corbyn “could never have fully comprehended what was being plotted against him”, pulling back the curtain on the factional battles within Labour that plagued the Corbyn years.
The intervention follows the leaking of an 860-page report, which revealed significant hostility towards Corbyn at the top of the Labour hierarchy – and, some allies of the former leader claim, an effort to prevent him from winning the 2017 election.
One figure who featured especially prominent in the leaked dossier was Diane Abbott – the former Shadow Home Secretary – who top officials said was “truly repulsive”.
Following Ryle’s article, Abbott tweeted: “Officials at the very top said stuff like “Abbott is truly repulsive”, “Abbott literally makes me sick” and conspired with media against me. Now claiming remarks taken out of context. So let’s have full publication of all communications.”
Writing in OpenDemocracy, Ryle accused Labour officials of blocking hires, leaking weekly grids and the 2017 manifesto and diverting resources from key target seats that might have swung the election Corbyn’s way.
He said: “Jeremy Corbyn may have been ideologically further away from his fellow Labour MPs than any former leader, but that doesn’t justify the relentless nature of the attacks.
“What Corbyn and his team had to deal with behind the scenes went far beyond factionalism and showed a scorched-earth mentality. Not only did they not want Labour to win under Corbyn, they seemed to be actively trying to lose.
“Once the dust finally settles on the Corbyn-era, historians may ponder how different things might have been if these Labour staffers, and numerous Labour MPs, had spent their energies supporting their leader rather than working against him.”
The Forde Inquiry was appointed by the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party to investigate the “circumstances and contents” of the leaked report.
It aims to publish its findings by the end of this year.