Explosive leaked documents have revealed that officials within the Labour Party worked against Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to lose the 2017 general election.
A dossier drawn up by the party containing a cache of leaked WhatsApp messages and emails shows senior staff from the party’s right wing actively worked to sabotage the campaign in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest.
They became despondent as Labour climbed in the polls during the election campaign despite their efforts, with Corbyn dramatically slashing the Conservative’s majority in parliament.
AntiSemitism in the party
The unreleased report was drawn up in the last days of Mr Corbyn’s leadership and concerns the conduct of certain officials, including some who were investigating cases of antisemitism in the party.
It claims that “an abnormal intensity of factional opposition to the party leader” had “inhibited the proper functioning of the Labour Party bureaucracy” and contributed to “a litany of mistakes” in dealing with antisemitism, which it admits was a serious problem in the party.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism has rubbished the findings, saying the dossier is a “desperate last-ditch attempt to deflect and discredit allegations” and amounted to “an attempt to imagine a vast anti-Corbyn conspiracy”.
But incumbent leader Keir Starmer is likely to now face calls to investigate the behaviour detailed in the report, including “the possible misuse of funds” by officials.
Among the anti-Corbyn tactics evidenced in the report it was found that resources were channelled to candidates associated with the right wing of the party.
Some staff members were also accused of “coming into the office and doing nothing for a few months” during the election campaign.
The report says hostile staff created a chat so they could pretend to work while actually speaking to each other, with one participant stating that “tap tap tapping away will make us look v busy”.
An election night chat log shows that 45 minutes after the exit poll revealed that Labour had overturned the Conservative majority, one senior official said the result was the “opposite to what I had been working towards for the last couple of years”, describing themselves and their allies as “silent and grey faced” and in need of counselling.
Another said: “We have to be upbeat and not show it”, while a third told the group that “everyone needs to smile”, describing the result as “awful”.
Another very senior party official said it was going to be “a long night”.
The report also details large volumes of abusive discussion by senior officials about colleagues and activists from the party’s left wing.
In one exchange a senior official said a young activist had “mental health issues”, to which another official chimed in: “I hope [name of activist redacted] dies in a fire”.
A third said: “That’s a very bad wish [name redacted]. But if he does I wouldn’t piss on him to put him out.” The second official then adds: “Wish there was a petrol can emoji”.
One exchange shows a senior official described another from the left of the party as “pube head”. In another months later they called her a “smelly cow” and comment that she “had the exact same clothes on yesterday”.
In 2017 senior officials in the party discussed making preparations for another leadership election, hoping that one might be triggered by the party losing the Copeland and Stoke-on-trent by-elections.
Chat logs show one said “if we lose these elections we could have another leadership election. We should set up at some stage a discrete WG [working group] to go over rules, timetable scenarios and staff servicing the process. Just so we’re prepared”.
A very senior official approved the process, dubbing it “Operation Cupcake” and suggesting that Tom Watson could be interim leader. The leadership election would have been the party’s third in three years.