POLITICS

Labour MPs 'Hostile' To Jeremy Corbyn Named On Leaked 'Loyalty List'

Shadow Chief Whip Rosie Winterton described as an enemy

23/03/2016 11:48 GMT | Updated 23/03/2016 14:16 GMT

Labour MPs have reacted with a mixture of anger and ridicule after the leak of a list of all Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies within the Parliamentary party.

The detailed loyalty ranking, leaked to the Times, describes Shadow Chief Whip Rosie Winterton and London Mayor candidate Sadiq Khan as among 36 MPs deemed to be ‘hostile’ to Mr Corbyn.

Some MPs today told HuffPost UK the leak appeared to be part of a coordinated attempt to oust Ms Winterton in a forthcoming ‘loyalty reshuffle’ this summer, ahead of an expected ‘coup’ attempt against the Labour leader.

After David Cameron ridiculed his opposite number in Prime Minister's Questions, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn conceded "the list has caused us some problems, clearly".

But he insisted that the Labour leader had "full confidence" in his Chief Whip and they had a "very good working relationship".

The list (see below), which was drafted in January, suggests that unto 75 MPs are very loyal to Mr Corbyn, a figure that would easily see him get enough nominations in any leadership challenge, one MP pointed out.

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
John McDonnell, Hilary Benn and Rosie Winterton

The leaked spreadsheet, allegedly drawn up by Mr Corbyn’s political secretary Katy Clark, shows five groups ranging from “hostile” to “core group”, including a category for “neutral but not hostile”.

Some 19 MPs are listed in the “core group” - a term used by those closest to Mr Corbyn to denote his inner circle in the Parliamentary party - including close allies such as John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Clive Lewis.

A further 56 are in the “core group plus”, described by one Labour source as his “outer circle”, including Shadow Cabinet ministers Emily Thornberry and Owen Smith.

Another 72 are listed as “neutral but not hostile” and 49 are “core group negative”. 17 people are missing from the list.

Also in the “hostile” category are Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Chris Leslie, John Woodcock, Ian Austin, Michael Dugher, Tristram Hunt and Yvette Cooper.

Among the “core group negative” are senior figures such as Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell, Shadow Culture Secretary Maria Eagle and Labour’s EU referendum chief Alan Johnson.

Some MPs privately joked that they felt like suing because they were wrongly described as ‘negative’ or ‘neutral’ rather than ‘hostile’.

Labour backbencher, Alison McGovern, a supporter of Liz Kendall in the leadership election last year, tweeted her own dismay at the news.

Labour whip Conor McGinn was waspish in his own assessment.

Asked today if Mr Khan was hostile towards Corbyn, a spokesman for the mayoral candidate said: “No. Sadiq Khan is his own person and is fighting his own campaign to be mayor of London. Jeremy Corbyn’s name is not on the ballot paper.”

Chuka Umunna, also listed as hostile, said: “I was never offered a job on the front bench by Jeremy but have been strongly opposing the Tory government from the backbenches. I have always voted with the Labour whip."

There were clear errors in the list, not least with shadow minister Kate Green listed twice - as both 'neutral but not hostile' and as 'core group negative'.

But Labour MP and Corbyn critic John Spellar was spotted today with a badge proudly sporting his own category.

One MP told HuffPostUK that Ms Clark, whose job is to organise liaison between the leader’s office and the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), was the number one suspect for authorship of the list. Another suggested she had left it in a Commons bar by mistake.

But a spokesman for the Labour leader said: “It doesn’t come from this office and we have no knowledge of it.” A source close to Mr Corbyn went further, adding: “Katy Clark had no involvement in that list”.

Some allies of the Labour leader even suspected a ‘black op’ by some in the Whips’ office, pointing out that many of the categories were wrong.

One MP told The Times today: “The last politician to draw up a list of enemies was Richard Nixon; it didn’t end well for him or his party.”

The "core group" of Mr Corbyn’s inner circle have a weekly meeting and it was claimed today that one discussion focused on why Ms Winterton should be sacked.

Since before Christmas, some supporters of Mr Corbyn have urged him to ‘clear out’ the Whips’ office of those who are not on board with his leadership. He rejected their advice in his January reshuffle and kept Ms Winterton in place.

But some MPs claim that there was also a failed attempt to oust Ms Winterton’s deputy Alan Campbell, over several days, but a replacement could not be found.

Andrew Milligan/PA Archive
Katy Clark, whom the leader's office deny had drafted the list

One MP told HuffPostUK that Ms Clark, whose job is to organise liaison between the leader’s office and the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), was the number one suspect for authorship of the list. Another suggested she had left it in a Commons bar by mistake.

But a spokesman for the Labour leader said: “It doesn’t come from this office and we have no knowledge of it.” A source close to Mr Corbyn went further, adding: “Katy Clark had no involvement in that list”.

Some allies of the Labour leader even suspected a ‘black op’ by some in the Whips’ office, pointing out that many of the categories were wrong.

One MP told The Times today: “The last politician to draw up a list of enemies was Richard Nixon; it didn’t end well for him or his party.”

The "core group" of Mr Corbyn’s inner circle have a weekly meeting and it was claimed today that one discussion focused on why Ms Winterton should be sacked.

Since before Christmas, some supporters of Mr Corbyn have urged him to ‘clear out’ the Whips’ office of those who are not on board with his leadership. He rejected their advice in his January reshuffle and kept Ms Winterton in place.

But some MPs claim that there was also a failed attempt to oust Ms Winterton’s deputy Alan Campbell, over several days, but a replacement could not be found.

Here's the full list:

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