Labour Executive's Johanna Baxter Tearily Recounts Tense NEC Meeting, Criticises Jeremy Corbyn

'He voted against the single thing he could have done to protect colleagues.'

13/07/2016 18:37
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Johanna Baxter has accused Jeremy Corbyn of not protecting vulnerable colleagues

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised by a teary Labour executive member who accused him of not protecting vulnerable colleagues.

Johanna Baxter, a member of the party’s National Executive Committee, which last night voted on rules governing the high-stakes leadership election, broke down in an interview discussing the event. 

She spoke out about the six-hour long meeting when senior Labour officials ruled Corbyn should be automatically included on the leadership election ballot.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Corbyn appeared smiling from the NEC meeting when his place on the ballot paper was guaranteed

“It was a very difficult meeting, it was highly emotionally charged,” Baxter said. 

“There were a number of colleagues very upset, including myself, and there were a number of threats made... and a number of incidents that I thought were not acceptable.”

She recounted the tense meeting, and, verging on tears, chastised Corbyn for voting against a bid that allowed committee members to vote by secret ballot. 

Baxter claimed the Labour leader had failed to protect colleagues subjected to threats from party members by calling on them to make their votes public. 

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Baxter, the union officer and CLP delegate on Labour’s NEC acknowledged that Corbyn had “consistently” spoken out against abuse being directed at officials, but said: “The most upsetting thing for me [was] when it came to the vote to prevent colleagues taking an extremely difficult decision that would determine the future of our party, he voted against the single thing he could have done to protect those colleagues.”

After giving an interview on BBC Radio 4, Baxter revealed abusive comments she had received on social media about her claims.  

Corbyn’s spokesman said a secret ballot was “virtually unprecedented” and that the issue had held concerned members of the NEC to account for their votes.

“The view is those people should be accountable for decisions they take,” he told the Guardian.

“But in the context of the referendum campaign, the abuse and hate crime on the streets of the country, and abuse that has become widespread on social media, the NEC came to that decision.”

It comes after shadow chancellor John McDonnell was criticised for branding Labour MPs “plotters” who were “fucking useless”.


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