Unite’s candidate for Labour general secretary reportedly “left the room” during a meeting that heard crucial cases of “antisemitism, racism, sexism and bullying” in the party.
On Tuesday evening, Labour’s disputes committee voted “to refer several cases of alleged anti-semitism, racism, sexism and bullying for a full disciplinary hearing”.
As the meeting’s chair Christine Shawcroft faced a backlash for her comments trade unions, a number of reports said that Formby had “left the room” during the discussion. According to a source cited by HuffPost UK, “Formby left the room for a comfort break during some disciplinary decisions in its disputes committee meeting on Tuesday”. The Guardian also reports a “row over whether Formby had left the room while a vote was taking place over an antisemitism case”. Shawcroft herself was said to have referred to “so-called Left unions” that “abstain, or go to the toilet at crucial moments”.
Corbynista blog Skwawkbox, which claims to have “spoken to other NEC members” to produce what it calls “the definitive version” of the incident, also agreed that “Union members present then told the panel that they would abstain from voting on some of the cases – including at least two that Ms Shawcroft felt strongly about.”
Skwawkbox adds that “a union NEC delegate” said “we’d be pilloried for dismissing a case that might involve serious allegations – in fact there’d be a shitstorm”.
It appears that it was down to those members of the committee who did not fear a “shitstorm” to vote in favour of referring “several cases of alleged anti-semitism, racism, sexism and bullying for a full disciplinary hearing”.