Steve Reed OBE, the MP for Croydon North and a prime mover in the notorious “Chicken Coup” attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2016, has been revealed as one of the party’s senior members who provided a character reference for notorious activist Luke Stanger.
Stanger, a former Labour employee, escaped any serious sanction despite accusations of making death threats and rape threats and other forms of intimidation against Corbyn-supporting party members, as was reported last night in the first episode of The Labour Files, the Al Jazeera investigation.
A longer version of the documentary has been released on YouTube today, and includes Reed’s glowing reference for Stanger.
Reed is now the Shadow Justice Minister on Keir Starmer’s front bench in Parliament.
Stanger today issued a non-denial denial of the claims made on the television programme, tweeting, “I don’t wish to dignify last night’s warped and wretched hatchet job from Al Jazeera with a response. It isn’t deserving of such validity.”
In the programme, a solicitor from Brighton, Damian McCarthy, gave tearful testimony of the hateful messages he had received, including threats against his elderly father and mother. McCarthy also recounted how Stanger had appeared one morning when he was taking his young son to school.
“My family… all our family, are frightened as a result of what’s happened to us,” McCarthy, a former official in the local Labour Party, says in the programme.
McCarthy also talked about “the evil that was put into our lives”.
Labour figures in Croydon confirm that Stanger’s unsavoury reputation is deserved, recalling an incident at a party conference at which he was “vitriolically abusive, threatening violence” against a woman official and her partner. “It really was quite nasty,” said our source.
Stanger was suspended by the Labour Party for a spell, pending an investigation into the threats against McCarthy, but was reinstated following a series of glowing endorsements from MPs in 2018, including from Reed. Basically, Stanger is some kind of latter-day Mother Theresa, if the MPs are to be believed.
“I have met Luke many times while out campaigning for the Labour Party,” Reed wrote in his endorsement letter to party HQ appealing for Stanger’s suspension to be lifted.
“It would be wrong to exclude him from continuing to play a role in the party he loves so much.”
Last night’s episode, “The Purge”, is the first of three to be broadcast by Al Jazeera, just as Starmer’s Labour Party is holding its annual conference in Liverpool – a city which was the focus for much of the programme, as it highlighted the subterfuge and under-hand practices conducted by senior officials against some activists.
One of the victims of the “purge” of the programme’s title claimed that they had been “betrayed by our own party”.
Another interviewee, after being falsely accused by the party of being antisemitic, said she had suffered “six years of abuse” as a consequence.
And one former party official described Labour HQ’s conduct as, “A criminal conspiracy against its own members.”
Al Jazeera’s Investigations Unit says its programmes are based on “the largest leak in British political history”.
The leaked data comprises 500 gigabytes of documents, emails, video and audio files from the Labour Party dating from 1998 to 2021.
Al Jazeera’s next programme is due to be broadcast on Saturday at 9pm, with a longer edit being released later on YouTube.
Reed, meanwhile, continues to play at being a parliamentary spokesperson on Justice.
“Britain’s communities need a Labour government to make our neighbourhoods secure and safe. Labour will make the justice system work from end to end to punish and prevent crime, while protecting victims,” Reed tweeted yesterday, demonstrating that the only thing he has less of than legal qualifications is any shame.
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