Labour Together Watch is a new project by The Free Press? to scrutinise the financial activities of the anti-Corbyn pressure group Labour Together. We will document how much this group registers in donations, who they receive donations from, and which Labour politicians and organisations they donate to.
We hope to provide Labour supporters, past, present and potential, with a comprehensive and accessible resource that documents the activities of Labour Together as just one example of the forces, figures and finances waging war against Socialism and Socialists within the Party.
Why Labour Together you may ask?
Since the end of 2019, Labour Together have registered donations from just two private individuals, Trevor Chinn and Martin Taylor. So far in 2021, Chinn has spent £90,000 and Taylor £138,500 funding this one group. Combined they have provided over £400,000 in 2 years. This strikes us as problematic on two levels.
Firstly, this financial arrangement, of regular, substantial funding provided by just two wealthy patrons, makes us question the democratic credentials of such an organisation, and ask under whose authority and direction the group operates.
Second to this, how representative can an organisation such as this, and the two patrons whose interests it apparently represents, be in relation to the majority of Labour members? How can there be a fair ideological playing field between competing factions if one side has access to such unlimited finance from benefactors such as these two:
Millionaire entrepreneur and long-term donor to the Labour Party, Sir Trevor Chinn CVO has had numerous roles in equity and investment and has been Chief Executive of the RAC. He was a major contributor to Tony Blair’s Labour Leader’s Office Fund.
Chinn historically has donated over £840,000 to Labour entities, including substantial funds to anti-Corbyn pressure groups. He gave £27,000 to Owen Smith’s Leadership bid and £50,000 to Keir Starmer.
Elusive multi-millionaire hedge fund manager Martin Taylor rose to prominence as a Labour donor after it was revealed he’d had at least one personal meeting with Labour leader Ed Miliband. In total Taylor donated £95,000(!) to Keir Starmer and over £2 million to Labour politicians and groups since 2012. Many of these donations were to anti-Corbyn agents.
On its website, Labour Together declare “we are not a membership body or a faction so we are funded by donations small and large from activists, trade unions and members who recognise our network needs to exist.”
Can Labour Together seriously claim such a diverse and grassroots support network? We would argue that, when you scrutinise who has funded the group since 2015, at best this claim is delusional, at worst deceitful! Find out who Labour Together sincerely refer to as “activists, trade unions and members” here.
What’s also important to note is that in 2021, Inside Croydon reported that Labour Together had been fined £14,250 by the Electoral Commission. The organisation “was said to have committed multiple breaches of electoral law over a five-year period” by not declaring donations within the permissible period.
LABOUR TOGETHER WATCH: FINANCIAL REPORTS
Can Labour Together, funded by wealthy individuals from the owning class, legitimately claim to represent the interests of those from the working class?
Click on the links below for an in-depth analysis of all the cash flowing in and out of the Labour Together war chest and make up your own mind! Remember, full details on donors can be accessed here.
At the bottom of this page you’ll find more information on Labour Together and the key decision makers who make use of this funding.
So who are the individuals using these vast sums to run Labour Together, and what does their potential influence at the very top of the Labour Party mean for what’s left of The Left?
Labour Together unironically argue for unity rather than factionalism:
The challenges we face are so complex that it will take the best of all the Labour traditions to build a coalition for change.
Beyond faction and personality, what we need is a new approach to politics.
Not a Labour populism but a new political culture that rips up the rule book and requires all of us to behave differently.
This can be built on Labour’s values of tolerance, fraternity and respect, and will help Labour achieve our purpose of a more just world. It is Labour’s responsibility to bring the country back together, but first we must bring Labour together.
Hits all the right notes doesn’t it?
The website lists “some of the MPs who are helping to co-ordinate our projects” as: “Jon Cruddas, Lisa Nandy, Steve Reed, Shabana Mahmood, Jim McMahon, Bridget Phillipson, Wes Streeting, Marsha de Cordova, Alex Norris, Thangam Debbonaire, Darren Jones, Holly Lynch, James Frith, David Lammy and Jack Dromey.”
Does the track record of these MPs suggest that “togetherness” has always been on their agenda? The fact that 12 of the 15 openly supported Owen Smith’s leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn in 2016 would suggest otherwise.
The current board of Directors of Labour Together are: Jon Cruddas, Lisa Nandy, Steve Reed (all Labour MP’s that were instrumental in undermining Corbyn’s leadership), Trevor Chinn (millionaire instrumental in funding MPs and pressure groups working to undermine Corbyn’s leadership) and Hannah O’Rourke (former Parliamentary researcher to Tristram Hunt).
The board of Labour Together boldly state they are not a faction. The Collins Dictionary defines faction as:
“A party of persons having a common end in view; usually, such a party seeking by irregular means to bring about changes in government or in the existing state of affairs, or in any association of which they form part; a combination of persons using subversive or perverse methods of promoting their own selfish or partizan (sic) views or interests, especially in matters of state.”
Based on the information in The Labour Together Project, would you agree with Labour Together that they are not a faction? Are they, truly, a representative, Socialist, good faith actor in a party founded on the principles of worker solidarity and socialism?
Follow Sean Rankin on Twitter: @ClydesiderRed
For more articles on the wider anti-Corbyn network of Labour MP’s, pressure groups and rich donors, check out our main page!