Jennie Formby stands down as Labour’s general secretary
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Jennie Formby stands down as Labour’s general secretary

Left-wing activist reflects on a 'very challenging period' during which the party was dogged by antisemitism claims and she suffered from ill-health

Jennie Formby
Jennie Formby

Jennie Formby has stood down as general secretary of the Labour Party after two years she described as “a very challenging period”.

During her time as general secretary the party was rocked by antisemitism claims, rows over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and she also underwent treatment for cancer.

The resignation comes after Labour announced an investigation into the leaking of a controversial dossier on antisemitism.

She said: “It has been a huge privilege to be general secretary of the largest political party in Europe for the last two years but now we have a new leadership team it is the right time to step down.

“I would like to thank Jeremy, our members and my staff colleagues who have given me so much support during what has been a very challenging period, in particular when I was suffering from ill health.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer thanked Formby “for her service, and for the personal and professional efforts she has made in advancing the cause she has fought all her life for.

“Jennie has led our party’s organisation with commitment and energy through a period of political upheaval, including a snap general election last year. I wish her the very best for the future”.

Earlier this month, Formby wrote to constituency parties telling them not to share a leaked internal probe into antisemitism on social media or elsewhere.

She warned that: “Any individual who shares or distributes the report or its contents on an unauthorised basis will be immediately exposing themselves to potential significant civil and criminal liability.”

Ahead of the election in December, Formby hit back at scathing criticism of the party from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.  He branded claims that Labour is tackling antisemitism a “mendacious fiction”, to which she set out steps the party was taking, in a column for Jewish News.

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) said it has “consistently taken the view that the governance and leadership of the Labour Party is fundamentally broken and no longer fit for purpose in its handling of antisemitism. It was on this basis that we asked the EHRC to launch an investigation into the Labour Party in September 2018 and we anticipate their final report in the coming months.”

We wish Jennie Formby well in her continued recovery from ill health and for the future. We hope that her successor as General Secretary will be in post in good time to implement the recommendations of the EHRC report. JLM will be prepared to reengage with Party HQ once new management is in place and it has demonstrated the necessary contrition and willingness to change.

 

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