As Jeremy Corbyn is coming through the sunlit Atrium of Westminster's Portcullis House on Tuesday lunchtime.

An hour or so earlier, he had emailed every member of the labor force.

"Jeremy's a lot happier. He thinks with patience we've got to the right position, "said one sympathetic shadow minister that afternoon. At that day's shadow cabinet meeting, both sides of the Brexit divide, from Keir Starmer to Ian Lavery, had signed off on the policy. Corbyn's restive deputy, Tom Watson, was the lone dissenter.

The Labor leader and his inner circle would help to avoid the danger of death. In particular, they were keen to prevent a relationship between Corbyn and the remainder-supporting membership.

But the truce was short-lived. Just 24 hours later, Corbyn's team was under pressure once again, as the BBC Panorama documentary about the handling of antisemitism cases hit the screens.


Four whistleblowers speak of top Labor aid interfering in antisemitism investigations – video

Even before the program has been aired, the official press on the offensive against the seven whistleblowers who gave evidence on camera. Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, worked to undermine it, and both both personal and political axes to grind, "Corbyn's spokesman said.

Ruthless counterattack is a characteristic tactic of the committed executive who surrounds the Labor leader, including his chief of staff, Karie Murphy, and the executive director of strategy and communications, Seumas Milne.

Karie Murphy with Jeremy Corbyn on the day after the 2017 election.



Karie Murphy with Jeremy Corbyn on the day after the 2017 election. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

It has been their political project in the summer of 2016, when scores of frontbenchers resigned en masse, to little or no effect, and Owen Smith launched his ill-fated tilt at the leadership.

They are a tight-knit group, who pays many years banished to the fringes of Labor politics. Corbyn's better than expected performance at the 2017 general election, after a campaign punctuated by joyful mass rallies, appeared to vindicate their belief that the British public was tired of the fraying consensus, and ready for a decisive shift to the left.

And after Labor the success of its share of the vote in the general election since 1945, the 2017 campaign was one of the words that it would be a temporary aberration.

NEC, and the sympathetic Jennie Formby chosen as the general secretary – the party's most powerful official.

Some Labor insiders claim that, the battle has been ruptured in the recent months, and the mentality that characterizes the early period of Corbyn's tenure has returned. "They're back in the bunker," said one staffer this week.

Corbyn's inner circle had already come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. With the help of a little bit more than a little bit, I think it's a good idea to have a little bit of fun with Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, had become exasperated.

They blamed, at least in part, what they saw as the Euroscepticism of Milne and Murphy, as did many of the leftwing MPs who formed the campaign group Love Socialism Hate Brexit, in a bid to amplify the remainder message in their party.

"Seumas and Karie will brook no deviation from the true path of Brexit," one shadow cabinet member told the Guardian at the time. Another claimed: "Karie thinks a referendum is all about giving in to Tom Watson."

Seumas Milne.



Seumas Milne. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

McDonnell, the Labor leader's closest political comrade, had come to fear that it was threatened by the threat of a referendum would be the same. voting areas.

Labor sources insist that Corbyn was clearly signaling the direction of travel – but waiting until a consensus could be built around the party before any formal shift was made.

And they dismiss the concerns about Milne and Murphy's role as the latest version of the "good king, bad advisers" that has dogged Corbyn throughout his tenure.

After last week's shadow cabinet meeting the Brexit divide has been healed for now, but it could be erupted once again in the run-up to a general election.

Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, who had been doubtful in the past about the merits of a referendum, said: "I think the main thing is that Jeremy wanted to build a consensus – and he has done."

But he made it clear that he could not do it Brexit deal.

The influence of Corbyn's advisers on the influence of the parties is also one of the concerns of Murphy's untrammeled control over LOTO – the "leader of the opposition's office" – and the wider party.

Several party staff loyal to Corbyn have told the Guardian that the anxieties about domineering management have been resolved. Murphy's friends insist she is simply an effective manager, who gets things done.

Two incidents in particular following the drubbing in the European elections raised eyebrows, too. The first was the abrupt expulsion of Tony Blair 's spinner Alastair Campbell, for admitting he had voted Lib Dem – a decision formally taken by Formby, without consultation with Corbyn, or any other politician.

Corbyn's team blame Campbell – another another ex-spinner, Ed Miliband's train adviser Tom Baldwin – to popularize the phrase "the four Ms" to describe Milne and Murphy, together with the Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey, and the union's chief of staff, Andrew Murray.

The quartet is perhaps the closest thing Labor has the "chumocracy" of David Cameron Notting Hill set. Murray, a Communist Party member until Corbyn won the Labor Leadership, is a longstanding friend of Milne's, currently seconded from Unite to LOTO. Murray's daughter Laura was recently appointed as Labor's head of complaints, after working in LOTO. (And one of Corbyn's sounds, Seb, works for another powerful Labor M, John McDonnell.)

Murphy is a close friend of McCluskey, and Labor frontbenchers is considered to be a proxy for him – though he is not a lawyer.

McCluskey has frequently infuriated labor frontbenchers with offstage interventions, particularly on Brexit – though it was highly signed up to the collective trade union position that paved the way for the Brexit compromised this week.

When did accusations of antisemitism in labor start and how did they escalated?

Two major public furores about antisemitism occurred in 2016, with Labor MP Naz Shah apologizing for an antisemitic Facebook post, and train London mayor Ken Livingstone commenting on the "Israel lobby" and Hitler supporting Zionism in broadcast interviews that eventually led to him quitting the party after a lengthy disciplinary process. A report that year by Shami Chakrabarti exonerated the party of widespread antisemitism but reported a 'sometimes toxic atmosphere'.

Matters escalated in 2018 when it became apparent that the party was receiving more and more complaints, to the extent that there was a backlog of disciplinary cases. Jeremy Corbyn apologized that April for the first time in the history of the world.

But the party was also moved to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which it ended up approvingly. Then accusations of political interference in the complaints process by Corbyn began to emerge earlier this year, which the party strongly denies.

What allegations were made in the BBC Panorama documentary?

In a July 2019 program, eight whistleblowers spoke to a BBC Panorama documentary, with some saying they felt there was political meddling from Corbyn's office in the process for handling antisemitism complaints. Seumas Milne, one of Corbyn's closest aides, told officials the party was 'muddling up political disputes with racism' and must review processes. Jennie Formby, the general secretary, was interviewed by Jackie Walker, a high-profile activist who was eventually expelled from the party.

What was Labor's response to the BBC's Panorama?

Labor strongly denied the allegations of political interference, and came out on the offensive, accusing the BBC of bias and calling for the documentary to be pulled. A labor spokesman said the party had fully answered "a number of questions" put to it by the program, and had also felt 50 pages of documents in response. The complaints to the BBC had been made at various levels, including the director general.

Rowena Mason, Deputy political editor

The second recent incident that sparked alarm on the left of the party, was the abrupt ditching of Corbyn's office by launching an outspoken review of the party's Brexit position on live TV just after the EU election polls closed.

Journalists were told she was attending the D-day celebrations, but it was not until Wednesday, and was sitting on the front line to watch Rebecca Long-Bailey make her debut at the weekly joust. Party sources now insist they simply want to highlight the importance of the climate crisis, which lies in Long-Bailey's brief.

But the move allowed Theresa May's deputy, David Lidington, to quip: "Anybody who outshines the dear leader at the expense of airbrushed out of the politburo history at the earliest opportunity."

Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, was widely regarded as having performed well. Indeed, rumors immediately began to swirl that Corbyn's advisers were beginning to peer the 70-year-old leader and line up Long-Bailey as an ideologically feasible successor, to continue the leftwing project – Corbynism after Corbyn.

One shadow cabinet ally of the Labor leader claimed: "Jeremy will not hear a word against Seumas and Karie. He says he needs them and they are loyal to him. Neither is true. "

As the ugly issue of antisemitism rears up once again, it is likely to be tested to the limit in the weeks ahead.

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