A former Labour Party staffer under Jeremy Corbyn has admitted trying to bring him down during the 2017 general election campaign. Harry Burns made the claims live on GB News with Nigel Farage – with people on Twitter branding him a “Tory enabler”.
Corbyn: an “unexpected” journey
serving as Head of Elections and Campaign Support for the UK Labour Party for the 2017 General Election, playing an integral role in delivering one of the most unexpected election results in recent times.
“Unexpected” is an appropriate word for the 2017 general election – because far from supporting Corbyn as leader, much of the party machinery was trying to stop a Labour victory. As the Canary previously reported, Al Jazeera‘s The Labour Files documentary series revealed much of this. And as Nasim Ahmed wrote for Middle East Monitor, overall The Labour Files showed that the “British establishment” led a:
campaign against… [Corbyn]… aided by the right-wing press, as well as self-styled left-wing publications like the Guardian and, most shocking of all, the Labour party itself which, it would later be revealed, sabotaged Corbyn’s chance of becoming Prime Minister.
Now, one of the people who helped sabotage Labour’s election victory in 2017 has admitted to doing so out loud – and it’s Burns.
‘I was one of the snakes who stopped a Labour victory’
During an interview on GB News, Burns was discussing the Labour Party conference. He said of his former job:
I was the head of elections for the 2017 general election campaign, when Labour were very far behind the Tories at the start of the campaign. My job was very clear: save as many Labour MPs as possible. Then, when it became clear that Corbyn was getting close to government, I along with a lot of my other colleagues resigned. I left the Labour Party, and then I tried to do everything I can [sic] to bring Corbyn down.
While Burns alleges he wasn’t a Labour staffer or member when he “tried… to bring Corbyn down”, the implication is clear. When he was a Labour staffer, he was doing nothing to even try to get a Labour victory.
Then after that – presumably in the lead up to the 2019 election – Burns did his best to stop the party winning again.
This is pretty obvious from his LinkedIn, as he was a founder of notorious failure Change UK – The Independent Group. Remember that party? The ragtag group of Tory and Labour centre-right (now mostly former) MPs? Well, Burns was central to it – as his LinkedIn notes:
I helped to establish the Independent Group of MPs, which included planning and managing the high profile press conferences which launched the group, before playing a leading role in setting up Change UK – The Independent Group political party.
I took on the role of Head of Campaigns and Field for the party and was a leading member of the senior staff team. I recruited and managed the party’s field organisers and oversaw the creation and delivery of the party’s campaign strategy. I also worked closely with the Director of Political Strategy and the press team to create and deliver the party’s media and communications grid.
People were predictably incensed:
‘I tried to do everything I can do bring Corbyn down.’
Harry Burns, former Labour Head of Election for the 2017 General Election. Who, when it looked like Labour might win, resigned and campaigned against Labour.
Look at how pleased he is with himself.
The real Tory enablers… https://t.co/r5mfHG0Y1G
— SSCM (@SSCM0723) October 12, 2023
Labour: a war criminal ‘nest of vipers’
There’s a lot to unpack here. It was obviously common knowledge that many people in Labour’s back office (as well as front-facing MPs) were trying to destroy the party’s chances of winning under Corbyn. However, to hear it said out loud by one of those snakes still angers people:
— Jules #FreeAssange #HardLeftApparently🙄 (@celtjules66) October 11, 2023
Some people were clear that Labour had definitely lost their vote now:
Harry Burns admitting the sabatage from within during the 2019 election, straight from the horse's mouth.
— Zim Zam (@EssenceOfZam) October 11, 2023
Then there’s the obvious narrative around how different things might have been if Corbyn hadn’t been sabotaged:
Nice. Just imagine how many less dead, homeless and impoverished people there’d be without tactics like this from a Starmerite. Literally blood on the hands. https://t.co/IWcBuCWUmp
— Robertrobbierob Bobbybob Cook (@Cookiedisco) October 11, 2023
However, there’s also a particularly horrifying pertinence to the obnoxious Burns’s bragging about this in the context of Palestine.
As the West sinks further into an immoral abyss, if people like Burns hadn’t destroyed Labour’s chances in 2017 then we may have actually had a leader in the UK right now who would be speaking up for the Palestinian people – not encouraging genocide against them.
Featured image via GB News – screengrab
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