By David Seimmarson, Telegraph Political correspondent.
The Telegraph recently launched an investigation into the JGMgate scandal, a furore over JGMs message to Tommy2Boys where he spoke of Tommy “jizzing over institutions” and of “cumstains in the Union Jack”.
We were lucky enough to get four interviews with the key characters involved: Tommy2Boys, JGM, thePootisPower and ARichTeaBiscuit. By the conclusion of these interviews, the Telegraph became aware of an attempt by Tommy to threaten Labour that he would try to make “as big a scandal as possible” in the words of the Labour leader out of the JGM affair. We also became aware of several inconsistencies with the Labour timeline of events, with the Labour Chair suggesting the Leader had not told us the truth in our conversation with them about the partys reaction, before retracting the claim after the Leader spoke to them. This retraction and subsequent explanation of the mistake would only further deepen the evidence of either the Labour Leader or Labour Chair having attempted to mislead the Telegraph in their interview.
Our first interview was with the progenitor of this argument, Tommy2Boys. Tommy firstly explained the context of these comments, saying the first “cumstains in the union jack comment” was part of a conversation on Labour’s position on the union, while the second “jizzing over institutions” remark was “out of the blue”. Tommy said he found these comments “inappropriate”, saying he laughed it off the first time, however on the second occasion it showed a “disturbing trend”. Tommy also confirmed to us that he was subsequently contacted by the Labour Chair, who told Tommy he was “looking into” the comments, and had passed on the relevant information to the Labour leader. When asked about the Labour leader saying no investigation was taking place, Tommy confirmed that he was not contacted by anyone else from Labour past this point, and it was his opinion that the Labour chairperson was a “decent person who wanted to look into the allegations” however was stopped by the Labour leader. He finished our (first) interview with him by calling for the resignation of the Shadow Chancellor, and expressing his disappointment that the Labour leader was not the “honourable person I thought they were”.
This would not be the end of Tommy’s involvement in this debacle. In interviews with JGM, ARichTeaBiscuit and thePootisPower, all three repeated the same story of Tommy trying to “blackmail” Labour on this matter. JGM was first to mention it, saying that he had made aware that to, “at least one person, likely several”, Tommy threatened to “create as much of a scandal as possible” if JGM wasn’t removed. Tommy, according to JGM, “claimed that they were previously nice to Labour, but that they now intended to go hard at us”. ARichTeaBiscuit confirmed the story saying “I received a message from Tommy2Boys earlier that suggested that if I didn’t take action against JGM that action would be taken against myself and the Labour Party”, and that they considered the message tantamount to “political blackmail”. ARichTeaBiscuit would repeat the claims of blackmail in other answers, including to questions not specifically on that matter, saying they were quite “upsetting” and “unacceptable”. thePootisPower also confirmed that Tommy had approached them with a similar demand, providing the following quote from Tommy.
““> I should warn you as well the screenshots may go public in the next few days I haven’t decided if I want to do that yet. But a lot of people have them so I am surprised they are not already public frankly xD”
Both the Labour Chair and Labour Leader had the same timeframe for these messages, both saying they came after Tommy brought up JGMs comments in an attack on Labour Weekly, but before the Tommy tweet on the matter. We spoke to Tommy about this, who confirmed the timeframe. They said that the accusations of blackmail were “ridiculous”, saying that the messages were an attempt to “reach out and appeal to their sense of decency”. He would also say that if attempting to “avoid a shitstorm that I do not particularly enjoy is blackmail in the eyes of the Labour leader, that is on them”.
In our interviews with JGM, he came across as a contrite figure. He apologised for his comments, and said they were “not appropriate”. He did raise questions about why they were being brought up again, saying that they were being used due to Tories taking offense at JGMs criticism of the former Tory chairman for his comments regarding Wales having intercourse with sheep and wanting to nuke cardiff. When asked if he felt the comments were being politically weaponised, he said no, saying that “the distress I caused was personal to them” and “completely valid”. He admitted to his comments forming a pattern of harshness, and that he could be more tactful, however when asked about his implications of anti semitism which have garnered much attention, he said the “burden as to who is incendiary rests on the people who think they can tell Jewish politicians what should and shouldn’t concern them”. On the “investigation” claims made by Tommy2Boys, he said no such investigation existed, however said he was told by ARichTeaBiscuit that his “actions were not good” and he was reprimanded. The Telegraph were told that the idea of a vonc in JGM had been mooted bu a Labour member, with Labour Chairman thePootisPower confirming that he had heard “rumblings” of a vonc, however had not heard in who. On this topic, JGM described the rumours as nebulous, and that he was focused on “delivering Labours incredible agenda”.
We now turn to the interviews with the Labour Leader and Chair in more detail. First, we spoke to Labour Leader ARichTeaBiscuit, who we asked about the JGM comments. They said that while they wouldn’t “make those comments” personally, they felt it didn’t warrant “the reaction Tommy2Boys tried to solicit by releasing them several months after they have been made”. ARTB went on to mention things that they had been called or described as, including “coward” and “mouth-piece”, and saying they hadn’t called for the resignation or investigation into of those involved. When asked again if JGMs comments were appropriate, they did not answer clearly, instead repeating previous lines about not wanting to personally make those comments. After it was put to them that JGM had described the messages as inappropriate and apologised for them, ARTB deleted their answer, and made a new one, saying “people across the political spectrum need to be more mindful of their language” but that they had been numbed by politics so had struggled to see them as inappropriate originally. They said they “respect the decision of the Shadow Chancellor to apologise” and said an apology and a promise to behave better in the future was all that was necessary, not the “pantomime that we’ve seen”.
ARTB confirmed that thePootisPower brought the comments to their attention, and that they both spoke and “agreed that the response mentioned was appropriate”. We would speak to the Labour Chair thePootisPower on this matter who said that ARTB “did not say anything whether I spoke to them directly or in leadership channels” and that it was “undeniable that they are choosing to do nothing on this and that in itself is part of the problem”. When I informed then that the Labour Leader had claimed that they had spoken, and that the plan that Poot was unaware of was, according to ARTB, backed by him, he said he could not remember any such recollection, and told us to ask ARTB for evidence to ascertain the truth of this. We did get in contact with ARTB to ask about these diametrically opposed stories, and received no reply for some time. A few minutes later, Poot returned to my conversation to “retract his version of events”, saying that “Akko had caught wind of my comments and pointed out that I was incorrect”. When asked how his story could change so rapidly, he said that ARTB had suggested that “we apologise and move on”, and that he had not understood this as a plan for a path forward. I then put to Poot, how could a plan that he had not understood as a plan, been backed by him as ARTB claimed. He said “Well I guess they took it that I supported that action from the leadership conversation, i dont know”. He also confirmed he did not at any point explicitly support what ARTB said.
We then returned to ARTB to ask for their explanatiln of this conundrum. They said that Poot backed the outline of their plan when they proposed it to them earlier, and that Poot taking a break from politics had simply lead to communication errors. Given that they had made remarks unaware of any plan, I asked ARTB how could poot have backed something they didn’t know about, and did poot provide explicit support for the proposal. ARTB did not answer the first question, instead saying that Poot had found agreeable the plan outlined and that they did provide explicit backing. Upon me informing them that Poot had said no explicit backing was given they responded “I believe that we’ve got something of a confused timeline of events here.”. This was the end of the four interviews.
Emerging from this, there are now four key parts to this story. The first, originally most prominent one is JGMs comments themselves. While undoubtedly vulgar and coarsening to public discourse, the Shadow Chancellors apology and the fact that these comments were in the public domain for some time, will likely bring an end to the debacle surrounding those comments themselves. The allegations from the labour trio of Tommy2Boys blackmailing them are the second part to this. Undoubtedly concerning, however based solely on the evidence provided by Poot, with ARTB not providing evidence after we asked them for some, the suggestion of the comments being blackmail are a stretch. However, there is possibly more to come on this front.
The two most serious parts of this are both not good news for Labour. The breakdown of communication from the Labour leader and chair was visible in vivid detail, with repeated contradictions and inconsistencies, with a few retractions for good measure. This is not a new problem for Labour, however it has been showcased in perhaps unrivalled detail here.
The final part of this is the now clear evidence that either the Labour Chair or the Labour leader is lying. Either the Chair did provide backing for this plan, which means they are lying, or they did not provide backing, which means the Labour leader is lying. The Labour leader was asked to provide a record of those messages between them and the Labour Chair. They have yet to do so. Until they do, it will likely remain unclear as to what exact member of the Labour leadership hasn’t been truthful. What is clear, is the handling of a relatively minor scandal, has now ballooned into a crisis, due to the poor handling of it by two of the party’s most senior members.