By Nafeez Ahmed and cross-posted from The Canary
A powerful British public relations firm with close ties to former Prime Minister Tony Blair and key Labour officials behind the coup to oust Jeremy Corbyn knew of “mass resignation” plans half a year ago.
In a rolling series of investigations, The Canary has exposed the alarming web of connections between PR agency Portland Communications, and a network of Blairites in and out of government that “choreographed” the mass resignations leading to the vote of no confidence against Corbyn on Tuesday.
“Portland Communications is a political consultancy and public relations agency set up in 2001 by Tim Allan, a former adviser to Tony Blair and director of communications at BSkyB,” reported The Canary’s Steve Topple, who also noted the PR agency’s wide-ranging connections to British media, including Sky News, ITN and the BBC:
To spell it out in layman’s terms, Portland Communications is a company organised, fronted and controlled by a plethora of apparatchiks of Tony Blair and the centre-right of Labour.
Topple also revealed that numerous employees, partners and associates of Portland Communications have ties to the London-based Labour think-tank, the Fabian Society.
On Monday, The Canary confirmed that the self-styled Blairite Labour MP, Conor McGinn, who coordinated the mass resignations in the party over the weekend with former Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, was part of a Blairite network surrounding the Fabians.
Under the deputy leadership of Marcus Roberts, from 2011 onwards the Fabian Society had been tasked to help ‘re-found’ the Labour Party under the direction of former Blair minister Peter Hain. The process had been criticised internally at the time for bypassing the wider party.
“Mass resignations” pact
Yet new evidence obtained by The Canary confirms that Portland Communications was aware of a “pact” between Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet members to trigger “mass resignations” as long as six months ago.
In January 2016, a Portland Communications analysis posted on the agency’s website refers to the first reshuffle of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.
The post reveals that the Blairite PR agency was well-acquainted with the informal internal networks of organising between anti-Corbyn Labour politicians. It also confirms that the firm has long been aware that “mass resignations” were viewed by the Shadow Cabinet as a political option to sideline Corbyn – six months before the EU referendum was to take place…