Labour chairman denies criticising Jeremy Corbyn’s move to endorse People’s Vote

MP Ian Lavery speaking at a Labour poster launch. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

MP Ian Lavery speaking at a Labour poster launch. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery has once again claimed that criticism of the leadership's move towards a People's Vote had not been written by him for a second time in a month.

Lavery appeared to respond to a tweet from Sky News' Sam Coates in which he said Jeremy Corbyn was making a move to endorse a People's Vote and remaining in the European Union.

In a post screenshotted by the journalist, Lavery claims: "I fear it's correct. But please understand there [sic] position really is to head for to revoking A50".

The tweet raised eyebrows, before Lavery suggested hours later that his account had been hacked, and that it was not an authorised position from the party chairman.

He tweeted: "Earlier this morning a tweet was sent from this account in reply to @SamCoatesSky , this was not authorised by myself or anyone on my team. Appropriate security updates have been made and I can assure any Journalists etc. that it was not a tweet I authorised re Brexit position."

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His people then sent a screenshot of a security notice from Twitter which had been sent an hour after he said he had changed the password, and using a different browser, to prove he had been hacked. It left people on social media sceptical.

Users were also quick to point out other instances of where the MP had made a mistake between 'their' and 'there', which seemed consistent with his other posts.

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The behaviour looks consistent with Lavery's previous actions - which involved hitting out at People's Vote supporters in the Guardian and then denying writing the story, and backing a no-deal Brexit in the House of Commons "by mistake".

In the Guardian opinion column last month he called supporters of a second referendum "left-wing intellectuals... sneering at ordinary people and piling on those trying to convey the feelings of hundreds of thousands of Labour voters".

Once again he shortly denied writing those words when questioned about them and said the newspaper had taken it out of context.

At the time he said: "I am disappointed that an article I have written for the @guardian has been taken out of context and its message misconstrued in an editorial piece published this afternoon. I have spoken to the Guardian and am assured that this will soon be corrected."

In March the chairman rebelled against the Labour whip by voting for a no-deal Brexit in the series of indicative votes.

The party said it was an "honest mistake", with Lavery telling the press "I hold the opposite views, as everyone is aware."

Last month Corbyn supporter Paul Mason called for Lavery to resign from his post leading the party.

Mason told him on Twitter: "I'm calling for your resignation as well. If people actively obstruct the leader, brief against him, refuse to enact decisions they are not doing their jobs - and how can we have a party chair who breaks the whip?"

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