Ms Formby has been the general secretary since April 2018, when she replaced Iain McNicol and is a close Jeremy Corbyn ally. The GMB, the largest union at the Labour Party headquarters, accused the general secretary of leaking an internal report into allegations of anti-Semitism under Mr Corbyn. One of the report’s most incendiary findings was the claim that factions opposed to the former Labour leader deliberately hindered efforts to tackle anti-Semitism.
In one passage, the authors wrote that some staff members seemed to have “taken a view that the worse things got for Labour, the happier they would be since this might expedite Jeremy Corbyn’s departure from office.”
The leaked report included emails and the details of private WhatsApp messages, which made dismissive references to “Trots” and “mentalists”.
In its motion, the GMB said: “By trawling the emails and instant messenger logs, the general secretary has effectively unilaterally placed all members of staff under investigation, albeit without any clear process or notice.”
The Union said that the leaking of the report was yet another example of the “toxic culture of bullying and intimidation” that had become a feature of the party’s internal politics under Mr Corbyn.
It added that the timing of the leak over the Easter weekend “when staff are confined to their homes as a result of Covid-19 and may well have caring responsibilities and/or have suffered bereavements adds insult to injury.”
The motion concludes by stating that staff “can no longer be confident that the General Secretary has the safety and welfare of staff as her top priority.”
On Tuesday, the new party leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was launching an investigation into the leak.
In a joint statement with the deputy leader Angela Rayner, Sir Keir said: “We have seen a copy of an apparently internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to anti-Semitism.
JUST IN: How Keir Starmer pinpointed Labour’s key failure over Boris Johnson
Despite its recent electoral setbacks, the Labour hard left is regrouping under the leadership of Richard Burgon MP for Leeds East and John McDonnell, the former shadow chancellor and close confidant of Mr Corbyn.
Allies of both men say they are seeking to strengthen and refocus the Campaign Group, the caucus of socialist MPs who organised Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign in 2015.
A senior party insider told the Guardian: “John is mobilising on several fronts and he’s adept at using proxies and ciphers.”
He went on to ominously joke that the former shadow chancellor was “retiring to spend more time on politicking”.
Labour’s hard left wants to offer an alternative to the Fabian Society, which has traditionally developed policy ideas for the party’s leadership.
Mr Burgon and Mr McDonnell plan to use the reconstituted Campaign Group to develop and promote their own policy agendas in order to counter the influence of the Fabian Society, as well as provide support to their allies in the party.