Since the deeply unsavoury Alex Wickham, formerly teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, was inexplicably given a berth at BuzzFeed News, that outlet’s credibility has not fared well, especially over its decision to go after Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr, something Wickham indulged in ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, when he was churning out falsehood and misinformation chez Fawkes.
Milk, no sugar, hold the smears
But it is on the more mainstream Westminster politics front where Wickham has generated yet another own goal for the BuzzFeed brand, as he has brought forth “These 20 Labour MPs Are On A Brexit Watchlist Drawn Up By Remain Campaigners And Momentum … Exclusive: They are the MPs considered most likely to change their minds and back Theresa May’s deal”. They are? Do go on.
“Second referendum campaigners and the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group Momentum have drawn up a watchlist of Labour MPs who they fear could back Theresa May’s Brexit deal … The vast majority of Labour MPs are expected to oppose the government’s withdrawal agreement at the crucial ‘meaningful vote’ taking place next Tuesday. But a list seen by BuzzFeed News reveals the names of 20 potential waverers who Labour organisers have classed as ‘doubtful’ ahead of the vote”.
There is more. “The list of names has been circulated among leading campaigners for a public vote on the Brexit deal. Several of the 20 names were identified by Momentum, the Labour-supporting activist group, which has been lobbying the party’s MPs to vote down the deal. A pro-second referendum source said Momentum contributed its names in the last two weeks”. As Fred Flintstone might have said, hold it! HOLD IT!
Campaigners for a second referendum and Momentum working together? Er, someone has not thought this one through, have they? How has Wickham figured this one out? You’ll love this: “Most of the MPs on the list represent seats in Leave-voting areas, leading to concerns among senior Remain campaigners that they may be swayed by constituents to back May’s deal rather than go for a second referendum or a Norway-style Brexit with continuing freedom of movement”. Correlation not equalling causation, methinks.
The claims caught the eye of BBC Cheshire reporter Phil McCann, who mused “Interesting that @BuzzFeed quotes an internal Labour list that apparently names Crewe & Nantwich’s @LauraSmithMP as a poss ‘flip flopper’ over the Brexit deal. Just last week she came out against it! None of the MPs are quoted in the article”. Dead right she did.
Of the others quoted, Gareth Snell, who represents Stoke on Trent Central, has said “For the avoidance of doubt I will be voting against the PM's Brexit deal”, and has penned an article for LabourList on the subject. Grahame Morris responded “I absolutely support the position of @UKLabour and @jeremycorbyn on Brexit. I will not vote for a deal that fails on Labour’s 6 tests and does not benefit the communities I was elected to represent” to earlier speculation from Evolve Politics. So what’s going on?
Zelo Street asked around, and the word from well-placed Labour sources is that Wickham’s speculation is, in a word, bollocks. And there was one more observation.
“BuzzFeed has contaminated itself with Fawkes”. Indeed it has. Another fine mess.
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