Labour HQ asks members to check with them before tweeting

Labour Party President Nigel Haworth has asked members not to “launch immediately into a commentary” on Twitter but to run things by Party HQ instead.

Ex Labour Party member Phil Quinn must either still be on the Party mailing list or is being forwarded party emails. He has blogged on an email sent to members.

Equally, the modern era provides multiple opportunities to comment publicly on political issues. Blogs are one thing, but I think media such as Twitter are probably more important.

It is easy to read a newspaper report, or pick up a news item on the TV, and launch immediately into a commentary that may be widely shared.

We see this regularly, and it is sometimes founded on incorrect information, as events subsequently show. Spokespeople in Caucus, staff in Party HQ, Council members, members of Policy Council and I are available promptly to respond to queries about issues before public comments are made.

“It is sometimes founded on incorrect information” could also apply to Labour MPs on Twitter.

We are happy to talk to you if you hear or read something that worries you, or makes little sense. And a quick check with the Party about the issue allows you to comment in an accurate and informed way, even if you disagree! We are all the better for debate founded on accurate information.

Debate founded on accurate information is laudable.

Debate founded on HQ vetting is more of a worry in a modern political party.

So what are we to think now? Should we treat all tweets that look like they might be from Labour Party members with suspicion of being managed by Party HQ?

I wonder what the turnaround time will be if, say, a hundred party members are itching to say something on Twitter. Maybe HQ are set up to respond quickly, or maybe they hope that people will have moved from touchy topics before they get a reply.

I suspect Quinn didn’t run his post by HQ before launching into commentary – but he’s not a member any more so exempt from Party control.