Read: Labour general secretary Iain McNicol’s farewell message to party staff

The full text of McNicol’s farewell message.

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Iain McNicol, Labour’s departing general secretary, has just emailed all party staff a farewell message, which you can read in full below.

A couple of points worth noting: firstly there is an interesting contrast with Simon Fletcher’s farewell message to party staff when he quit his role in Jeremy Corbyn’s office. That message was widely interpreted as an implicit rebuke to Corbyn's’s remaining staff. There is no equivalent subtext here. Instead, McNicol is seeking to mend fences and to recast his reputation as a general secretary who inherited an organisation in pieces and passes on one in good health. (And while Labour’s wealth and size is wholly down to the Corbyn surge, the party had already returned to solvency thanks to McNicol’s tenure pre-2015. While it is certainly true that he was no Corbynite, he can claim some credit for the fact that the Corbyn surge made Labour financially well-off instead of merely mopping up the party’s late Noughties debt)

Note also the promise to stay on. It has been widely suggeated thst McNicol will recieve a peerage in the next round of nominations and Corbyn’s farwell message appeared to hint at that. Whatever the truth of McNicol’s exit, he has gone out of his way to do it non-acrimoniously.

Dear all

I just want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who have worked with me supported me and made this the best place to work, it has been an honour. I have the opportunity to move on to pursue new challenges in the service of the Labour Party and wider labour movement. 

There is never a right time to move on but following a tumultuous seven years including: two general elections, two leadership elections, three leaders, a huge increase in our membership, Scottish and EU referendums, now feels the right time.

There is so much I will miss about working for the Party.

You are the most dedicated, hard working and driven people I have ever worked with. Your dedication to making this country a better place to live, to improving our society, offering hope and opportunity, is unstinting.

I know I leave the organisation in a strong place. We have paid down our historic debts, developed new and exciting campaign tools, ran campaigns across England, Scotland and Wales, won and lost elections.

I won’t be leaving just yet, I will work with our NEC Officers to deliver a smooth and proper transition to a new General Secretary, ensuring that the Labour Party remains on an election footing.

I hope to speak to as many of you as possible over the coming weeks.

Yours in deepest gratitude


Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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