Current Labour policy chief under Sir Keir Starmer, Claire Ainsley, used to write for one of the right-wing organisations based at 55 Tufton Street.

Claire Ainsley on LinkedIn
Claire Ainsley on LinkedIn

Many people have been looking at the Labour Party lately and wondering just what on earth is happening to them.

Taking a massive lead in the polls by virtue of not being the like the Tories, they have swiftly morphed into Tory-lite since, as they continue to purge leftists from the party that is meant to represent the left-wing.

Those of us who are political and in the trans community also know that the Labour Party has a massive transphobia problem that they are refusing to face.

One former chair of the Party reported that complaints about Rosie Duffield, who appeared as a speaker at the LGB Alliance conference a few months ago, have their own separate folder which they have been instructed to ignore.

You just have to look at how they reacted to Trans Awareness Week and Trans Day of Remembrance this year. Something very clearly changed with the party when Starmer was elected.

Starmer was voted in as Labour leader in April 2020 and brought in Claire Ainsley as his Executive Director of Policy at the same time. She left a job as Executive Director at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to take the role.

I’m certainly not suggesting that the Party’s problem is caused by Ainsley. I don’t know her direct views on much beyond she seems to be concerned with ending poverty and that is a good thing.

I’m just pointing out that she previously worked for a website based in a building where a lot of transphobes are also based and, since he has been elected, Starmer’s policies on many things have changed quite a bit.

While Ainsley lists an impressive CV on LinkedIn, she omits any mention of writing for BrexitCentral, the right-wing website founded by Matthew Elliot and based in Tufton Street.

Elliot has long been involved with US and European anti-LGBTQ groups.

The website shut down in January, 2020, but an Ainsley article from 2016, titled, “Brexit presents us with the opportunity to transform the prospects of many who voted Leave and politicians must not squander it,” is still online, as is a second from a year later.

In January, Ainsley is leaving her role under Starmer to start a new job with the US-based Progressive Policy Institute, an organisation that the Washington Post called a “centrist Democratic institution.”

Writers for the website have included Claire Ainsley, former head of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and current Labour Party policy chief under Sir Keir Starmer. She wrote for the website in November 2016 that "Brexit presents us with the opportunity to transform the prospects of many who voted Leave".[8]
via wikipedia
It’s founder and president, Will Marshall, previously “served on the board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization chaired by Joe Lieberman (I) and John McCain (R) designed to build support for the invasion of Iraq.”

He also worked as a speech writer for three southern State Republican governors.

About her new role, Ainsley wrote on her profile, “I’m pleased to share that after more than two years as Executive Director of Policy to the Leader of the Labour Party, I’m starting a new venture in January with the US-based Progressive Policy Institute, directing a US-UK collaboration on Center-Left Renewal. It has been such a privilege to work for Keir as he leads the extraordinary turnaround of the Labour Party, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with friends and allies in the renewal of progressive politics in the new role.”

BrexitCentral may not be a name that is overly familiar to many people but that of Darren Grimes, one of their former editors, certainly will be.

The website’s first ever editor, Jonathan Isaby, has recently been appointed as Liz Truss’s Press Secretary.

He previously worked as chief executive for the TaxPayer’s Alliance, another Tufton Street outfit, as well as Director of Comms at the NHS, BBC senior adviser, GMTV producer and VP of the National Union of Students, as well as in a comms role at the Home Office.

Funnily enough, the LGB Alliance’s newest director, Dermot Kehoe, also worked in a comms role at the Home Office, but that was some 10 years before Isaby arrived.

As well as serving as a director for LGB Alliance, Kehoe also works as Director of Communications and Transition for Flood Re.

I did not make up that job title.