Dan Hogan's honorary membership of Lancaster University Labour Club (LULC) has been revoked following the leak of an internal Labour Party report over the weekend. He was club chair from 2006-07, but the extent of his 'vile language and behaviour', revealed in the leak, was condemned by current members. Whilst at Lancaster University, Hogan was also a Lancaster University Students' Union (LUSU) sabbatical officer, as editor of the LUSU newspaper SCAN from 2008-9.
The Labour report included verbatim messages from Hogan. Amongst his comments was one that said a colleague 'should be shot' for being supportive of the then-party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Spineless can reveal that he made similar comments as a student activist at Lancaster, with the minutes of one 2008 LULC meeting recording him saying 'trots should be hanged.'
The internal report, titled "The work of the Labour Party's Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 - 2019", was originally obtained and reported by Sky News on 12th April. It analysed the work of staff at Labour HQ in handling antisemitism complaints, and Hogan was one of those staff. It runs to over 850 pages and catalogs the hyper-factional atmosphere in Labour HQ, where officials hostile to Corbyn's leadership hoped for Labour to lose the 2017 general election, and failed to properly address antisemitism cases. The party's new leadership, Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, have launched an 'urgent independent investigation' into how the report was commissioned, its contents, and how it was leaked.
The report documents in great detail the personal and political opposition to Corbyn's leadership from Labour Party staff, based on thousands of emails and WhatsApp messages. Hogan's name appears frequently in the report, from complaining about 'rail renationalisation and landlord-bashing' to expressing his opposition to raising corporation tax, a key Labour policy.
Most notable, however, is the following message exchange where Hogan says a fellow Labour staffer 'should be shot' for whooping during a speech Corbyn made to party staff just days after being elected leader:
Another Lancaster University alumnus and former LULC chair, Fraser Welsh, is implicated in the report. Welsh is now the Labour Party's Head of Internal Governance. When he was Deputy General Secretary of Welsh Labour, Welsh made the following recommendation about who Labour should hire for a director job ahead of the 2017 general election:
it may be sensible politics to give responsibility of mobilising all the trots to someone who is a bit troty, so that when the trots don't do anything, and we lose badly, it's a trot that gets thrown under a bus
A contemporary of Hogan and Welsh during their time in the University Labour Club was Ben Soffa, who is from a different wing of the party. Soffa is now the party's Head of Digital Organising. According to the report, some colleagues in Labour HQ referred to him as 'the trot in digital'. Soffa met his now-wife, Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith, at Lancaster University, where they both served alongside Hogan on the LULC executive committee.
Hogan was elected as Lancaster University Labour Club chair in March 2006 on an apolitical platform of strong leadership: 'The chair should be elected on ability to lead. Political views are irrelevant.' But Hogan's 'ability to lead' didn't prove to be as strong as he had promised. He resigned within a year, saying 'the club is in a rut', and that he could no longer make the necessary time commitments. Nevertheless, he stood in the resulting club by-election in March 2007 (this time as a jobshare candidate), but lost to Fraser Welsh.
Hogan returned to the LULC exec in December 2007, filling the newly-created role of 'Enforcer', who was 'responsible for organising the club’s activities in Lancaster and Fleetwood, as well as ensuring we are fairly represented within the local party.' The role was created because 'tensions had grown between the club and the CLP' according to Welsh. From January to May 2007, Hogan had worked as an organiser for the local party.
Minutes of LULC meetings show how Hogan proudly espoused his Blairite politics, and opposition to the left of the Labour Party. Nevertheless, in January 2008, he stumbled when asked to defend New Labour, admitting 'that he could not remember the government’s major achievements without reading them from a list.'
In February 2008, the Labour Club debated a motion that, if passed, would have committed the Club to supporting armed revolution. Hogan made it very clear that he thought revolutionary leftists have no place in Labour:
Dan H was outraged that four people had voted for the motion and asked, “what the fuck are you doing in this club?” “Annoying you,” was Steph’s response. Dan H called for the dissolution of Labour Club.
Later in the same meeting, the minutes record that Hogan 'said trots should be hanged.'
The next week, Hogan 'said people in deprived areas need educating on how to get a job.' And in March 2008, he spoke in defence of New Labour's notorious spin-doctors, saying 'that he despairs to hear Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson being badmouthed.'
Former Lancaster University Labour Club chairs and co-chairs are traditionally made honorary members of the club, but upon the release of the leaked report, the incumbent LULC exec voted unanimously to remove that privilege from Hogan. He will no longer be welcome, it seems, in Lancaster.
Whilst it is convention for former Chairs to be granted honorary membership of the Club, this will no longer be extended to Mr Hogan on account of him bringing the Club into disrepute.— Lancaster Uni Labour Club🌹 (@LancsLabourClub) April 13, 2020
- Lancaster University Labour Club Executive Committee, 13/04/2020
Lancaster University Labour Club is not currently formally affiliated to the Labour Party following the disaffiliation of the organisation known as 'Labour Students' last year. Hogan remains a party member.