A letter from a CLP Secretary:
I am writing to you as Chair of the Disputes Panel to raise serious concerns about the treatment of many members and local elected party officers suspended by the party in recent months.
The party has accepted in full the findings and recommendations of both the 2016 Chakrabarti report and the 2020 EHRC investigation into antisemitism. Yet failures of the complaints process that the party has acknowledged for at least 5 years remain unaddressed. On pages 62-3 of the EHRC report it states:Lack of clear and fair process for respondentsThe Chakrabarti report noted the importance of making sure that ‘those in respect of whom allegations have been made are clearly informed of the allegation(s) made against them, their factual basis and the identity of the complainant – unless there are good reasons not to do so’.15In 2017, the NEC Organisational Committee16 identified principles for disciplinary processes. This included that anyone accused of a disciplinary breach should be made aware of the nature of that breach in a ‘timely fashion’, and that NEC guidance notes should be drafted to ‘advise any persons under investigation of their rights and responsibilities’.However, we found no evidence of a clear policy for respondents setting out their rights, and no clear decision-making process or guidance on when to provide information to respondents about complaints.Our analysis of the complaint sample showed that:
• Some letters of administrative suspension failed to identify the underlying allegations, or did so in a vague manner.• The system for explaining allegations to respondents and giving them an opportunity to respond was not always effective.• Some complaint files did not hold the identity of the complainant
.• Respondents were not told the identity of the complainant even when there was no obvious reason to withhold their identity.
• Respondents were not generally given an expected timeline for the investigation
It has been over a month since I was suspended yet I have only been told what rule I am alleged to have breached. I do not know what I am accused of nor what evidence there is against me that was deemed sufficient to merit an administrative suspension.
We have a right to know who took the decision to suspend us and why as well as how the decision was made. These are all improvements to the transparency of the complaints process that could be implemented at any time. Are these decisions being taken consistently across all CLPs and regions?
In my CLP there are 4 Executive Committee officers who remain active in the party despite having long standing complaints of anti-black racism, islamophobia, misogyny, bullying and harassment. Well over 20 complaints made by members, up to a year ago, that have seen no actions taken and only the most rudimentary of updates provided despite persistent chasing.
The party claims that there is a fast track process for complaints with documentary evidence but that is not borne out by the experiences of members as both complainants and respondents. We have also not been provided with any timeline for resolution in this process. Some members have been suspended for years which is completely unacceptable. None of us have received justification for why our suspension is necessary during the investigation. This is not a process that engenders trust in the party and its commitment to justice. If the party recognises massive failings that have impacted people with all protected characteristics and both complainants and respondents, why proceed with that flawed process without making changes?
I submitted a subject access request upon being placed under administrative suspension. This has been rejected as manifestly unfounded using a boilerplate response sent to seemingly all members who have done similar. It paints us as malicious actors and contravenes the ICO guidance, which states the organisation must provide a reason for taking this decision. No reason has been given. SARs should also be dealt with on a case by case basis, not by taking the same decision for all suspended members regardless of when their request was made and particular circumstances.
Since being suspended I have been locked out of all party systems and removed from our local Facebook forum by other EC officers who have revealed we were suspended in the process. Planned local meetings and campaigns have been disrupted. I am not allowed to speak about my suspension but rumours are being circulated in the CLP.
My reputation has been damaged and I am unable to defend myself.
This has understandably had a significant effect on my mental health, something for which a signpost to the Samaritans on being informed of my suspension isn’t sufficient to address.
I was Secretary for two years before my suspension, served the party loyally and led the 2019 GE effort in Hendon. Irrespective of whether party officials agree or disagree with my politics, this is not the correct way to treat any member.
On Wednesday night, the Labour Party Irish Society (LPIS) – an affiliated Labour society with the ability to delegate members to constituency Labour parties and influence decisions and candidate selections – held its AGM.
It was reportedly a disgrace – and a number of Labour MPs and officials have serious questions to answer about behaviour that, if multiply-sourced allegations are true, shows utter contempt for democracy and the party’s/society’s membership.
One LPIS member complained on his Facebook page:
[Progress members came out to] pick their mates from the queue to go through the staffers’ entrance and occupy all the seats in the room, leaving dozens of fully paid-up LPIS members outside the building or outside the rooms in which the AGM was being held.
While paid-up LPIS members were left outside, such denizens of the Irish community as Stephen Pound MP, Chuka Ummuna MP, Stella Creasy MP, Siobhan McDonagh MP and dozens of suited and booted lanyard-wearing SPADs sat comfortably inside.
At one point, Stephen Pound MP even came out and told people, inaccurately, that the AGM had been cancelled! Dozens of LPIS members, not believing that an MP of all people would peddle lies, headed home at this point. Even though RSVPs were in excess of 100, the room booked (capacity 70) was not enough. A second room was procured, but even so, dozens of members were left outside in the corridor and denied the opportunity to register for the AGM.
Even candidates from the left ‘slate’ were denied entry according to the full report.
Now it seems that Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s office has intervened in the stitch-up. A senior source from McDonnell’s office told the SKWAWKBOX that this message has been sent to the Left members of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC):
I received this from Austin Harney of LPIS. It looks like AGM last night was hijacked. There will be a letter of complaint coming in. We need NEC members now calling upon McNicol to launch inquiry. Sooner rather than later.
Hi. Unfortunately, it did not go well. The room was overcrowded with Progress people, MPs, Lords, Baronesses and Labour officials. They were going to turn many of us away but had to open up a second room. Many Momentum members were not allowed in including some of our candidates.
Also, we had Stephen Pound at the entrance telling many Momentum members that the AGM was cancelled. I raised a point of order at the beginning of the AGM calling for it to be postponed because the room was not big enough. I was heckled but I held the floor. I had to go in the second meeting in the Thatcher Room and raise the point of order, there.
In both rooms, we were outvoted. Amongst the MPs were Siobhan McDonagh, Chuka Umunna, Vernon Coaker, Stella Creasy, Stephen Kinnock, Streeter etc. There were many with no Irish connections at all. Conor McGinn was seen remotely running around and getting his own cronies to come in.
This incident won’t go away. We intend to draft a letter of complaint to the NEC and call for the AGM to be declared null and void.
Harney was not the only one to complain. A Labour MP added a detailed account by a CLP vice-chair to the call for the anti-democratic proceedings to be annulled – which has also been sent to the Irish Post newspaper:
Are people aware of what happened at the AGM of the Labour Party Irish Society? This is appalling. Can we do anything? See account below. I was in PCH [Portcullis House] and am therefore aware of some of the shenanigans.
Letter to the Irish Post about the Labour Party Irish Society AGM 25/10/17
I am writing to you as i am appalled by the obviously corrupt events which took place last night at the Labour Party Irish Society AGM.
I am a fully paid up member of the LPIS, Labour Party and RSVP’d to the invitation to attend the AGM.
I joined the queue at approximately 5.45pm [the meeting was due to start at 6.30pm]
After standing in the queue for about half an hour, Steven Pound MP came out of the building and said the event had been cancelled – a large number of comrades left the queue at this point.
Luckily, I checked my messages and a comrade that was inside had sent me a text that there was an overflow room being made available – I challenged Mr Pound with this and he look quite startled – and went back inside – he later came out and said that the AGM had not been cancelled – He then proceeded to usher in people who had joined the queue after us into the meeting , he did this a number of times and i did attempt to ask what was going on and why were people behind me in the queue being ushered in , but he just ignored me .
Eventually we managed to get into the building and cleared security – we went upstairs to be told that the overflow room was now full and that we would not be let in – effectively, we had been locked out of the meeting with at least 20 other comrades.
What makes this even worse is that comrades inside the meeting were not having their credentials checked in any way to establish if they were Labour Party members, Labour Party Irish Society Members or had RSVP’d . No register was taken of participants in the meeting .
So who exactly was in the meeting?
Were they LPIS members?
Had they RSVP’d?
Were they even members of Labour?
It appears that no one knows.
So how can this travesty be allowed to stand as an AGM?
In my view it cant!
The LPIS AGM should be declared null and void.
A new AGM should be arranged where democratic process is followed.
Vice Chair Hendon CLP
The NEC must take action – and any MPs and Labour officials found to have participated in this affront to democracy must face the maximum available sanction.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
Please share this & help Save Barnet Libaries gather evidence on the impact of the libraries cuts. The Government is considering whether Barnet Council has broken the law which requires them to run “a comprehensive & efficient” library service. This follows from a formal complaint submitted to the Department for Culture Media and Sport by the Save Barnet Libraries campaign.
You can help persuade the Government to rule against Barnet Council by filling out this form on the SBL website >> And SHARE it!
Barnet Trades Union Council fully supports Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature in the upcoming Labour Party Leadership Election.
We deplore and condemn the lack of democratic process being exhibited by the Labour NEC in relation to the impending Labour Leadership Election.
- Disenfranchisement of full Labour party members who have joined the Party since the end of January – even though it was clearly stated upon them joining as new members they would have a vote in any future party elections taking place.
This also call into question the legitimacy of any Branch Meetings, CLP All Members Meetings, Annual General Meetings and Local Campaign Forum Meetings which have been convened if new members who joined since the beginning of February had an active role and participated in voting.
- The assertion by the NEC that Supporters of the Labour Party who pay £25 by the 15th of July WILL have a vote in the Leadership Election even though full members of the Party who joined after the end of January will not.
This will also disproportionately effect people who will struggle to pay £25 at short notice – the very people who the Labour Party are meant to represent.
- NEC’s instruction that CLP, Branch and Local Campaign Forum meetings do not take place until after the Leadership Election is completed.
‘All normal Party meetings at CLP and Branch level shall be suspended until the completion of the Leadership Election. The only meetings which will be organised while this timetable is in place are:
# Meetings solely for the purpose of making a supporting nomination.
# Campaign planning meetings for by- elections or devolved mayors.
# Any meeting agreed with the explicit permission of the Regional Director [General Secretary]’
This is unacceptable and goes against the Labour tradition of inclusive Democracy.
We call upon the NEC and Local Labour Parties to reinstate Democracy in the Labour Party and to overturn these unconstitutional, anti-democratic, usurping of Labour Party rules.
|Location||March Assembly Point||March||Rally||Speakers include|
to Westminster through Central London
|Kevin Courtney, Acting General Secretary, NUT, Madeleine Holt, Rescue Our Schools, Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, BMA, John McLoughlin, UNISON LG executive member, Mark Campbell , UCU London Region.|
We will be taking our next day of strike action on Tuesday 5th July as part of the ongoing campaign in pursuit of our pay claim to address the 14.5% fall in our wages in real terms since 2009.
The 5th July date has been chosen for maximum impact across London with many HE institutions also on strike that day.
Those of you with school-age children may be aware that the National Union of Teachers will also be taking strike action on the 5th in their separate dispute with their employers.
A more detailed email will follow but the plan for the 5th is that Middlesex University UCU will conduct a “Teach Out” on the Burroughs on the morning of the 5th (the day of the Annual Teaching and Learning Conference at Middlesex). Our “Teach Out” will address the government plans in the White Paper for HE and we will discuss the alternative vision for HE as seen by UCU, the Council to Defend British Universities and other organisations.
We hope to have a speaker from Middlesex Student Union to give us the view of the student body and to tell us about the growing national concerns about the retrospective rise in the interest rate on student loans etc.
There will be other opportunities for creative learning during the morning with interesting options for those of you who might need to bring your children to the “Teach Out”. In the afternoon there is likely to be a pan-London event involving a range of education unions. More detail on this in a later email. You are the UCU.
Do be part of the 5th July – this will be the liveliest picket ever.
Sent on behalf of Middlesex UCU Branch Exec Follow us via social media:
Twitter – @UCU_MDX
Facebook – UCU Middlesex University
Picket Lines 8-12pm on 5th July at the front of the university.
Unison believes the attack on him is misjudged ,mistimed and indulgent .
After a devastating Referendum result ,it is vital that our labour MP ‘s return to their constituencies to begin to heal the dangerous fault lines that have split poorer working class communities and not be hidden away in the corridors of Westminster plotting against an elected leader with an overwhelming mandate.