Ten days ago, The SKWAWKBOX reported that Wallasey CLP (Constituency Labour Party) vice-Chair Paul Davies was under threat of expulsion (not merely suspension) from the party for refuting false allegations against his CLP.
This blog has obtained correspondence – startling correspondence, in this writer’s opinion – between Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol and Mr Davies.
As regular readers will know, this blog has an extremely low opinion of Mr McNicol’s fitness for his post, yet his letter to Mr Davies still left this writer stunned by its crassness and hubris. Mr Davies’ reply stands in stark contrast as a reasoned and restrained response.
The letter from McNicol to Davies, which he appears to have signed in person for a change, is below. Comments on the highlighted sections follows immediately after:
- As Paul Davies’ response below indicates, no insinuation was made that the CLP’s response to the allegations of homophobia, abuse and intimidation was an official party document
- McNicol’s statement that the party should simply ‘move on’ and ‘heal divisions’ is unbelievably crass. At least one concocted accusation against Davies has been proven beyond question to have been false, while others simply do not make sense or stand up to scrutiny – and the official investigation report continues to insinuate that threats made were by Wallasey members when no evidence suggests this is true and, in one case, the one person who is known to have made a threat was not a Labour member and lived in Scotland; moreover, Wallasey’s Labour MP and her staff continue to insist that they received abuse and that a brick thrown through the MP’s office window was not through her office window, was not even a brick and no link has been made to any Labour member.
In these circumstances, to imply that ‘healing divisions’ is possible when people making false allegations continue in post is ridiculous – let alone that it is Davies’ responsibility to heal them or ‘make unity possible’. It is not possible – until the NEC investigates the right people and brings them to book
- To allege that Davies wants ‘an opportunity to further aggravate the ongoing situation’ is not just insulting but libellous. Seeking to clear your name when falsely accused is laudable, not being difficult or aggravating – and nobody should be expected to lie down and accept defamation just to keep unworthy people happy
Now we’ll let Mr Davies respond in his own words – a response which he sent to Mr McNicol at the beginning of this week. His reply is moderately long, but it’s worth reading all the way through to understand his perspective and get a feel for his justifiable outrage at the way the situation has been created and exploited. Emphases in bold italics are added by the SKWAWKBOX:
Dear Mr McNicol
Re: Wallasey CLP your ref A414096
I did not respond sooner to your letter of 29th November 2016 as you have still not responded to my letter to you of 24th October (attached for your convenience) nor to the 102 page document submitted to you jointly by the officers of the CLP. I nevertheless thought I should to you write prior to the Disputes Committee meeting so that this response is at least on record.
From the contents of your letter it would appear that, once again, you have been misinformed.
The 102 page document was not released to the press. Several reporters contacted me asking for an update. I told them that we were submitting a response but that it was confidential. Most were not interested in running a story unless they could have a copy.
You state that the NEC report did not single out any person. This is not true as reference was made to the alleged actions of the CLP Secretary and despite [redacted] knowing prior to presenting the NEC report what actually happened the actions of the Secretary were misrepresented. I refer to this on page 2 of my letter 24/1016.
Like you I regret that I had to resort to speaking to the press or attending Public Meetings at any stage during this whole sorry process but unfortunately nobody from the Labour Party has ever come to the defence of Wallasey CLP or its members.
Indeed you have not even written to our members telling them they are suspended or why. We were told that they could learn about it from the Press! No one bothered to meet officers of the CLP regarding the suspension until last week.
I would remind you of the penultimate paragraph in my letter of the 24th October when I refer to the Report presented to the NEC re Wallasey CLP;
“Rather than us all individually countering the mistakes and clarifying the Report it would be preferable if the Labour Party did this for us. I believe that you owe a duty of care to all your members including both those who allege homophobia and those whose conduct has been misrepresented by the contents of your Report and the accompanying press coverage”
You have done nothing to publicly clarify that the majority of members present at the AGM did not witness the alleged Homophobia. You have done nothing to publicly clarify that the death threat referred to in the NEC Report had nothing to do with Wallasey members. You have done nothing to publicly clarify how many Wallasey members out of the total 1300 are alleged to have been involved in intimidating behaviour.
I felt I had two choices. I could either allow the misleading reports in the media to go unchallenged and allow my name, and that of other members, be associated with homophobia, threatening behaviour and intimidation or I could speak out and defend our reputation as best I could.
Edmund Burke famously said
“ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
You and the Disputes Committee will eventually draw your conclusion of whether I am a good man (I think I already have a feel for your opinion on that) but you will never be able to reach the conclusion that I am prepared to do nothing or stay silent when I see the good people in Wallasey CLP being subjected to unjustified slurs.
You state that the document insinuated that it was an official document. Not so. It went to you as a presentation by the newly elected officers. The News Programme that covered the story stated that it was from the CLP officers to the Labour Party General Secretary.
You state you are troubled that I took this course of action. I am troubled at your inaction in defending us or in bringing this matter to a conclusion and lifting the suspension of Wallasey CLP.
You state that my action, in defending our reputation and refuting the false accusations, has exacerbated the problem of disunity in Wallasey. There is no disunity. There are just a few individuals, who cannot accept the result of the AGM or that their preferred candidate did not become Labour Leader, who will do and say just about anything to prevent us from holding meetings. The vast majority of members get along quite nicely and can engage in civilised debate with differing viewpoints.
You seem to suggest that my defending our reputation against false accusations is akin to intimidation of those making the false accusations. [!!!!] I presume if I am attacked in the street and defend myself you would also consider that to constitute me intimidating my attacker!
There was a very serious accusation of Homophobic behaviour at the CLP. There were very serious allegations of threatening and abusive phone calls to the office of Angela Eagle. I never witnessed any such behaviour but both constitute criminal acts and I am at a loss as to why these allegations have not been referred to the Police. Had I witnessed such behaviour I would have both challenged it and reported it to the Police.
You are correct that a further Public Meeting was held in Wallasey.
At this meeting there was general consensus that once the suspension is lifted there is nothing to be gained by raking over the coals of what happened subsequent to the AGM. We have better things to do.
I think it was Barack Obama who advised Hilary Clinton to go high when Donald Trump went low. Advice she failed to follow in my opinion.
The vast majority of Wallasey members know the truth and will go high, leaving those who want to go low and make false accusations to their own devices, and we will avoid infighting in order to get on with the much more important task of working to expose the policies of the Tories, fighting for a properly funded NHS, fighting against inequality of wealth and opportunity and campaigning for the election of a Labour Government.
The vast majority of members in Wallasey will remain united in purpose and remain comrades despite having occasional disagreements over policy issues and tactics.
The vast majority of members in Wallasey will also continue to support Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party which of course is what this was really all about from the very beginning.
A frank, hard-hitting but statesmanlike response from Paul Davies that sheds an unflattering light on the behaviour and integrity of Labour’s General Secretary. It is to be hoped that his long-overdue removal from the position takes place soon – along with the deselection of an MP equally ill-suited to her office and who has lost the confidence of the vast majority of her members by participating in this long-running smear campaign against them.
Members of the NEC, should you chance to be reading this, get on with it – lift Wallasey CLP’s suspension, laugh the ridiculous disciplinary action against Mr Davies out of the room as it merits and rip off the festering sticking-plaster that is keeping unfit people in positions they can abuse.
Both in Wallasey and nationally.
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