Birmingham Labour confirms disenfranchisement of members

The SKWAWKBOX has covered in some detail the unlawful plan by Birmingham Labour board to apply a ‘freeze date’ of July 2015 that will disenfranchise around two-thirds of Birmingham Labour members for six years, so that the right-wingers can continue to control candidate selections.

Almost all of the disenfranchised members will be Corbyn supporters.

Three CLPs (constituency Labour parties) and 9 branch parties passed resolutions against the measure and it’s clear that a majority of members in the area oppose it.

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Part of a flyer created by local members asking for their democratic rights

A meeting took place last week to vote on the decision – by secret ballot, so that CLPs can’t even hold their representatives to account – and the freeze-date was ratified.

The decision shows that those currently running Birmingham Labour have respect neither for their members nor for the law, since the legal advice published on the matter was unequivocal. The Right has maintained a stranglehold over the local party’s offices and processes for decades, with some many branches in ‘special measures’ for around 25 years according to local members.

The local Momentum group has issued a statement about the situation that can be found here.

Those responsible for this are clearly bringing Labour into disrepute. This, together with the fact that they will still be expecting those they’ve disenfranchised to turn out to campaign in local by-elections, the Mayoral election and the’full set’ of council elections in 2018 – for candidates they have had no say in choosing – means that this anti-democratic and small-minded measure has done material damage to Labour’s electoral prospects.

It’s time that they were removed – and as the current NEC composition makes it unlikely that the proper action will be taken, it will probably need to be via legal action. The alternative is to allow those responsible to proceed with impunity and retain power for years to which they have no democratic right.

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  1. What part of Labour Party structure is this Board. There’s no such thing in Leeds or West Yorkshire.

  2. hi , thanks for your excellent work, really appreciating its usefulness for organising. I am member of Momentum Oxford. I will be setting up a (small I’m afraid) sub via Paypal (shame to have to use a CIA founded conduit, but any port in a storm I suppose). Also, I thought you might be interested in a TV documentary investigation I produced in 1995 about Disenfranchisement of Labour voters in Manchester Gorton. It may be worth sharing with the Birmingham CLP members who are experiencing similar things now. After this film was transmitted, the party (Blair was just repealing Clause 4 at the time) suspended all members who spoke on camera. All were subsequently re-instated (bar one who left the party) after group legal action co-ordinated by Jane Deighton. It’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdB8OI8PLvU&t=218s with all best wishes and thanks again for your powerful and essential work Rob

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