A sorry tale has reached the ears of this blog about the abysmal treatment of a sixteen-year-old Labour member by the Don Valley CLP (constituency Labour party) of ‘moderate’ MP Caroline Flint.
This young member – who has been a member of the Labour Party since she was fourteen – was eager to go as a delegate to Labour’s annual Conference in Brighton in September. She stood, and was duly selected, to go as the CLP’s ‘youth delegate’.
And then, after thanking her for being willing to go, the CLP ‘executive’ blocked her from going – after she had already booked and paid.
The SKWAWKBOX has obtained emails sent to this young lady by the CLP Chair and Secretary that show the train of events. The first two emails concern the fact that she will self-fund – as the exec claims the CLP can only afford to fund one delegate – and then confirm that she can and will attend as a self-funding delegate.
And the CLP thanks and congratulates her for it:
The deadline for Conference applications this year was 7 July and our young heroine duly applied and paid.
The day after the deadline, she received an email from the CLP Secretary that completely reversed the earlier confirmation:
Let’s be clear: there is nothing in the Labour Party’s rules that says a delegate cannot be self-funding. Likewise, there is nothing in the party’s rules to allow a CLP exec to simply decide to ignore the democratic vote of its members to send a youth delegate (or the women’s delegate, who has also been blocked).
And, according to local members, the ‘exec’ that made this decision is said to include the MP, the MP’s husband, her paid assistant – and the councillor who will be going to the Conference.
The young would-be delegate contested the decision and the exec simply kicked it into the ‘long grass’ of the Labour bureaucracy saying, in another email:
As far as Don Valley CLP is concerned, the matter is closed.
One of the delegate’s parents told the SKWAWKBOX:
She was nominated as youth delegate at our CLP meeting along with our local councillor who was nominated as the additional women’s delegate. The main delegate is a Progress supporter. On the evening our MP Caroline flint said the CLP couldn’t afford to send the youth and women’s delegate because it has been an election year! She said only one delegate can go with voting rights.
After checking this the following day this was proved to be wrong and found that both the youth and womens delegate have voting rights and could be sent to conference. Our CLP secretary sent an email giving confirmation that both the youth and womens delegate could go as delegates with voting rights only they had to self fund.
Our ward Labour party agreed to pay. Registration and accommodation were paid for but on the morning of the 8th July (after deadline for delegate registration) the Chair and Secretary of the CLP sent an email stating that she could no longer go as a delegate.
They stated that there had been a meeting of the executive committee (consisting of the secretary, Caroline flint, her husband, the Progress delegate and Caroline’s paid assistant). At this meeting they made a decision not to allow the youth and women’s delegate to go because it was discriminatory against other members because they were self funding from our ward despite being told self funding was the only way they could go!
The idea that self-funding is discriminatory against other delegates is one that has been used at multiple CLPs around the country – and has no basis whatever in Labour’s rules. But the idea that self-funding is discriminatory against members who haven’t even been selected to go to Conference is a first for this blog.
The SKWAWKBOX calls on Ms Flint, Don Valley CLP and the Labour Party to reverse this ludicrous decision and allow the CLP’s elected delegates to attend – and vote at – the party’s annual Conference.
The matters to be decided at the Conference are huge and it is essential that every delegate of goodwill toward Labour’s vision and status as a true alternative to a failed economic and political Establishment is there to vote.
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