Labour rules say suspended members still vote. Why were they blocked in 2016?

complaints procedure cover

The Labour Party issues a guide to officers and members on the party’s complaints procedure. It makes interesting reading.

Last year, thousands of members – seemingly almost all pro-Corbyn – were suspended on largely tenuous and spurious grounds relating to their social media activity. Famously, one was suspended for expressing her love for a rock band in raw terms.

The suspensions were used to bar members from voting in the leadership election – a move seen by most members as an attempt to reduce the number of pro-Corbyn voters by a party Establishment that had no policies or personalities to check the incumbent leader’s popularity.

But Labour’s rules say suspension does not prevent a member from voting:

complaints procedure

Suspended members are still allowed to attend their local branch party meetings – though many CLPs (constituency Labour parties) are not organised on a branch-meeting basis.

Suspended members are not allowed to hold a branch or CLP office. They are not allowed to attend the main CLP meeting – unless it is to cast a vote where members must be physically in attendance to vote.

They are allowed to vote “in ballots of all individual members“.

A party leadership election is a “ballot of all individual members“.

So even suspended members are allowed to vote in leadership elections.

The procedure does give the NEC a get-out clause:

whether by the NEC in pursuance of 1 above or by the NCC in imposing a disciplinary penalty, unless otherwise defined by that decision

Allowing them to ‘define otherwise’ – but then why ‘define otherwise’ in the leadership election, if the suspension was not imposed specifically in order to prevent suspended members from voting? Nobody was in danger from a member attending a meeting where they might start an incident – votes were online and by post.

And the suspension was not even a ‘disciplinary penalty. Members had not been found guilty of anything – and almost all the suspensions were lifted following the leadership election.

Even if the NEC/NCC were technically allowed to act as they did, the fact that they did so points a finger at the motivation being purely to prevent members from voting, rather than the prevention being a side-effect of the suspension.

Which is what most members have believed all along.

The Labour Party was contacted about this issue. A spokesperson commented:

The NEC agreed special procedures for disciplinary cases during the Leadership election, and those subject of NEC decisions did not receive a vote in accordance with those procedures. Other members who were already in suspension outside of the leadership election and not subject to the NEC’s agreed procedures received a vote in accordance with the rule book.

This does not, of course, address the issue of why the NEC ‘agreed special procedures.. during the Leadership election‘ depriving members of a vote, when a ‘normal’ suspension – which might be for far more serious reasons than a contentious social media comment – were allowed to vote.

Which will do nothing to lessen the conviction of pro-Corbyn members that the ‘why’ was exactly in order to reduce the Corbyn vote.

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8 responses to “Labour rules say suspended members still vote. Why were they blocked in 2016?

  1. Pingback: Labour rules say suspended members still vote. Why were they blocked in 2016? | Hercules space·

  2. Pingback: Labour rules say suspended members still vote. Why were they blocked in 2016? | Jaffer's blog·

  3. Pingback: Labour rules say suspended members still vote. Why were they blocked in 2016? – The SKWAWKBOX – leftwing nobody·

  4. I resigned from the Labour party because of my suspension the NEC needs a total replacement. Labour is not democratic with current NEC Zionist/Blairites!

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  5. I WAS ON THE VERY EDGE OF RESIGNING, THEN I WITHDREW THE IDEA.
    YOU HAVE TO BE INIT TO WINIT!
    TO FIGHT THOSE WHO MADE THE DECISION TO BAR ME FROM THE SECOND VOTE!
    OUR DAY IS FAST APPROACHING WERE WE WILL HAVE OUR DAY AND SEE THE BACK OF THOSE THAT CREATED THEIR OWN DEPARTURE!
    IN THEIR HASTE TO FIX OUR ELECTION!

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  6. Many people excluded from voting will have been expelled under rule 4.1.2.B, or have had their membership rejected by the General Secretary under Appendix 2. They are not suspended. Suspension occurs when a complaint has been made and the perpetrator is suspended pending a hearing, and/or suspended as a penalty. I suspect there are far fewer of these. This should be raised.

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  7. Pingback: Bexhill and Battle CLP calls for McNicol suspension | The SKWAWKBOX·

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