Labour’s international CLP (constituency Labour party), with some 3,500 members, is one of Labour’s larger CLPs, although its members are spread all over the world.
Labour First (LF) is one of Labour’s bigger right-wing factions, run by self-described ‘old Labour right’ Luke Akehurst.
Last week a new ‘centrist’ group sent the following email to members of Labour International who have signed up to LF’s mailing list:
From: Clause One Labour <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Clause One Labour International
Date: 5. January 2018 at 11:54:37 GMT+1
Hello from Clause One Labour International,
I’m Chris Birks and as a volunteer for Labour First, I understand you’re signed up to Labour First’s objectives and may be interested in joining the Labour International Clause One group. We’re a brand new group providing a voice to oppose the hard-left takeover of the CLP.
Last month a handful of volunteers – led by myself – established an informal group and were quickly followed by scores of like-minded members. The aim is to increase our presence within Labour International and secure its future as a democratic and representative constituency Labour Party for its 3,500+ members who live all over the world. The current Labour International Coordinating Committee is heavily stacked in favour of Momentum members and over recent months they have:
- Announced decisions to a small chosen few on Facebook and excluded huge swaths of the membership;
- Have banned our NEC representative, Ann Black, from participating in online discussions;
- Allowed a culture of abuse, including racism and anti-semitism to thrive.
Today, the LICC advertised a handful of co-opted positions which need to be filled before the end of the month and I’m determined to present Clause One members for every position giving us the very best opportunity to influence the LICC and change the direction it’s headed.
If you’d like to join a group of like-minded; progressive and moderate Labour members on Facebook, click this link: Clause One Labour International Group. The group is currently visible, however, I would like to make it a secret group sooner rather than later so please join as soon as possible.
Please take a look at our newly-launched (and pretty basic) website following the link below and feel free to contact me anytime with questions or comments.
The voice of moderate and progressive Labour members living overseas.
Under the Data Protect Act (DPA), a ‘data controller’ must not disclose personal information to a third party without the express permission of the ‘data subject’. The fact that the email came from a ‘clauseone.org’ email address to someone who had registered with Labour First and not with Clause One raised concerns about a possible breach of the DPA.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Luke Akehurst to ask for more information about the relationship between LF and Clause One. He responded:
We are supportive of what Clause One is doing but they are a separate group that was set up spontaneously by members of Labour International.
This clearly seems to indicate that ‘Clause One’ constitutes a third party, so we sent a follow-up asking:
- how Birks knew that the recipients of the email were signed up to Labour First’s objectives
- whether LF and Clause One had shared data
- whether LF had explicit permission from data subjects to do so
Chris Birks is emailing people on the LF email list in his capacity as a volunteer for LF. The purpose of his email is to ask if they would like to join Clause One.
But does that stand up?
Birks was not emailing from a Labour First email address to pass on a question from Labour First whether their member would be interested in hearing from or looking at Clause One. He was emailing from a Clause One email address and calling Clause One ‘we’ – stating only that he obtained the understanding that the recipient was an LF supporter through being an LF volunteer.
If Akehurst’s reasoning is faulty, could LF still permit the sharing of personal data on the basis that those signing up had given permission for them to share it?
Chris Birks of Clause One was contacted for comment about the email. He commented:
The premise for contact is stated clearly in the original correspondence – I’m a volunteer for Labour First.
Under the DPA, the claim that Birks accessed the data as a Labour First volunteer would not in itself justify its use by him for a purpose that is not directly a Labour First activity – and as Mr Akehurst stated, Clause One is a separate organisation.
Under the DPA, the fact that LF is supportive of Clause One’s purposes would be unlikely to allow LF to share its supporters data unless the subjects of the data had given specific permission to do so.
Whether this constitutes a breach would be a matter for the Information Commissioner – but it raised serious enough concerns in the mind of a Labour First subscriber for that person to send the details to the SKWAWKBOX.
The email also flags an attempt by the Labour right to start taking control of one of Labour’s largest CLPs – but that’s a topic for a separate article.
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