The SKWAWKBOX has covered the ongoing controversy in the West Midlands borough of Sandwell at some length, where the local Labour Party has been riven by allegations over the behaviour of senior Labour figures – and that those senior figures have been protected by Labour’s West Midlands regional office.
Those allegations were discussed last month by an informal meeting of members of Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee), with a view to suspending the Sandwell ‘Local Campaign Forum’ (LCF), in which two of the main accused figures play a senior role.
Last Tuesday, the ‘Disputes Panel’ of the NEC met to decide which cases would be referred to Labour’s most heavyweight disciplinary body, the NCC (National Constitutional Committee) – a meeting that erupted in its own controversy after its chair took to social media to criticise the results, after cases she felt should have been dismissed were referred to the NCC and the members involved were suspended.
Among the other cases discussed at that meeting was that of the less senior of the two main Sandwell figures accused of serious sexual and financial misconduct.
That person was – at last – suspended and referred to the NCC.
The most senior was not – and has still not been suspended, in spite of the serious nature of the allegations and the involvement of police – but is now ‘in play’ for concrete action and is likely to face severe criticism in the local press for poor judgment in appointing his colleague who now faces the risk of expulsion by the NCC.
A detailed Sandwell dossier will now be presented to the next full meeting of the NEC on 20 March, with the suspension of the whole Sandwell LCF likely to result – and send shockwaves through the centrist establishment in the whole West Midlands.
A local source familiar with all the events and personalities involved told the SKWAWKBOX that panic will be spreading among the entrenched old guard and described the remaining senior figure as ‘a dead man walking‘ because of the focused attention of the NEC.
The West Midlands has long been the bastion of the Labour right, to the detriment of local members and the reputation of the party. At long last, the cracks in that bastion are widening and its collapse could be imminent – which will be a huge relief to the majority of local members who are behind the party’s new direction and eager to push forward.
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