Excl: this audio of hate speech against Syed NOT given to Disputes Panel before he was suspended

On Tuesday, Labour NEC member and ‘Disputes Panel’ chair Christine Shawcroft caused controversy by social media comments attacking unions for not voting against the suspension – and referral to the ‘NCC’ (National Constitutional Committee, Labour’s most senior disciplinary group) – of certain Labour members.

The unions – as the SKWAWKBOX was exclusively able to reveal – abstained from voting because no evidence had been presented to justify voting against referring the matter to the NCC.

They were correct – but that did not mean that mitigating evidence did not exist.

Ilford South Labour member – and former CLP (constituency Labour party) secretary Syed Siddiqi was among those suspended.

Syed Siddiqi

Siddiqi – accompanied by a barrister – had presented evidence to the party investigators in the form of an audio recording during the investigatory interview.

A recording of serious Islamophobic abuse by a fellow member and would-be council candidate, who had taken offence at being removed from a WhatsApp group. The recording is shocking:

The full recording is almost four minutes long. Some of the most repetitive parts were edited out for brevity.

Whatever other evidence was presented in the case, this recording – in which the other member warns Siddiqi that he will not be CLP secretary for much longer, as well as calling him an Islamic fundamentalist and extremist – is clearly extremely relevant and potentially mitigating or even exonerating.

NEC members – not Ms Shawcroft – who were present for the Disputes hearing told the SKWAWKBOX that the recording was not among the evidence presented to the panel.

Mr Siddiqi’s barrister described Siddiqi’s investigatory interview as a

denial of justice…more reminiscent of a KGB interrogation than an impartial search for the truth.

His abuser has not been suspended.

Could allegations that have been circulating of a ‘stitch-up’, by right-wingers seeking ‘revenge’ for the resignation of outgoing Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol, have substance.

The NEC agreed, immediately after the Disputes hearing, to urgently review Labour’s disciplinary processes – that even waiting for the outcome of the ongoing ‘democracy review’ would be to wait too long.

Change is urgently needed.

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  1. Time and time again the party proves the point that it is simply incapable of running it’s own compliance and complaints process .Please for the sake of sanity and justice can this be comissioned out to an independent organisation based in law so we can have natural justice implemented when investigating and making decisions about people’s lives and reputations .

  2. This supports my contention that the Disputes Panel, the whole process of Investigation, is not fit for purpose. Extraordinary that this was not included in the Investigation Report produced for the Disputes Panel.

    It is one of those laugh or cry situations (I did both at the same time) that some of the NEC members that attend the Disputes Panel don`t challenge the Investigations report because they don`t want to be seen as questioning the integrity of the Investigator. WOW.

    Every person I have spoken to who has been investigated speak about the structure of the investigation from beginning to end is such that it is loaded against them. It is not done in a spirit of fairness and from a neutral position. It is confrontational, questions are structured in such a way that it is clear that likely guilt is assumed.

    People’s health, well being and reputations are at risk and many have been made very ill by the treatment they have received.

    Eighteen months ago it was publicly stated that the Disputes Committee had agreed the need for a new disciplinary procedure.

    We are still waiting.


    1. Nobody should be involved in the disputes process at any stage unless they understand the principles of due process and natural justice – and agree to abide by them!

  3. This is the very nature of the process of witch hunting. The anti-semitism witchunt in the Labour Party is a disgrace and no one seems to have the moral or political power to stop it. All that the accused can do is ‘confess’ and hope for clemancy.

    1. My fear is that there may also be a sexual harassment witch hunt which no-one dares to confront. It simply appalls me that such serious matters as anti-semitism, sexual abuse and racism are potentially being weaponised in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

      Thanks to Skwawkbox and Christine Shawcroft’s outburst, it is now possible to see the mechanism whereby such ‘stitch-ups’ could occur. Everything hinges on the political neutrality of the General Secretary and the LP staff investigators…. a neutrality which has been called into question on a number of occasions.

  4. help considerably if the Party actually had a written due process within its rules and constitution. Without this to underpin good practice the unscrupulous, the sociopathic and the mardy can undermine the party and anyone within it for their own narrow ends and proven unworkable right wing ideology.

    A great many members have been expelled, abused, falsely accused and bullied as a result of a complete absence of any recognisible due process. The fact that in this case, once again, we see a piece of vital evidence not even considered goes beyond incompetence to clearly demonstrate deliberate gerrymandering by people incapable of acting and behaving like mature adults and who are instead totally focused on getting their own way regardless of the collective and individual costs to others.

    It really is way past time for using Cromwell’s advice with those who cannot accept they are no longer relevant:

    “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately…

    Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

  5. Clearly the presenters of evidence decided they would omit this evidence, we can only presume because it did not fit in with their agenda, the sooner we get Mcnicol out of the Labour Party altogether the sooner we can concentrate on the Tories.

    As a trade unionist I do believe we need to look at who is sat on important bodies like this and bring them to account for decisions that seem to lack the oversight that is essential to sit in judgment of others.

    I would also appeal that all suspensions are now lifted, due to the level of mismanagement surrounding the ability of these people making sound judgments.

    This has gone on too long, and ultimately like a lot of the claims made are not substantiated. Those unions and there are some, that are working against the majority of the Labour membership, should be reviewed, and disaffiliated if found to oppose the new direction Labour is travelling in.

    If they want Neo-Liberal capitalism then the Labour Party is not the vehicle to deliver it and they can sponsor another organisation to their liking.

  6. The disputes panel are only shown the Governance and Legal officer’s report of each case. They decide whether to refer to the NCC on the opinion of this single person. If members of the disputes panel question the fairness of the report or of the system, they are shouted down by the right-leaning members of the panel and accused of attacking the integrity of Labour staff.

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