Right’s whining re Lewisham East selection process couldn’t be more hypocritical


As the SKWAWKBOX predicted in its article about the Lewisham East selection and by-election timetable, Labour right-wingers are unhappy about a supposed ‘stitch-up’ of the process, which will involve a selection by members from a shortlist decided by the National Executive Committee (NEC), rather than candidate nominations from branches.

The compressed timetable has been governed by the decision of Lewisham’s deputy Returning Officer – Lewisham currently has no Returning Officer in place – to choose a deadline just a week away.

Right-wingers are claiming this is anti-democratic, primarily because they would have been looking to control the candidates themselves via the branch nomination process.

Lewisham East member Ian McKenzie emailed supporters asking them to lobby the NEC, saying “don’t let the NEC officers group take away our party democracy. Act now!

Progress director Richard Angell called the process “pathetic” and a “stitch-up”, claiming the NEC was putting “factional interest over public interest. A shameful way to take advantage of local voters and bulldozers local party members. So much for party democracy.

What a joke.

Ian McKenzie, for the right-wing faction Labour First, has been travelling the country talking up his achievements in controlling Lewisham East and teaching right-wingers in other constituencies tips and tricks to control their local party in spite of the fact that most of them have pro-Corbyn member majorities.

Left-wingers, who tried to attend to see what was being said, contacted the SKWAWKBOX to advise that they had been uninvited.

When last year’s General Election was called, the then right-dominated NEC decided not to allow any CLPs (constituency Labour parties) to even discuss having trigger ballots (the process for trying to replace an MP members are unhappy with) or have a selection process – unless they had to because their MP didn’t want to stand. Constituencies with no MP had no choice but to accept the candidate who failed in 2015 – unless that candidate didn’t want to stand again.

nec no trigger.png

There were cries of outrage and ‘stitch-up’ from members about a decision that affected virtually every constituency in the country – but the then-NEC blamed it on a lack of time, because Theresa May had called a ‘snap’ election.

However, there were no such objections from the Labour right – the decision gave them their best chance of keeping right-wing MPs in post.

‘So much for democracy’?

No. So much for hypocrisy.

As usual, the right is happy to dish it – but then plays the victim when things don’t go their way.

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  1. So what we are saying is that it is O.K. for us to stitch the election process up this time and ride roughshod over the local membership because the right wing did it last time.
    I find this difficult to accept. If democracy gets shafted it doesn’t become acceptable because it is we who are shafting it.

    1. Haven’t said it’s being stitched up. The RO’s schedule requires a truncated process – and the right are happy with that when it works in their favour. That’s hypocritical

    2. Democracy is merely a means for one group to dominate another. It is not sacred. Sometimes the greater good has priority, eg in wartime. Make no mistake, the neo-libs in the LP have declared war.

  2. It is very disappointing that Ian McKenzie of the reactionary right wing organisation, Labour First, and Richard Angell of the right wing organisation, Progress, have chosen to behave in such an ill-disciplined and sectarian manner regarding this selection process.

    The Labour party’s objective is to return a Labour Government. That objective will only be achieved by the party being united and disciplined.

    It is quite clear from the destructive behaviour of Mr McKenzie and Mr Angell that their organisations do not share the same objectives as the Labour Party.

    Their ill-disciplined behaviour damages the electability and reputation of the party and is detrimental to the party. As such, they are both in clear beach of rule 2.i.8 of Labour Party rules.

    A formal complaint will be made against both individuals for this rule breach.

  3. nah, take a look at this bit of PR I would imagine paid for by Blair or his PR company.
    It is an attack piece, but has some nuggests of facts in that allow them to get away with printing it.

    1) The national executive committee (NEC) always selects byelection candidates,

    2) Several people have already let it be known they are interested, but there are indications that Labour HQ, Southside, would like to see an all-female shortlist and is likely to favour at least a majority of BAME candidates in a constituency where nearly half the voters are minority ethnic.

    3) That will be whittled down to shortlist a shortlist of three made on Monday afternoon from which Lewisham CLP will be invited to choose the candidate on Wednesday evening.

    The quote by the progress dude at the end of the article is laughable. The guy just makes himself look a right tit.

  4. Oh yes. The right of the Labour Party behaves worse than Tories. Hard to believe. But true. We have bent over backwards to include and build bridges, but they have done everything they can to get rid of Jeremy and undermine the left. Enough is enough as someone said recently. Let’s move to undermine and reduce their power and reselect the worst of them.

  5. Ignore , carry on and elect a left winger who wholeheartedly supports JC
    ‘s drive to democratise the party , that’s the most effective and efficient way to drive the RW whiners nuts and OUT the party .
    However we do need to keep track of their activities at local CLP level and neutralise them

  6. Since when have the right wing given a toss about democracy, a commodity that has been in short supply since 1979 and not at all since 2010!

  7. The RW/Blairites caused us to lose the last election and will do their best to do the same again. They will not stop and will do everything they can to destroy our chances. At this stage anything goes to get rid of them and let the LP get into government.

  8. I agree with the general point made by Ceredig. The left should not be willing to accept process abuse just because it favours the left. The point is to be principled in all things and to demonstrate the left is morally superior as well.

    It is a bit rich though to moan about this process as it is perfectly normal for the NEC to select a shortlist for a by-election and within the Chapter 5 rules, Clause I.2.

    It is though not acceptable if the shortlist is entirely BAME. It can be an AWS but an all BAME shortlist would in my view breach the Equality Act 2010 at s.104(6). The list could have a majority of BAME applicants but it will need at least a token of diversity to be lawful.

    One other concern I do have is that whilst it is within the rules to pick the shortlist the required notice period to the CLP members for a business meeting is 7 days. The NEC has no legal power to vary this minimum period of notice. A failure to give the proper notice would breach the rules and render the meeting potentially void and in turn any selection as ultra vires. This could then theoretically be challenged in Court.

    Probably it won’t be but as the NEC are essentially gambling with members money if any Court challenge arises this is irresponsible. Just ensure the 7 days notice is properly given and then this is not a problem. Then as long as the meeting is quorate (this is normally 25% but depends on the CLP’s own rules if the Regional director has agreed with the CLP a different specific number) and properly conducted any selection would be fully valid.

    For once could we just actually do something right and in accordance with the Party rules!

  9. A correction. I was unaware that the date of the election had been set for 14th June and the returning officer must have nomination papers by 17th May. That does constitute an emergency that justifies a shorter period of notice for the CLP selection meeting. So it would seem it is valid notice. That was my error based on not having the full information. My apologies.

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