Excl: full email confirming ‘earthquake’ suspension that has shaken Labour right


Last night, the SKWAWKBOX revealed the suspension of Sandwell LCF (Local Campaign Forum) in the West Midlands – and why it has seismically shaken right-wing Labour at its core.

The ‘earthquake’ was confirmed by an email “TO ALL LABOUR GROUP MEMBERS AND OBSERVERS” – but the news of the shock suspension was not its only point of interest. Below is a screenshot of the email – for visually-impaired readers, the full text is reproduced immediately after that:

sandwell susp full.png


Dear Colleague,

Yesterday group officers were notified that the Sandwell Local Campaign Forum (LCF) has been temporarily suspended by the party’s NEC, pending an investigation. It is not yet clear why this action has been taken.

I appreciate that you may have questions, group officers will share all of the information we can at the appropriate time. However, as there is now an active investigation, discussion or debate on this cannot be permitted. This is in order to safeguard the independence of the investigation. For now, all queries you may have should be directed to Regional Office.

The Chief Whip would like to politely remind you that if you are contacted by any individual who is not a member of this group you should not comment on internal party matters, and refer them to the West Midlands Labour Party Regional Office for comment. You should be aware that any unauthorised disclosure of this information may fall into the scope of the ongoing investigation

If you are contacted by the investigating team to assist them with their enquiries you are expected to co-operate fully with their request in a timely manner.

I apologise I cannot give you any more information at this time. The Group Officers and the Executive will endeavour to resolve this issue quickly and appropriately to minimise any adverse impact on preparations for the 2019 local elections. Thank you for your understanding.

All the best,

The middle paragraph warns recipients that any comments to outside parties “may fall into the scope of the ongoing investigation” – unlikely, given the grounds for the suspension, but perhaps a sign of the consternation the suspension has caused or of a hope among some that it would go away quietly if the news was not allowed to spread.

The SKWAWKBOX has already begun to receive messages from Labour members in other areas, who see the similarities between anti-democratic practices in Sandwell and those perpetrated by entrenched figures in their own area – and who are encouraged that change is coming.

Labour’s leadership has a significant task ahead to unpick structures built over decades to protect privilege, but it’s an essential one. Sandwell must only be the starting point – but as the heartland of right-wing entitlement, it’s a hugely symbolic one.

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  1. I’m not a naturally optimistic person but for once I’m willing to give it a try – I’m contemplating what a Labour Party speaking with one voice and one agenda might look like.
    Looks good.

  2. During the McNicol era the NEC concentrated on protecting the incumbent hierarchy of the party and for the most part completely ignored the legitimate democratic interests and concerns of the membership.

    The new GenSec appears to have recognised that the real heart and strength of the party lies in its diverse membership and that elected officials at all levels of the party are there to serve the interests of the membership and not the other way round. This really is a welcome sign.

    One Member One Vote is the only way forward.

  3. After a Right Wing top down Labour Council Executive Board cut transport provision for vulnerable young disabled adults 16+ in my city – a cut too far – my union branch passed a great resolution in support of the parents (some of whom are our members) and we went on to also pass a resolution for the Katy Clark Labour Party Democracy Review:
    1. End Labour Campaign Forums and return to District Labour Parties with delegates from each CLP and with no city councillors allowed to be officers.
    2. Scrap Executive Boards on the Council and Labour Group members elect Chairs and bring back Council Committee structures.
    3. Elect the Leader of the Labour Group OMOV by all members in the city.
    Smite the Right Wing Barbarians in Labour with democracy!

  4. It needs secret ballots to be presented by post or person sent to every member of the CLP.

    1. Haven’t there been problems in the past with ‘activists’ filling in postal votes for community members whose lack of written English and habit of deferring to community leaders makes them vulnerable to such abuse?

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