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:
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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