The SKWAWKBOX has covered at length the dramatic developments in Sandwell, the West Midlands core of the Labour right – including the ‘earthquake’ of the suspension both of the LCF (local campaign forum) and of its secretary, Tom Watson ally Derek Rowley.
Mr Rowley was suspended after allegations not only of anti-democratic practices but also of bullying and of shoving a councillor to prevent her entry to a meeting, causing her a leg injury.
On Saturday, Sandwell council’s ‘Labour group’ held its annual garden party: a Labour event rather than a council one – and therefore not one that Mr Rowley should be allowed to attend during his suspension.
But in spite of the seriousness of the allegations against him Mr Rowley was at the event as the ‘plus one’, according to witnesses, of the council’s deputy leader and was seen conversing with various senior Sandwell figures.
Rowley’s presence was enough to prevent at least some Sandwell officials who have complaints against him from feeling they could attend. Some who opposed his presence described his admission as a sign of ‘contempt and arrogance’ on the part of senior council figures.
The SKWAWKBOX asked Sandwell’s deputy leader for confirmation that she had invited him, for information about the circumstances surrounding the invitation and his arrival and why, if she did invite him, she did so when he is suspended and should not be allowed at Labour events while the suspension lasts. She has not responded.
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