The city of Southampton is divided into two constituencies – Test and Itchen – but governed by a single Labour body, Southampton Labour. Only one of the constituencies, Southampton Test, has a Labour MP: Alan Whitehead.
Last autumn, Southampton Labour was going through something of an organisational shake-up, with plans underway by Southampton Labour’s elected Secretary, Lisa Fricker, to move the local party office into the more convenient Southampton office of the Unite union.
The move was resisted by a section of the local party, particularly right-wingers who did not want the local party operating more closely with Unite. But that resistance appears to have spilled over into direct action of a questionable nature, as a leaked email reveals:
Three of the people in the email, including the sender and Richard Brown – apparently the ‘Rich’ who was checking ‘there is no paperwork down there that we wouldn’t want [Fricker] to see‘, work for Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead.
But the documents the email discusses sending are not official MP’s correspondence, as they could only be processed out of hours.
The SKWAWKBOX wrote to Ms Willson to inform her that an article would be published on the email and to ask the following questions:
- ‘liberating’ items would appear to be a euphemism for theft, assuming you were not entitled to them – if you were, presumably they would not need to be ‘liberated’. Were you entitled to the items?
- what kind of documents were, or might have been, removed so that the elected Southampton Labour Secretary wouldn’t see them?
- what kind of letters have you sent/were you looking to send out that couldn’t be sent through the Labour office as usual?
- did the Labour group ever stop or reduce its donations?
- why would the Labour group consider stopping donations because the office had moved to the Unite building?
No response has been received, in spite of several days to answer and a reminder that publication was approaching.
An email was also sent at the same time to Richard Brown, asking what paperwork was removed and why. No response has been received.
Ms Willson appears to be on the right of the Labour Party and is considered as such by Southampton Labour members the SKWAWKBOX spoke to. She has signed at least one petition by Labour First, one of Labour’s most right-wing factions.
Satvir Kaur, one of the recipients of the email, is a Southampton City Council cabinet member.
The questions raised by the email and sent by the SKWAWKBOX to its originator remain unanswered but will certainly be pursued by Southampton Labour members eager to know what was withheld from their elected Secretary, why items purchased by their group were ‘liberated’ for other purposes and what those other purposes were.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.