Independent-minded left Dyer replaces Labour First’s Cosin as Labour’s NCC chair

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A little-marked change today will have a significant impact on the confidence of Labour members in the handling of serious disciplinary matters.

Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) is the party’s ultimate disciplinary body, with the power to expel members referred to it by the National Executive Committee (NEC) without right of appeal except for recourse to legal action.

In a 6-4 vote earlier today, the NCC voted to make Anna Dyer its new interim chair, replacing incumbent Maggie Cosin. Cosin, considered an ally of Labour First MP John Spellar, has been described by Momentum founder Jon Lansman as a ‘witchfinder general’ and has appointed herself to the vast majority of three-member panels deciding high-profile disciplinary cases such as that of Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the party earlier this year and has launched legal action.

Ms Dyer told the SKWAWKBOX that the newly-reconstituted NCC is looking forward to getting to grips with new rules passed by Labour’s conference, which ended today. She said that in this regard and others, the talents of newly-elected CLP (constituency Labour party) representative Daniel Blaney, who is a qualified lawyer, and of a new Unite representative on the committee – replacing a member of steel union Community – will be very helpful to its work.

She also told the SKWAWKBOX that she wants to improve the transparency of the committee’s work to improve the confidence of members in its fairness and decisions, but that issues of confidentiality must always take precedence for obvious reasons.

Ms Dyer, although elected by members to the NCC, is also a long-standing union activist with Unite and has a reputation for thoroughness and independent-mindedness – she launched legal action against the Labour Party in 2013 for ageism and sexism in selection processes, but settled the case in return for apologies from those concerned.

She told the SKWAWKBOX:

I took that action because there were some terrible practices and behaviour going on in those days that did a lot of damage to vulnerable individuals and to the party’s reputation. It was never about money and no financial settlement was involved, but things needed to improve and they did.

She also welcomed new rules about the rights of members to improved representation at NCC hearings:

Previously, members could either bring a ‘silent friend’ to hearings for support or they could bring legal representation to speak on their behalf, but only lawyers could fulfil that role. Under the new rules, any person they trust will be able to accompany them and, if required, speak up for them. This will make a huge difference for people who may not be able to express themselves clearly and who might not have the resources to afford a legal representative.

Cases processed by the NEC’s disputes committee in early September and judged serious enough for the NCC will start to come before the committee shortly.

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  1. Sounds an improvement being led by critical thinkers. An Asian Labour Councillor was once suspended for saying all the young people in his community joined so called IS because of things like the Iraq war. But someone had actually interviewed so-called IS fighters and found around 10% or so gave this as a reason. So if the councillor had done some reading/research and said 10%
    or so he would have been on rock solid ground. But Labour members do seem to being held to rigorous academic standards. Perhaps we can all learn from this and back up our arguments with evidence.

    1. If my family had been killed and my home had been destroyed by American and British bombs that had been dropped by fighter jets piloted by ‘heroes’ – I’d be angry.

      One and a half million innocent Iraqi civilians lost their lives whilst the West dropped bombs as if they were throwing confetti at a wedding. All in the search for ‘weapons of mass destruction’ which didn’t exist.

      You can see photos on the Internet of traumatised parents carrying their children who’ve had their limbs blown off. This is how terrorists are made.

    2. Other than your vague memory of someone how much checking did you do before posting this?

  2. Fantastic news for those whose cases have been referred in September, they stand a chance of a fair trial.

    But what about the rest? Those “tried” and convicted on flimsy evidence, under a system that saw Jane Shaw in the Compliance Unit, work with CLPs to get the outcome the CLP wanted. And yes, I can support that allegation. Ms Shaw was never so helpful when I asked for my data. Nine days before my hearing, new information arrived at my home and when I questioned it, it was only then that Ms Shaw told me that I needed to request a separate Subject Access Request from the CLP. A question I had been asking since January – 7 months before.

    Added to the new “evidence” was a CLP statement directing the panel about what information I could use as my rebuttal. The charges against me had been changed and surprise, surprise one of them was antisemitism.

    The Chair of the panel, the NEC union representative from Aslef, Mick Whelan, decided what data to use which discarded my rebuttal of the allegations. Coincidentally, the information he discarded was the same as the directive from the CLP (which was written in legalese, by a member of the CLP executive, who should not have had access to my data under the GDPR rules).

    The absolute worst part, is the way the party ignores members, sometimes for years. Leaving them to wonder exactly what is happening.

    I suppose it’s just rough justice for the many other members who have been similarly dealt with under the previous system.

    Democratic socialism? Nothing like it.

    1. Nemtona-this is what I was looking for not that I understand the processes that they put you through fully. Has your case been referred? Are you likely to get a fairer hearing or is the whole system stacked? What were you accused of exactly- Do you know? What CLP is it? I presume a Progress run one? Are you getting elgal representation. They surely can’t just add anti Semitism as an afterthought. Was it bringing the Party into Disrepute. How?

      1. Hi-ya Poetrymuseum, My case has not been to the NEC who decided I could have an appeal. Long story, I resigned from the party over the worst display of bullying I have ever seen in a meeting of so called adults. I was asked to return weeks later, I reapplied and the CLP blocked my return.

        All the usual stuff, twisting social media posts to make it fit their allegations, some of it so ridiculous even my solicitor giggled when she saw it.

        Basically, I stood up to a gang of bullies and continued to campaign for a Labour MP (we were a Tory marginal, now a Labour marginal). The did not want the candidate we were given, mainly because it wasn’t one of their crowd. They did not campaign in 2015 either and we lost by 806 votes.

        And yes, the CLP changed the accusation from racist against Israel (and others) to antisemitism nine days before the hearing. They also had a load of new “evidence” again mostly social media screen shots, taken out of context. Forget all the social media work I did for the 2015 election and that I was part of the social media team that even Iain McNicol had to acknowledge as one of the best.

        This has nothing to do with my actions on social media, which had never been an issue until I tried to return to the party. This is part of a personal vendetta, by this group against me.

        The whole system is a farce.

        My blog goes into more detail. This is my latest blog, earlier blogs are further down the page if you click on to them.


  3. Things really do now seem to be getting better and better , or one could say , just getting back to a normal red Labour party after some years in the Blair wilderness .
    Great stuff and very buoyant times ahead now I hope .

  4. The question is, why weren’t these procedures in place before? How come those who knew about Labour’s kangaroo court procedures didn’t speak up and have them abolished?

    We speak about bringing democracy to the Labour Party. It seems there is still a long way to go to wrest control from groups within the Party machine who seek to stifle open, transparent, fair and fully democratic processes.

    1. Yes Jack. After thirty odd years of taking the Party over, from Kinnock through Blair to Brown, a disdain for members, it is going to take a lot longer than three years to take it back. On top of that -the world moves on- younger people are telling us policies they want and need, and we are dealing with different global issues and a UK that has been drained of industry, tax sucked out to the Cayman Islands and other places, public services privatised, nearly all the family silver has been sold to foreign entities (EDF/Water Utilities etc) and failing private companies (such as Carillion)- and the NHS shaken to its foundations and being privatised by stealth.

  5. Good news a much needed improvement. Too many good people have been expelled from our party over the past couple of years. As commented above our members seem to be being held to very rigorous academic standards or should that be some members who disagree with the right wing of the party? Let us hope we continue the move to the left and return to being a truly democratic and socialist party.

  6. Where has Cosin gone? Despite Jeremy’s clear-eyed cry for unity, Cosin took a partisan right wing hang ’em first approach. I would like to see some transparency please on what has been going on with some of the hearings-everybody is asking. I am probably whistling in the dark and it won’t be known for a hundred years! Marc Wadsworth is going to Court so his case which was misrepresented as suspension for anti-semitism in much of the MSM, was in fact was for bringing the Party into disrepute. So in his case his defence may well come out more publicly if he has been able to raise enough funds for court. But every Corbyn supporting Labour member is asking what was the experience of those who had to hitherto presented to the NCC and what for? Many of these have not had expensive legal representation. Potential for elgal action against the party is the barrier to transparency. Additionally -I think we need to know if anyone has been expelled for anti-Semitism , how many, and what they did to be expelled. If it was indeed vile anti-Semitism we should back that person has no place with us. On other issues, what is stopping reference of Chukka Umuna to the NEC for calling on Corbyn to call off “his ‘dogs” and thus bringing the Party into disrepute? I’ll tell you. Corbyn would not want it. His mantra is not No Pasaran as Emily would have it, it is No Confrontation!. But on Umunna, anything else is partisan hypocrisy. It is around this issue of discipline that the MSM rabidly attack Labour without evidence as Willsman made clear.Can Skwawkbox do some research and some more explication? I totally agree with Skwawk about the behaviour of Jon Snow and his editors on Luciana Berger’s police story outside conference implying that it was inside conference she was threatened, which was untrue, and when it was the extreme right that made death threats in Liverpool in the shape of Nimmo and others. . Similarly -did Diane Abbott have police protection at any point? She should have beca\use she has had not one death threat but hundreds. . By the way, Snow and everyone on this blog would be advised to read the brilliant academic Lorna Finlayson in the London review of Books this week called ~”Jeremy Now’. I shall put up a link.

    1. Mark Wadsworth’s “trial” was a disgrace. He was originally charged with antisemitism, for an innocuous remark to Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the Chakrabarti report. Ms Smeeth made a dramatic exit, accusing AS. Ms Smeeth was dramatically, escorted into the hearing by a group of the usual suspects.

      The hearing was stopped while lawyers from both sides, agreed the definition of AS to used at the hearing. This took three days. After this was agreed, the charge against Marc was changed to bringing the party into disrepute and he was expelled from the party.

      1. Yes it was a ridiculous dramatic hyped up escort solely for TV pictures. They knew what they were doing and why! But did you notice, the escort did include the rather great Alf Dubs. Why he agreed to do it I do not know. He is usually more alert than that. Mark has always been interested in promoting black causes and there is no doubt in my mind as I watched it, he hijacked the meeting of the launch of Chakrabarti Report with Corbynm, did Jeremy no favours by doing so either, and it was stupid, and that became the story which is what Smeeth wanted. But that was no reason for punishing him and disciplining him in our so-called Broad Church,. I know Stephen Lawrence’s Mum, now Baroness Lawrence, did not speak up for him partly I suspect because in the 90s he was running around with the Nation of Islam trying to raise black issues on the back of her campaign for Stephen. She needs to remember however that he did bring Mandela in to the story thus raising the profile of Stephen’s murder when no one was interested, so he was a good person. With Mark he needs needs to choose his time and place better methinks. But should be in the Party not out of it. Deffo!

  7. I saw Anna at the fringe and she gave a lengthy but clear explanation of the current NCC issues. One that was crystal clear was the NCC was only ever expected to take a few of the most difficult cases a year. Flooding it with the cases referred through the witch hunt has created huge problems. I trust Anna to be honorable and effective, but as with all of the legacy of problems we have in democratising the party and its structures, it can’t possibly happen overnight.

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