Last weekend the SKWAWKBOX reported the outrage of Labour members and officials in Ealing at the extraordinary actions of Ealing council leader Julian Bell in personally signing a call for a by-election following the sad death of a well-liked councillor before the funeral had even taken place. – and their conviction that this was done to prevent the selection of a left-wing candidate to replace him.
Eighteen out of nineteen left-wing candidates had been barred from selection for last May’s local elections in Ealing – a two in a billion statistical ‘coincidence’ and a rushed by-election prevented the LCF (Local Campaign Forum) adding further left candidates to the ‘panel’ in time.
The SKWAWKBOX has now obtained the minutes of the 4 October meeting held by Ealing LCF at which the actions of Cllr Bell were essentially the only topic – and the outrage of LCF members was so profound that they passed a censure motion against the council leader.
The motion could hardly be more strongly worded, condemning not only his ‘insensitivity‘, ‘unseemly haste‘ and the ‘unnecessary hurt and anguish‘ his actions caused, but also his ‘blatant disregard‘ for Labour rules, transparency, accountability and democratic process..
The minutes of the meeting corroborate the SKWAWKBOX’s account of the by-election move as well as alleging that Labour’s London regional office had also participated in bypassing the normal processes – and detailed the enlarging of a ‘working group’ set up to investigate the situation so that it could urgently ‘look into re-opening the Panel process, so as to have a broader field‘.
Motion 1 – council leader Julian Bell
This Local Campaign Forum (LCF) deplores the actions of the Leader of the Council, Julian Bell in precipitating a course of action that we consider has potentially brought the local Labour Party into disrepute. We disassociate ourselves from these actions and wish to register a formal complaint with Regional Board, the NEC and relevant others.
The speed and insensitivity of the actions taken by the Leader and his associate in triggering a by-election before the funeral of the Cllr has even taken place has generated unnecessary hurt and anguish for the family, friends, colleagues and local membership of Cllr Bagha, a long serving and active member of the Labour Party in Ealing.
The Labour Party has a very large majority in the London Borough of Ealing and the unseemly haste in taking the actions raises serious questions about the underlying motivations in taking these steps.
The actions also demonstrate a blatant disregard for the rules of the Labour Party, the roles and responsibilities of the LCF who were not informed or consulted about the decisions and for the spirit of transparency, accountability and democratic process which should prevail.
Cllr Bell was contacted for comment before the publication of the first article about this situation. He had not responded by the time of publication of this second article.
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