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Labour officer forgot to resign from TWO companies supporting LibDem Umunna for 6 months

Streatham Campaigns Ltd paying Umunna’s staff long after MP defected to TIG then LibDems – formal complaint made to Labour
Chuka Umunna (amended to reflect new affiliation)

An ally of ex-Labour MP Chuka Umunna has thanked the SKWAWKBOX for ‘reminding’ him of two company links to the now-LibDem.

Former Streatham CLP (constituency Labour Party) chair Nick Cattermole recently stood for election as Streatham South branch’s ‘social and fundraising officer’ – and was elected unopposed by a branch of Streatham CLP reportedly run by a self-described ‘centrist godmother’.

However, local members have objected that Mr Cattermole remains an officer of Streatham Campaigns Ltd (SCL) – a company of which Chuka Umunna is the only director.

When contacted for comment, Cattermole said that it was an oversight that he had not resigned – but not only from SCL, but also from a second company – and thanked the SKWAWKBOX for ‘reminding me that I need to do something about getting my name removed’:

I agreeed [sic] to act as company secretary of streatham campaigns ltd, and also of another company Chuka set up after the referendum, voteleavewatch Ltd. I agreed to do this on a voluntary basis as chuka was then a Labour MP and I am an accountant so know how to fill in Companies House returns.

My role as secretary was confined to filling in the annual companies house return and replying to occasional enquiries from HMRC. The person who controls both these companies is Chuka himself, as stated on the Companies House records. I have no involvement in the running of either company, I have had no contact with Chuka or his office since he left the Labour Party and I do not intend to have any in future. I am grateful to you for reminding me that I need to do something about getting my name removed from these companies and I will be taking action forthwith to do so.

The most recent parliamentary register of MPs’ staff – dated 26 July – confirms that two Umunna staff continue to be paid for by SCL:

Chuka Umunna quit the Labour Party in February, so for almost six months Mr Cattermole has been secretary of a company paying staff for a non-Labour MP – and for two months a LibDem who intends to stand against Labour in the next parliamentary election.

Local members have put in a formal complaint to the Labour Party, claiming that Cattermole has incurred expulsion under Labour’s rules against supporting another party:

Dear Complaints,

An individual named Nicholas Cattermole has been attending recent meetings of Streatham Labour, standing for executive roles and peering over the shoulders of tellers counting votes.

However, we understand that he has automatically excluded himself under party rules by supporting an opposing parliamentary candidate, namely by running a company that pays staff to work in political roles for a Lib Dem MP.

We attach extracts from the Companies Register and the register of parliamentary staff

Please confirm whether you have notified him of his exclusion from membership.

A local member told the SKWAWKBOX:

The brass neck of continuing to serve an anti-Labour MP whilst grabbing a post at the Streatham South branch AGM has caused quite a stir here.

Not many of us will fancy sitting in meetings next to someone who is that close to a LibDem MP and even if he resigns from the company the party’s rules have been broken for six months and there’s only one sanction in the rules for that kind of breach, as Alastair Campbell found out recently: auto-exclusion.

‘Auto-exclusion’ in Labour’s rules essentially means that a member has excluded him- or herself from membership by support for a rival party.

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    1. The Party doesn’t have to if you read the rules you will discover that as the members of the CLP have correctly said he has “automatically” excluded himself and is ineligible to remain a member. It is clear that within the rules support for another Party It is not a question of intent but of fact which this person clearly does not deny.

  1. ‘Honest mistake, guv…’

    Just like the bleedin’ rest of them. Have watson & hodge & co got his back, I wonder? If so, expect no more than a ‘tut-tut’.

  2. Meanwhile – of infinitely more significance – I see that Chris Williamson is intending legal action over his suspension.

    If it comes off, this will be interesting – although I don’t know enough about the law as it relates to bodies like the Party to be optimistic.

    What we do know is that to call the NEC/NCC stuctures a ‘kangaroo court’ does a disservice to kangaroos.

    1. RH….what are you on about…….The list of good party members who have been expelled are many and you know it…..Kangaroo court is a very apt discrimption of what is happening!……What I wish our governing bodies to be and what they actually are are two different realitys RH..I get no pleasure in attacking the party……but nothing seems to change and we cannot in good conscience aceppt the status quo!

    2. Folks irrespective of comparisons to Kangaroos ( getting surreal now ) how about supporting and his attempts to get fair justice and donate to his cause , apologies if you already have or are not able to.

      1. supporting Chris and his attempts to .. dam sticky fingers !

  3. Some bloke who used to be Streatham CLP Chair and who is now Streatham South BLP Social and Fundraising Officer is hardly a threat to the party fabric.

    Whilst local members might wish him gone and have good reason for that, this is hardly nationally concerning news. The guy only has to resign and apologise (which he is doing) and his BLP can decide the rest.

    Let’s not have a witch-hunt on the left against such minor players. It makes us as bad as them.

    1. Our contributions being diverted to another political party for nearly six months is no trivial matter and certainly warrants expulsion.
      This is no witch hunt.
      Only an idiot would believe that this man, an accountant, didn’t notice that Party funds were being used to finance another party.
      Pull the other one.

      1. Ahh… and oops, duh and d’oh – I should have read the piece properly and not while I was on the phone talking about something else.
        No mention of Party funds being diverted, apologies to all.

  4. RH. The Labour Party tries to protect itself from litigation by correctly claiming it is an ‘unincorporated body of members’ which cannot be sued. However, an individual officer of an unicorporated body can have a case brought against them, therefore it is important to name the correct person when taking action. In this case it is my guess that the LP will shut up shop so that no individual can be made liable.

  5. My fear is that CW might only be able to challenge the decision on the basis that the process broke Labour’s rules, and I’ve no idea whether either committee did break the rules.
    I can imagine a court deciding that the decision itself, however corruptly arrived at, falls outside its remit.

    1. JackT/David – You both make very pertinent points, I’m afraid. Trying to be objective, I guess that giving the courts too much power over the operation of voluntary associations would also have severe downsides.

      I reckon that the summary : ” … the decision itself, however corruptly arrived at, falls outside its remit” could well be the outcome.

      Another aspect, of course, is that the IHRA definition is so confused and muddy that it becomes much more difficult to argue against charges of ‘antisemitism’ within the Party’s own framework (an outcome entirely predicted).

      … but, there again, there always was the fall-back catch-all of ‘bringing the Party into disrepute’ – a sort of combined judge/jury deal always available.

      … which, I guess, leaves us at square 1 until the NEC is reformed.

  6. I wonder when he WOULD have remembered had skwawkbox not reminded him!

    And as for what Jack says, yeah, of course Jack, the MSM are all going to be up in arms if Chris is expelled. Be real Jack, cos apart from a couple of buddies giving you ‘likes’ to give the impression that other people agree with you, I’m sure that just about everyone who follows skwawkbox realises that the ‘massive adverse publicity’ will only occur if he is reinstated, or perhaps you’d like to elaborate as to where this ‘massive adverse publicity’ is gonna come from (if he is expelled). The Sun perhaps, or the Mail, or perhaps the Daily Express, or the Times, or the Guardian……

    I await your response with such details with bated breath.

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