South Shields MP has suffered long campaign of abuse by local Labour right that has carried over into trigger process
South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck is facing a (so far successful) campaign of dirty-tricks and abuse in her constituency party (CLP) ‘trigger’ campaign, as right-wing members and councillors attempt to remove her.
Neither the abuse nor the dirty tricks is a new phenomenon, with the Labour right having objected to her presence since she became the town’s MP in 2013. The same Blairite cohort drove out David Clark, who was succeeded by David Miliband in 1997.
A ‘culture of bullying, intimidation and voting irregularities’
South Shields CLP has been suspended on more than one occasion for “allowing a longstanding culture of bullying, intimidation and voting irregularities“. The suspension has been lifted but local members say that many of the ‘usual suspects’ are still behaving in the manner they alway have.
According to members present at the meeting and media reports, the CLP’s annual general meeting (AGM) following the lifting of the suspension was blighted by more intimidation, threats and bullying. The New Statesman‘s ‘Commons Confidential’ column noted in 2017:
Corbyn and John McDonnell are mulling over what to do about the South Shields constituency Labour Party after hearing lurid tales of the bullying of Emma Lewell-Buck, the shadow minister for children. This dirty scrap is about power, not politics, with a faction determined to oust my home town’s first woman MP.
Nor was the abuse only aimed directly at Ms Lewell-Buck. Her family was also targeted – as she told local paper the Evening Chronicle a few months later:
This campaign of hate against my husband and I has left him in a deeply troubled emotional state and I have feared greatly for the safety of the man I love.
More recently – just two days ago – Ms Lewell-Buck also felt strongly enough to take to social media after another northern MP wrote about the bullying and harassment of women MPs, responding that it matched her own experience:
In fact, the SKWAWKBOX understands that – while not named in the article – some of the worst abuse described in Helen Jones’ article involved Ms Lewell-Buck.
Abuse is a ‘right on left’ phenomenon
The laughably-termed ‘Labour moderates’ and their media allies love to portray abuse as a ‘left on right’ phenomenon, but in fact, the vast majority of abuse in the Labour Party – as the SKWAWKBOX has discovered in multiple investigations – is ‘right on left’.
The abuse and underhand tactics have run on uninterrupted into the local trigger process, with councillors reported to have hung around outside the trigger meetings to date to pressure and intimidate voters, or providing lifts to elderly members while providing them with instructions on how to vote.
Data abuse and non-communication
There are also questions marks over the use of data in a CLP that has already been the subject of reports over the provision of member data even to Tories:
CLP members have reported not being informed about the scheduling of trigger members, with others receiving letters advising them of a trigger meeting but with no details of date, time or venue.
A principled back-bencher
Emma Lewell-Buck has been a back-bench MP who has held a principled leave position because of the 2016 vote of her constituents and has performed strongly in media appearances, without attacking the leadership or undermining the party. She is also a local MP, born in the constituency she represents.
Those attacking her should be removed from the party in spite of their influence with the regional organisation, while local members and voters deserve an MP who will respect their views and represent their interests.
So far, three ballots have been held and all have voted for the trigger. The remaining seven trigger ballots will be held this week, starting tomorrow – and Ms Lewell-Buck needs to win (or tie) all of them.
If you are a South Shields Labour member in a ward still to vote, it’s essential that you attend. Details of the remaining meetings are below:
- Whitburn & Marsden Mon 7th Oct 6.15pm – Wellands Lane Advice Centre
- Biddick & All Saints Mon 7th Oct 7.30pm – Chuter Ede CA, Galsworthy Road
- Westoe Tues 8th Oct 7pm – Ede House, 143 Westoe Road
- Whiteleas Wed 9th Oct 7pm – Winship House, Winship Close
- West Park Thurs 10th Oct 7pm – Community Room, West Way
- Harton Fri 11th Oct 7pm – Marsden Rd Health and Wellbeing Centre
- Beacon & Bents Mon 14th Oct 7pm – Ocean Rd CA, Ocean Road
Share with any South Shields members you know – and if details of meetings have not been communicated to you, complain loudly and challenge the previous unsafe results if applicable.
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 or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. 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.