Analysis Announcement

Urgent call to S Shields members: Emma L-B facing right-wing tricks and abuse in triggers. Remaining votes this week

South Shields MP has suffered long campaign of abuse by local Labour right that has carried over into trigger process
Emma Lewell-Buck

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.

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  1. A very troubling report and far too common around the country I believe.

  2. I am stumped on this one.. Looks like another moderate warmonger agenda for the few parasites over the many…Turn up and vote but it already looks like itsbeen decided by our moderate members if the reports accurate..So now we are told its a brexit argument….by moderate bullys..who’s the goodys and whos the baddys…..Someone call the sheriff?I think we need a local input on this story?

  3. Great appeal! Yes, South Shields CLP needs to be galvanised to resist this right-wing manouver.

    Remember, this was the seat into which David Milliband was helicoptered by the old management.

    Today it has a wonderful incumbent. True, she supported Owen Smith in the chicken coup, but she has been loyal to the party and its leader since. She proposed a Funeral Services Bill to warn exploitative funeral providers to offer a low-cost option and stop ripping-off the bereaved. She’s a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and, once again, doing Labour and the Many proud.

    The only thing that might cause some labouriites concern bout her is that she resigned as Shadow Education Minister responsible for children and families’ policy, in order to vo against the party line and vote against a second EU referendum

    Anyone here who knows any member of South Shields clp, PLEASE alert them to what’s going on here, that the socialist-hating right want their seat back because you can bet your last penny the progressltd third wayers are keeping it to themselves – as is their dirty, undemocratic way!

  4. Part of the chicken coup,… Support of Owen Smith… resigned from shadow cabinet…..Apart from that Ok…?think I will go to bed after that?

    1. CLP members are smart Joseph, and facts are facts.

      I wouldn’t hesitate to support her.

      She wasn’t part of the chicken coup, in fact she spoke-out against it.

      For whatever reason she voted for Owen Smith in the leadership election that followed it. I suspect that her motive was an ill-conceived appeasement. In fact she actually speaks for, commends and applauds Jeremy Corbyn.

      And her resignation from shadow cabinet was in 2019 (nothing to do with Chicken coup) was because she wanted to represent her constituents’ leave preferences and not vote for a second referendum.

      She’s a fine Labour MP. Mighty fine.

  5. It is all too common all over the country that the “moderates” ( Stupid name for them) are indeed bullying at triggers, selections and branch level politics! I’ve seen it myself at ours! Being outnumbered there was nothing I could do about it! But change is coming! It just shows hote hateful these people are who would bully a leader supporting socialist! Not likeable at all really!

  6. Whilst doing some research earlier I came across the following excellent skwawkbox (Steve Walker) article from October 2016, which is well worth reading (I myself didn’t ‘discover’ SB until the following Summer when I came across it by chance when doing some research regarding a phony poll in/by The Sun about junior doctors, concocted and designed to portray them as hypocrites):

  7. It’s not just the Corbyn supporting MP’s that are being targeted for bullying and intimidation by the right. Ordinary members are routinely suspended/expelled, in fact a new batch of such letters was dispatched, days before the Labour party conference.

    Letters are sent out in batches, all with exactly the same wording, only the name changes and no explanation of why the member has been subjected to disciplinary action. In an act of caring, the party are now even giving contact details for the Samaritans to help members cope with the distress the party is causing them. Every example I have seen has been to Corbyn supporters. Some have been delegates to conference, rendering that constituency party voiceless. This has been happening since 2016 and it has been going unrecognised.

    Some CLPs, have a complete disregard for the rules, except the rules the Blairites agree with. Procedures are not followed – unless it suits the right. The selections for prospective councilors are anything but democratic or transparent, but it stops younger left wing candidates from coming through. Plus it’s a nice pension top up for the dinosaurs clinging to power.

    Regional offices know of these abuses, some collude with it, others turn a blind eye because it keeps the right in control.

    Perhaps this is a cause Mr Skwawk would like to take up and publicise? So far it has been ignored and apart from the injustice to the individual members, it will stop the party from progressing.

  8. Quert boi….breakfast time now and in the light of dayI have done more research and still I am in the dark with this one.But if we take yours and Squawys report then we have to support her.This constituency has been in the news for a long time and still their is a deathley silence from the local activists.Solid Labour seat should be in the hands of a solid Labour loyal mp.Her support of Smith and by doimg that shows an appalling sense of judgment or somthing more sinister.Anyone who knows anything would say that their is a very big question mark over this mp.But again so near the election logic dictates go with the incumbent

    1. I know Joseph, but i’s not about her really. It’s about some blairites in her CLP trying to remove her because they ‘d rather have someone they can ‘relate to’ better. I’m looking forward to the decision – but it’s not about Emma Lewell-Buck as much as it’s about a disloyal faction poliyiking for their own ends.

  9. The ‘left v. right’ description is too often a simplistic imposition on the actuality of Labour Party infighting. I was interested in the 2017 from the New Statesman :

    “This dirty scrap is about power, not politics, with a faction determined to oust my home town’s first woman MP”

    This rings true in my experience of a lot that goes on in some constituencies and branches.

    1. As ever, had the NEC opted to support Open Selection this power grab would not occur, neither would the factionalism associated with it. I think it fair to state that local CLPs like actual local born persons representing them, which can work both ways I’m afraid – see Michael Foot or Tony Benn as examples here.

      The fact remains the Trigger System forced upon the membership is open to abuse, which we are seeing here, and Open Selection would have stopped these power grabs in there tracks, most members being opposed to careerists, rather than decent, hard working representatives who stick up for the Constituency.

      1. Christopher- where I was, open selection at every election was routine.

        Believe me, whatever else, it isn’t a cure for factional manipulation. It simply reduces it to a one-stage process.

  10. I’m sat watching Cummings glove puppet in another hospital, telling us all how much cheap and nasty Tory party love the NHS
    When are we going to bring them crashing back to earth
    Can you explain why the cheap and nasty Tory party hate all public services in general and the NHS in particular
    Why do you always run it into the ground, starving it of funding and demoralising the staff
    Your plan is to sell the NHS to American Health Companies
    How much have you taken out of NHS funding since 2010 to pay for tax cuts
    Why will people have to sell their homes to pay for social care
    Why will people have to work until they are 75
    Every day reinforce those key messages, get them embedded into the nations conscience

    1. Doug – Don’t waste your breath shouting at the deaf and those who don’t give a toss..

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