Analysis comment

Labour bans local party groups from even discussing Starmer’s craven surrender to former staff – or EHRC report

Email to CLP secretaries from new general secretary David Evans bans discussions and votes on issues and on IHRA ‘definition’

No you don’t: Labour’s message to members

Labour has banned constituency parties (CLPs) from discussing or voting on motions about either Keir Starmer’s craven decision to pay around £600,000 to former staff who accused the party of antisemitism, or the party’s adoption of the ‘IHRA’ ‘definition’ of antisemitism.

An email sent by new general secretary David Evans, who has previously said that democracy ‘should as far as possible be abolished in the party’, has sent the following threatening message to CLP secretaries:

Panorama settlement

The Labour Party recently agreed a settlement with seven former members of staff who appeared on an edition of the BBC’s Panorama programme, as well as with the journalist who hosted that programme. Those settlements included an unreserved apology and a withdrawal of the allegations previously made by the Party about those individuals. The withdrawal and apology are binding on the Party and any motions which seek to undermine or contradict them will create a risk of further legal proceedings for both the national party and local parties. As such, motions relating to these settlements and the circumstances behind them are not competent business for discussion by local parties.

CLP officers have an important responsibility to ensure that they and other members conduct themselves in a respectful and comradely manner. We therefore take this opportunity to reiterate to local Labour Parties and officers that they should be aware of the potential liabilities to them should the allegations that have now been withdrawn by the national Party be repeated.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report

On Monday 13 July 2020 the Party announced that it had received the EHRC’s draft report into allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. This draft report has been provided to the Party by the EHRC on a confidential basis as part of its investigation.

When we are able to provide more information about the EHRC’s report we will do so. Until that time speculation as to the contents of the report is not helpful. It is therefore not competent business for CLPs to discuss.

IHRA definition of antisemitism

We are aware that some CLPs and branches have had motions tabled to “repudiate” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition of antisemitism and its examples was properly adopted by the Labour Party in September 2018. CLPs and branches have no powers to overturn this decision. Furthermore, such motions undermine the Labour Party’s ability to tackle racism. Any such motions are therefore not competent business for CLPs or branches.

It’s not quite clear how ‘comradely and respectful’ conduct in a local party meeting intrinsically conflicts with discussion of a decision at the top of the party, let alone open the party to legal action, since members are members and not drones, employees or agents.

The ‘IHRA definition’, additionally, has been widely criticised for its lack of precision and does not even describe itself as a ‘definition’ but as a ‘non-legally binding’ ‘working definition’.

But Labour members are unlikely to look kindly on attempts to curb their free speech to accommodate the weakness and agenda of the national leadership. They may not have the power on their own to change what is happening, but nobody should be telling them not to express an opinion about it.

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36 comments

    1. Outrageously antidemocratic email from Evan’s. Unbelievable that an elected GS would take the position of dictating which subjects can be discussed by CLPs .

      Is Evan’s setting himself above conference?

  1. Sure that my opinion is unimportant here, as merely a recently departed Labour member. But, in the light of much underlying evidence, there is currently too much to suggest that our democracy (within and without Labour) is in peril.

    Is it possible that some branches could defy Starmer dictat?

    1. No Martin, CLP chairpersons are totally terrified of being suspended…..so easy to do!

  2. “When we are able to provide more information about the EHRC’s report we will do so.”
    Gobshites had better do more than that.
    Nothing less than publishing the full, unredacted report will do.

  3. “The withdrawal and apology are binding on the Party and any motions which seek to undermine or contradict them will create a risk of further legal proceedings for both the national party and local parties.”
    Good. Further legal proceedings are exactly what we need in my opinion. If a local branch is sued, or individual members are, that might suit us very nicely.

    1. Inclined to agree. Currently the legal system is being used against the ‘left.’ Maybe, in years to come, we’ll look back on these times as the ‘Ware-Riley era.’

    2. It’s certainly tempting to go along to the next meeting with just that purpose in mind!

      1. Not just tempting timfrom but imperative. The LP is now turning into the Keir Starsi Parti.

  4. Members have received this now, I have it. I would like to add that this new GS who has jointly made this payout, has never even been ratified by Conference, and is therefore not really the established GS!!!!!!

  5. Freedom of speech ??? Holding to account those responsible for their actions vis vie payout to bastards who destroyed the partys chances of victory in 2017 ?? Welocme to the new Starmerite dictatorship party , Johnson has his Cummings twat ,, Sir Spanner Starmerite has his Evans twat .FUCK EM ! Get some backbone like Chris Williamson and CLPs should now on mass give the Leadership twats the royal 2 fingered salute

  6. It’s apparent that David Evan’s still believes in running the party undemocratically.
    This is a smokescreen to stop any sort of debate over issues such as the payoff. Surely CLPs have the right to discuss whether they were for or against using Members subscriptions and why Starmer decided to ignore the Membership by not offering them a vote.
    Strange really I thought the party I joined was a democratic party run by all members and not just the ones (not all) who sit it the HofC, Southside or wherever else they’ve taken up residence

    1. I think it’s intended to be more ball and chain than smokescreen.
      What self-respecting members are going to accept being silenced?
      Apart from the greasy-combed one, obviously.

    2. Back of Beyond, I believed that too. But we are being de-democratised by a bunch of centrist twats. I like to think for myself, not get told how to think!

  7. Eric Blair was most prophetic Evans (Thinkpol) to eradicate dissent (Thought Crime) .
    Is the Labour Party now governed by Ingsoc?
    I don’t think we are in the realms of SUB-JICE or Contempt, but I stand to be correct by a more Forensically minded person.
    A unilateral decision was effectively made without apparent due diligence and discussion. Democracy???

  8. The Stalinist ban, outlined in this article is specific in terms of organisational Party Units from discussing any Motion which involves a repeat of the specific and valid criticisms of the individuals responsible for breaching the GDPR rights of Party members made by the,Party in 2019.

    The following observation occurs:

    It says nothing about individual sovereign members – who are citizens first and Party members second – discussing the issues surrounding this outside of those parameters.

    Party Units regularly hold discussion topic meetings in which issues are discussed – either separately to a GMC or under AOB.

    With this in mind the following may be helpful in such a context:

    “The Labour Party Members in this Constituency/Branch/LCF consider the following to be at odds with the Aims and Values of the Labour Party, under Rule 1, Clause IV, paragraph 2. A-D: and both detrimental and prejudicial to the Party, under Rule 2, Clause 1.8, in its objectives and ability to win elections at any level:

    1. Any policy or support for any policy based on or resulting in a hierarchy of oppression. Such policies are at odds with the aim of a just society.

    2. The sectarian application of Party rules, structures and procedures by existing and former paid staff at every level of the Party in conjunction with sections of current and former members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) which has resulted in;

    (i) A complaints and discipline structure and process which is not fit for purpose.

    (ii) Undemocratic commitments to third party organisations outside of the Labour Party to hand over control of complaints and discipline processes.

    (iii) A total absence of objective due process standards and principles based on the mob rule principle of subjective allegation equating to automatic guilt and denial of a right to defence which is selectively applied.

    (iv) Clear breaches of the GDPR rights of Party members by former employed Party staff which the Party at national level have failed to protect in reaching a settlement which is detrimental to the rights of Party Members.

    (v) Clear deliberate breaches of election law and the disenfranchisement of both Party members and UK voters arising from the consistent undermining of the Party at and between elections which continues to deny members and voters a meaningful genuine choice at the ballot box.

    3. The Stalinist attempts to deny voluntary members and Party Units any debate of these matters.

    The Party Members in this Constituency consider that until the above issues are resolved in line with Party Aims and Values the Party will be unelectable.

    We therefore resolve to affirm our primary democratic rights as both members and voting citizens by pursuing these issues in line with those Aims and Values using any means available.”

  9. Kier Jong Un, the dearly beloved leader, has spoken…Know yer place.

    (Careful now, kids! Commissar steve h is watching your responses, and will be reporting back to his superiors**!)

    **Everybody’s superior to that.

  10. It is not democratic at all. All members should be able to discuss the payment if it would be reasonable or not even may agains the party rule if only minority agreed with the payments. Also, the recommendation from the LP lawyer the positive reaction that the LP would win over the Panorama-Antisemitism. Why it was ignored and never be discussed within the CLP. It is important that the LP would forward as the party and for the members more democratic approach than dictatorial tendencies would be appreciated.

  11. It is now clear the Labour Party admitted liability and paid off their “whistleblowing” mates so they could shut down all debate on the leaked report into the handling of antisemitism and other sabotage by HQ staffers, using the threat of libel.

    Cheap at £600k, given the damning revelations about what the centrists were up to – likely the biggest political scandal in 100 years. They have now got “their” party back, paid for using other peoples’ money. Worse, none of the racists have been expelled, let alone those who “appear to have” embezzled Party funds for factional purposes, contrary to the leadership, the membership and the aims of the Party. Indeed, saboteurs who left voluntarily have been rapidly readmitted, contrary to Party rules! (See neighbouring article.)

    However, conference and the Rule Book are sovereign, not “competent business” dictats or legal “advice” from Starmer, so if CLPs want to draft conference motions on the IHRA definition of AS – for example – they are fully entitled to. Party policy is not set in stone and staffers must be accountable to members for their actions and spending. In this instance a “working definition” is by definition work in progress and subject to amendment, and JVL, among others, are fully entitled to contribute toward that debate. Unlike the Board of Deputies, they are Party members.

    I hope Ware sues Corbyn (I have contributed towards his defence fund) and the right get well & truly pasted in court.

    And no, I won’t be voting for a war mongering, anti-civil liberties, punitive, untrustworthy and racist right wing Labour Party, much less giving them my time and money.

    1. You forgot to mention ‘fascist’ Dave, because THAT is EXACTLY what it is AND what we have been dealing with for the past five years – ie the fascist right. I bet they couldn’t stop grinning and laughing whilst they put their dictat together, and were – and still ARE – ALL pissing themselves with laughter when – and since – they emailed it to CLPs. And needless to say, it was aimed straight at the left, and right-wing members around the country will ALSO be pissing themselves with laughter as of receiving and learning about it.

  12. PS This imposition must be opposed:

    To argue “speculation as to the contents of the report is not helpful. It is therefore not competent business for CLPs to discuss” sets a dangerous precedent. Anything HQ deems “unhelpful” is automatically “not competent business” and therefore suppressed from the membership. It is nothing short of a top-down power grab at the expense of other members.

    Further, using a non-statutory and unfinished definition of AS cannot help “the Labour Party’s ability to tackle racism”, as is claimed. It is akin to prosecuting people using draft laws!

    Does “competent business” even have any basis in the Party’s Rule Book or is it made up and therefore unenforceable? I never got round to reading the wretched thing.

  13. “Not competent business for CLPs to discuss” is so far beyond the pale I’d be surprised if even the Tories would stoop so low. (tongue in cheek again Allan)
    I wonder if they’ve shut down the comments section on the Labour website – maybe the Policy Forum too?
    Nothing this year has caused me to think I made a mistake in leaving Labour – I wish something would.

  14. There can only be one explanation for this diktat: Starmer et al are afraid that any court case would quickly lead to testimony showing the links between the “disgruntled” former staff members and the Blairites now back in control of the party.
    If sued the former staff members would show that their testimony on Panorama and their sabotage were cleared in advance and approved by those now running the Labour Party.
    If anyone can see the difference between this settlement and a blackmail payment it would be interesting to learn what it is.

    1. It would also offer the opportunity for the IHRA to undergo Legal Scrutiny and Challenge, which it would fail to reach the required legal standard and be shown that it is not fit for purpose(Kenneth Stern). Therefore the incumbent Leader of the opposition will avoid this by any means available and possible.

      1. Demonstrably not fit for purpose! We have witnessed it so often used against the conscience of the party, whenever it is convenient (Riley, Ware et al). The media will not like it but, without a workable definition, the media will always have the upper hand anyway. And, if the current media can always wheel this out, for whatever or whenever, the chances of proper dialogue are effectively dead.

  15. You all have it in a nutshell
    Was the pay off democratic, did they act outside their powers
    What they going to do, there is a shed load of money to support any legal action
    Time for someone senior on the left to stand up and call it out
    Time to give them a taste of their own disloyal medicine and have our day in court
    Bottom line ‘Off they must f7ck’
    There is simply no room for red tories and clear red water in our Labour party
    That’s what’s changed forever

  16. I wonder if our few remaining socialist MPs are aware of this
    If so, and are not appalled into a publoc reaction, then I fear socialism in the labour party is dead

    1. Indeed helsbells,if the “campaign group” don’t immediately collectively defy this diktat,then the left in the LP is finished,and that will mean the end of the LP.It really is the most extraordinary assumption of powers by the new Gen Sec,a move coming of course directly from the “Great Leader”.

      1. The LP cannot function in a practical sense without the foot soldiers on the left who do all the real donkey work canvassing, knocking on doors, running street stalls, raising the profile, donating and raising money etc at the actual coal face. You very rarely see as many from the right at that level regularly turning out to do any real graft.

        A fact evident in Tinge Smith’s Constituency during 2017 when local members voted with their feet by canvassing elsewhere after being denied any access to any role in a campaign clearly designed around winning only for certain sectarian members of the PLP whose literature and message was one of “bringing a (Tory) Government to account.” Canvassing sessions involving the MP and two to four others were quite common in that campaign.

        However, the managerialsts in the Party have clearly signalled they are not interested in winning elections at any level if it means any movement outside of the shrinking up its own backside Overton Window. As fellow contributor beven has observed on another forum, the LP is now more aligned with the values of a system it was brought into being to replace and as a result it sees its main aim as to prevent itself from ever being elected.

        It’s role being that of ‘Loyal’ Opposition. A second eleven whose job is to occasionally stand in when the ‘natural Party of Government’ representing the elite British and Unionist Establishment temporarily runs out of steam on the proviso nothing changes during such occassional turns they allowed to play at being in charge.

        Which is why we now have wealthy donors returning to buy their pound of political flesh. Lobbying to keep current arrangements set in aspic.

        A level of corruption which surely puts the UK at the top of that particular leader board.

  17. I can’t put it any better than Mr Shipley- Dalton QC

    “The NEC and therefore the GS has no authority in the rules to dictate what is ‘competent business’ for a CLP to discuss. The only authority is in Chap 1, VIII, 3.E-“The NEC shall from time to time, issue guidance and instructions on the conduct of meetings…” CONDUCT not CONTENT”

  18. I see the word Stalinist being used to describe the actions of those intent on destroying the LP. I bet most of the guilty wouldn’t even understand the term as they seem to have so little knowledge of history or politics. Stalin was best buddy with Hitler before Germany invaded the USSR.
    If a person doesn’t believe in democracy then they’re fascists, pure n simple; they prefer dictatorship. It’s about time more people understood the term when calling out the crooks infesting the LP. All’s that’s missing is the fkin swastika’s on their arms.

  19. …and we’ve heard the prominent self described socialist LP MP’s shouting and screaming about the coup haven’t we? Ha ha. Only joking, not a peep. Don’t rely on the career politicians to rock the luxury cruise liner that they’re riding on. Jobs a gudn; Kerching.

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