Exclusive

Exclusive: group of Labour members take party to court

Seven, mostly Jewish, Labour Party members calling themselves Labour Activists For Justice or LA4J have launched a crowdfund to take the party to court over its disciplinary processes, which they consider unsound and unjust.

They say that under the current processes:

  • all communications from the party are anonymous
  • the accused are not told who has made the complaint
  • those accused are sent ‘evidence’ – usually screenshots of social media postings etc and a list of party rules they are alleged to have broken
  • the accused are then asked to explain how the ‘evidence’ might support the charges – in effect requiring the accused to incriminate themselves
  • they are not told who their ‘judges’ will be, nor whether they have a right to a hearing
  • they have no opportunity to question witnesses

In short, those accused by the party – and often suspended as a result – are subject to an opaque procedure and are denied any rights, including any presumption of innocence.

The group points out that the party is aware of the likely harmful impact of these procedures on their targets, as they advise them to talk to their GP or to the Samaritans if they need support. However, they are forbidden to talk to anyone else, even relatives or lawyers, or face yet more disciplinary charges.

Yet at the same time there are frequent leaks from within the party itself, with suspended members often contacted by hostile media with demands for comment about cases that are supposed to have been kept confidential.

An LA4J spokesperson said:

Throughout its history the Labour Party has fought for the rights of workers, including the right to a fair and just disciplinary process. If any employer tried to impose the party’s process on their employees today, the party and the unions would be up in arms. It is a disgrace that needs to be fixed.

We have drawn the party’s attention to our concerns, including with a detailed lawyer’s letter, but they have not responded. A legal challenge is not a road we want to go down, but they have left us no choice.

Those involved include an 80-year-old Jewish woman twice accused of antisemitism by the party, a long-standing Jewish trade unionist and a retired Jewish professor.

Recent decisions by the party’s now right-dominated national executive have largely sidelined the National Constitutional Committee, Labour’s ultimate disciplinary committee under the party’s rules and one that includes a number of members elected by party members, with independent legal advisers.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.

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54 comments

  1. Labour Party members should demand that these good folk be offered an imediate out of Court settlement and a full apology . There is a precedent for doing so.

  2. Could this be a chink of hope? It is not just party members who will be watching with a keen interest. Really something of a travesty that Corbyn allowed himself to be so backed into a corner- the likes of Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin were never remotely interested in dealing with anti-Semitism, just dealing with the leftward democratisation of the party.

    The current position is untenable for a democratic organisation. how will the Guardian and the BBC respond, will John Ware commit to an ‘opinion’ or merely be keeping his head down?

    1. In what sense did Jeremy (I note that you refer to him as Corbyn!) allow himself to ‘be so backed into a corner’ Martin? Could you elaborate. Cheers

      1. Please understand that I am really a fan of Corbyn (or Jeremy if you prefer, no disrespect intended). It was just that there was a sense that disingenuous factions were gaining the upper hand, and that the leadership were attempting to appease people who were unappeaseable.

        We ended up in a position where it felt as if there was nothing further to be gained, except maybe in making the argument that some are finally hoping to do through the courts.

      2. Thanks for your reply Martin, but of COURSE they had the ‘upper hand’….. they had the whole of the corporate media and the BBC on their side conspiring with them, and there was absolutely nothing Jeremy and his team could do about it. There was no way on this planet that the very media who were a party to the Smear Campaign were ever going to give Jeremy the opportunity to refute the false claims and allegations.

        Jeremy wasn’t appeasing anybody. He was in a no-win situation. Look what happened to Chris Williamson when he tried to defend the Labour Party’s record on anti-semitism, and what later happened when he was reinstated. And every time Ken attempted to explain that he was alluding to the Haavara Agreement when he said what he said about Hitler supporting Zionism, he was just condemned and vilified again. When you own and/or control the MSM you have total control of the narrative, and they were never-ever going to let Jeremy and his team expose the very falsehoods that THEY were dissembling.

        But anyway, I’d be interested to hear what you think he could have done to counter all the lies and demonisation and character assassination and faux outrage.

      3. Allan Howard – White Flag Man, your continuous rants that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t appease or that there was nothing he could have done, have become tedious.

        The very reason he adopted the ‘tactic’ of capitulation is because he had too many people such as you around him, pressurising him and giving him fatal advice. One of those was Keir Starsi, another was Jon Lansman.

        Some of those avisers were naive and some were actively intent on sabotage and as has already been said, they backed him into a corner. On one side were those who were trying to destroy him whilst pretending to help and on the other side were those who were foolish enough not to have seen the plot which was being hatched by the Zionist Labour Movement, otherwise known as the JLM.

        As soon as the Zionists saw that Jeremy was vulnerable and prepared to appease, they went after him remorselessly and were unrelenting in their attacks until they were successful. Your often repeated bleating that if Jeremy had fought back, his enemies would have gone in even harder, makes no sense – they did it anyway!

      4. I hear your arguments, I saw the things you cite happen, I probably shouted (or cursed) at the TV. In a way I quite admired Ken Livingstone’s defence of (what was actually) historical fact. How anyone was supposed to respond to Mann’s ambush is beyond me; to the world Mann looked a whisper away from throwing a punch- battles and wars! Ultimately, Mann behaved like a thug, confronting a man with double his evident intellect.

        If the left had organised instead of constantly redrawing the lines of retreat. There were always Jewish members who could have acted as spokespeople for the left- a few well considered statements or lines in the sand!

        What actually happened looked, often, quite hopeless- we watched on, thinking, ‘but we have the the moral and academic highground, so why are we surrendering?’ People needed to see a pushback, steal back the narrative from vessels like Marr, many lost heart and just needed to hear a more coherent defence. The arguments that are being made now would have sufficed, more forcefully made!

      5. Allan, I’m not sure whether it was here or elsewhere I wrote at the time that Labour spokespeople should preface every answer on whatever subject, specifically on live broadcasts, with “Firstly, the big question in the news of Labour antisemitism cannot be judged without knowledge of the four-part Al Jazeera documentary “The Lobby” – still available on YouTube. Now, what did you wish me to comment on?”
        Or words to that effect.
        The broadcast media could then only have accepted it or tried to ban Labour from live broadcasts to silence us, which would easily have been challenged.
        That would have opened up the question of media bias.
        OF COURSE I can’t guarantee it would have worked – it was just my opinion, as will be your reply.

  3. Given that the current system that was put in place by Jennie Formby is clearly not fit for purpose the only way forward appears to be a wholly independent process similar to that being advocated by Keir Starmer.

    1. Recent decisions by the party’s now right-dominated national executive have largely sidelined the National Constitutional Committee, Labour’s ultimate disciplinary committee under the party’s rules and one that includes a number of members elected by party members, with independent legal advisers.
      This appears to be a change by your idol

      1. Steve – It is difficult to access your comment without further details. Could you perhaps highlight these ‘recent decisions’.

      2. You know EXACTLY what Steve hilling is talking about, and STILL you obfuscate and evade.

        You are one thoroughly gutless and discourteous weasel.

      3. Toffee – I wouldn’t have asked if I knew, as you obviously know the answer to my question perhaps you could answer it on Steve’s behalf.

    2. The ‘temporary embarrassment ‘ wont be around long enough, they are all headed for the door marked
      ‘Off you must fuck’

      1. Doug – If the recent article by SB is to be believed then the left are leaving the party in droves so the opposite appears to be true

      2. SteveH
        Class Action will have its day in court, we know the level of support from JC legal fund is just the tip of the iceberg on which SS Temporary Embarrassment will sink

      3. Doug – How is Keir Starmer in any way responsible for the disciplinary procedures put in place and overseen by the previous GenSec

      4. SteveH
        Are you not proud to be a small part of Labour history in the making,
        Where were you grandad when they kicked out Quislings and Bad Actors

      5. Doug14/08/2020 at 7:06 pm
        “Where were you grandad when they kicked out Quislings and Bad Actors”

        More to the point where was the GenSec?

      6. SteveH
        It’s a good question, considering it was EHRC who commissioned the report, I agree there was definitely some kind of Stockholm syndrome going on at top of party
        Appeasement was fatal, but now we have the report it’s there for all to see and there is no going back
        Temporary Embarrassment was in Darlington today and on local news, worse than useless, not a single original thought or policy
        What was it that first attracted you to the hologram

      1. Toffee – I would contend that without the advantage of having read the EHRC report and also having access to the initial findings of the yet to be completed internal enquiry it is not possible for any of us to make an informed judgement about whether the right decision was made. Plus the decision to pay out must have also been ratified by the NEC.

        As a non member are you advocating that Labour members shouldn’t have an independent to adjudicate on disciplinary matters.

      2. Oh, right, the ‘advantage’ of reading a report by an organisation run and controlled by Tories and, as such, totally corrupt. Or did you somehow conclude that the A/S Smear Campaign wasn’t a smear campaign at all, and was completely genuine! Give over Steve!

        Oh, and as for the investigation in to the leaked report, I’m sure that everyone on the left has complete confidence that it will be honest and fair and won’t be a complete whitewash. NOT!

        Why do you bother Steve, as no-one on here is gonna swallow your B/S!! Informed judgement…… LOL! What a joker you are Steve!

    3. Talking of Keith Starmer, did you see the prat in Darlington? He just makes sound bites and won’t answer questions. He intends to keep on courting the right wing press and didn’t deny that the decision to pay off on the sabotaging staffers was political ant the result of legal advice.
      The man is unfit for office.

      1. NVLA – Is there some childish reason you keep referring to Keir Starmer as Keith.

      2. Personally I think Charles Lynton Starmer has the right ring to it but Keith is right for an instantly forgettable hook remain voters can hang their coats on.

    4. SteveH, I don’t know what decisions steve hilling refers to either, but if it’s the one to settle the lawsuit and it “sidelined” the NCC or NEC when it should have been their decision to make, I’d agree that the process was usurped.
      Also, “a wholly independent process” will still have its terms of reference set for it by ‘Labour’ I think, rather than setting its own – or do you disagree?
      In the usual course of such things its terms of reference may not even be made public, and a lot of its touted “independence” may well turn out to be just window dressing.
      Power is always reluctantly relinquished.

    1. Allan, I haven’t read it as carefully as it deserves and haven’t read this anywhere else – but I expect we’d agree that the relatively low level ‘whistleblowers/Panodrama actors’ would necessarily have been in regular touch with not only each other but senior level figures to guide them – and if so, aren’t these senior people’s positions now totally dependent on the ongoing loyalty and silence of those petty officials? Their current work situations might be worth learning – they’re little people and if one of them feels cheated out of his or her just reward, or perhaps gets a little too drunk, maybe the dominoes might start to fall.

  4. “Haven’t read the report…Yadda Yadda Yadda…enquiry incomplete…yadda…not possible to make judgement…yadda…”

    Change. The. Record. For. Christ’s. Sake.

    Fuck all “independent” about a stammer decision…other than he depends on certain sectors to make them for him.

    Be a man for once. Tell us what you REALLY think.

    1. Toffee – Fuck all “independent” about a stammer decision…”
      Is that you acknowledging that Starmer didn’t have the authority to take the decision to settle without the backing and support of the NEC.

      “Be a man for once.” [FFS grow up] “Tell us what you REALLY think.”
      Like many others I am frustrated by not being able to read the reports but I don’t think that ranting about it will improve the situation.

      I would like to know why RLB (who was supported by Corbyn, McDonnell and McCluskey) very clearly stated in March that the party should apologise and pay compensation to those who appeared in the Panorama program. This is not a stance one would normally expect the left’s candidate to take so what did she know then that you and I still don’t know now. Incidentally I don’t recollect JC, JM or LM objecting to RLB’s statement at the time.

      I acknowledge that the original legal advice following the Panorama program was that the case against the claims for compensation was “winnable” but the use of this term also indicates that there was also a considerable level of doubt about any outcome. We also have to consider whether the contents of the EHRC report tipped the balance on the legal advice. You can rant on all you like about the quality of the EHRC report but the fact remains whether you like it or not that this report would have been entered into evidence in any court case. Neither of us is currently in a position to judge its likely impact on the outcome of any court case or to make an informed judgement on this reports veracity or impartiality until we’ve read it. You may not like this situation but we are where we are.

      You are welcome to continue your uninformed ranting if it boosts your self esteem and sense of manhood but I won’t be joining you. I’ll wait for the evidence before making my mind up.

      1. Gordon Bennet steve, you’re SO disingenuous it’s a joke!

        Steve claims he would like to know why RLB said that the LP should apologise to the former staffers who and pay them compensation. As IF he didn’t know ALREADY! Yeah, sure RLB would have gone down a real treat if she’d told the folk at the JLM meeting that she DOESN’T think the LP should apologise to them and pay them compensation, because the criticisms made by the LP at the time were valid. Oh, and I’m sure she would have received lots of positive ‘publicity’ from the Mail and the Sun et al and the Jewish newspapers.

        As for JC etc objecting to her statement, I’m sure the corporate media et al would have had a field day with that one – eg ‘Corbyn Slams Rebecca Long-Bailey For Saying Labour Party Should Apologise To Former Staffers And Pay Them Compenstation’.

        Needless to say, steve is gonna carry on pretending that the EHRCs investigation findings will be legitimate (which implies that he thinks and believes all the A/S claims and allegations were legitimate!), and that the investigation into the leaked report will be balanced and impartial and that they would never dream of coming up with a complete whitewash.

        Steve doesn’t for one billisecond believe that THAT’s the case of course, and he is just trying to dupe and mislead readers of skwawkbox into believing that he does, so that THEY will believe they ARE legitimate investigations, because THAT is what he’s paid to do!

      2. SteveH, before being ‘entered into evidence’ I believe leave must first be requested, and then I believe the court examines its evidentiary value very closely, possibly over a long period.
        Whether the report were found to be of much or little value, that would become known – and the possibility of the whole report being accepted as fact seems vanishingly remote.
        It’s not that complicated – the antisemitism accusations WERE false and therefore cannot be proven true by the liars that initiated them or by those who sold them to the public on a ‘no smoke without fire’ basis.
        Their lies can’t be allowed to stand.
        Even if it has to go beyond a High Court decision to the Supreme Court we must win in the end.
        Democracy itself is hanging by this one thread.

      3. ”I’ll wait for the evidence before making my mind up.”

        You’ve been dong that ever since your beloved twatness stole the reins from Corbyn. On each and every single occasion when the truth’s finally come out, it’s gone as foretold and stammer’s been found out. This’ll be no different.

        And when the truth’s out you’ll still deny it, because you’re irredeemably mentally deficient.

        ‘Uninformed ranting’ he has the temerity to call it. Pshaw! When you finally get something right (I reckon I’ve got abar 30-40years left, touch wood) THEN, AND ONLY THEN will you have the right to call me ‘uninformed’ you gobshite.

        Oh, and one more thing, soft ollies. DO NOT attribute the views of long-bailey (or any MP) to me. Just who the fuck do you think you are, thinking you can compartmentalize me? I’m not some horridable brown-noser like you. I have my own views, I don’t hang on every word of some greasy twunt the way you do. I am NOT you (Thank f**k)

      4. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the NEC elections, particularly the official membership numbers.

  5. Didn’t even get to the end of the article before I was reaching for my credit card and supporting these brave comrades . I hope they take the bastards to the cleaners .
    Utterly scandalous that the membership has to take its own party to court to get fair play And Justice just incredible shocking .So it started under Blair and with a short hiatus under JC who tired hard to correct it, so it now continues apace under Sir Spanners Strummered.
    Time for a new honest truthful party that actually does represent the working class and doesn’t persecute it’s membership.

  6. Jennie put in place good processes, but once again we are seeing ‘complaints’ being weaponised to get rid of good members with no hope of justice – again. McNicol go slow system until they give up is returning.

    1. Wonnie – “Jennie put in place good processes”

      Self evidently she failed because the problems with the disciplinary process still persist, as they did throughout Jennie’s tenure. Hopefully once a truly independent process is in place then everyone will get a fair hearing and justice will be open and transparent plus non of the various political factions will be able to interfere in the process.

      1. The party has to operate an open and transparent process. It’s the secrecy, the kicking into the long grass, the silencing of voices, the lack of information, which allows questions, all of that’s the problem. Currently powerful figures can manipulate a secret system with impunity, as labour leaks demonstrates, to rid themselves of those they wish, without justification. It’s a disgrace. Independence however, is a fallacy. Nothing is truly independent, the linkages between the powerful are always there. Using Nolan principles as expectations against which all members can be held to account, irrespective of allegiances or alliances, is a place to start.

      2. What was Jennie to do – sack all the McNicol-indoctrinated staff?
        I believe that would have been impossible.

      3. Wonnie, everything you mentioned happened under Jennie Formby, meaning either she was complicit or just useless at her job. Yes, if she did know what was going on and disagreed with it, without any question of doubt, she should have got rid of the conspiritors. If because of her unfortunate illness she didn’t feel up to it, which I can understand, she should have had a word with Jeremy and others and temporarily stood down so someone else could do it.

      4. That’s simply not true. Process and cleared cases improved significantly under her watch.

      5. Wonnie, Formby signed off on all of the expulsions and suspensions of good and decent anti-racist members without many of them even having a chance to respond. For that she will never be forgiven.

  7. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

    Courts are gonna side with you? The tools of the British empire are gonna bend your way?

    Maybe you should all say a prayer for Assange, no? Or doesn’t he count because he’s a colonial?

    Want change, get out on the streets. Because until we do…well I could lie and say and nothing will change.

    But it will, won’t it. Right this moment is as good as it gets.

    It’s getting close to shit or bust time.

  8. Totally agree with regards to the seeming hopelessness of the fight. Even so, I could not help but wonder if a leader or team statement, or stance, might have been a better approach. After all the ‘left’ are generally the better scholars, and they did possess all the answers to all of the criticisms being aimed at them.

    A united front on what to answer, when those such as Marr are so clearly being entirely disingenuous, would have given the right message to that faction of the electorate that had already made the effort to educate themselves. Instead, it so often seemed that the ‘left’ were chasing somebody else’s agenda.

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