Clear that NEC did not authorise action ruling out discussion of £600,000 pay-out
Elected members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) have demanded that the party’s new general secretary David Evans explain who authorised him to send an email to local party (CLP) chairs and secretaries banning discussion and votes on Keir Starmer’s £600,000 pay-out to ‘whistleblowers‘ involved in last year’s widely-criticised Panorama programme, as well as of the impending report by the EHRC on its investigation.
Labour members were not consulted on the decision not to fight a case the party’s lawyers said it could win – and on Friday night Starmer refused twice (video) to deny that he had gone against legal advice in the expensive pay-out that has emboldened Labour’s enemies.
But it seems that members of the NEC were not consulted either, even though the body is the party’s supreme authority – below the party’s annual conference of member and affiliated delegates.
That was made clear by a tweet from longstanding NEC member Rachel Garnham:
I and other left Labour NEC CLP reps have written to the General Secretary asking on whose authority his recent email, apparently prohibiting discussion of certain topics, was circulated; and expressing deep concerns about this attempt to curtail political discussion in CLPs.NEC member Rachel Garnham
The ban was no trivial matter, with Evans telling CLP officers and members that they were bound by the party’s ‘unreserved apology’ and could be legally liable if they dared to contravene it. Yet according to Rachel Garnham, the NEC knew nothing about it before it the threatening email was sent.
Labour members have reacted with similar outrage to being told what they are allowed to discuss. Evans has previously said, before his appointment, that ‘representative democracy’ should be abolished within the party ‘as far as possible’.
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