Labour First-supported NEC member and candidate subject of complaint for bullying blind party colleague and accused of involving Tory in attempt to damage Muslim councillor and of trying to block parliamentary candidacy of fellow Sikh
Right-wing pressure group Labour First has been heavily promoting its ‘slate’ of candidates for the elections to Labour’s National Executive Committee – a slate that includes two candidates who got onto the NEC in the by-elections held earlier this year after left organisations failed to agree on a united slate.
But one of the candidates, Gurinder Singh Josan – a long-standing Labour First activist in the West Midlands, close to right-wing MP John Spellar and former MP and deputy Labour leader Tom Watson – has failed to respond to questions about a number of serious and apparently unresolved issues surrounding his conduct. The allegations are outlined below.
Bullying a blind colleague
In 2018 a blind, Muslim member of the Labour Party lodged a formal complaint with the Unite union alleging that Josan had subjected him to a ‘relentless verbal attack’ during a branch meeting that shattered his self-confidence:
Gurinder Josan who is the Secretary of my branch 6090, proceeded to relentlessly verbally attack me telling me I have no right to question the union membership credentials of _. Despite the fact Gurinder 20 minutes earlier was challenging the credentials of two other unite members.
His abuse towards me in front of 85 people made me feel extremely vulnerable, publicly humiliated, very uncomfortable, deeply saddened and under siege by Gurinder who would not stop his attacks against me until the Chair forced him to resume his seat…
Regardless of the eligibility of __ to be a member of the Retired Members branch, I kindly request the union to take immediate action against Gurinder for the highly abusive, offensive and disgraceful way in which he attacked me this evening witnessed by all delegates present which has shattered my self-confidence and left me extremely distraught.
The SKWAWKBOX understands that the complaint remains unresolved, but that while Josan remains a member of Unite, he switched his delegate position at his local Labour party to represent the more right-dominated GMB union.
The same blind member was also the subject of abuse from Josan’s close associate, right-wing MP John Spellar, at a meeting of local Labour members – abuse recorded and heard by the SKWAWKBOX.
Tory-brokered meetings to ‘bring down’ Muslim councillor
The ‘Sandwell Skidder’, a well-known political site in the West Midlands that exposed abusive and sexually explicit WhatsApp messages by right-wing Labour councillors, was at one time close to Labour right-wingers in the area.
‘Skidder’ author Julian Saunders was targeted by Labour right-wingers, who brought a criminal prosecution against him for supposedly swearing at and harassing the council’s chief executive – but the case spectacularly exploded when Saunders presented the court with video evidence of the ‘incident’ that proved he had done no such thing, in spite of the claims of a series of council officials. The judge immediately dismissed the case and the council’s chief executive subsequently resigned, with no pay-off, after being put on ‘extended leave‘.
Saunders claims that some of the prominent local right-wingers used a well-known local Tory to set up what turned out to be several meetings between ‘Skidder’ and Josan – and that Josan provided several sets of documents relating to a local Muslim councillor, with a request to “use them to help bring him down”:
Curiously this was all arranged via a Sandwell Tory whom people knew I trusted. He arranged three meetings for me to meet Josan at the Pret a Manger opposite Snow Hill Station and he came along too…
Josan himself is a well-turned out man and on each occasion he brought me very neat bundles of documents, all organised, stapled etc – pictured below – which I was told had been prepared “by the Party.” They all related to (then) Cllr ___________ and I was specifically asked to use them to help bring him down.
Attempt to block a female fellow Sikh’s parliamentary candidacy
At one of these meetings, Saunders says that:
The Tory took me to see Gurinder in the office of his sister’s accountancy firm in Smethwick. We had to wait sometime as Josan was ringing all his Sikh political contacts as he was anxious to stop comrade Preet Kaur Gill… getting a parliamentary berth
The SKWAWKBOX called Josan to discuss these matters and the appropriateness of Josan’s NEC position and candidacy and was asked to send questions by email. An outline of the issues was sent, along with the following questions:
– did you act as described toward your blind Labour colleague?
– has the union contacted you about this complaint
– if so, were you ever suspended over it?
– why did you ask Julian Saunders of Sandwell Skidder to damage the Muslim councillor?
– why did you feel you had to use a Tory to set up the meeting?
– why did you want to prevent Ms Gill from standing for Parliament?
– how is it appropriate for you to be on the NEC and standing for re-election with these matters unresolved?
More than 24 hours after the deadline for a reply, Josan has not responded. Attempts to call him today have been unsuccessful.
Josan’s fellow right-wing NEC member Johanna Baxter is closely associated by Labour left-wingers with the blocking of Labour members and supporters before the 2016 leadership election in what Corbyn supporters claimed was a ‘purge’ to reduce Corbyn’s voting base:
The SKWAWKBOX recommends that Labour members vote for the ‘Future we need’ slate of candidates in the forthcoming election:
- Ann Henderson
- Gemma Bolton
- Laura Pidcock
- Mish Rahman
- Nadia Jama
- Yasmine Dar
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