Labour MPs’ code of conduct lays out clear requirements for withdrawal of whip – and not one of them was followed with Corbyn
The code of conduct applicable to all Labour MPs lays out the rules that must be observed and the conditions that must be met before the whip is withdrawn from one of them.
It appears that Keir Starmer broke every one of them when he withdrew the whip from Jeremy Corbyn, after Corbyn was unanimously reinstated by a right-dominated panel of National Executive Committee members. He had been suspended despite the EHRC report on the Labour Party stating explicitly that members have a legal right to express a view on the level of antisemitism in the party – and that this protection is ‘enhanced’ in the case of elected officials such as MPs.
The parliamentary Labour party (PLP) code of conduct provides the procedure that must be followed:
Withdrawal of the Whip
Following the conclusion of an investigation into a Member’s conduct or in exceptional circumstances, withdrawal of the Whip (i.e. expulsion from the Parliamentary Labour Party) may be decided upon by a meeting of the Parliamentary Party at which prior notice of the motion has been given by the Parliamentary Committee.
The notice of motion shall include the terms of the proposed withdrawal including the length of time the withdrawal is proposed to last.
Withdrawal of the Whip shall be reported to the National Executive Committee and to the CLP of the Member concerned.
Member’s Right to be heard
Any Member against whom disciplinary action is proposed under paragraph (d) shall be given at least three days’ notice, and shall have the right to make representations to the next meeting of the Parliamentary Committee prior to a motion being put to the vote.
- decided at a meeting of the PLP – nope, Starmer took the decision ‘on the fly’ and apparently in panic
- motion of withdrawal – nope, just a high-handed decision made behind closed doors
- prior notice of the motion – nope, there was no motion
- motion to include the term of the proposed withdrawal – nope, there was no motion
- motion to include the length of time – nope, there was no motion and Starmer has simply said he will keep it ‘under review’
- communicated to the CLP of the MP – nope, the media appears to have had it first again
- three days’ notice – nope, decision on the fly
- right to be heard before the decision – nope, not even remotely
- put to a vote – nope, there was no motion to vote on
Basically, every rule that Starmer could have broken in the process of his suspension of Jeremy Corbyn – itself a breach of the EHRC report’s ban on ‘political interference‘ in disciplinary outcomes – was broken.
Starmer has made a mockery of his commitment to enact all aspects of the EHRC report, as well as of the PLP rule-book and the party’s disciplinary procedures – and, while he was at it, of the principles of natural justice to boot.
And he didn’t even have the backbone to admit he’d done it, instead trying to pretend he was simply ‘not restoring’ the whip when it had already been restored.
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