EHRC report made clear that interference in party’s rules and processes is unlawful – regardless of who benefits
Keir Starmer – speaking to a joint LFI/JLM event on the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People, despite LFI’s 2018 claim that Palestinians were to blame for the murder of Palestinians by Israeli forces – has said that he thinks the party ‘need[s] to find a way to make [the return of MPs who campaigned against Labour for the TIG/CUK party and those who campaigned for them] happen:
I know this affects a number of people who left our party over the last few years and found themselves campaigning for other candidates, or even standing as candidates.
The usual rule as you know is that if you support another candidate at an election, that’s a five-year exclusion from the Labour Party. I think we need to look again at that where people left the party because of antisemitism.
This is not people who chose to leave the party to go and necessarily support another political party, it’s people who felt driven out of our party. I think that’s a different set of circumstances and I think we need to look at how we address that.
I think there will be an number of people in that position and if those – perhaps yourself – are beginning to say ‘I think the Labour Party might be a safe space for me again’ then first of all that’s an amazing important thing from my point of view…
We therefore need to find a way to make that happen. That obviously depends on the rule et cetera… Every rule must have an exception for exceptional circumstances, and I’m very happy to have a debate with people about how we make that happen.
Three things are clear:
- Labour’s rules do not say ‘campaigning against Labour results in a 5-year exclusion unless you claim you were driven out’
- the EHRC report forbids ‘political interference’ in Labour’s disciplinary rules – and by including attempts by Corbyn’s office to speed up disciplinary processes against people accused of antisemitism and condemning the negative impact on other ethnic minorities of Labour’s media-harried focus on antisemitism, the report makes absolutely clear that ‘interference’ is interference, no matter who benefits or suffers as a result
It was also very clear – even more so after a book by Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire exposed details of the events in question – that Gapes, Ryan, Berger and co were making plans against the Labour Party while they were Labour MPs. They simultaneously launched their new (then-)Independent Group, later Change UK and announced their resignations from the Labour party. They were preparing to promote a rival party – and colluding with MPs from the enemy Tory party – while still Labour members and representatives. An offence so serious, under Labour’s rules, that to do it is considered to self-expel (auto-exclude) from the party.
With no conditionality about claiming to feel ‘driven out’.
Labour’s rules do not permit themselves to be changed without approval by the party’s annual conference, which is Labour’s sovereign body – but even if Labour changes the rules, the rules that applied at the time of the actions of the ‘Tinge’ MPs meant they were expelling themselves from the party for a minimum of five years.
If Starmer attempts to apply any changes retrospectively in order to welcome back into the party people who did their utmost to destroy it electorally, it will be as good a textbook definition of ‘political interference’ as anyone could imagine.
And since the EHRC report doesn’t care who benefits by such interference, Starmer will yet again be breaching – after his political interference in the Corbyn disciplinary outcome and his continued attack on Corbyn for comments the report said he had a legally-protected right to make – his commitment to implement the report’s recommendations in full.
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