Analysis Announcement

CLP secretaries sign open letter to Evans: by ‘stifling legitimate discussion’ you’re forcing us to choose between breaking our rules or being suspended

Constituency Labour party (CLP) secretaries and chairs up and down the country are signing an open letter to acting general secretary David Evans condemning his ‘stifl[ing] of legitimate discussion’ and making clear the impossible position his attack on members’ freedom of speech is imposing on hard-working local officers, who act as unpaid volunteers.

The officers, who are bravely speaking out in spite of the risk that it might trigger action against them by the party, are speaking up for their members’ rights – protected by human rights laws reaffirmed by the EHRC’s recent report – and ensuring that Evans has no excuse for ignorance of the extreme stress and distress his tactics are causing.

They write:

CLP Secretaries for Labour Party Democracy

Dear David Evans,

We are writing to you, as Constituency Labour Party Secretaries and Chairs, to raise our concerns about recent emails you have sent us, that instruct secretaries and chairs to prohibit discussion on certain topics.

Our party membership and its collective discussion in local branch and CLP meetings are vital to building an effective local political party. Unfortunately, the recent emails from you, placing restrictions on items of party business that can be discussed in meetings, accompanied by threats and suspensions, are undermining our efforts to build up our local parties. Democratically discussing the issues of party business that concern our members helps us develop and motivate our local party.

Treating our members’ rights with respect is also important for morale and increases the capacity of local parties to turn outwards and campaign in elections. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that was long fought for and has been traditionally upheld by the Labour Party, including in our party meetings. The right to freedom of expression is not only about the right to speak but it is also about the right to listen to others and for different views to be heard. Party members should have the right to express their views, including on whether the whip should or should not be restored to Jeremy Corbyn.

The policing of discussion, on a decision which has received a lot of media attention, is also demanding a great deal from volunteers who take up the role of administrators to facilitate and encourage dynamic campaigning local parties. Our local members and party officers are all volunteers, many of whom work very hard for the party. We feel that your recent guidance only puts us further into the firing line, and is affecting the mental and physical health of chairs and secretaries, many of whom are standing down from their posts because of the stress. This is expertise the Party can ill afford to lose with important elections coming up in May 2021.

Suspensions of officers who allow discussion on the removal of the whip from Jeremy Corbyn to take place also raises serious issues– chairs have in some instances had their membership of the party suspended for allowing discussion to take place when the General Committee or All Member Meeting has voted for them to do so. As CLP Officers, we are elected by General Committees or All Member Meetings, not appointed by the General Secretary and therefore we are being called upon, under threat of membership suspension, to break our own standing orders, and the rules of the party.

It is vital for us that the national party acts in a responsible way to help us maintain members’ enthusiasm to campaign for Labour. The attempts to stifle legitimate discussion are harming our local parties and their campaigning capacity, notwithstanding the suppression of members’ rights to speak and be heard.

We urge you to withdraw the ‘guidance’ you have sent to our CLPs and halt any disciplinary action currently being taken against Party Officers for facilitating democratic discussion of party business.

We look forward to your response.

Around 130 officers from Labour’s 600 or so CLPs have already signed.

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31 comments

  1. The letter is pleading and “urging” for a crumb. Despite all we have witnessed, the letter depresses. It’s too long. Unpacking complicated previously unexamined weaknesses, does require several paragraphs. Circumstances now, require no more unpacking. They are clear.

    The conduct of Starmer & Evans are totally unacceptable. Their stifling of CLPs must stop with immediate effect🔴

    1. Signpost, as I keep saying, why don’t you go forth and start you’re own party instead of endlessly finding fault with everything people on the left in the LP do. If everyone was as negative as you I’m sure many of these people you fraudulently castigate on an almost hourly basis in your endless posts on here would just chuck all in.

      Oh, and I see yur first to comment again – ie get yur negative phony fault-finding crap in as quickly as possible so as to ‘reach’ as many readers of skwawkbox as possible. As I say, go and start your own party and show us how clever and superior you are, as you OBVIOUSLY believe yourself to be.

      Hastala pasta!

      1. hay Allan So you think its ok to act undemocratically. Just asking.

      2. How did what I said to signpost evoke such a question on your part Ian. Signpost didn’t say anything in relation to the actons of Evans and Co, he was denigrating the letter the CLPs are signing, cos THAT is what he does on this blog on a daily basis – ie find fault with every single thing he can in relation to the left, and you of course are just being disingenuous by trying to misrepresent what I said, which is of course crystal clear AND impossible for anyone to misunderstand. But perhaps you’d like to explain how what I said in my post above in any way, shape or form led to you supposedly thinking that I think it’s OK for Evans and Starmer and Co to act undemocratically.

        No, thought not!

        PS Just in case you didn’t see it Ian, here’s a post by windychimes from last May in which he tells a big fat lie about Robin Lees – the guy who spotted Dominic Cummings in Barnard Castle during the first lockdown – taking legal action against Cummings and praising Robin Lees for taking ‘ROBUST ACTION’, and saying that’s the sort of ‘ACTION’ we need, and then immediately going on to then criticise and denigrate Jeremy Corbyn for NOT doing so (he doesn’t mention JC by name, but that is who he was alluding to)

        So what do you think of someone who does such a thing Ian?

        https://skwawkbox.org/2020/05/24/video-cummings-heckled-by-own-neighbours-over-disregard-for-lock-down-rules/#comment-147121

      1. Wasn’t it the grassroots who voted Keir Starmer into office with an overall majority in the first round?

  2. The current Labour leadership and acting general secretary seem hell-bent on destroying the Labour Party as it currently is – actively driving away members and loyal volunteers. Why would they want to do that? It can only be to re-make the party in their own image. It seems the Labour Party is now only for certain people: those who agree to agree with everything they are told to agree with. A sad shadow of what the Labour Party should be.

    1. We had a golden opportunity. We handed the party back. The Right Wing did not fight to take it back. They worked yes. They focused on THEIR aims. They always have. We had NEC, Leader and the VAST membership and enthused public support the leader brought. All those resources and opportunities were taken for granted… Sacrificed. SACRIFICED on the stinking alter of to appease. The odd desperation to be welcomed by the “Broad Church” that serves ONLY the Right Wing.🔴

      1. WE didn’t vote in the cult of new Labour 2.0! I voted for a supposed Socialist but I have my doubts about that now. I certainly didn’t vote Starmer nore did my Partner so stop with we did this BS!

        If so called socialists voted for Starmer then they have no one apart from themselves top blame about the total destruction of Labour. It’s more than time we admit the truth Labour is dead this zombie with a rosette is what’s left it will NEVER change socialism is being destroyed soon there will be nothing left. Yes so called socialists still give this cult money and support then your telling them his is fine in my name. I will do neither as long as Starmer I will for the first time in over 80 years of my family history of being proud socialists stop supporting Labour.

        They walked away from socialism. they ignore the rule book, they are preventing free speech and CLP’s exercising their autonomy. If were only there to be good little peions then there is no point in membership at all.

        Until the dam so called socialist MP’s start really demanding change or there walk this BS will get even worse. It’s more than time for us to admit the truth membership has no purpose. So either be a sheep and keep on allowing this BS and thinking motions and letters will change things where is your evidence this is working?

      2. “WE” did not include YOU. Months ago you said you’d left the party. i, like Doug tried encouraging people to stay. YOU became bizarrely enraged at that. Oh and i most certainly did not vote for Starmer. Never would🔴… I spoke to promote Burgon and voted for him and RBL as the least worst options.

        So repeat “WE” does NOT refer to YOU. Or those who never read posts yet are obsessed with reading every line and walk away from an elderly man bleeding on a gents toilet floor…to continue drinking with a friend (as per first account). Yet second set of lies, the fraud says they have a headlock from which no one has ever escaped🔴 … but decided not to use their “headlock” on the thugs who floored an elderly man. Join the disgusting fraud, you may get along🔴

  3. Surely the whole idea of politics is to discuss and debate and come to a solution.ITs becoming like a library with no books,whats the point if people of a like mind come together and are not allowed to thrash out policy at grass roots level.?I thought this was the Broad church party,but obviously we are not broad enough for these cretins.

    1. Longstanding members of the party have seen over and over the doings of the right yet sacrificed everything “doing everything THEY asked” as McDonnell whined on the MSM. There’s a strong suspicion that Jeremy bowed to McDonnell etc because they are so so so very “educated”. He took their lamentable “advice”. Jeremy brought the inspiration and members. McDonnell, Thornberry, Gardner … all that out of touch lot SQUANDERED what Jeremy delivered. We can only do our best. Jeremy did his to a phenomenal degree, attracting over half million members. MILLIONS chanted his name FULL of hope for CHANGE at last!!!

      McDonnell, Thornberry, Gardner etc failed to do their part. Worse than that, they too like Starmer, undermined Jeremy. Thornberry, Gardner and McDonnell DESPITE his promising BEFORE the GE, he and Jeremy would stand down IF we lose, each felt they could be leader.
      NONE of those will ever Ever EVER have my support in future‼️ NEVER 🔴

  4. ps. letter re Starmer & Evans’ repellent conduct, is accurate. My sadness is, it’s long overdue. Yes, better late than never, definitely. However it shows, despite long history of Right Wing rule breaking, CLPs were and are STILL hoping, RW “will be converted”. Always hoping – axe won’t fall. Waiting until last minute. Until axe is on our necks, to “express concern”, “urge” etc and “await a response”. NB. not cease and desist. Tell us when you get a chance, how you feel about our polite urgings. Please, if you’re not too busy, please tell us if you feel, disrespecting us, and doing every wrong, is right… please… we urge you🔴

  5. Starmer and Evans are trying to run the Labour Party as though it was their local golf club. The LP was built via the trade unions by ordinary people wanting a platform to express their rights to campaign for civil rights, social justice and the solidarity embodied in Socialism.

    Democracy has always been the keystone of the Labour Party but Starmer and Evans are attempting to clamp down on any form of discussion with which they do not approve. They cannot be allowed to get away with this dictatorship and must be opposed strongly and with SOLIDARITY.

  6. That letter is going to have the exact opposite result than intended. Evans will get a pat on the head when he shows it to his master.

    1. “His master” is a blithering idiot who’s just informed remainers and leavers that he doesn’t stand for them. On BBC news he said: “just agree a deal and we can move on”. The electorate can’t trust him. He won’t even beat the worst Tories ever.

      1. I’ve always been a leave supporter but I recall Mr Corbyn, under great pressure, offered a soft Brexit and new referendum. To the centrists this was unacceptable and they threw their support behind “Britain’s next prime minister Swinson”……. I bet they wish they hadn’t now.

      2. lundiel, i posted their intention to proclaim “Brexit Debate Ended”, several months ago. Some who never read my post could tell u exactly when… to the minute😂😂😂

        ANYWAY – This week Mandelson went further than i posted. The arch plotter hissed that REMAIN ERS who campaigned to reverse the vote are responsible for the problems now ie no deal or bad deal. I KID YOU NOT!!!

        SH’s “Mandy” isn’t considered a snake, without reason. And lundiel, it is a sharp snake. It’s flicking tongue picks up every scent of the quivering Keith. ps today again at PMQs Keith was an embarrassment. The discomfort was in the air EVEN via Zoom. Like the CUKS Soubrey, Berger, Umm umm and the Swinesome Prime Minister, methinks Starmer may get the treachery he dished out to Jeremy and US… ( US , WE etc does not include tiresome non reading readers etc)🔴🔴🔴

      3. lundiel09/12/2020 AT 6:20 PM,
        Im not a fan either. But one thing he is not is a “blithering idiot “. In fact he is the opposite. Whether he can turn the Labour Party into a credible political force in 4 years is going to be an interesting watch.
        I’ve been saying this for a while now, maybe there is another way Starmer can further his career. If Brexit becomes a train crash and the Tory’s ditch Boris, which is looking more likely by the day, I can see the Tory’s offering Starmer a place in a government of ‘national unity’. They did it not so long ago with Nick Clegg.

  7. 130 of 600 CLPs??? around 20% (And growing). Must be more popular than Corbyn then, eh? Remind me, just how many CLPs wrote to Corbyn, complaining he was undermining and denying democracy?

    Oh……That’s right.

    None. Zero. Diddly. A big fat duck-egg.

    But Corbyn did, however, allow stammer to shit all over democracy, didn’t he, wee steven?

    Because 52% is LESS than 48%.

    17.4m is LESS than 16.1m

    70% of 500k is enough to win a general election, isn’t it?

    Not that it matters, because stammer now demands HIS party and HIS MPs vote for TORY brexit….The same brexit he was determined to halt altogether…And shit all over democracy to do so….Except it was only in order to remove the impendinfg threat of a socialist government. The same socialism he claims to hold dear, no less…

    And now he’s reached the pinnacle of his political career. He’ll never go further than he currently is. He’ll never be PM, or even get to hold any of the four offices of state.The glass ceiling is made of lead for stammer; not even superman can see through, nor break through it. And that’s why the mask has slipped and the tory – always inherent within, and forewarned about – is now manifesting itself….And how?!

    Vote stammer’s labour, get conservative authoritarianism+. It’s really that simple.

    1. Toffee – You appear to have misunderstood the figures quoted. The actual percentage of CLPs is c15% not 20%.

      1. Hark the gobshite who insists that 17.4 is LESS than 16.1

        Who insists that 52% is LESS than 48%

        And who thought 70% of 500k members would mean a labour landslide…

        Yes – little steve h has claimed all those things on multiple occasions.

        130 as a percentage of 650 (for that is the number of seats in the commons) is TWENTY FUCKING PERCENT, GOBSHITE.

        NO JSS, NO BUTS NO NOTHING. IT IS TWENTY PERCENT.

        You truly are are a moron.

      2. Toffee – “steve h has claimed all those things on multiple occasions.”
        No I haven’t, you are more than welcome to waste your time trying to prove otherwise.

        130 as a percentage of 650 (for that is the number of seats in the commons) is TWENTY FUCKING PERCENT, GOBSHITE.
        Nobody is disputing the accuracy of your calculation. The only problem is that rather unfortunately it’s the wrong calculation. When you’ve worked out what you should be calculating then you’ll find the answer is approx 15%.

      3. ‘Wrong calculation’? You don’t even realise just how much of a complete idiot you sound.

        So you either explain just how I’m supposedly wrong, or you’re telling us there are more CLPs than there are constituencies.

        Which only provides MORE evidence of your own fuckwittedness.

        And I’ve already countless times shown up your gobshitery…and everyone’s all too aware of it.

        Innumerate, illiterate, illegitimate imbecile.

      4. Toffee – Oh dear, what a silly little potty mouth you are.
        Your tirade of expletives in response to me gently and respectfully pointing out that you had made a mistake along with either your dumb inability or unwillingness to acknowledge you were wrong says so much more about you than I ever could.

        To quote directly from the above article
        “Around 130 officers from Labour’s 600 or so CLPs have already signed.” [Officers, not CLPs. At the time of your calculation the officers from 92 CLPs had contributed]

        For goodness sake give the pathetically childish expletives a rest. Please grow up a bit.

    1. Thanks lundiel this is the very information of which LP members and the public should be aware. Starmer and the UK establishment are aiding and abetting the racist Israeli State and Labour Party members are being forced by way of threat of suspension or expusion into being proxies in this unholy alliance.

  8. And? Then what again your sending letters and motions so what? They are NOT listing, they are preventing your free speech and still demanding money while taking a dump on the rule book.

    Please I bet you stop supporting them every time you give them your subscription you are telling them this is fine. Carry on ignoring us were do nothing. Have some respect for your ideology and stop making excuses to stay and thinking if I stay and fight eventually it will get better because your kidding yourself!

  9. Folkestone & Hythe demonstrate their complicity by not signing, once again. Just as well they don’t canvas me, as I’d give them an earful!

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