Latest chapter in Labour’s war on members in its south-west region – and much more to come
Bath Labour constituency party (CLP) has been forced to cancel a planned meeting to elect officers and discuss motions after ‘deliberate confusion’ in which all the planned motions it submitted were ruled out by the party’s regional office – except one to mark the anniversary of the death of George Orwell – and the regional office criticised supposed gender imbalance in the CLP’s executive but banned members from electing officers for another three months.
The CLP’s elected officers sent out an email on Tuesday evening to members to warn them of the change and explain the troubling events behind it:
Postponement of Motions Meeting Wednesday, 9th December
We regretfully inform you that our motions meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 9th December, cannot safely proceed for the reasons explained below and it is therefore postponed until further notice.
You will have received an email from regional office informing you that their employees will be running our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February 2021. This situation is not unique to Bath CLP and regional office have not made their reasons for this clear.
Region informed the Executive Committee (EC) that the motions meeting could proceed but that we cannot go ahead with the meeting to elect members to fill vacant officer roles and address gender imbalance on the EC. We are not able to tell you why in Bath some meetings can be managed by the EC and others not because we have been given no reasons.
We have been told that some kind of investigation is underway, but we do not know who is conducting it or whether we will be involved in the investigation. We have been told it is not a disciplinary process but do not know what it is about. We can assure you we have tried hard on numerous occasions to find out more detail but no one will tell us and therefore we cannot tell you. We believe that we have conducted ourselves with utmost integrity at all times whilst also working hard for our members and communities, despite having lost the services of several officers during this pandemic.
You might already be aware of Labour Party members and officers having been suspended at their ‘motions meetings’ in other parts of the country even when banned motions are not being discussed. The guidance appears to state that any subject of conversation that could lead to a “flashpoint for the expression of views” could lead to suspensions. It is unclear to us what this means or how this affects the management of motions meetings. While the situation is so confusing we believe that there is no clear route for us, as your elected EC, to protect our members and ensure you can avoid suspension. We feel we cannot, in good conscience, put any of our members in that position and therefore it is with great sadness that we have come to the view that our motions meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 9th December, cannot safely proceed.
As your elected Executive Committee (EC), we put looking after your democratic rights at the heart of everything we do. So as soon as there is more clarity re this situation we hope to resume democratic meetings safely once again.
We are aware that many people are distressed by the situation. We, on the EC, feel the pain you are feeling, we empathise with the confusion and the distress. If anyone wants to reach out and speak to us so that we can offer support at this difficult time please do not hesitate. We are only an email away. There are many people feeling isolated due to Covid and other issues and we want to reassure you all that we want to stand by you, be here to listen and help in anyway that we can.
There are many other ways that we can exercise our democratic rights. We can write letters, ensure we vote on matters that we care about and make sure our elected representatives hear us. We can also attend the online events together that we are arranging. We have had fascinating and dynamic speakers, and lively and thoughtful discussions have arisen. Most importantly of all we can support one another. We intend to redouble our efforts to support our vulnerable members, help people in our communities and to keep you informed of all the exciting things we have planned as a CLP. We want to bring positivity and Christmas cheer to every one of you at this time of year.
Yours in deep respect and comradeship,
Bath CLP Executive Committee
Labour members in Bath have told the SKWAWKBOX that they believed the confusion was deliberately created as a trap to allow action to be taken against left members of the CLP, which is one of the cash-richest in the country.
The cancellation is the latest in a string of attacks on Labour members in the region, who were disenfranchised in the selection of a ‘metro’ mayoral candidate and whose officers were suspended for allowing them to exercise their democratic rights.
But far more has been going on, including a scandal that exposes the real nature of the Labour right. The SKWAWKBOX will reveal this and more in the coming days.
The motions originally planned for the meeting and banned by the party included calls on Labour’s leadership to restore democracy to CLPs and a motion of no confidence in acting general secretary David Evans.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.