Syed Siddiqi still suspended after 3 years, despite revelations of ‘Labour leaks’
Last month, Keir Starmer and acting general secretary David Evans committed to implementing, in full, the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) report on Islamophobia, even though it highlighted the shocking extent of anti-Muslim racism in the party. However, no action has yet been taken against the numerous party figures associated with anti-Palestinian statements either on their own part or made by groups such as Labour Friends of Israel, which notoriously blamed Palestinians for their own murder by Israeli troops.
But the Labour right’s abuse of Muslims goes back a long way – and the horrific case of the treatment of Syed Siddiqi was revealed by the leaked Labour report on the conduct of the right-dominated party HQ.
In 2017, Siddiqi received a torrent of Islamophobic abuse from a well-connected right-wing Labour member in his borough – and recorded it:
Siddiqi reported the abuse to the party – which suspended him as well as the perpetrator.
And, as the leaked Labour report makes clear, the party’s right-wing machine then went into action to protect the abuser and persecute the victim:
Although the audio recording proved that X had engaged in aggressive Islamophobic abuse of Siddiqi, the recording did not evidence the claim that Siddiqi made a threat on the call, and the counter-complaints X submitted were mostly refuted by the Whatsapp evidence he himself supplied, [party official A] and [party official B] then lifted the suspension of X, and placed both him and Siddiqi “under investigation”.
All investigative attention was now turned on Siddiqi, however, with B proactively collecting and investigating even minor complaints, for example about CLP meetings being organised without enough notice, that were normally in the purview of Internal Governance, not Disputes. B even personally insisted to Siddiqi that X’s status as a local voting delegate to the CLP be accepted, but when Siddiqi was selected as a council candidate, B tried to get the Local Campaign Forum to re-interview him on the basis of information he provided…
…on 6 December 2017 GLU suspended Siddiqi, and he became the focus of all investigative efforts.
B worked to collect a range of complaints against Siddiqi, most of which were very minor. Although further complaints about X’s conduct at a CLP meeting were received in February 2018, however, alleging bullying and intimidation, no further action against him was taken.
Siddiqi’s suspension meant that, with an upcoming CLP AGM in February 2018, Siddiqi was no longer CLP Secretary and would not be able to stand again, and he could no longer be a council candidate. At the February 2018 AGM, X was then elected CLP Secretary in his place. B did not raise that there had been complaints about X, including an audio recording in which he used abusive and Islamophobic language, ahead of the election at the AGM, even though he had proposing submitting evidence on Siddiqi to the Local Campaign Forum and argued that he should be re-interviewed after he was selected as a council candidate.
Emails show that B instead worked with the regional office to ensure that the disciplinary case against X was not raised at the AGM. When complaints followed about X’s conduct at the meeting, B promised action but took none
The report then outlines coordinated action among local MPs, councillors and their representatives against Siddiqi and the contortions used by HQ staff to excuse taking action against him but not against his abuser, before noting that the case against Siddiqi was referred to the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), which has the power to expel him. A and B, who had also allegedly ignored complaints of antisemitism received from Jewish councillors in the same area, then quit their positions with the party, with no update on the case left for those who remained.
Three years later, despite the promise of Syed Siddiqi remains suspended and no action has been taken against those who rallied behind his abuser, despite the leadership’s promise to enact the LMN report in full. His ongoing suspension continues to be used by the Labour right to target him and others associated with him, such as Sam Tarry – who beat right-wing favourites to selection as Ilford South’s parliamentary candidate and now serves as its MP.
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