‘Blatantly discriminatory’ Nick Small also ‘barracked’ and showed ‘intimidatory’ behaviour toward another black woman and refused to be quiet when his interruptions prevented deaf woman member hearing a meeting, say witnesses in submissions to party. Small denies the claims
A right-wing Labour councillor who, even before Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, dismissed left-wingers in the party as ‘dinosaurs’ has been accused of ‘bullying’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘antagonising’ behaviour toward a disabled black woman member during a meeting of Liverpool Riverside constituency Labour party (CLP), by four separate witnesses at the meeting.
He has told the SKWAWKBOX that he denies the claims.
During a meeting of the CLP in early 2019, Small was singled out as behaving ‘especially’ badly toward a black woman member with limited hearing, who had been denied a microphone for the speakers and was struggling to hear what was being said.
According to witness statements seen by SKWAWKBOX, Small and his group – but ‘especially’ Small – talked constantly throughout a meeting despite requests to keep order – and ‘heckled’ and ‘barracked’ another black woman speaker who complained, through the meeting’s chair, about the conduct of the huddle of right-wingers of whom Small was a part. But witnesses say that he also continued his behaviour toward the woman after the meeting, in a way they felt was ‘intimidatory’.
The partially-deaf black woman member had informed the meeting that she was struggling to hear because of the lack of a microphone and because her hearing aid batteries had run out, yet witnesses say that even as she spoke, the ‘chattering and giggling’ of Small and his group continued.
One witness felt that Small’s behaviour was ‘blatantly discriminatory’ when the woman member had made clear her disability was causing her to struggle.
Another witness described Small’s behaviour and that of another right-wing – but ‘in particular’ Small – during and after the meeting as ‘disturbing’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘deliberately antagonising’.
A fourth witness described being ‘appalled’ at the conduct of Small and his cohort, which he considered to be ‘complete disregard and abuse’ for the disabled black woman. So disgusted at the conduct was the witness that they resigned from the party in protest.
A fifth described the treatment they had witnessed of the partially-deaf woman as ‘nothing short of bullying’
Breach of confidentiality
A separate complaint against Cllr Small alleged that he had read out a confidential disciplinary letter about a woman pensioner member to a group of people on an RMT picket line, with the complainant demanding to know how he had obtained the letter since it would not have been circulated to him in the course of CLP or party business. The member in question felt that she had been damaged by Small’s decision to read out the letter in public to a group of union members.
Labour enjoins all those receiving information concerning disciplinary cases to keep all information confidential.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Cllr Small for comment. At first he demanded to know “how many of these” making the statements were still party members. When told SKWAWKBOX didn’t know, he replied “Well there you go then”. When asked whether their membership or otherwise excused his alleged conduct, the councillor denied any knowledge of the events in question, saying:
I completely dispute that, I’ve never bullied anyone in my life and this is a completely vexatious and politically-motivated complaint.
He additionally claimed that he had the disciplinary letter from the complainant and did not remember it being a picket line where he read it out.
In spite of the long period since the witness statements were submitted to the party, Labour does not appear to have pursued an investigation.
Cllr Small has, in the past, indicated in tweets that he believes dismissing as false or politically-motivated the concerns, complaints or ‘lived experience’ of those who make complaints of discriminatory behaviour is a facet of the same discrimination or racism and has said that it’s ‘not up to me’ to define discrimination felt by those of a different ethnicity.
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