But in spite of right-wing manoeuvres, coup was only partially successful
Former Tottenham CLP (constituency Labour party) Chair Nick Rogers, who was suspended for allowing the GC to decide whether to debate a motion in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn, has been reinstated to full membership.
The notice of reinstatement from the party came just three working days after the completion of the CLP annual general meeting (AGM), in which he would have been a candidate for re-election as chair.
With Rogers suspended, Labour’s regional office staff ordered that the only other candidate, who was backed by the local right, be declared ‘elected’ to the post of chair – and was then in a position to intervene ando over-rule the CLP’s executive committee (EC), which had decided to reopen nominations so that a properly-contested election could take place.
SKWAWKBOX understands that the letter reinstating Rogers included an 18-month ‘warning’ period – for the offence of disobedience by an elected officer of the party to orders from Labour’s general secretary. Of course, the party does not currently have a general secretary: Keir Starmer’s right-wing pick David Evans is only acting general secretary unless and until he is confirmed in the post by the party’s conference this autumn, but the party machine is ignoring the significance of that major Labour rule.
At part two of the Tottenham CLP AGM last Thursday, 11th March, the previously-reported manipulations by the CLP Secretary backed by regional staff had the effect of reducing the representation of the left Tottenham branches at the meeting. In addition, at least four validly elected branch delegates to the main ‘general committee’ (GC) meeting, plus one union delegate, were barred from attending or voting.
At the same time, a councillor who was ineligible to be a branch GC delegate was allowed to attend and vote, contrary to Labour party rules. Despite several requests, Tottenham EC members – and even the meeting’s tellers responsible for ensuring proper vote-counting – were not informed which affiliated organisations the purported affiliate delegates to the meeting were representing, causing further suspicion. The tellers, who had been elected at the first part of the AGM, were only able to see the list of delegates and the number of delegates voting.
However, despite the gerrymandering the left still won most of the key officer positions contested at the AGM: vice-chair campaigns, vice-chair membership, BAME officer, disabled members’ officer and fundraising officer by substantial majorities. For all their efforts, the right wing’s confidence that they would win the main officer posts was misplaced.
The left failed by just three votes to dislodge the current CLP secretary, who members say had previously claimed to be on the left but became part of the right-wing bloc trying to remove the left council leadership in Haringey borough. Given the tightness of the vote, the left would have won this key position had the meeting proceeded democratically.
Despite this setback, the left has maintained its strong majority on the Tottenham executive, much to the disappointment of their right-wing opponents. Members hope that this numerical superiority will allow plenty of scope for positive work to organise and educate Labour party members and to build for the selection of left candidates for the council elections, despite right-wingers having their hands on key levers within the CLP through the chair and secretary positions.
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 without hardship, 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.