Analysis Breaking

Tottenham CLP chair receives reinstatement letter – 3 days after regional office completes hijack of AGM ballot meeting

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.

Damp-squib coup

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.

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13 comments

  1. The party is a shambles. Reinstatement after a week. Wonder if that has sommet to do with the elections…… .

    1. So where is the co-ordinated effort by CLPs to flood conference with motions to counter the unchecked and inappropriate level of power that these appointed officials (who appoints them?) wield over elected officials.

      1. To flood Conference?

        A Conference is unlikely to happen under Keir Rodney’s tenure as Leader. Evans’ appointment as GS and Starmer’s actions and policies as leader are both so unpopular that the very possibility of a Conference fills Sir Keir with dread.

      2. Yes, i so claim. I’m sure Starmer is praying to rockefeller heaven for a reason to have a new lockdown before mid-September (right on cue there will probably be an intense new variation of covid-19, “the czech spy corbyn variation”) and regretably Evans will have to suspend the event.

        Act quick and you’ll find a bookie to take a bet on it before it becomes common expectation.

      3. Very good point, quertboi. In fact I’d say bookies would give you good odds that a shock horror “deadly” new variant will be announced to scupper the opening up of society at the last minute. Johnson doesn’t want to risk the possibility of any public, judge-led inquiry into the last 12 months any more than Starmer wants a conference!

  2. Labour Conference Brighton 2021. Face2Face Starmer. Time to get CPSs & delegates organised & briefed ‘Comrades’.

      1. fao John Thatcher…..not quotation marks, just a call to arms ‘Comrades’.

  3. If it were me, my first instinct ( and possibly it was that of the chair too) would be to tell them to shove their reinstatement where the sun doesn’t shine. However that is probably the reaction they want. Therefore I would accept reinstatement and then seek a formal response as to why I was suspended in the first place.
    A data protection request would probably throw up some interesting information too. Legal advice and crowd funding any legal action if legal action is possible is another option which the former chair might also consider .
    Of course the appointed chair could stand aside and let it go to a vote. That would be the honourable thing to do but then we are talking Labour right wing here and honour is not a concept they are familiar with.

    1. Smartboy
      Current legal challenges cover all of these issues, they are making most of it before they are taken to the cleaners by members past and present

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