Right-wingers accused of ‘stitch-up’ in selection of conference delegates
The Labour right has been accused of a ‘stitch-up’ in the selection of delegates to represent members at Labour’s annual conference this autumn – and party insiders say the move is typical of what is happening around the country as the right aims to force through a change in the party’s leadership election rules to rule out any future left-wing candidates.
After a highly controversial AGM (annual general meeting) in March, where large numbers of local members were denied entry to the Zoom meeting or blocked from voting, the Progress/Labour First axis of Streatham Labour Party seized control of the ‘CLP’ executive committee.
Now local members say that the new right-wing regime is attempting to ‘stitch up’ the CLP’s delegate nominations for Labour’s annual conferences, along with vital committee posts, by denying local members a vote on these positions.
Skwawkbox has been passed the proposed nominations for delegates made by Streatham Labour and the right has awarded itself every single delegate and committee nomination – including many names that have been backed in election contests by the right-wing Labour First and Progress pressure groups – despite most local branch members having never been informed that nominations were even being sought – and only two out of eight local branches making nominations for Women’s and Annual Conference.
According to locals, the April exec meeting instructed the CLP secretary to tell branches they needed to make nominations at their May meetings, but no such notice appears to have been sent out. Some branches did not meet because of the pressure of London elections, others met but did not know they could make nominations. At least one right-wing branch secretary who did make an announcement only notified members that conference delegates would be nominated but did not announce any of the other posts.
Labour’s London regional office has been informed of these shortcomings, but in the past has been accused of failing to rein in ‘irregularities’ by right-wingers, or even of actively participating.
Despite the disenfranchisement, members say that Streatham CLP officers are now refusing to allow nominations from the floor at next week’s CLP ‘all member meeting’ for any of the conference delegate or committee posts in another example of local democracy being flouted and abused by the Labour right.
One local Streatham Labour member told Skwawkbox:
This is yet again another scandalous example of disenfranchisement in Streatham by the right-wing of the Party. It beggar’s belief that after the mockery of the recent AGM were members were shut out of the Zoom meeting and denied votes we now see the new right-wing executive so determined to keep their grip on power in the Labour Party that they will try and rig the nomination process for conference and one again deny local members the chance to vote. Why are the right-wing so scared of democracy? All we are asking for is a level playing field and our democratic rights which are the founding principles of a democratic socialist Labour Party.
The autumn annual conference is a vital event for the current party leader and acting general secretary, as the conference will vote whether to confirm David Evans in the post to which Starmer and his NEC allies appointed him. But Labour insiders say that the right also plans a bigger stitch-up, by changing the rules of leadership elections to ensure that the wishes of members can easily be overruled by a couple of hundred MPs and the right-run unions.
Insiders point to similar examples taking place around the country, some of which have also been flagged to Skwawkbox in recent weeks. The right’s assiduous efforts to secure control of local party structures – and in particular delegate places – certainly point to a major move by the right to pull up the drawbridge to ensure the left can never again threaten its control of the now mockingly-named ‘Labour’ party.
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