The Labour party is in the High Court again on Thursday to defend its disciplinary process against a claim by a group of members, Labour Activists For Justice (LA4J) and two other members supported by the Left Legal Fighting Fund. The complainants allege that the process is unfair and therefore in breach of the party’s contract with the membership. Labour had told those affected that the EHRC’s findings did not apply to them.
The party is pursuing this case and spending their members’ money doing so, despite the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) finding the disciplinary process unfair in their report published last October and Labour’s claim that it was taking urgent steps to implement the report’s recommendations in full – and despite the party’s well-attested financial problems.
The claimants asked the party, in the light of the EHRC report, to stop disciplinary action against them until a new procedure is in place, but Labour refused. The Claimants, who include three Jews, were all accused of antisemitic conduct and are seeking to be tried by a
fair process. All vociferously deny the party’s allegations.
At a case management hearing in the High Court in February – which Labour lost – it was revealed that the party was using a secret – unpublished – code to judge antisemitism complaints. Around a month later Labour published it on its website.
Publication of the code makes it much easier for any accused person to render a defence and the members of the group whose cases were still in process sent in new defences, of which the results are not yet known.
Those who had already been sanctioned included Diana Neslen, an 81-year-old Orthodox synagogue member. Neslen and others ask if they could reopen their cases. Labour refused.
Not only is it bad enough that the party used a secret Code of Conduct to judge us, but in my case this was compounded by their refusal to consider the defence I mounted, once I knew about the code they used.
Then there is the scandal of the two hundred or so members, thirty or more of them Jews, who have already been judged and sanctioned. Will they get their cases reviewed? An accusation of antisemitism is a terrible thing to bear, and I hope, if we win, that the Party will have to reopen all the cases they
have sanctioned since 2018.’
The group also claims that the party’s confidentiality requirement – accused members may not tell anyone other than their GP or the Samaritans about Labour’s charges against them or even that the case exists, on pain of further disciplinary action – is draconian and unfair. The party denies this, citing as evidence that the claimants were able to go to lawyers to get advice. The group says it did so mindful of the risk of Labour taking the threatened further action against its members.
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.