Bolton South East constituency party chair has resigned from the Labour party. Read his full resignation letter to Keir Starmer
In August, Skwawkbox reported the motion against Keir Starmer’s war on Labour’s left-wing members overwhelmingly passed by Bolton South East constituency party (CLP). The constituency’s MP, Yasmin Qureshi, sits on Starmer’s front bench as Shadow Minister of State for International Development.
Last week, the CLP’s chair resigned his party membership entirely, citing a sorry list of Starmer’s incompetence, betrayal of Labour values and those who rely on them, recklessness with public safety and human rights, determination not to oppose the Tories and, ultimately the ‘last straw’, Starmer’s appalling decision to write for the S*n. The letter pulls no punches:
Unlike many others who have resigned, I do not have a heavy heart in doing so. It is absolutely the right thing to do.
But how I got here is an important question.
Like many others I joined the Labour Party as I felt as a life long trade unionist it was my natural home, but I was wrong. I brought with me the principles that we must campaign and lobby to achieve what is right, but we must also accept democratically reached decisions, but apparently that is not right either.
With the election of a new leader I hoped to see LOTO [leader of the opposition] off the blocks in good speed and take advantage of the numerous open goals that this clown car of a government have offered, but no. The inability to score the open goal and continually be put on the ropes by the oft’ used counter attack of ‘Captain Hindsight’ was tortuous. Where was that rapier like forensic analysis? If its exists, it has yet to be unpacked.
Like many others I have followed the complaints process and whilst my complaint was proven to be right at the very highest level, there was no correction offered, indeed it took so long that the correction would have been too late.
For me the dismay really began to set in when LOTO announced that he would actively campaign against the reunification of Ireland, but it was not only the statement but the timing, so close to the 12th July, and the location where it was made.
The LOTO would be in direct contravention of article 1 if he were to “campaign strongly’ against the reunification of Ireland if a referendum is triggered under the Good Friday Agreement as he said he would in a recent interview with the BBC
In that interview he failed to acknowledge that the devolution brought about by the Good Friday Agreement was not a final settlement of the constitutional question of Ireland’s future. It was a settlement to bring about a lasting peace underpinned by the institutions necessary to make a decision about its own future without violence.
I am massively disappointed that the LOTO made this statement let alone chose the weekend prior to 12th July, a time when right wing loyalists burn the Flag of Ireland, and effigies of the Pope, to announce his opposition to the reunification of Ireland. These huge fires are often situated to intimidate the catholic community and the days leading up to the 12th are often days when Catholics ‘choose’ to stay at home for increased fear of attack.
I am not aware that the Labour Party has agreed such a position, indeed, not only is this probably in contradiction of the rank and file membership but a recent poll suggested that over half of the population of Ireland supports reunification. Maybe focus groups have more sway over the LOTO?
If the LOTO did not know the impact that his statement and its timing would have, then he lacks the political nous required for someone who wishes to lead the Labour Party to bring about the change that this nation so badly needs.
This dismay was further heightened when I took the opportunity to take this issue up with my MP, Yasmin Qureshi at the CLP which I chair, and following her advise wrote to her as a constituent outlining my concerns but I have never received an acknowledgement let alone the promised action, the disappointment I felt was palpable and only made worse by the abrupt and evasive reply from her office. This from an MP that I committed months of my life to coordinating an election campaign for in 2019.
Turning now to the conference which was marred before it started by the number of delegates that were suspended or otherwise prevented from going and the fear that many delegates had of being watched in case they are one of those thousands and thousands referred to.
The first of the poor moments was LOTO’s car crash appearance on Marr discussing the Big 6 trying to explain why six does not equal half a dozen, followed by his moving against the £15 minimum wage and forcing Andy McDonald to resign his shadow position stating,
“Yesterday, your office instructed me to go into a meeting to argue against a national minimum wage of £15 an hour and against Statutory Sick Pay at the living wage. This is something I could not do.”
I think it is safe to assume that LOTO’s office was not arguing against the minimum wage of £15 because it was too low.
And right on cue the PM declares his Tory party is the party of high earnings, not missing the open goal presented to him. The LOTO declared the Labour Party to be the party of the worker, I thought we were the party of the Working Class.
Then at last I thought, light, the motion in support of the people of Palestine was passed, but what next, Lisa Nandy, that member of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East not sounding too much like a Friend of Palestine.
Then the last straw, the S*n. To put this in perspective I was not directly affected by loss at Hillsborough but know that a great injustice has and is still being done, believing that whilst I support a different team on Saturday afternoon but we are all valuable human beings nonetheless. You declared during your leadership campaign that you would not write for the paper during the campaign, I took that as a message of solidarity to the people of Liverpool but if it was a message of solidarity then writing in the paper was an insult.
I have no doubt that it was planned with the water tested by Wesley Streeting weeks prior. So what happened to your view that you would not engage with the paper? I assume it went through the same transition that your 10 pledges did.
I guess that it all comes down to what you set off to achieve, so please once again don the cap of ‘Captain Hindsight’.
You claimed that you sought to bring the party together. I’m not sure it was that divided before but it is certainly more divided now. You have polarised the membership and instead of bringing the party together you are close to what I suspect you really sought, a party that only voices one opinion.
I shan’t sign off by wishing you luck in your objectives for the Labour Party because I do not wish you luck. You will get what you deserve and that is to be moved to one side once you have done the dirty work and forever remembered as Captain Hindsight.
Last week, the party lost its only councillors in East Hampshire after three resigned in disgust at Starmer’s conduct and wrote to him in similarly searing terms to say why. Before that, an Oxfordshire councillor resigned with just as blistering comments and Starmer has lost several front-benchers over his behaviour, including two black women MPs for his failure to properly oppose anti-black racism.
The list of Starmer’s crimes against Labour, its values and those they represent grows ever longer – but now the consequences are racking up too, as those in the party with principle abandon it in disgust at the lifeless husk it is rapidly becoming.
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