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Exclusive: Labour front-bencher’s CLP chair resigns over S*n column and assault on democracy

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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  1. Has anybody resigned from Merseyside yet? Sticking with this abomination seems like a non-starter to me, unless you’re only in it for what you can cream for your damned self…

    1. Who is this excellent comrade? Only his gender seems to be given, not his name.

  2. Where’s the tears from illeagle and mcgovern? Haven’t been made aware of so much as a titty lip from either.

    Maybe they’re saving the waterworks for when they’re back in the commons, so they can be told how ‘brave’ they are…

    …Or most likely they’re not.

  3. Calling him “Captain Hindsight” will have really shaken him to the core I’ll bet. /s

    Everyone’s being far too polite.

    Evans and Starmer represent an existential threat to the Labour party, I don’t think that’s an overstatement either; both seem almost pathologically opposed to anyone who’s to the left of Blair. Starmer lied his way to the leadership and seemingly has zero scruples about doing so. If there’s a left-wing position and a right-wing, Starmer will instinctively take that favoured by the right. A govt led by this man would be an exercise in ‘banging yer head against a wall’ futility, for everyone involved with the left.

    The UK establishment have made sure those seeking modest change have a choice of two equally poor options. To have the political reactionary right occupying key positions in both major parties like this, is simply a democratic outrage.

  4. I was brought up in Bolton and it was always a solid Labour town IN the early 1950s we had violent clashes with the local victoria orange lodge…before my irish Catholic family left the town the victoria lodge had gone through lack of support and disgust at the blatant fasicsm of the Orange.The Victoria Orange lodge as now appeared on the street again along with racism against Asians and bigotry against Catholics.We have gone from 3Labour mps and Council to I Labour mp and a Tory council.The last nail in the coffin of the Labour party as been the election of the scum knight of the realm .This Labour party would do almost anything to appease the increasing numbers of fascists amongst our crumbling abandoned Mill towns.I don’t blame the CLP chair of Bolton for having a bellyfull of this warped ideology and version of the Knights Labour party.Starmer is becoming a marked man and especially in Ireland’were he will learn that supporting Partition and division may just cost him more than the leadership of the Labour party.Many British politicians have been dumped in Ireland as a poison Chalice.This clown knight his rushing towards it and taking the Labour party with him…..Absolutely disgusting Scum supporter

    1. L.O.L 788, didn’t realise it still existed in these secular times. Quite a surprise. Good to hear your memories of Bolton Joseph. I think it’s highly unlikely that SKS will still lead (Labour not the Lodge) in 6 months time and I think there will be a great schism with another ‘Labour’ party set up in opposition. Burgon the most likely first leader.

      1. Plain citizen The orange lodges are becoming increasingly active and paraded through the centre of Burnley last year into the town centre and the Bolton resurected lodge Victoria lodge was to the front.So its not just the Bolton wanderers football club thats been resurrected and doing well it seems along with the Torys we have the Orange lodge of my childhood marching again.Still its always been the conservative and unionist party hasnt it and thats why I couldn’t ever understand a Catholic voting for them…..funny old world innit?

  5. Somebody else who pretended to be on the left was Neil Kinnock.

    After the 1987 general election, he claimed that Labour had lost because of its opposition to nuclear weapons. This was contradicted by Denis Healey in his memoirs.

    Years later, however, Kinnock admitted that he had never really been against nuclear weapons throughout his entire leadership of the Labour Party!

    “From the early 1980s really, I recognised the unsustainability of the unilateral nuclear disarmament policy.”

    “Analysis” BBC Radio 4, 29 February 2016.

    1. As others are saying, they’d rather devote party funds to fighting ex-staffers in a costly legal battle over this. Rather than simply publish the Forde Inquiry report, fess up, take what ever disciplinary action is necessary and move on.

      This attempt to shield some (note. all on the party’s right) while happily naming others (these five), for allegedly leaking a report which suggested the party was being undermined from within – something most members would view as important information. Just casts the current leadership as siding with those who wished the party ill. The alleged leakers shouldn’t be the issue here, the focus should be on what the leaks appeared to show i.e, sabotage.

      Southside HQ’s priorities seem to be completely the wrong way around.

  6. Starmer and Evans are holding the door open for members to leave. Don’t help them by going through it!

  7. Huge news. Labour has named five people they believe might have leaked the Forde report. They are still not releasing it even though it’s been rewritten. They protect the guilty and persecute the whistleblowers.

  8. Starmer is doing exactly what he was elected to do. Who’s the puppeteer? We can’t know. What’s obvious is Starmer is not his own man. He is unquestionably under pressure from the Israeli lobby and is far too cowardly to resist. Nor does he understand the Palestinian issue. He even seems to think Israel has defined borders. In 2001 Bill Clinton gave a presidential pardon to Marc Rich, hiding in Switzerland from prosecution for what was said to be the largest tax fraud in US history. Clinton later admitted “Israel did influence me profoundly”. Rich was Jewish. Don’t underestimate the influence the Israeli lobby has and the depths it will stoop to to bring it to bear. Starmer has also obviously been grabbed by the ex-Blairite right. He is doing the bidding of Mossad and those cuckoos in Labour’s nest whose natural home is the centre-right of the Tory Party. Every resignation by a principled radical will bring him congratulation. What we have to do is prise Labour voters away from this husk of a party and make them see a new movement could transform their lives. When we resign, we don’t go to the wilderness, we don’t sit alone, we combine, we fight, we spread the word. There are more than a hundred thousand of us and many more on our side. We are numerous enough to make a new movement now. It needs to cohere around one thing: opposition to capitalism ie employer-employee relations. McColl sang “I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday.” Well, what’s wrong with being a free man or woman seven days of the week?

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