Only elected last month, Rheian Davies falls victim to yet another convenient pre-vote suspension when left had majority
Last month at Labour’s annual conference, London Labour member, local election applicant – and former member of Labour’s London regional board – Rheian Davies was elected to the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), still Labour’s most senior disciplinary committee, at least until the party gets its new (not really) ‘independent’ disciplinary process in gear. Ms Davies won more than 203,000 member votes.
The NCC has its annual general meeting next week, at which it will elect a new chair – and on the numbers from last month’s conference, the left had a slim majority on the committee and was likely to elect a left-wing chair.
Cue, as has so often been seen before, a convenient suspension.
Ms Davies has received a letter from the party notifying her of her immediate ‘administrative suspension’: a ‘no-fault’ suspension, but one that still renders her unable to vote in next week’s AGM and is accompanied, as usual, by a demand for her response to the ‘charges’ within no more than 14 days.
The excuse for the manoeuvre? Disagreeing, years ago, with former Labour MP Owen Smith – three years ago – that then-party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a racist and that saying Smith should face a selection contest somehow inhibits the fight against racism:
Ms Rheian Davies (the Respondent) has engaged in conduct prejudicial and / or grossly detrimental to the Party in breach of Chapter 2, Clause I.8 of the Labour Party Rule Book by engaging in conduct which:
1. may reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, or belief;
2. undermines the Party’s ability to campaign against racism:
a. Item 1a – On 26 March 2018 posting on Facebook “So here we are a month before an election with Owen Smith challenging and members of the PLP demonstrating outside parliament calling our leader a racist. Have we time travelled back to 2016 or is it merely time to ensure we have mandatory reselection, so that who publicly damage our movement, get in the way of the change that is desperately needed in this country can be told, directly by the members what a good job they are doing; or not.”
Also charged is that – the items below were in internal Labour party groups, not public, and again took place years ago – that Ms Davies pointed out to right-winger Peter Mason that former right-wing MP and LFI official Joan Ryan was caught on camera making up an antisemitism allegation against a Labour member – and that Mason was listened to respectfully when he disagreed with a motion passed by a Labour branch:
b. Item 1b – On 26 March 2018 posting on Facebook “Peter Mason of course you work hard. Others do too. No one is saying there zero anti-semitism in the party. That would be ridiculous, one only has to look at the power structure in the party locally and nationally to see that the racism and sexism that we experience in society is reflected there. However a section of us do believe that anti-semitism is used to attack Jeremy. Jewish Voice for Labour express that view and are out as Jewish members supporting Jeremy tonight.
I do feel your post is incomplete though. The Northfields and Elthorne Branch Labour Party resolution was about fake anti-Semitism claims. This was prompted by one of our members Jean being subject to claims of anti-semitism, Anyone who saw the documentary can see and hear that Joan Ryan’s complain about Jean was a distortion and that Ms Ryan didn’t like the questions she was asking. She was lucky that a film crew [was] there, as most certainly an MP’s word would have been believed over her.
What you also miss out is that when that motion was debated that no one suggested in the slightest that should not have cultural ties to Israel. No one assumed your position on Israel, No one mentioned you or asked you to respond. When you did everyone listened with utter respect as you explained that you are both a Zionist and a socialist. You also said you didn’t like some of the things the Israeli government did. Views you are entitled to and others are entitled to disagree with, just as anti-Semitism exists within our party, so does weaponising it.”
Finally, Davies is charged with welcoming ‘awareness training’ but expressing the horrific opinion that such training would work better if you weren’t threatened with expulsion for discussing the issues; for saying that Labour members shouldn’t be seen marching with hard-right horrors such as Sajid Javid and Norman Tebbit; and for opining that some people might have wanted rid of Jeremy Corbyn.
For which – another irony meter bites the dust – she has been threatened with expulsion:
c. Item 2b – On or around 29 March 2018 posting on Facebook “Well this is the problem when people have other agendas. I’m happy to have greater awareness or training rolled out. It would be great to have a discussion without thinking you risked expulsion. However, I could never see myself on demo with Savid Javid (who calls people like me neo-fascists) Norman Tebbit and the DUP as a way of tackling issues around prejudice. I just can’t see why any socialist would do that, it wholly discredits those who have genuine concerns.”
d. Item 2b – On or around 29 March 2018 posting on Facebook “No that’s not what I’m saying but that where you have another agenda, the removal of Corbyn, is where the debate gets distorted and you attract such awful hangers on, who I’ll hope you agree have zero record of fighting racism.”
e. Item 2c – On or around 29 March 2018 posting on Facebook “[redacted] are you saying there isn’t another agenda because I’m saying there is and that is divisive and causing real confusion.”
In typical fashion, Davies is then asked to incriminate herself by saying why she hasn’t brought the party into disrepute or undermined its ability to ‘fight racism’ when she dared to discuss ideas.
The Starmer regime has been accused of using suspensions as a vote-rigging measure on many occasions, most notoriously in the mass suspensions and expulsions of left-wing conference delegates just before they were due to meet in Brighton to vote on whether Starmer’s admin sidekick David Evans got to keep his job, but also in the suspension of would-be candidates in local elections and even of Labour members and constituency party officers just wanting to stand for positions on their ‘CLP’ ‘exec’.
Now the gangsterism of the right-wing party machine has seen a new member of the party’s highest disciplinary committee suspended before she could even get her feet under the table – and just before she was due to vote as part of a left-wing majority on who should chair that committee. The move has also blocked what Davies’s selection as a councillor, which was considered highly likely to succeed.
It seems Starmer and co are determined that the left will hold no positions at all, whether that means taking over selection processes or, when that doesn’t work, wielding suspension as a weapon to neutralise those inconvenient people who dare to want meaningful change and a move toward justice.
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