Breach of democracy as Mizan the Poet and another member blocked from entering meeting after making complaint to party
Mizan the Poet – a guest on Socialist Telly’s Labour Black Socialists programme – has been denied access to his local Labour party meeting, despite not being suspended.
He reported the incident on his social media this evening:
Mizan had put in a complaint to the party about the conduct at his CLP and told Socialist Telly about his treatment by the party (watch from around 15m30s) and his determination not to be forced out without a fight:
Another Asian member has submitted a formal complaint to the party about the meeting:
Formal complaint re conduct of Harrow East CLP AMM 26th October
This meeting was announced as a physical meeting (notice sent on Thursday 21st October, only 5 days ago), then changed to a hybrid meeting, and this morning at 10:41 it was changed to not be a physical meeting at all “due to unforeseen circumstances”. All these communications are listed as coming from [redacted], who is the Chair, and not the Secretary. I believe there is a risk of disenfranchisement if people had made plans to attend the physical meeting and did not receive today’s cancellation message in time.
The meeting consisted of 16 people, 2 of whom were definitely not members of Harrow East (being AM Krupesh Hirani and Harrow West chair Navin Shah). The Quorum for the CLP is 20. Per the Standing Orders: “Business meetings shall not be held if a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the appointed time; always provided that in special circumstances members present may agree to transact pressing business subject to the ratification of the proceedings by the next quorate meeting.“ There was no acknowledgement of this.
I was also contacted by Mizan Rahman and Richie McLouglin who were still waiting to be let into the meeting. Despite repeated requests, they were not admitted.
During the Officer Reports, I raised my “virtual hand” to raise questions to the Officers. Despite this, I was not called before the Deputy Council Leader Natasha Proctor was asked to speak. After she spoke, I was called, and my first question, to the Chair, was that, given I’d been looking forward to the first physical meeting in almost 2 years, why it had been cancelled. I was again told it was “due to unforeseen circumstances”. When I asked what those circumstances were, I was told “well, it might be personal”. I asked if that was the case, and was told she would not answer, and that I could not ask the questions of the Officer reports, as she wanted to give time for people to ask questions to Cllr Proctor, and that 10 minutes had been allotted to me to present a Conference Delegate report. I agreed, but there were no questions to Cllr Proctor, nevertheless I was not permitted to raise my questions.
No finance report was presented, despite the Treasurer being present. I had previously been informed by the current IT Coordinator and former Treasurer [redacted] that such a report is mandatory at every meeting. I contacted him via zoom chat, asking him to remind the Chair of this (as he had done with the previous Chair). I did not receive any response.
When I was finally given the opportunity to speak, I asked the chair what the proper time was for questions to Officers. I was told that I could not ask any questions, and that I would have to decide whether I wanted to present the Delegate Report or not. Since I felt this was an unreasonable answer, I declined to do so, and was promptly muted. She then proceeded to say that she had discussed the matter with me prior to the meeting – this was not true, and when I shook my head to indicate disagreement, she disconnected me from the zoom call.
All this is a breach of my rights as a member, a violation of the standing orders, of the Citrine rules on the conduct of Labour meetings, and of custom and practice. I have complained regarding this autocratic behaviour before to Amy Fode, but I have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgment.
I expect this complaint to be treated seriously. This behaviour is bringing Labour into disrepute.
The Labour right is rotten with Islamophobia, as highlighted by the Labour Muslim Network report on the topic. Keir Starmer and David Evans promised to implement its recommendations in full, but appear to have done nothing and are taking no action against most right-wing Islamophobes in the party.
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