Pair condemn retrospective punishments ‘against natural law’ and call for unlawful expulsions to be rescinded
Labour national executive (NEC) members Nadia Jama and Laura Pidcock have tabled a motion for the NEC’s next meeting later this month demanding an end to retrospective application of the right’s ‘proscription’ of left groups – a practice that even the Labour right has admitted privately is unlawful.
The party’s right-wing regime, having forced the original ban through the NEC earlier this year, has been applying the rule in a way that is not only against the natural principle that no one should be punished later for doing something that was allowed at the time, but which wasn’t even agreed at the NEC meeting that passed the rule.
Thousands of Labour members have been targeted for even the most nebulous link with the banned groups, with one even expelled simply because a group’s social media account mentioned them. Councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick was expelled – after a 5-year campaign of abuse by the right – for being interviewed by one group about why she was standing to be the party’s general secretary, while Unison left-winger Lilly Boulby was expelled by the right-wing machine to remove the left’s democratically-achieved majority on Unison’s ‘Labour Link’ committee.
The motion reads:
Motion submitted to NEC
This meeting notes that at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of 20th July NEC
members were presented with a paper which resolved to proscribe four separate organisations
for their incompatibility with “Labour values”. The proscription of those organisations (Socialist
Appeal, Labour Against the Witch hunt, Labour in Exile & Resist) was passed by a majority at
that NEC meeting, but not unanimously.
Throughout the discussion that occurred at that NEC meeting and in the papers preceding the
meeting, there was no mention of the retrospective application of the decision to proscribe
these organisations nor, crucially, was there a clear, exhaustive, description of what constitutes
‘support’ for the organisations listed.
At the request of many National Executive Committee members, a discussion took place at a
subsequent NEC meeting about both of these substantive points of contention – namely of
the retrospective application of the proscription of these organisations and of what
constitutes ‘support’ for them. From that discussion it was clear that there were wide ranging
interpretations of what was agreed at the July NEC meeting which made the decision to
proscribe the organisations.
This meeting believes that:
1. If the ruling body of the Labour Party (the NEC) cannot agree on what was decided on the
20th July NEC meeting, particularly in relation to how these rules are implemented, then the
Labour Party should not proceed to implement them.
2. Retrospective proscriptions are against the legal principle that people cannot be guilty of a
criminal act that was not illegal at the time of the offence. This ‘natural law’ principle is
especially pertinent for disciplinary cases, and the Labour Party should adhere to these
principles in its dealings with its own members.
3. There is an urgent need for clarity over who determines whether a member has met the
threshold to be investigated and the criteria to be employed to determine if a member is given
extra time to respond, the criteria that would be used to exonerate the member under
investigation and who makes that decision.
Therefore. this meeting resolves that:
1. A discussion must be convened at this NEC meeting to determine what constitutes ‘support’
for these organisations and a detailed examination of the process by which any future groups
2. The retrospective application of this rule ceases and that all members who have faced
disciplinary action and investigation because of any ‘support’ for subsequently proscribed
organisations before the date of the 20th July NEC meeting should have that action rescinded.
Proposer – Laura Pidcock
Seconder – Nadia Jama
The pair are still waiting for confirmation that the motion will even be heard. Tragically for justice, the right-wing majority on Labour’s NEC and the right’s lack of principle mean that even if it is debated, it faces almost certain defeat, regardless of the obvious wrongs of the party administration’s application of the rule and the fundamental issues with the very idea of proscription.
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