Bath constituency Labour party (CLP) last night passed a motion condemning Keir Starmer’s willingness to welcome Tory defector Mark Wakeford into the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) and Wakeford’s abuse toward individuals and the party. The motion reads:
This CLP notes:
1) That Christian Wakeford has “crossed the floor”, leaving the Conservative party and joining the Labour party. He has been welcomed by the current leadership as a new Labour MP.
The below highlights the background of our new MP:
a) Manchester Young Conservatives posted a (since deleted Tweet) which claims to show his attending a house party when this was illegal under coronavirus restrictions (however the accompanying photograph is undated and unverified).
b) after his election as an MP in 2019, it has been alleged that Wakeford continued claiming public allowances for at least three roles outside the House of Commons (as Lancashire County Councillor), despite having announced “to a full council meeting” his resignation in February 2020.
c) Wakeford has made the following comments in Parliament (taken from Hansard):
i. (During a reading of the Nationality and Borders Bill)
“I welcome the introduction of the new Nationality and Borders Bill. It is the cornerstone of the
Government’s new plan for immigration and delivers the most comprehensive reform in decades to fix our
broken asylum system. With this Bill, we are truly delivering on our manifesto commitment to the British
people to take back control of our borders and put in place an asylum system that works for those in
genuine need—and I do emphasis the genuine need aspect. What we are seeing is a paradigm shift whereby the Labour party no longer represents those working-class communities. It is no longer listening to those working-class voters. Thankfully, on this side of the Chamber we do listen.
As Conservatives, we will protect those most in need and put the rights of those who respect the rules
above those of the asylum shoppers who take our country for a ride.“
ii. (In a debate on e-petitions to recognise the State of Palestine and to introduce sanctions against Israel)
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply complex, and it is reckless to make over-simplifications by
suggesting that Israeli actions are disproportionate or that Israel is persecuting Palestinians, as these
“I welcome the Government’s commitment to ban boycotts against Israel, which divide our communities,
and I hope this legislation is brought forward soon so that we can provide the peace of mind that my
d) That WhatsApp messages to believed to be released by his erstwhile colleagues claim him messaging:
i. “Labour- a bunch of c**ts” – apparently for opposing Universal Credit cuts
ii. and when one Tory MP noted “Angela Rayner tipped to shadow … Michael Gove”, he responded “Fk
me that will be one to watch for the giggles“
To our knowledge his authorship has not been denied.
2) that the Labour party is a democratic socialist party, wherein the following is in the current rulebook:
a) Constitutional Rules- Clause I.3 “The party shall bring together members and supporters who share its values to… make communities stronger through collective action and support”
b) Constitutional Rules- Clause I.4 “The Labour Party… believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve …a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few… and where we live freely together, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”
c) Chapter 5, Clause I.1.B.i “…persons wishing to stand as a Labour candidate must have continuous membership of the Party of at least 12 months. Where not otherwise prevented, they must also be a member of a trade union affiliated to the TUC…”
d) Chapter 5, Clause II.1- “Labour candidates must meet high standards…”
e) Chapter 5, Clause II.3.A.i- “Labour MPs and MEPs are expected to meet the highest standards of probity…”
f) Chapter 5, Clause II.3.A.iv- “Every Labour MP and MEP must be a member of a trade union”
g) Appendix 9, 4- Code of Conduct: Member’s Pledge- “I pledge to act within the spirit and rules of the Labour Party in my conduct both on and offline, with members and non-members and I stand against all forms of abuse.
h) Wakeford has made it clear in a statement to Sky News that he has not changed his views, stating “I’m still a moderate and a centrist, just with a different rosette”
This CLP believes:
1) That the admittance of Christian Wakeford into the Labour party as a new Labour MP is an affront both to the rules cited above and in general to the purpose and aims of the party
2) That his acceptance is an insult to those members who strive so hard to help elect Labour candidates and improve the country from the depradations of Conservative government, particularly in the CLP of Bury South
3) That Christian Wakeford’s Parliamentary voting record is abysmal and does not align in any way whatsoever with Labour values, policy or aims. He voted in favour of the £20 Universal Credit cut, in favour of the Nationalities and Borders Bill, against measures to combat Climate Change, for a stricter asylum system, against measures to reduce tax avoidance and for measures to take away the right to protest. Nothing he has done or said sets him out as anything other than a hard right Conservative politician.
This CLP resolves:
1) That Christian Wakeford should not have been admitted as a Labour MP
2) That the CLP condems the abuse he has shown against individuals and the party as a whole
3) That his voting record is not acceptable of a representative of the Labour movement and he is not fit to be member of the Labour Party
4) That the whip immediately be withdrawn from Christian Wakeford and his party membership be rescinded
5) That the leadership should denounce his comments and voting record
6) That the Chair of the CLP write to Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, David Evans and the members of the NEC
reiterating these resolutions and:
a) Demanding that this appalling decision to admit him to the party be reversed immediately
b) Requiring confirmation that Wakeford is a member of a union, as required by the rulebook
c) Confirming that an investigation into his behaviour has been initiated and will be conducted swiftly and a full and open report will be published on conclusion
One Bath Labour member told Skwawkbox:
We all know that British politics has been very volatile in the last 5 years, most especially here in the Labour party. We have even seen the consequences here in Bath with regional office taking control of the local party and arranging a new EC last year.
We can see how the aims of the party leadership has changed from the Corbyn years, when it was focused on a clear, policy-lead offer designed to show a party rooted in the needs of the average person. The party was committed to a range of popular ideas, such as nationalisation of energy providers, water and rail services. It proposed a modest hike in taxes on the wealthiest to ensure the NHS and other key services continued to provide for everyone.
However, since the election of Keir Starmer, this focus has shifted entirely away from convincing people that the Labour party is the vehicle for change that they need and towards a much more mild and reactive political strategy, even getting to the point where supporting government policy has been the norm throughout the pandemic. Most even find it hard to know what the policies are.
This change of approach has now culminated in accepting an actual Conservative MP from the dreadful 2019 intake who has made it clear that he hasn’t changed his appalling beliefs one iota. His voting record is that of a follower of Nigel Farage, not Keir Hardie.
We are now through the Looking Glass and a party where the previous leader, a Labour MP for almost 40 years is expelled from the parliamentary party and yet a new Tory MP is feted and welcomed as a step forward for the working class.
While it may be expedient at times to accept some political opponents into the fold for the “greater good”, taking on Christian Wakeford is completely beyond the pale and will likely do far more harm to our core vote than win over any Tories.
I was shocked how the region-installed chair demanded I ‘talk to the motion’ as soon as I mentioned how the party was driven by policy under Corbyn. I had intended to point out how Starmer triangulates so that no one knows what his angle is other than supporting the government and wanting to take its MPs. I asked whether I was allowed to speak to my own motion, or could only say what the chair allowed.
A third added:
Only one person spoke against the motion, saying that winning over Tory voters was essential to winning power. She added that if Angela Rayner was ok with Wakeford’s comment about her, then we should also accept him and that any Tories were welcome in order to win back voters.
Further CLPs are likely to follow suit, particularly in view of Starmer’s continuing determination to keep his predecessor out of the party.
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