Right-dominated LPIS democracy has long history as sick farce but now left candidates are simply being blocked, say insiders
Labour Party Irish Society (LPIS) is at the centre of yet another democracy scandal that has seen many members deprived of a vote in the society’s elections – and left candidates omitted from the ballot completely.
LPIS elections have been mired in allegations of rigging since early in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership as the right tried to stack Labour’s structures to thwart and undermine the left, with a ‘smoking gun’ email in 2017 proving that the right-wing exec was setting up annual general meetings to exclude the left and keep the right in control, as well as meetings and positions decided by MPs, peers and party staff who often had no recognisable claim to be Irish or connected to Ireland.
But now even the pretence of democracy has been dropped, according to left members of LPIS, with many members not receiving ballots and two left candidates omitted from the ballot paper even though they had received confirmation that their nominations had been accepted. The basic news of a new ‘stitch-up’ broke today on social media:
An email sent by Harry Stratton, a solicitor and one of the left candidates, to fellow members explains further:
I am writing to you concerning the Labour Party Irish Society AGM.
There are at least three fundamental defects with the way this AGM is being conducted:
1. Candidates from one group – myself and Rory McLean – have been kept off the ballot paper, despite confirmation that our nominations had been received and accepted.
2. A ballot is being held via online email ballot, even though clause 24.a of the Constitution clearly provides that the election of the executive will be done at the AGM – that is, by those present at the AGM, not the membership at large.
3. A large number of voters have not been sent ballots at all.
Any one of these breaches is sufficient to invalidate the election. Taken together, the only reasonable inference from these breaches is that a deliberate effort is underway to rort the AGM election.
Please reply prior to the scheduled AGM date to confirm that a valid ballot, including all the candidates and voters, will be conducted at the AGM itself. Otherwise, I will consider myself free to commence legal proceedings against the Executive to enforce the LPIS Constitution without further notice, and petition the Socialist Societies Executive not to recognise any “delegates” purportedly appointed at or by officers elected at the AGM.Emphases added
No reasons given
Mr Stratton told Skwawkbox that he and the other candidate barred from the ballot paper had been given no explanation or excuse for their removal, despite ‘increasingly frantic emails’ in an attempt to pursue the matter.
The current LPIS executive includes:
- two members of Keir Starmer’s staff
- a member of general secretary David Evans’s staff
- two right-wing Labour peers
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