Last-second decision to revoke invitation to speak on campaign shames party already mired in disgrace – Stoke MP denies involvement
The Labour party ‘no-platformed’ the decades-long campaign to get justice for miners brutally assaulted by police during the miners’ strike in the 1980s. Miner John Dunn was scheduled to speak at a Stoke Labour meeting, but the invitation was revoked just before the Zoom meeting was about to start.
However, a local right-wing MP has denied being the cause of the u-turn.
Dunn posted to his Facebook page:
URGENT – ORGREAVE TRUTH & JUSTICE CAMPAIGN NO PLATFORMED!!
Last night I was booked to speak at Stoke West Labour Party, on behalf of the campaign.
I spent some time, as I always do, preparing my speech, only to find that minutes before I was due to join the meeting I HAD BEEN NO PLATFORMED.
I was not even informed by the branch of their decision.
Luckily it was via Zoom, imagine the humiliation had I turned up in person, only to be thrown out.
Since our inception as a campaign, we have never been treated SO DISGUSTINGLY!
We are usually welcomed with open arms throughout the movement, and, to find a section of the LP prepared to no platform us, especially as we were a key part of the party’s manifesto, is APPALLING, to say the least.
I am informed it was ex MP Gareth Snell, who objected and persuaded the branch to bar us.
Comrade Snell was elected as MP in 2017, his campaign was marred by allegations of misogyny, after his various comments on Twitter regarding women on TV.
“Gareth Snell has apologised after a tweet from 2011 surfaced in which he said Coronation Street’s Deirdre Barlow should be given a “good slap”.
According to the Evening Standard – “In other posts he described panellists on ITV’s Loose Women as “squabbling sour-faced ladies”, called presenter Janet Street-Porter a “polished turd” and said a “speccy blonde girl” on BBC’s The Apprentice should “piss off”.”
He also claimed Jeremy Corbyn was “an IRA supporting friend of Hamas”.
Incredible that such an upright member of the Labour Party wants to suppress the truth about the rabid police attack upon peaceful pickets, don’t you think?
Such disgusting treatment, within the Labour Party, can only be viewed as a DELIBERATE ATTACK UPON OTJC.
WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED!
WE WILL NOT ACCEPT BEING NO PLATFORMED!
We ask fellow comrades, and the wider movement to support us against the likes of Snell and their attacks.
In the responses to Dunn’s post, Snell wrote:
I’m afraid you’ve been misled. I’ve spoken to Jim Bradbury – who it seems was the only person to speak to you – and he assures me that he did not relay the version of events you have incorrectly published.
As there were only 10 people in the meeting, I am unsure how you have reached this untrue and incorrect conclusion.
Your suspension from the Labour Party was raised, I’m told, by Cllr Andy Platt at an earlier meeting of the Branch Exec at which I was not present.
Although Andy Platt says this was a misunderstanding on the part of the branch secretary at the time.
While it was raised at the beginning of the meeting about how we progress with the meeting, it was a collective agreement by branch exec members and coordinators including Andy Polshaw, Lee Polshaw, Jim Bradbury that as you are suspended from the Labour Party, it would not be appropriate for you to address a Labour Party meeting.
There was no dissent to this position.
In fact, I specifically made the point that as I was not the chair of the branch – only subbing as Vice Chair due to our Chair being away – it was not a decision I could or should make.
As it happens, I did say I would have been uncomfortable chairing any Labour Party meeting being addressed by any member who is suspended and I had offered to the branch secretary in an earlier phone call to hand over the chair of the meeting to someone else.
The collective decision of the Stoke West Branch was, therefore, on this occasion to act with caution.
So I am sorry if you have been wrongly led to believe that I ‘no platform’ed you but it’s simply untrue and wasn’t something I had the power to do.
I would be grateful for you correcting the inaccuracies in your post.
Dunn was expelled by the Labour party for an incident in which he confronted right-wing then-challenger for the party leadership, Owen Smith.
In 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission found that there was ‘evidence of excessive violence by police officers, a false narrative from police exaggerating violence by miners, perjury by officers giving evidence to prosecute the arrested men, and an apparent cover-up of that perjury by senior officers’.
However, successive governments have denied the miners and their families a full enquiry.
Regardless of the mechanics of last night’s decision, it shames a party already mired in disgrace under Keir Starmer, who was ready to help the Tories pass laws to give police immunity for violence and even rape and murder.
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