Labour shredded rule book in its determination to oust Muslim woman MP
The Labour party’s determination to oust Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum has seen the left-wing Muslim woman MP relentlessly hounded by the party regime, in collusion with allies of her abusive ex-husband – the local council accepted her evidence of his abuse in court without challenge – and her removal was briefed to anti-left media months ago. Begum defeated one attempt to remove her in a stitched-up prosecution that was rightly thrown out of court, sending party officials scuttling away disappointed after they waited outside the court to announce a contest to replace her.
After that failed, the party then allowed the same people who pursued Begum unsuccessfully in court to run the ‘trigger ballot’ process to decide whether she will face a challenge to stand as Labour’s candidate at the next general election – a process that local members have said publicly was characterised by abuse, intimidation and threats, especially toward ethnic minority women.
And newly-emerged documents show that, as well as allowing and facilitating abuse, the party has shredded its own rule-book and procedures to ensure the outcome it wants, in what appears to be an obvious stitch-up and cover-up.
Labour’s Code of Conduct for the triggers requires the result of any trigger ballot vote to be assessed and verified by the elected officers of the ‘CLP’, the local constituency party group, before it is communicated to the party’s national executive:
The result will be calculated at a special meeting of CLP officers, the decision of which must be communicated to the Regional Director who shall submit the results to the NEC.
But this procedure was ignored by Labour’s London regional director, who wrote to members’ elected representatives:
It was decided as agreed with the NEC rep that the count would be limited to the Procedures Secretary, NEC rep and a member of regional staff. [Redacted] will come back to the EC regarding the results.
Instead of an open process with transparency and scrutiny, the count was conducted in secret, with no oversight, by a rep chosen by the right-dominated National Executive Committee, a staffer from the London regional office that has long been seen to protect right-wingers and hang the left out to dry, and the local procedures secretary who is said to be part of the same group, allied to Apsana Begum’s ex-husband, that wanted to convict her on ungrounded charges of housing fraud.
CLP officers knew nothing about it until the ‘result’ was bluntly communicated to them the morning after the secret meeting.
Labour’s code of conduct clearly dictates that no would-be candidate or their supporters are allowed to use membership data to attempt to persuade members to vote for them or their preferred candidate, except for the incumbent MP personally:
No member shall use access to Labour Party membership lists they may have to campaign for or against reselection of the sitting Member of Parliament, aside from the sitting Member of Parliament themselves. Any member who uses access to Labour Party membership lists in such a manner shall have their access to Labour Party membership lists revoked for a period of not less than six months and may be subject to disciplinary action under the Party’s rules.
No member shall campaign – using Labour Party membership lists or otherwise – as though they or any other member are an alternative candidate for the constituency in question.
Locals say that these rules were breached so widely by Begum’s opponents as to have been meaningless, yet no action has been taken by the party despite numerous complaints.
The rules for the trigger process dictate that a list of affiliated organisations – union and socialist society branches who have affiliated to the CLP and are entitled to vote – is fixed before the beginning of the contest and must be communicated to the MP. Yet the affiliates list was changed during the process, with more branches being added by Labour who were presumably hostile to Begum.
In the nearby Ilford South constituency, incumbent MP Sam Tarry sent evidence to the party of widespread voter fraud in his trigger process – which he also lost – including the use of ‘ghost’ voters who do not appear on the electoral rolls for the constituency and of people impersonating actual members in order to cast votes in the ballot. With the party ready to rig the affiliates register – and with Begum’s opponents ready to bar her supporters from online ballot meetings and scare them away from meetings in person – there is every reason to believe that similar tactics will have been used in Poplar and Limehouse.
This rigged process has been pursued by the party in spite of its impact on Apsana Begum’s health – she was recently hospitalised – and in complete disregard of an intervention from her Independent Domestic Violence Advocate calling on the party to abandon it because of its adverse impact on her and the contempt it represented for the party’s safeguarding duties toward her.
But the party used a statement to the press to further smear Begum – and party leader Keir Starmer never bothered even to congratulate her when she was exonerated in the criminal case – so their disregard for her wellbeing and their readiness to allow and facilitate anti-democratic scams comes as no surprise.
But is no less horrific for that.
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