Labour breaks own rules to bar left-winger from Camberwell and Peckham longlist – and uses a Caroline Lucas tweet among its excuses. LBS demands his reinstatement
Labour activist Maurice Mcleod and Labour Black Socialists have spoken out about the party’s continuing war on its own members after the regime broke its own rules to bar Mcleod from the longlist of potential parliamentary candidates in Camberwell and Peckham.
As well as that of many members, Mcleod had the backing of two affiliated unions – which under Labour’s rules means an automatic place on the longlist of candidates, yet Labour blocked him from standing for selection.
McLeod published the news on Twitter on Saturday, condemning the leadership’s decision to deprive members in the constituency of a meaningful choice and outlining his own strong track record to represent them:
And Mcleod told Skwawkbox the excuses the right-dominated party machine gave for excluding him – which included sharing a tweet by Green MP Caroline Lucas:
When I was called in for a due diligence interview, four pieces of ‘evidence’ were produced for me to have to explain. Let me be clear, all of the ‘evidence’ they produce was from at least four years ago.
Two tweets from five years ago, before I was a councillor, one standing up for residents whose views had been ignored by their council, the other retweeting a very sound tweet which happened to be from Green MP Caroline Lucas.
One story, from four years ago, was a smear from a Tory councillor who managed to take advantage of my inexperience of Council procedures at the time (I’d been a councillor for a few months) to create a story.
The final was a quote from me (as a political journalist) calmly expressing a view which was held by the Labour Party at the time.
Mcleod went on to point out that he had passed through several rounds of vetting previously without problem – and that even the local Tory leadership had rejected their councillor’s insult:
I’ve been through cllr, GLA, and Parliamentary (Vauxhall) screening since all four incidents and the Tory smear was discredited by their own leader who said it was baseless.
And the Labour Black Socialists group issued a statement condemning the Starmeroids war on democracy, which it said had taken members’ breath away – and demanding his reinstatement:
Labour Black Socialists (LBS) outraged by the elimination of Maurice McCleod as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party
LBS is left breathless over the non-selection of Councillor Maurice Mcleod for the next stage of the selection process for prospective Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Camberwell & Peckham.
LBS believes that this is due not because of shortcomings of Councillor Maurice. For he has ticked all the boxes to go to the next stage. Whatever the requirement, he met it with hard work and a smile. Always.
Maurice has a long history of working for the least in society. He is a black socialist. His starting point will always be the condition of the least in society and that almost invariably is black and brown people. For him there is no hierarchy of sympathy and solidarity. He stands with poor people of all ethnicities.
That he has a solid track record as a councillor should have counted. The endorsement of Aslef and Unite, the Union should have meant that he automatically goes to the next stage. That he is a black man with a commitment to poor people should have mean that he is black gold politically.
Alas, Maurice was stopped in his tracks because Aslef and Unite the Union are the wrong types of unions. He earned the endorsement of these trade unions because he does not put career aspirations above solidarity with workers, especially those who are on the picket line. Maurice remains true to the founding principles of the Labour Party and the workers who founded the party.
The many local councillors who supported him are of the wrong political persuasions. The MPs who endorsed him have the wrong political commitments. The ordinary people who tweeted, posted and forwarded for him are the wrong keyboard people. Maurice’s blocking seems to suggest that having solid support in the community that you wish to represent in parliament might be a reason not to be selected. The wishes of local party members, the local community and local stakeholders appear not to matter much.
LBS believes that this blocking is indicative of the lack of transparency and democracy in the Labour Party. Local selection committees are needed without central control by the party.
LBS believes that he should advance to the next stage of the selection process.
LBS urges (some might say “demands that”) the NEC to add Councillor Maurice to the next stage because of his track record as a councillor, a campaigner, a human being and the local support that he has. But, he should also be added to the list for the next stage because he is a rarity even in the Labour Party. That is a black man who has integrity, honesty, decency and courage with an unshakeable commitment to the 14 million poor people in the UK, especially widows, orphans, children, migrants, refugees and homeless people. This is a black man who believes that the state must shield these people from the worst effects of the market.
The Forde Report, which an under-pressure Keir Starmer commissioned just after he became party leader, recently condemned rampant racism among the Labour right – and their ‘hierarchy’ of racism in which anti-Black racism and Islamophobia are ignored and excused by the leadership and party administration.
As well as wholesale deselections of Black and Muslim councillors in some areas, Labour barred the mayoral candidacy of Black Liverpool councillor Anna Rothery. The recent Al Jazeera documentary series ‘The Labour Files’ revealed the gross libels and abuses of democracy used by the party to rule her out. The documentary exposed Labour as a ‘lawless’ party, which Labour denied, but the series has been almost universally ignored by the UK’s so-called ‘mainstream’ media.
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