Analysis Breaking

Selection committee chair, secretary and member resign over Labour rigging in Camberwell and Peckham

“We are paying sub­scriptions to a Party that takes our money and then cheats and lies to deny us democracy” – corruption, lies and a mass data breach ignored by party

Three members of the committee appointed to oversee the selection of Camberwell and Peckham’s next parliamentary candidate have resigned in protest at Labour’s rigging and interference in the process, with a damning statement condemning the ‘irreparably corrupted’ process and the party’s ‘cheating and lying’.

The constituency party (CLP) tweeted the news on Saturday night:

‘We will not sign off on a fraudulent process’

The full statement reads:

The most important function of a Selection Committee is to oversee and vouch for a fair and democratic pro­cess for selecting a parliamentary candidate. It has become clear to us that in Camberwell & Peckham this is now impossible and the process has been irrepara­bly corrupted.

When the long-list was sent to us, it did not include Maurice Mcleod, a well-established and popular South London councillor, anti-racism campaigner and former Political Editor of The Voice. Maurice Mcleod had been validly nominated by two locally affiliated trade unions of ASLEF and Unite, either of which is sufficient for a place on the long-list under the selec­tion rules Chapter 5, Section 4.8.1. He was also nomi­nated by the Socialist Health Association and Socialist Education Association. Despite several requests from members of the Selection Committee and Trade Unions, we have not been provided with any reason why this candidate was excluded though reports sug­gest the reasons are all bogus or trivial, and included liking a tweet by a Green Party MP before becoming a councillor. We noted that the long list did, however, in­clude someone widely reported as having joined the BJP, a right-wing Hindu nationalist political party in India.

Based on the information we have, including precious little from official channels, and against a background of serial disqualification across the country of capable, popular candidates from the left of the Labour Party, we have no alternative but to conclude that the out­come of this selection is being fixed to exclude social­ists and anti-racism campaigners from the chance to represent Labour in Parliament. Under these circum­stances, we believe that remaining on the Selection Committee would be to implicitly acquiesce in deny­ing members a fair say on who will contest the next generaI election for Labour.

In refusing to do so, we offer our solidarity to mem­bers in Stroud, Wakefield, Sedgefield, Milton Keynes and Kensington who have also suffered parliamentary selections stitched up by an increasingly out-of-con­trol leadership and bureaucracy, which, while exclud­ing anti-racists as potential candidates but turning a blind eye to involvement with an lslamophobic party, has simultaneously aided and abetted the persecution of Apsana Begum MP and overseen the deselection of Sam Tarry MP that continues to be surrounded in con­troversy and allegations of wrong-doing.

At the start of the process, a representative of Socialist Societies and the Co-op Party was notified to us without the relevant Socialist Societies having been consulted, as per the Party’s procedures for parlia­mentary selections. Our attempts to seek an explana­tion, and those of the Socialist Societies, have gone unanswered.

In the middle of October a data breach involving one of the long listed candidates took place, which may have resulted in that candidate having accessed mem­bers’ contact information in breach of the code of con­duct in the parliamentary selection procedures. We have reported it to the NEC rep, the Regional Officer, the Labour Party’s Data Controller and Data Protection Officer. Nothing has happened and no sanction has been imposed, calling into question both the integrity of the process and the suitability of the candidate.

We remain active Labour Party members and will con­tinue to be on the side of fairness and democracy within the Labour Party. But when it comes to partici­pating in a fixed sham selection, enough is enough I If being ripped off by energy companies and Conserva­tive governments weren’t enough, we are paying sub­scriptions to a Party that takes our money and then cheats and lies to deny us democracy.

We will not sign off on a fraudulent process and, unless a fair process is initiated instead, the outcome and legitimacy of the selected candidate will always be compromised. The members of Camberwell & Peckham CLP deserve the opportunity to select their parliamentary candidate in a fair and democratic pro­cess. That is the only way to build a broad, mass-membership party capable of defeating the Tory government at the next election and into the future. We resign from the Camberwell and Peckham Selec­tion Committee with immediate effect.

The Labour right’s corruption in the process in Camberwell and Peckham mirrors that seen in Liverpool’s West Derby seat, Ilford South and Poplar and Limehouse – and in less high-profile selection contests across the country – as the Labour regime attempts to cement its party control at the expense of wide appeal, trust and credibility.

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