minutes not reflecting the reality, does not mean this incident never happened.

Now call me old Mrs Cynical, but the process I’m describing in this blog, went so well for the bullies on Weaver Vale  CLP executive, it was almost as if it had been engineered.

Stage One:  Remove the secretary and replace with your own candidate

The July CLP executive meeting had been shambolic, disrupted by a group that were unhappy that Weaver Vale had elected a Labour MP.  Men (and women) behaving badly   The Secretary had finally found his excuse to resign, which was fortunate as it allowed a temporary secretary to be appointed (when I say appointed, pushed into the job by the Runcorn delegates is closer to what happened).  This was Jamie Bramwell.  A Runcorn branch member, friend of the Runcorn faction, but more significantly, he was at this time a Unite delegate to the National Executive Committee (NEC).  The NEC are the Labour Party’s senior governing body.

Stage Two:  Send Out Inaccurate Minutes and Ignore any Request for Amendments

The September meeting was due and the minutes from the July meeting had gone out.

It’s standard procedure in every organisation that I have ever been involved with, for  minutes once written to be sent to the chair for agreement, before being distributed to members.  Not in this case.  The temporary secretary had written up the minutes and sent them out without any consultation with the chair.  They were completely one sided,  only reflecting what the Runcorn delegates wanted to them to.   Both the chair and I had  emailed Jamie Bramwell a week before the meeting and asked for amendments.  But as is standard practice now in the Labour party, our emails were ignored (email no. 3 at the end of this blog).

The first item on the agenda was to agree the minutes.  I objected to them as did the chair.   As the meeting started, unhappy with the way it was heading, I switched on my tablet and recorded what was being said.    Audio of minutes

The secretary could not offer a good reason why any amendments should not have been included, just that he didn’t see any bullying.  Nor would he offer some compromise form of words.  Instead the secretary refused point blank to include any reference to the shouting and bullying that had taken place, by obfuscating and blathering about non relevant points:-

“NEC position on other CLPs going into special measures

We all made contributions …….  I did not, there seems some ….. having a dig …. Ask the executive”.

The Runcorn branch delegates did not contest my view point that the minutes were one sided.  Nor did they contest that the incident took place.

It was now obvious that the Runcorn branches were going to try and airbrush from the minutes  (some might say doctor)  the way they had behaved at the July meeting.

The Secretary continued blathering  “I never seen any victimisation, bullying or harassment ……. you need to report it …….as we all do in the labour movement …….I can’t put it in if I didn’t see it….. I had no complaints until I sent out the minutes.”   He seem to think that I should have reported to him the bullying and harassment.  I had done what I considered the more appropriate action and reported it to Anna Hutchinson at the North West Regional Office (for her to ignore).   He says he saw a member leave but saw no nastiness.  That member ran from the meeting in tears, followed by the a member of his branch to ensure he was alright and this was witnessed by several members waiting outside of the meeting, including the MP Mike Amesbury.

Eight minutes into the audio Bill Moores a Unite delegate and close ally of the Runcorn contingent confirms that the meeting had been chaotic with everyone shouting at everybody else (I only partially agree with him here, the shouting was mainly by Dave Cargill and the Runcorn delegates at the Chair, the youth delegate and myself).  This as it turns out was not a very helpful intervention for his co-conspirators as, in my opinion it confirms the bullying and aggressive behaviour that had occurred at the  previous meeting.  Despite knowing and commenting that the previous meeting had been aggressive and unpleasant, Mr Moores went on to vote with the Runcorn delegates not to include any reference in the minutes.

The secretary was being deliberately obstructive, would not listen to my points and was not acting in a professional and impartial way.   I felt like the secretary and some in the meeting were trying to provoke another rowdy meeting.  I was not going to help enable this.

Stage Three:  Agree One sided Minutes and Cover Up the Bullying

Time was ticking on and the chair to bring this to a conclusion asked for a vote on the minutes, without any inclusions or amendments.  Of course this was carried, but I asked for a recorded vote, as three of the executive, voted not to accept, the partial and inaccurate minutes.  If the vote was recorded I do not know, as shortly after the meeting and following a series of petty actions, both the chair and myself resigned from the party.

The minutes purport to show  that Weaver Vale ran a chaotic campaign, which is what the Runcorn branches want them to reflect.  Why I couldn’t possibly say.  I and many others in the CLP and Momentum would say that we ran a great campaign, given that it was a snap election allowing no time for planning, and without any help from the Regional Office.  Unfortunately, once again as in 2015, some members were deliberately obstructive as they did not want the candidate we had.

At  the  July meeting the Chair was told he should be ashamed of running such a chaotic campaign and if  he had any integrity would resign.  It says on the first page of  the Labour Party Joke (rule) Book, Chapter 1 Clause 1 paragraph 3 that

The Party shall bring together members and supporters ……… and promote the election of Labour Party representatives at all levels of the democratic process.

 

That’s exactly what we did in Weaver Vale in the teeth of opposition from some in our own CLP!  

Influence Counts – It’s Not What you Know, it’s Who

Jamie Bramwell was at this time a member of  the NEC.  His position should have placed on him the duty to have shown at least some impartiality, not take a one sided approach.  I believe that this audio shows his unwillingness to listen to my and the chairs points, or even to meet us half way.    The previous meeting had been unpleasant and I had written to Anna Hutchinson the next day to make a formal complaint as did the Chair and the delegate who ran from the meeting in tears and who later resigned from the party.  Jamie Bramwell says he did not see any bullying.  Other exec delegates did see it, but chose to overlook the unacceptable aggression and hostility shown towards other members.   Most of these were not present at the September exec.

The minutes not reflecting the reality, does not mean this incident never happened.  It just means that the unpleasant and unacceptable behaviour has not been recorded officially and has been covered up, by the perpetrators.

————————————————————————————————————————————

COMPLAINT SENT TO ANN HUTCHISON AFTER THE JULY EXEC MEETING

Dear Anna,

I wrote to you during the general election campaign about the behaviour of some of the members of the Runcorn East BLP.   I have just attended Weaver Vale’s first CLP executive and general meeting since the election,  Once again the behaviour of certain Runcorn East members falls far short of the standard expected of labour members.   I am now formally requesting that the behaviour of certain delegates is looked into by the Regional Office.

During the election campaign, there was cause to remove (names redacted) from their roles as admin on the Weaver Vale Facebook page.  I emailed you at the time with the details.   Briefly, they turned up uninvited on the Sunday evening, aggressive and demanding to know why this decision had taken.  I emailed you at the time, but I am happy to forward this to you again.

Tonight’s meeting was probably one of the most disgraceful meetings I have attended as a delegate to Weaver Vale CLP.  Far from celebrating a successful campaign, the Runcorn East delegates came to the meeting hostile and were solely intent on making trouble.  Their manner was rude, aggressive, accusing the chair and others of running a confused and chaotic campaign.  Allegations were made about actions by the the chair (who is also Mike Amesbury’s agent), which he had no knowledge of, including a breach of the Data Protection Act.  This CLP had no part in what happened with members details and appears to be linked to Steve Rotherham’s Metro Mayoral campaign.   Other allegations were made about communication and when asked where their information had come from, they could not or would not answer.  During their berating of the chair, one of them turned in my direction and shouted that I was part of all this.

(Name redacted) accused me of laughing when she told us of her sister in law’s death from cancer.  This relates to the Sunday evening when she and Lauren Cassidy came uninvited to my home.  I deny that this happened in the way Sandra suggests as I can remember it well.  She had given a character assassination of another member of the Runcorn East Branch (name redacted), who she clearly did not want to have any part in the campaign.  During the conversation (name redacted) said that her sister in law had died, at which point I got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen saying “yes well, we’ve all got problems” a reference to the fact that I was also experiencing personal difficulties.   To twist the events and to publicly accuse me of this at a meeting I find deeply offensive.   To make reference to this at a meeting and to make slanderous comments about another Labour member is wholy unacceptable and tantamount to bullying.

(Name redacted) was similarly aggressive in his tone and manner accusing the chair of making autonomous decisions and not consulting with the general management committee.  I tried to point out that the chair made decisions in his role as the candidates agent with the intention of getting him elected.  Given that it was a snap election and it was almost two weeks into the campaign before we had a candidate decisions were taken by the candidate and agent to move the campaign on quickly.   (name redacted) refused to listen, got up from his seat stabbing his finger in my direction and shouting aggressively that he knew all about being an agent.  He then walked to the back of the meeting.  I did shout back in an attempt to make myself heard, but he continued to shout over me.

Prior to this there was disagreement about who the delegates to the executive meeting from the Runcorn East branch.  This again relates to the incident when (names redacted) turned up to my home.  They were adamant that (name redacted) could not be part of tonight’ executive meeting because he had resigned during the election campaign.   He  resigned as a result of what he called actions by some of the branch members (we have a copy of the original letter from (redacted)).   (Name redacted) as agent spoke to (redacted), smoothed things over with him and he rescinded the resignation.  His own Branch secretary who was also copied into his letter made no attempt to talk to him to find out why he felt like this, and has not had any communication with him to date.  Even when the secretary tried to explain to them that (redacted)  had changed his mind, all they did was sent insulting e-mails to the secretary.   Having (redacted) back on board considerably enhanced our campaign.   Runcorn East want the resignation to stand and at a meeting have removed him as a delegate.  (redacted) left the meeting, upset over the way he was being shouted at and spoken about and went home.   Why they are so hostile to (redacted) I don’t understand, but their behaviour towards him at the meeting and at other times is not how we as a party should  to be treating our younger members.   During this time (redacted) who had resigned at the beginning of the campaign (without any doubts or retraction) refused to leave the meeting saying if (redacted) was staying then so was she.  (Redacted) clearly had no place at the executive meeting and had no reason even to turn up to it, except to be difficult.

The behaviour tonight from the mentioned delegates was hostile, unpleasant and threatening to individuals, including the chair.  They refused to keep to the agenda.  They appeared intent on criticising the campaign, making allegations and shouting abuse when challenged.

When I wrote my original email, you said that if I wanted their behaviour to be investigated, you would do this.  The party takes bullying seriously and rightly so.   After tonight’s debacle, I would like you to look into the behaviour of the named delegates from Runcorn East to the CLP.

Yours,

Jeanette Fletcher

Treasurer Weaver Vale CLP


E-MAIL TO JAMIE AFTER THE SEPT EXEC MINUTES HAD BEEN SENT TO MEMBERS

 

Hi-ya Jamie,

I’m sorry to have to say this, but I do not accept that the executive minutes are a true and accurate reflection of the meeting.

1. No reference to DC shouting and bullying behaviour which was directed particularly at the Chair is recorded. Nor any reference to my point that the chair was acting as Mike Amesbury’s agent, or that I was not allowed to finish my point due to being shouted down by DC.   The continual attacks at the chair and unfounded allegations the Runcorn delegates should be recorded.

2. No reference to the victimisation of (name redacted) by DC, SC and LC when trying to establish if he was in fact a delegate. The Runcorn delegates refused to listen or accept what the chair was saying. There is no mention of the refusal of LC to leave the meeting, as she had resigned her position as campaign coordinator on the selection of Mike Amesbury as candidate, or of her statement that if (name redacted) was staying then so was she. Both eventually left, (redacted) in distress, again no mention of this point. No discussion on the position of (redacted), who had previously resigned from his position as youth delegate, but had been brought back on board by the Chair discussing his difficulties or that the Runcorn East secretary had not discussed this with (redacted).

3. The meeting did not agree that the campaign was chaotic. The reasons for some difficulties were explained by the chair and others, that we ran the campaign after a snap election, without any planning or preparation, returned a Labour MP and with increased turnout in all parts of the constituency had presented challenges. The campaign was not perfect, but it was not chaotic. This point will not be accepted by the Runcorn delegates.

4. The data protection issues that were raised were nothing to do with the CLP. Access to members data was given by NWRO to (name redacted, member of Halton CLP), but the chair or the secretary had no input into this arrangement. This was put to the meeting by the Chair. To infer that the Chair (who was acting throughout the campaign as Agent to Mike Amesbury, not strictly as CLP Chair) has presided over a breach of data protection is both unfounded, unfair and deeply insulting.

5. No reflection that (redacted) tried to calm the meeting.

These minutes do not reflect any of this, but that is hardly a surprise given that the Runcorn delegates continually shouted down any other speaker, hurled unfounded allegations, refused to let others speak and tried to intimidate the meeting, making discussion difficult if not impossible. These minutes are nothing more than a blatant and unfounded attack on the Chair.

As a reflection of how members conducted themselves and of the issues covered, I do not accept these minutes. They are selective, partial and totally unacceptable.

Regards,

Jeanette

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

PUBLISHED MINUTES OF THE SEPT EXEC MEETING

WEAVER VALE CLP

Secretary : Jamie Bramwell

Chair : Ian Fletcher Treasurer : Jeanette Fletcher

 

Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting held on Friday, 14th July, held at 7.00 pm at Frodsham Community Centre, Fluin Lane, Frodsham, WA6 7QN.

1. Present :

Ian Fletcher, Sandra Cassidy, Peter Lloyd-Jones, Jamie Bramwell, Colin Hughes, Una Long, Bill Moores, Margaret Moores, Dave Cargill, Martha Lloyd-Jones, Paul Dolan, Diane Schofield, Jeanette Fletcher and Barrie Davidson.

2. Chairs introduction and apologies for absence :

Chair gave explanation of his role in the election and noted long-serving secretary Mike Garvey had resigned.

Sandra Cassidy proposed that in the absence of a CLP secretary, Jamie Bramwell could act as interim secretary. Agreement from the room with no objections.

Resolved: JB to act as interim secretary of the CLP.

Questions from the floor asking for clarity on resignation of secretary. Chair’s responded there were a “number of reasons”, that the secretary felt his “work was not respected” and it had been “on the cards since 2015”. Commented that MG had threatened to resign several times.

3. Campaigning:

Discussion took place on various issues following the recent election victory for the CLP and Mike Amesbury.

SC: Raised she had been removed from Facebook page and unfounded accusations of lack of activity. Also raised that non-resident cllrs had been invited to meeting by other non-resident cllrs, under instruction to do so.

MLJ: Agreed campaign was chaotic, incidents such as double/triple leafleting of same areas and PLJ had been ‘sacked’ for campaign organising role.

PLJ: Raised issue of three campaign coordinators all covering same area. Told he would have position revoked at one stage. Raised concerns that secretary had resigned due to the direction the chair was taking the CLP.

DC: Raised data protection concerns.

PD: Pressed for process to move campaign issues forward and listen to them in full.

Resolved: that a panel be set up to address campaign issues raised.

Meeting concluded at 7.30 pm with no further business being discussed due to time contraints.

Jamie Bramwell

Interim CLP Secretary

‘Don’t sue whistleblowers’, Labour is warned. Fine – we haven’t heard of any yet https://voxpoliticalonline.com/…/dont-sue-whistleblowers-l…/

I say this as someone who’s personal data has in all probability ended up with the editors of the MSM and the BBC.

I expect Mike Amesbury as my MP to speak up and demand that the Labour party prosecute these individuals. They have deliberately breached the trust given to them by the party.

The disgruntled ex staff, with a political axe to grind, have signed a non disclosure agreement. That’s a standard requirement for all employees who see personal and private information. It’s for a purpose, to protect individuals. If this bunch chose to ignore it, then they should be prosecuted. They chose to sign the agreement and they are willfully ignoring it.

They have also broken the terms of the General Data Protection Requirements (that’s the law for those who don’t know). These same individuals when working for the Labour party would not comply with GDPR and let me have me my data. I am entitled under GDPR, to know what the party officials are saying about me, what information they are storing and for what purpose. Labour party officers obstructed me in my request to see my data and even after the intervention of the Information Commissioner Office only part of my personal data was sent to me. But sending it out to the Daily Fail is ok?

By allowing these ex staff to get away with this gross breach of GDPR, the Labour party will be abdicating it responsibility for protecting members sensitive information and for upholding truth and decency.

And the law.

A letter in support of my application to rejoin the Labour party.

This letter was sent to Jane Shaw of the Labour Compliance Unit in January 2018 by Frodsham and Helsby Branch Labour Party. It supports my assertion that certain members of Weaver Vale CLP have deliberately mislead the wider CLP membership, the North West Regional Office, Compliance Unit and the Information Commissioners Office as part of a personal vendetta.

This was as a direct consequence of my helping to run the successful campaign to elect Weaver Vale’s MP. This was in the teeth of opposition from Runcorn East Branch members. Who did not want Mike Amesbury as the candidate.

Jane Shaw
Ref. Jeanette Fletcher A687170
Dear Colleague


I write on behalf of the Frodsham, Helsby and District branch whose members are extremely dismayed that the application by Jeanette Fletcher to re-join the Party has been disallowed by the Weaver Vale CLP Executive.
Jeanette over many years has given unstinting service to the branch, Party and the wider Labour movement in roles including, CLP treasurer, member of both Mike Amesbury’s and David Keane’s campaign co-ordinating teams and as chair of the CLP fundraising committee. Within the branch she has acted in an exemplary manner, promoting equality and the Party at every opportunity.
It is therefore astounding to both the activists and wider branch membership that serious complaints have been made in respect of Jeanette’s conduct. Unfortunately it would appear to the branch that the complaints are fuelled by what only can be described as a personal vendetta against Jeanette.
The branch wishes to voice its unequivocal support for Jeanette in her appeal against the claims made against her.
Yours Fraternally
Bob Rixham
Branch Secretary

NHS PRIVATISATION SHAMBLES IN HALTON

I’ve just got back from the demonstration outside of the Halton council meeting about the loss of another NHS contract to an American company. The services being lost are the NHS walk-in services for Widnes and Runcorn. This looks to have been done in secret by the CCG, and if so why was it allowed to be done this way. Why did councillors not know and why did they not fight to keep the services in the NHS.

I have often been told that the Halton councillors do not run the council, when they should be setting priorities and directing the paid employees on the general direction for the council. Tonight I saw for myself that the unelected and unaccountable staff run the council.

Councillor Chris Loftus arrived and told the gathered crowd that he was so angry that he had only just found out about the privatisation by the back door of part of our NHS. Sorry Chris, that is not good enough. He told us that councillor Peter Lloyd Jones who is on the Warrington and NHS Foundation Hospital Trust had also been unaware (apparently). Why? Was it not on any agenda? Perhaps it was hidden away in a briefing document that he forgot to read. It appears he and others on the trust have been caught sleeping on the job and the ones who will lose out are the people of Halton and Weaver Vale.

The position of ignorance by the committee tonight is inexcusable. But it gets worse.

The privatisation of the walk in centres was not on tonight’s agenda and will not be on an agenda until September, when the ink on the contract will be dry. Really?

Councillor Loftus came out and read a statement prepared by the legal department (on whose advice I wonder), telling the councillors they could not to raise this as part of the agenda, not as part of matters arising and not even in any other business. This is the tail wagging the dog. I wonder if Councillor Loftus questioned the legal basis on why the council officials had prevented them from discussing the loss of another essential service?

I asked Councillor Loftus why the Labour councillors did not raise it anyway as it was such an important issue for many people in and around the Halton area. At the suggestion, he appeared scared and told me that the Labour group would discipline him. The Labour councillors, that the people of Halton elect to represent their needs, would discipline the only councillor willing to stand and be counted.

No wonder Councillor Cassidy was handed an application form for the Tory party as she sheepishly sneeked past the demonstrators. She didn’t even have the grace to acknowledge the presence of the people who had elected her to represent them.

I am not a Halton resident, but have had to use the emergency services there on occasion, but if I was I would be asking these councillors why they are not doing what they were elected to do and standing up for Labour values.

Addendum to my Open Letter to the Secretary of Weaver Vale CLP

I recently posted an open letter to the secretary of Weaver Vale CLP. Following that, I’ve been asked if I can support my assertion that the CLP have failed to supply me with all the data they hold on me.

I have two Information Commissioner Office judgments in my favour, for the Party’s failure to fully disclose the information I an entitled to see under General Data Protection Requirements. Despite refusing to give me all the information I need to defend myself, the party had expected that I should attend a disciplinary hearing, without knowing the full extent of what has been said against me.

I declined their offer of a kangaroo court.

Extracts From ICO Letter

One of the judgments is against the national party. The second one against the CLP. A letter has been sent from the Information Commissioners Office to the CLP reminding the secretary of his obligations under General Data Protection Requirements. This is not the first time I had asked the ICO to intervene with the CLP to obtain missing information.

Here are two extracts from the ICO’s last letter to me dated 7th March, 2019.

“given that we have already provided the view that the CLP failed to comply with the GDPR in its response to your SAR”.

“I have provided guidance to the CLP and advised it of the action it should take in response to your SAR. Following the letter I have written to the CLP today reminding it of its obligations and advising it to respond to you within the next 14 days, we do not intend to take any further action at this stage. In the event that it fails to respond further, or it responds and you consider additional information remains withheld, you will now need to consider taking action as an individual through the courts”.

How do I know information is missing?

How do I know information is missing? Firstly, some documents from the national party that I have been allowed to see give a partial story. What I presume is the response to the CLP has been redacted. Secondly, I have emails sent to the National Party by a CLP executive member. These emails, with the responses, should have been included in the CLP SAR. Thirdly, CLP members, with a sense of decency have sent information to me, which again should have been disclosed officially as part of the SAR. The ICO has informed the secretary that he should assume that I have not seen this information and disclose it. The ICO stated in a letter to me in December 2018

“it is worth noting that the right of access afforded under Article 15 of the GDPR entitles an individual to receive a full copy (subject to any exemptions) of the personal data a controller holds about them.”

This means that even if I have obtained data from another source, the data controller must supply with a complete set of data and must not assume I have already seen it.

Finally, an email I referred to in my open letter containing the screen shots sent by (allegedly) a member from Halton CLP, which the secretary has confirmed to the ICO was sent to him is also missing. As this was the excuse used by the CLP to initiate the campaign against me, it’s vital that I know where originated, from whom and and why?

This is just the missing data that I know about. There could be more but how can I trust that I will get this now?

Open Letter to the Secretary of Weaver Vale CLP Michael Garvey

As you are aware, I am legally disputing the “evidence” you have put to the Weaver Vale CLP and the National Labour Party about me. As part of this process I requested a Subject Access Request (SAR) from both the national Labour party and the Weaver Vale CLP. Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) the CLP data controller, is obliged to let me have this information. As you appear to have taken responsibility for this role, I would like to raise a number of issues and ask you a number of questions.

In the November 2017 CLP Exec minutes you reported to to the CLP executive committee that you had received a complaint from a neighbouring CLP including several screen shots from Facebook.

Although the implication is that it had been an official complaint, I have seen no evidence that it came via any official minuted meeting of the Halton CLP. After you partially responded to my SAR, I asked you to supply me with this information, but got no response. I raised the question with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) that in your response there was no reference to the original complaint. You told the ICO that it was a ‘phone call’ from a member of a neighbouring CLP supported by an email with nine screen shots. Although I am entitled under the GDPR you have never sent me the email with the screen shots. Why not?

Can you confirm if this was a personal complaint and what was the nature of it? Or did it come via the official party procedure? I have been verbally informed and it is common knowledge that this complaint came from a Halton councilor who is also assistant to Derek Twigg MP. Do you not think it is reasonable for me to know who has made the accusations, and in what capacity she has acted?

I was an active member of Weaver Vale CLP, for a number of years holding various positions, including that of CLP Treasurer 2015-2017. At no time were concerns about my conduct ever raised.

However, there was an unpleasant and intimidating incident in my home (May 2017) by the CLP membership secretary and her daughter. This was raised as a complaint by me with the North West Regional Office (NWRO). Subsequently the membership secretary wrote a number of unsubstantiated emails expressing concern about my conduct. You did not forward these emails to me in your response to my SAR. Why not?

After the July (2017) CLP executive meeting, I wrote again to NWRO to formally complain about the agressive, unpleasant and intimidating behaviour of the members from the Halton side of the constituency.

In November 2017, when my application to rejoin was refused, it was minuted that the refusal was unanimous. At the meeting there were only 14 members of the Exec present (out of a possible 33) including all the members whom I had complained about. These included: the Campaign Coordinator (a Halton Councillor) and her mother, her grandfather (another Halton councillor) all of whom I had formally complained about to the NWRO. Her grandmother, (a Halton councillor), other Halton council colleagues and friends of the family plus members of the Runcorn branches to which they belong were also present. These individuals made up the majority of the members present.

You did not consult the other members of the CLP executive, many of whom know me well. Therefore it cannot be seen as a unanimous decision of the full executive, the decision was only made by the members present on the night, many with a vested interest not to have me back in the party. So my question is:

Do you consider it good practice and in line with natural justice for those members with a vested interest to then be allowed to make a decision on my suitability as a Labour member?

Additionally why was the refusal not referred to the CLP general meeting, or to my branch? This has been standard practice in the CLP. Subsequently my branch wrote to the party condemning the actions of the CLP Exec, and offering full support to me. This letter has not been included in the CLP SAR.

Before the hearing (4th August 2018) you sent out a pack (24th July 2018) to ALL the CLP executive, with data I had never seen and which was in it’s nature defamatory and one sided. Why did you consider it necessary to send a substantial pack of one sided information at that point? You have told the ICO that it was to inform the decision making process. But at this point, the CLP had no part to play in the decision, as it was with West Midlands regional office, and the appeal panel members.

I was not informed until days before my appeal hearing In August 2018 that I had to request a separate SAR from the CLP. I asked for a postponement of my appeal until I could get a SAR from the CLP, in order to have a full set of documents on which to argue my case. This was refused by the party.

In August 2018 I requested a SAR from you, when it arrived it did not have all the data held about me, and in one section you sent me only the nine original screen shots. What you sent to the 33 members of the CLP executive contained a further 44 screen shots, some going back as far 2013, and which is some cases had been ‘liked’ by other members of the CLP and CLP Executive members. The pack you sent to me also had the names of the recipients redacted, but as the ICO has told us this action was both unnecessary and unreasonable.

Had this data already been stored by the CLP, which would be a breach of GDPR. Why was it only produced at the last minute?

If the CLP had not been keeping this information you or another person must have mined my social media data to obtain it. For what purpose?

After you sent me, what I considered to be a partial SAR, I again complained to the ICO. They told me under GDPR all information stored on me must be declared in a SAR, even if this duplicates data sent to me from other sources. You were instructed by the ICO to let me have a full unredacted SAR by the 18th January 2019. You emailed to all the CLP executive to inform them that they should delete the email (including the attachments) you sent to them. You also requested them to let you have any information they were holding on me, by 16th January. The data I am entitled to would include your email request, and, all responses. I know of at least one response and there may be others. You failed to send this data to me.

You were again told in March 2019, by the ICO, to supply a full SAR to me, but you have again failed to do so in any satisfactory way. I have since been advised, by the ICO, that I can now undertake legal action to ensure I have the complete set of data which has been held about me.

It is my contention that as CLP secretary, and Data Controller your actions have been both partial and vexatious towards me and you have failed to meet the legal requirements and obligations as set out in Data protection legislation.

Jeanette Fletcher

The Legalese tripe the CLP had concocted did its job. 

Warning.  This blog contains truths some in the Labour Party may find uncomfortable

On 7th December 2017, just after I received my letter confirming that I had been expelled from the Labour Party, I submitted a Subject Access Request (SAR).  A SAR is a legal entitlement for an individual to find out what data an organisation keeps on you.  The Party had a statutory time limit of 40 days to respond.

After 90 days and despite several reminders that the Party had not let me have my data, for which they had made a £10 charge,  I asked the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to intervene.  The Party were ordered by the ICO to supply my information.

The SAR came, in mid April, 2018.   I knew from various administrative errors (known commonly as cock ups) by the Compliance Unit (CU) and from information I had received from friends that my SAR was incomplete.

I asked for Jane Shaw (of the Compliance Unit) to confirm that this was the case.  I’m still waiting for her response.  I then contacted a solicitor who wrote to the Party asking them confirm the SAR was complete or otherwise.  Several  letters were ignored and the solicitor was never contacted by the Party.  This is significant because of what happened just before my appeal hearing. 

In July, I was notified that the date for my appeal hearing was 2pm on 3rd August.  The pack that came contained an agenda, a letter explaining the format of the meeting and the “evidence” that the CLP had submitted.  This amounted to 9 screen shots from facebook.   On both the agenda and the letter it stated “no new evidence was to be submitted”.  I worked on my rebuttal for the hearing.

Nine days before the hearing, I received a new pack of “evidence”.   This included

  • A statement from the CLP executive, written in semi-legalese, obviously somebody with legal training had had a hand in writing it and pulling it together.    It laid out the areas the CLP did not want to have discussed, including my complaints against three members of the CLP executive, for bullying.  It was clearly trying to direct the scope of the panel.
  • 43 new screenshots of my social media comments.
  • A statement from the CLP Secretary.
  • The allegations of racism against Asians, Chinese and Israel had been changed to racism and antisemitism.

I challenged this new information with Jane Shaw, who was her usual (non) co-operative self and told me, that it was all in accordance with the rule book and if I had wanted information from the CLP, I should have requested a separate SAR to them.   Jane Shaw  knew that this was the position with SARs.    She did not tell me that a separate SAR was necessary.   My first request to ensure I receive ALL all of my data goes back to 29th January, followed up in April and the first solicitor’s letter is dated 1st May.   It appears, she did not want me to know of the existence of other data and deliberately kept quiet.   In response to my concerns that the appeals process was entirely one sided.  This was dated 24th July.

As  Governance Officer my role is not only to administer appeals against the rejection of membership, such as yours, until they have been reported to the NEC Disputes Panel and referred to a regional office for the hearing to be arranged, but also to provide local party units, individual members and others with advice regarding the Party’s rules and procedures.  Yes, I gave an opinion regarding the posts shown to me, but I had no part in the decision making process that led to the rejection of your membership and from what you say, the evidence provided in support of that decision does not include the posts about which I expressed an opinion.  There therefore seems to be nothing to suggest collusion by me in the CLP’s

Jane Shaw gave an opinion to the CLP on the data being submitted, but could (or should that be would?) not tell me that I needed to submit a separate SAR to the CLP.

The late notification in effect meant that  I did not have a lot of time to rethink my defence and I felt I would be going into the hearing with one hand tied behind my back.

Once again I ask advice from the ICO.   The ICO needed time (about six weeks) to assess my request for clarification  so I formally asked for the hearing to be suspended until the status of the new data had been clarified.  The Chair of the panel, Mick Whelan, ASLEF delegate to the NEC, refused my request, without any explanation why.  I’ve emailed  him for answers to several questions including the refusal to suspend  the hearing, he has never had the decency to reply.

I did not attend the hearing.  It was a kangaroo court, designed to set members up to fail.  I assume that the CLP secretary did attend.

Before I felt forced to resign because of the hostility to both my husband and myself  by the CLP executive,  I had made a complaint against three of the CLP executive for bullying.  They are three are members of one family.  On the executive is another family member, and their supporters and friends.  A clear conflict of interest exists on the executive.  This was never considered by the panel.   So in that respect, the  legalese tripe the CLP had concocted did it’s job.  The panel in its wisdom, dismissed the “historical” evidence.    The reasons for rejecting my appeal were screenshots of my criticism of Halton councillors and this blog (which the CLP apparently are not happy with), actions I have taken in response to the inaction of the Labour Party at every stage.

Any disciplinary procedure worth taking part in, would never allow conflicts of interest such as this.  Jane Shaw, the Compliance Unit and the Labour Party see nothing wrong with it.   Nor does she see anything wrong in giving the CLP the benefit of her opinion, but she never saw fit to even advise me of the correct procedure, when I asked for it.

The decision to find against me, I think was a foregone conclusion and the fact that I was not present made no difference whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men (and women) behaving badly

It was just after the snap general election of June 2017.   Weaver Vale Labour had just ousted a useless Tory and succeeded in returning a Labour MP to Parliament for the first time in eight years.  Cause for a bit of celebration you would think.   For most of the CLP that was the case, but not for a few.

The following month (July), Weaver Vale held it’s first CLP meeting since the election but the atmosphere at the executive meeting held prior to the full general meeting was not a happy, celebratory one.  Quite the opposite.

First, there was a row about who was or was not a delegate to the executive.  I won’t go into the details here, but the upshot was that the campaign coordinator who had walked away from her role saying she wanted nothing more to do with the campaign, but still expected to retain her CLP role, left the meeting.  Another delegate had already left the meeting in tears after being subjected to a tirade of abuse.

They then turned their venom onto the CLP chair (who was also the Parliamentary agent and had helped to plan and run the successful campaign) and myself.

The chair was shouted at over and over again by the Runcorn delegates one in particular claiming that he “was a disgrace, should be ashamed of himself, and if he had any decency would resign”.  Err, we had just WON the election and with a decent majority, not LOST it.   I was shouted at and accused of something so unpleasant I would rather not repeat it (another false allegation) and that I was no better  (no better than what or who wasn’t clear)  and that it was only the swing to Corbyn that enabled us to return a Labour MP.   For examples of how these same members did their best to upset the campaign see here Putting the Record Straight

It could be construed that these individuals didn’t want a Labour MP, even though it says is the Labour Rule Book that members are obliged –

….to promote the election of Labour Party representatives at all level of the democratic process

The team that knocked on doors, canvassed by telephone, leafleted, held fundraising events, hosted guest MPs and celebraties and ran a highly successful social media campaign, had just turned a 806 Tory majority into an almost 4,000 majority for Labour.  But the Runcorn side were acting like we had just suffered the most miserable and humiliating defeat.  Go figure (actually I have a theory).

Even though the chair tried to bring some order to the meeting, these delegates were not having any of it and the meeting was continually disrupted, until it finally descended into chaos.  That the meeting was disrupted was confirmed by one of these delegates at the next meeting in September and I have an audio recording of him saying the meeting was chaos with everybody shouting – actually, I take issue with that, a few were shouting the rest of the delegates were trying to be heard.

This event has subsequently been omitted from the history of Weaver Vale and you will not find any of this reflected in the minutes.  Minutes were posted to delegates, without any consultation with the chair, a courtesy and standard practice in every organisation I have known.   Despite emails to the temporary secretary (a Runcorn delegate and member of the NEC) asking for amendments, they were refused.   More about how this atrocious incident was air brushed from Weaver Vale history soon.

I have attended many meetings in my time as a civil servant, and as a Labour party member, even when the remains of Militant were still attending meetings, but I was shocked and appalled by the outburst and continued aggression.  This was obviously all staged to make delegates feel intimidated,  but mostly to catch the chair off his guard.   This time I made a formal complaint to Anna Hutchinson the Regional Director.   I’m still waiting for a reasonable response.

For some idea of just how unpleasant the meeting was, that same individual gives a vastly toned down demonstration on the video below (this was in public, not behind closed doors).  Note the jabbing finger and the body language to the the lady protester.

This video was taken shortly after a council meeting where the tolls of a local controversial bridge had been discussed.

The CLP and the Compliance Unit in Collusion

The executive of Weaver Vale Constituency Labour Party did not want me back in the party, but although the membership secretary (I had a formal complaint about her with NWRO) accused me of racism, my Subject Access Request shows no evidence of racism having been submitted to the party to support her assertions.   Why did North West Region and the National Party, who were well aware of the friction in the CLP, not only accept the word of the executive without question, but as it appears from the emails between them, the Compliance Unit colluded with the CLP to get the evidence against me right?

So what what is the actual “evidence” that was submitted to the party that was so offensive to the CLP executive?  Below are examples of what the CLP secretary  calls “going further than acceptable political differences, but became personal and defamatory”

These are four of nine screen grabs (no I’m not making this up), there are a few more, but you get the gist.

Scan0002Scan0010Scan0009Scan0003

Try not to laugh too hard, this is serious.

The people who were happy to use this as “evidence” are mainly Halton councillors of many years standing or in one case a candidate for the 2019 CWaC elections.   Also bear in mind, this was a face book conversation that I joined in with AFTER I had been driven to leave the party and therefore NOT bound by party rules.

What I find sinister about the email correspondence is that they show collusion between the CLP executive, the NWRO and the Compliance Unit.  The CLP secretary not only checks with the compliance unit to make sure the evidence is right but, asks what would be so damning of me, that I would lose an appeal?  The appeals procedure has been condemned by the Chakrabati report as not fit for purpose – you can see why.

I’ve cropped the first part of this email as it has personal details, it is probably from the CLP secretary (that has been redacted) and is to the The Compliance Unit.  I don’t know what the following two pages contain, they have been redacted, but I assume they refer to me otherwise why bother to photocopy them?  If they do refer to me, what is it the party don’t want me to see?

Urgent request for assistance in CLP decision to Object to Membership – (number)

Scan0001Why is criticism of Halton Councillors or an MP not allowed?  Britain is still a democracy.  My banter on a facebook group goes further than political differences and are defamatory?  Really?  Is that what the he screen grabs above show?  I’ll just mention here that I worked with the MP for Halton in the 1980’s and have known him for 35 or so years.  I think it’s fair to say we have our political differences. So what?

But the most outrageous accusation is “They (me) engage with others whose standing in the Labour Party or otherwise is not known, but it is suspected they are not members of the Labour Party”.  It’s like something out of 1984, that the CLP executive consider it their duty to watch members to see not only what they say, but whether they consort with non Labour party people.  Not only can I not have and express a view on MPs and councillors, (even in the few weeks when I was not in the party) that varies from their narrow opinion, but our differences of opinion is considered worthy of use when finding material to refuse membership.  Little sister is watching you.   Have I said I think this is outrageous?

It also says a number of the executive committee spoke against me.  That’s not really a surprise as apart from the CLP secretary, most of the executive are either part of a family or their  friends and most come from the two Runcorn branches.  If I was out of the party, my complaint against three of these delegates would not be investigated.  That makes them judge, jury and executioner.

At the very least, this decision should have gone to the full CLP meeting, as the secretary implies in the email.   In the minutes of the executive meeting the secretary has given the game away.   Refusal of my membership was meant to be taken by the executive in secret, without the knowledge of the rest of the CLP general management committee.  But the secretary has annotated the minutes “Secretary’s note:  I supported the proposal  not to refer the matter to the general meeting so as not to cause personal embarrassment to the applicant who was well known to members as a result of her previous roles held having regard to the binding decision made by the executive committee”.    Oh yeah, a likely story.   This sounds more like he was uncomfortable with the decision, so why did he go along with it?

The CLP secretary had at that point 4 years experience (barring the times he resigns then comes back again and yes he’s back again), but did not think it right to point out to the executive the NWRO or the Compliance Unit the conflict of the CLP executive making this decision.

For a party that is supposed to support fairness and natural justice I find it shocking that the party structure has no fairness or transparency in it’s procedures.

I think the last sentence of the CLP secretary’s question (see below) to Jane Shaw of the compliance unit shows just how desperate they were to keep me from rejoining their little fiefdom.   

264210-062718

Nuff said