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.

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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.   

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Nuff said

 

All members are equal, but some more equal than others

To accuse somebody of racism is a very serious accusation in my book.  To do so with malicious intent is despicable and I question the mindset of people who do this.  But when it’s done without a shred of evidence then that also makes it defamatory.

One reason for my Labour Party expulsion is –

  • “Posts we consider racist, singling out Chinese/Asian and Israel”  

“Posts” obviously refer to their mining of data in my social media to find the relevant “evidence”.   Anybdy who uses social media knows how comments can be taken out of context, or twisted to show a person in the worst possible light.  Is it a coincidence that I  campaign against the barbaric dog and cat meat trade in Asia, particularly China and  that I support the Palistinian cause?   These are the specific areas cited against me.   The self appointed Weaver Vale inquisition conveniently ignore all the campaigning and supporting comments for the party.

The “we” are the CLP executive, who for the entire time I was in the party  had never noticed any racism or brought their “concerns”  to my attention.   I joined in 1992, left because of Blair and rejoined in 2013, so they had long enough.  Neither had they complained to the Regional Office – a practice they seem particularly fond of.  It’s really weird that only a few on the CLP executive noticed it, but my Asian and Jewish friends never have.

Obviously the inquisition don’t want me in the party and are willing to resort to any measure to keep me out.    I am almost sure this has nothing to do with me putting a complaint to the RO about the behaviour of several of the executive.  This including a nasty, bullying incident where a delegate left a meeting in tears, then the chair and myself were subjected to abuse.   Nor do I think that the small matter of the Party only dealing with complaints from current members, meaning that if I was expelled my complaint would not be investigated had anything to do with their decision.

Under the Data Protection Act an individual is entitled to see all the documents held by a body or organisation that relates to them, and I was advised to do this.   Although the law states that this must be done within 40 days, it took almost five months and an intervention by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) before I got to see just what the Labour Party hold on me.

Although I was expelled from the party citing racism, the documents provided do not support this allegation.   I questioned, whether the party had fully complied with the law.   This seems likely as one letter to the compliance unit from the CLP secretary says they have “more information if required” – got to get the evidence right, or their plot may have failed and I would have remained a member. More on this in another blog.

Several letters from my solicitor to establish how much, if any information was missing never even got a reply from the compliance unit.   This is now back with the ICO for clarification.

All of this begs the questions –

  • Why would anybody make such a serious allegation, knowing they could not support it and were quite likely to be found out?
  • Why did the Labour Party at the North West Regional Office not intervene as requested by me?

I think I know the answer to the first question and can make an assumption about the second.

Firstly, there is a with hunt within the Labour party,  by the Blairites (woops, said it again, that’s another factor in my expulsion) to close down all criticism of the Israeli government and it’s treatment of the Palistinians.  To use racism plays nicely into the hands of the right wing to silence the Corbynites (I can say that apparently) and have them removed.   If my expulsion is not for this reason, then it must be for personal reasons.  For the CLP use their CLP positions to “get their own back” on other members is an abuse of power, bordering on corruption.   A point the NWRO seems content to overlook.

The second question is why didn’t Labour at NWRO and subsequently at the Compliance Unit take the word of the membership secretary and ignore my position?   NWRO knew of my complaint, but had made a complete hash of dealing with it.   Andy Smith was aware of the history between myself and this group, but chose not to intervene.   It seems that all members are equal, but some more equal than others.

A good friend notified me of the Inquisition’s intentions, so I emailed Andy Smith the temporary Regional Director the morning after the meeting.  I asked for him to intervene as I believed the reasons for doing this were malicious.  I have never received a reponse from Mr Smith or anybody else from the NWRO. 

Why not?   It could  be that one of the group worked at the NWRO and knows  Mr Smith and he has let this get in the way of treating all members equally.  Or perhaps it’s because the RO and this group share the same right wing political ideology making him unwilling to intervene on behalf of an openly Corbyn supporting member.   A third option is that the NWRO are totally inept.   Only a full, independent investigation into this would determine the answer.  I think the pigs are on the runway awaiting clearance.

Below is the letter, which gives their reasons why I should not have rejoined the party (after having left because it was made intolerable for me to continue,  but that’s for another blog).   As I was a well known party member being a former treasurer, a delegate to CLP,  the local campaign forum and  a fundraiser,  I question why this did not go to the full CLP meeting for consideration?  

The rest of the fiction I will deal with again, but the racism allegation is too serious and upsetting for me not to challenge.

 

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Putting the Record Straight

The snap general election in 2017 saw Weaver Vale return a Labour MP after an eight year absence.  This has left some bad feeling for a small group  within the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) who appear to be out of step with the rest of the party.   Their anger has been directed at the then CLP chair and election Parliamentary agent (my husband) a young delegate to the CLP and at me.

The three of us eventually resigned as we all felt we could not continue in a party where such intolerable behaviour was condoned.   Several members from the CLP asked us to return and my husband and myself applied to rejoin a few week later.   However the CLP executive have rejected my application, resorting to making up “evidence” and twisting social media comments to suit thire purposes – where have we heard this before?  More on this further down.

 I now intend to set the record straight.

Most Weaver Vale Labour members worked hard during an election nobody had expected or planned for.  Therefore everything we did, was last minute.  We returned a Labour MP in the teeth of resistance from several members, some of whom are senior councillors on Halton Borough Council.   They were unhappy that we had been given our candidate on the instructions of the National Executive Committee, (NEC) Labour’s governing body.   I will note at this time a member from East Runcorn also threw her hat into the ring to be Weaver Vale candidate, but was not chosen.  I wonder if any of the shenanigans from the Runcorn side of the constituency would have taken place if she had been chosen?

It wasn’t an ideal situation, but other CLPs were getting on with campaigning, so it was agreed by the secretary, treasurer (myself) and the Chair that there was nothing to be gained from challenging the choice of candidate.    We were two weeks into the campaign and to stop and examine the candidate or make alternative arrangements to chose another would have lost time, been unproductive and given the opposition the advantage.   In any case, it was an NEC decision and that was final.  No other parts of the CLP expressed a wish to object to the campaign, so we carried on.

As we are a marginal Parliamentary constituency to stop the campaign would have been lunacy, handing an advantage to the opposition parties and lessening Labours chances of winning.

That did not stop the Runcorn delegates of the CLP executive body from trying.

Several members from the Runcorn branches then did everything they could to be awkward and prevent the rest of us from getting on with campaigning.  On hearing who was to be our candidate, the campaign co-ordinator walked away saying she wanted nothing further to do with Weaver Vale’s campaign.

  • Date : 30/04/2017 – 
    I will be standing aside as campaign organiser from now. Do you want all of the campaign stuff out of my boot? I can drop it off tomorrow.

Councillors from Halton and Momentum stepped in to fill the void.  That did not suit the East Runcorn branch.

Mis-information was given to the volunteers.  Momentum members were told they could not help with the campaign.

  • Thank you, we do of course need as much help as possible, and we are desperate to get the Labour Party in Power, with Jeremy as Prime Minister.but the invitation can only go to Labour Party Card carrying members unfortunately and they would probably be asked to show their membership Card.

          Ellen

This is untrue and as an experienced member and campaigner, she would have known this.

Despite expressing a wish for a Labour government, not much evidence of a willingness to work with the rest of the CLP was apparent.  This led the CLP secretary threatening  to resign on more than one occasion.  This would have thrown the campaign into further confusion and several times the chair asked him to reconsider, which he did until finally resigning after the election.  But the constant uncertainly and not knowing if we had a secretary made planning  more difficult than it should have been.

  • Hi Jeanette

    I have my resignation e-mail to the Party sitting on my computer.                                    do not consider anything less than the Branches in Runcorn being suspended will stop me from sending it.I will not do a half way measure of simply resigning from roles as I could not be a member and not want to give 100% and would become very frustrated very quickly.                                                                                            Confrontation is not a problem for me what I feel here is that if there is confrontation then I (we) will not be supported and I am not prepared to do that.

    It concerns me that if the behaviours of the Runcorn mob occurred anywhere else they would be stamped on. It is completely unacceptable. 

    I doubt very much I will be there tomorrow as if the Runcorn mob attend as I am sure they will I would simply walk out and I have intention of giving them the satisfaction of that.

    In truth I don’t think this will be resolved.  (my emphasis in bold)

    Mike

What he is alluding to when says “I (we) would not be supported” is that several previous chairs have also approached the North West Regional Office with concerns about the behaviour of the same members, but nothing is ever done to resolve the issues.    More of which is for another blog.

This petulant attitude to the campaign continued throughout the campaign, but despite the obstacles that were placed in the way, we turned a 806 Tory majority into a Labour majority of 3,928.

You can decide for yourselves who was the disruptive influence.

After the general election  there was a sequence of events which eventually led me, my husband and another member to resign.  The North West Regional Office did nothing to try to resolve the issues (I guess the secretary was right)   When I tried to rejoin, at the request of members of my branch, the CLP executive blocked my application.  By this time there had been a coup at the CLP and the delegates on the executive committee who were making the decison were mostly members of the Runcorn branches.

This was done without letting any of the wider CLP know what they were doing and why.  How’s that for fairness and democracy?

Despite my emailing Andy Smith (temporary Regional Director at the North West Office) the day after the  CLP executive decision to recommend that I be expelled from the party was taken,  I have never had a reply from him.  Nor did I get a response from earlier emails requesting that my original complaint about the bullying behaviour of the same group be investigated.

It could be construed that the North West Regional Office are either completely inept or worse.