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.
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. I 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)
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.