Posts Tagged ‘Labour NEC’

High Court strikes down disenfranchisement of Labour Party members

August 8, 2016

For the party to refuse to allow the claimants to vote in the current leadership election, because they have not been members since 12 January 2016, would be unlawful as in breach of contract. — Mr Justice Hickinbottom

The judge seemed very clear that his decision was all members of the party should have a right to vote in the leadership contest. Surely that has to be the right decision. — Jeremy Corbyn

Labour’s National Executive Committee did not have the right to bar roughly 130,000 new members from voting in the upcoming leadership election, the High Court has ruled today. Such a decision should be seen as a victory for democracy and another loss for an out-of-touch Labour party establishment. — Liam Young

The manner in which the Labour Party Establishment behaves would do justice to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Labour Party NEC met to decide whether or not Jeremy Corbyn would be allowed to remain on the ballot for leader. The rules were crystal clear, but it took Labour NEC nearly six hours to reach a decision.

It was reinforced when a wealthy donor thought he could buy the party, or at least the leader. He challenged in the High Court that Jeremy Corbyn was allowed on the ballot. The judge quite rightly threw the case out.  But what the case flushed out was the extent to which Party officials were acting to undermine the leadership.

Today, five party members won their case, when a Judge in the High Court decided Labour NEC acted unlawfully when they acted to disenfranchise around 130,000 members.

For Hannah Fordham, one of the five new members, the reason for the NEC’s decision is ultimately irrelevant. Her campaign is an appeal to democracy and fairness:

Regardless of who you support in the leadership contest, or whether you are even a Labour member, I am sure you will agree that it is incredibly unfair to all the members, around 130,000 of them, who joined since 12 January to have their voting rights taken away.

Labour members who joined after 12 January were promised a vote in the leadership election when they handed over their membership fees:

As a member, you’ll be a key part of the team. You’ll be eligible to vote in leadership elections.

Representing the new members, Stephen Cragg QC argued:

They paid their dues and found to their surprise they had been excluded from the present election.

We say they have been wrongly excluded by breach of contract from the right to vote. We say there is nothing in the Labour Party rule book that suggests a limit on the members who can take part in the leadership election.

Joining the party involved a transaction for the now disenfranchised members. They were paying not only to support the party, but also to have their voice heard within the Labour movement. Anything less surely constitutes a breach of contract.

But even if there had not been an explicit promise they could vote in a Labour leadership contest, it would have been implicit upon joining the Party.

The party claimed that the six-month freeze date was “normal for internal selections”. But Cragg argued in court that no prior leadership contest had set a retroactive cut-off date for members to qualify to vote.

Up to a quarter of registered supporters, who paid £25 for a vote within a 48-hour window, have been banned from the Labour leadership election, with the party keeping up to £1,250,000 in voting fees – leaving a bitter taste for those rejected.

The High Court’s decision to expand the democratic exercise should be welcomed by all. Supporters handed over fees for a vote in any leadership election. To remove that right was not only a breach of contract, but an unjustified suppression of democracy.

What was also appalling was the manner in which Labour NEC decided to disenfranchise party members.

The vote had been taken to allow Jeremy Corbyn to be on the ballot. He and a few supporters left the meeting to inform the crowd outside of the good news. It was only then, Labour NEC pushed through disfranchisement of 130,000 members. It was not even on the Agenda.

The High Court has ruled.

But now, taking contempt for its own members to a whole new level, it looks as though Labour Party may appeal the decision.

This is against the interest of the membership, against the wishes of the leadership, so who are the Labour officials acting for?

If an Appeal is lodged against the members, it could cost the Party £250,000.

What political party spends £250,000 to abuse its own members?

This is gerrymandering on an industrial scale.

They are running scared of  Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, they know the game is up.

Please sign the petition demanding Labour NEC do not Appeal the High Court ruling granting their own members the right to vote.

Labour NEC gerrymandering

July 20, 2016

Labour NEC appear to be determined to rig the Labour leadership election

First they disenfranchised over 130,000 members who had joined after 12 January 2016.

Then they made registered supporters pay £25 to register, ensuring many would not be able to afford to register thus lose their right to vote.

They also  restricted the registration period to 48 hours.

Trade Union affiliated members who were entitle to vote, were barred from voting.

A crowd funding scheme, to help those who could not afford the £25 registration fee was ordered to close, with the lady who set it up threatened with expulsion from the Labour Party.

Local Labour parties issued with a  diktat that they could not meet until after the leadership election.

Then when you think it could not get any worse, The Canary has reported blocking of the registration of Corbyn supporters.

New evidence has come to light that suggests the National Executive Committee (NEC) may be stalling registered supporter applications, to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from winning the Labour leadership.

As last year, a box for why you wished to join. If put Vote for Corbyn, was to ask for trouble, on the other hand, leaving blank would arouse suspicion.

The question should never have been asked. Nor should several other questions, which were a trawl for personal information. Why do they need phone number, Facebook profile?

Are they performing background checks on people?

Supporter Naciye Ozbilenler has spoken out on Facebook about her experience of signing up as a registered supporter. She states that she joined as a supporter, stating her reason as Jeremy Corbyn, but did not receive a confirmation.

Many supporters have spoken out about similar experiences, revealing they have had their application stalled or have not received any confirmation if they have detailed their support for Jeremy Corbyn. In comparison those who did not give Corbyn as a reason, have received a confirmation straight away. Similarly, those who gave Corbyn as a reason and did not get a confirmation and who then joined again without a reason, received their confirmation straight away.

Michelle Regan facebook post

Michelle Regan facebook post

Naciye Ozbilenler tried again this time making no mention of her support for Jeremy Corbyn, having been warned Labour head office was full of Blairites.

Naciye Ozbilenler warned of Blairites blocking registrations

Naciye Ozbilenler warned of Blairites blocking registrations

Naciye Ozbilenler has no problem when no mention of Jeremy Corbyn

Naciye Ozbilenler has no problem when no mention of Jeremy Corbyn

The Canary has reported these are not isolated examples

We have been here before. This is a re-run of what happened last year.

Last year, there was a problem getting registered. If accepted, lists wee sent to local parties to purge the leist of any undesrables. Many failed to receive ballot papers.

I had a battle over weeks, registration only accepted an hour before the deadline.  Ballot paper was never received. Thus I never did get to vote, even though I had paid £3 registration fee.

A Brighton political  facebook discussion forum  had many people complaining they were unable to register, and when they did register they never received a ballot paper.  A Pro-Corbyn forum has similar complaints.

At the time, complaints to Labour head office went unanswered, and when hey did answer,  pathetic excuses, went round and round in circles, met with bloody-minded obstruction.

Over 180.000 had registered as party supporters before the deadline. This exceeds the entire membership of the Tory Party.

Unbelievable listening on World Tonight to a member of Saving Labour (We Hate Corbyn group) and former member of Labour head office.

He said any electoral system that leads to the election of Jeremy Corbyn is seriously flawed. That Labour MPs have effectively become disenfranchised and they are the ones with a mandate. That focus on political engagement was wrong and the focus should eb on power.

This one individual illustrated the contempt for the members and all that is rotten and corrupt with Labour, and why change is needed.

Labour votes for sale

July 16, 2016
They've pulled a Wonga

They’ve pulled a Wonga

Next time we criticise rigged elections in another country, they will simply point to the level of corruption in the Labour Party.

Come the General Election, this will be used by other parties as to why Labour is unfit to be a party of government.

Labour NEC has disenfranchised around 130,000 Party members.

Labour has votes for sale.

Local parties are barred from meeting.

We do not know why Brighton has been suspended, as the local party has not been told, but the suspicion has to be, because they are pro-Corbyn.

Local parties across the country must meet in defiance of Labour NEC, or if they are not prepared to go that far, hold an informal meeting, and pass a Vote of No Confidence in Labour NEC.

If local parties are unable to meet, how can they hold leadership hustings, how can they decide who they wish to back?

It is Labour NEC that must be dissolved and fresh elections to Labour NEC.

If the Labour establishment wants war, then give them war.

The coup plotters, come a General Election, must be de-selected. They chose war then let us take war to them, but in a comradely fashion, no lynchings, no bricks through windows, no abuse.

What we are seeing is not Left v Right or Jeremy Corbyn v Labour MPs. What we are seeing is the Members v Labour Establishment, the 99% v the 1%.

Labour NEC contempt for democracy

July 14, 2016

Labour NEC has nothing but contempt for the demos, the people.

Two days ago they met to decide whether or not Jeremy Corbyn should be on the ballot for leader. The rules are crystal clear, no ambiguity, and yet it took them almost six hours and threat of legal act to reach an agreement, that yes, he would automatically be on the ballot.

They went into secret session. Are they not accountable to Labour Party members?

Then, as Jeremy Corbyn left the room to let supporters know the good news, and a couple of his supporters also left, NEC pulled a fast one. They decided anyone who had joined the Labour Party after 12 January 2016, would not be entitled to vote.  They also decided that to register as a supporter there would be a fee of £25 (last year it was £3). The window of opportunity to register is very small, a couple of days only within which to register. Those who registered last years, apparently cannot vote (though this need clarification).

This ruling, which at a stroke, disenfranchised well over 100,000 members, was not even on the agenda.

A check of the Labour Party website this afternoon, no information on the leadership election, no information on how to register as a supporter.

Labour Party changed its rules a couple of years ago. No longer could Trade Union leaders cast a Bloc Vote at Party Conference on behalf of their members,  individual members  had to register and vote as affiliated members of the Labour Party.

This offered an alternative route to vote in the leadership election, for example register as a community member of Unite.

Today, Labour NEC blocked trade union affiliate members from voting. Affiliate members who registered after 12 January 2016, will be disenfranchised.

What is particularly insidious about these rulings, is that they are retrospective.

Member who joined in good faith, have found that they had a vote, and now it has been taken away.

There has been no discussion, no debate, within the Party, to bar members from voting, or to hike the supporter fee to £25.

None of this is new. Last year, people experienced problems registering as supporters. Lists were passed to local parties and names scrubbed off the voting register. Many people did not receive ballot papers.

Labour NEC has suspended Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, strong supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party has been suspended and its recent election results annulled, according to its new secretary.

On Saturday (9 July 2016), the city’s Labour party voted for its new executive committee and Corbyn supporters took the top jobs.

But the recently-elected secretary Greg Hadfield said this afternoon the branch received a letter from Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), which said the local party had been suspended.

Please sign the petition demanding that Brighton suspension is lifted and the elections at their AGM honoured.

Labour NEC has suspended all local party meetings until the leadership election is over at the end of September.

Local parties are defying the NEC ruling.

In Wallasey, the Merseyside constituency of Angela Eagle – one of the two challengers to Corbyn – members booked a hall for a meeting of the New Brighton branch on Wednesday night. It went ahead as an informal meeting of Labour members rather than an official event.

At the end of the two-hour meeting, a vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle was passed by 54 to 9. In a second vote, they unanimously rejected the £25 membership fee, which one of those in the hall denounced as “a surcharge on democracy”.

Members at the meeting accused the labour NEC of trying to exclude the tens of thousands who had joined since the attempt to remove Corbyn a fortnight ago. Kathy Miller, secretary of the Wallasey constituency party, said 369 new members had joined her branch since 24 June , bringing the total to 1,221.

Local parties across the country should hold meetings in defiance of Labour NEC. What are they going to do, suspend every local Labour Party in the country, disenfranchise the entire labour Party membership?

What we are seeing is gerrymandering on an industrial scale.

If this level of gerrymandering and vote rigging was seen in Iran or Russia or Zimbabwe, there would be international outcry, call for international monitors, questions raised as to the validity of the election.

The behaviour of Labour MPs is little better.

They mounted a coup against Jeremy Corbyn. They had no mandate to do so.

Two Labour MPs have tossed their hat into the ring, to challenge Jeremy Corbyn.

Monday, Labour MPs will decide behind closed doors, which of these two MPs will stand, one will drop out. Party members are not allowed to participate. The only policy the Candidate will have, We Hate Corbyn.

If coup plotters, Labour NEC, Labour head office, want war, then let us give them  war.

There should be meetings across the country in defiance of Labour NEC, pass a Vote of No Confidence in NEC.

Ordinary people should take control of their local Labour Party. Labour NEC needs a clear out, as does the Labour head office. And when a General Election is called, every single one of the coup plotters should be de-selected and replaced not by Party automatons (we have had enough of them), but with people who are capable of independent thought, who will act for the people who elected them.

 

 

Gerrymandering by Labour NEC

July 13, 2016

It was not even on the agenda. At a stroke, Labour Party NEC disenfranchised over 100,000 party members and hiked the fee for registered supporters from £3 to £25.

Yesterday, Labour NEC agreed to allow Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot.

Why did it take nearly six hours, and threat of legal action, when the rules were crystal clear with no wriggle room?

As Jeremy Corbyn left the room, to tell supporters outside of the good news, and a few of his supporters also left the meeting, NEC slipped through rule changes, at a  stroke disenfranchised over 100,000 members from taking part in the ballot, and levied a charge of £25 for those wishing to register as supporters.

These rule changes were not on the agenda.

All Labour members who joined after 12 January have been disenfranchised.

Contrast with the big push to get people to register to vote before the EU Referendum.

What we are seeing is an illustration of all that is rotten within the Labour Party.

We have been here before. We saw the same gerrymandering of the leadership election last year. People who tried to register as supporters were blocked on quite trivial grounds. Lists were sent to local Labour Parties to strip out any possible Corbyn supporters. Many people never received their ballot papers.

A few years ago, Labour Party rules were changed, no longer Bloc Votes by Trade Union bosses at party conferences. Now, Trade Union members may vote as individual affiliated members.

It is possible join the Unite union as a community member, paying 50p a week until becoming an affiliate member by 8 August 2016. Downside, have to sign a Direct Debit.

Lunchtime on Wato, a tearful member of Labour NEC complaining they were intimidated. And what was this intimidation? A threat of legal action if they failed to comply with the rules and let Jeremy Corbyn onto the ballot. This is not intimidation.

She also wanted a secret ballot, and claimed Jeremy Corbyn was encouraging intimidation by opposing a secret ballot. Jeremy Corbyn has consistently opposed any intimidation.

She was not questioned on why they had disenfranchised over 100,000 members, why the £25 registration fee, why those who have previously registered as supporters are not entitled to vote.

No one else from the labour NEC was granted a platform.

What happened on Wato is just one of many examples of BBC bias. It has now become almost a daily occurrence on Wato. Last night on World Tonight, Blair chum Charlie Falconer, they shared a flat together, granted a platform to give his views on Labour Party split (there is no split, but according to BBC there is).  Paul Mason gives another example.

Owen Smith has thrown his hat into the leadership race. He says he wishes to help heal the wounds in the Party, says he respects the will of the membership.

It is the likes of Owen Smith, Angela Eagle and other coup plotters, who have caused the wounds in the party. Will Owen Smith be speaking out against the action of Labour NEC to disenfranchise any Party member who joined after 12 January 2016, demand the reduction of the £25 registration fee for supporters, and to extend the period of registration beyond a few days?

Owen Smith is a former special adviser and lobbyist for a US giant pharmaceutical  company, background in PR. Is he the type of person to lead the Labour Party?

As Theresa May returned from Buckingham Palace having accepted the invitation to form the next government, she gave a speech on social justice that could have done justice to Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell. Even David Cameron in his last words as Prime Minister, highlighted his achievements in terms of social justice.  And yet the coup plotters still do not recognise the world has moved on, still cannot get their heads around why they lost the last election, want to return the Party to the dark days of war criminal Tony Blair.

The Labour leadership campaign should be used as an opportunity to turn Labour into a mass social movement, that engages with people at every possible level. That is no longer about people like Owen Jones and his ego and ambitions, it is about engaging with many people, of involving many people, at all levels. It is not about power, and obsession with power, which is all that motivates the coup plotters. It is following the example of Barcelona, Frome in Somerset. It provides the opportunity to engage with people, to reach  a broad consensus of what they wish a Post-Brexit future to look like.

In Barcelona, the activists who now control City Hall, recognise democracy is far more than ticking a box in a ballot paper every few years.

But if the coup plotters want war, then deliver them war.  Ordinary people should take control of their local Labour Party. Labour NEC needs a clear out, as does the Labour head office. And when a General Election is called, every single one of the coup plotters should be de-selected and replaced not by Party automatons (we have had enough of them), but with people who are capable of independent thought, who will act for the people who elected them.