An appeal for funds for justice in the Labour Party

 

JVL is happy to support this group of Labour Party members seeking justice.

We urge our supporters to contribute to the Crowdfunder appeal just launched.

In response to questions many have raised as to who the people concerned are we have said this:

  • They have been strongly advised by their lawyers that they may place themselves in further jeopardy if their names are made public before the papers are lodged with the court and this appeal is to pay for the work to do that. They don’t like it. JVL has taken steps to ascertain their bona fides before promoting their call and we are prepared to vouch for them.

See also this report in Skawkbox Exclusive: group of Labour members take party to court

Labour Activists 4 Justice

Case Owner

We are a group of Labour Party members who have been caught up in the absurdities of Labour’s disciplinary processes who want to see them changed. Our aim is justice for all members.

Party’s disciplinary processes are currently neither fair nor transparent, and are manifestly unjust, and they are harming our lives and the lives of many others.

One member of the group says:

‘Throughout its history the Labour Movement has fought for the rights of workers, including the right to a fair and just disciplinary process. If any employer tried to impose the Labour Party’s process on their employees today, the party and the unions would be up in arms. It is a disgrace that needs to be fixed.’

We have engaged Bindmans LLP as our lawyers. Their letters to the Party pointing out these failures have received no response to date. We have taken further advice and feel we have no choice but to rely on the law for a remedy.

At the moment, people who are accused are not told who has complained about them, nor who is investigating them. Anonymous officials send them batches of ‘evidence’ (things they are supposed to have written or said), and a list of party rules they are accused of breaking, but with no link between the charges and the evidence. They are then asked to explain why the evidence supports the charges, in effect incriminating themselves.

They are not told who their ‘judges’ will be, or whether they have a right to a hearing. They certainly won’t have an opportunity to question witnesses.

The Party is aware of the likely impact of these procedures on their targets. They advise them that they might need to talk to their GP, or the Samaritans. But they are expressly forbidden to talk to anyone else – on pain of facing another disciplinary charge.

The Labour Party disciplinary process has many deficiencies. Just some of those that we will be challenging are

  • the policy of refusing to identify who has complained, so their possible motives for complaining cannot be assessed
  • the lack of clear specific charges explained with reference to evidence, and a process that requires members to self-incriminate
  • the legitimacy and legality of citing consensual private conversations as evidence
  • the practice of trawling for evidence through historical communications that predate the rule under which the member is being charged
  • the failure to take action to prevent or punish the routine leaks about cases to media outlets.

The Labour Party’s record on natural justice is at best chequered, but this has been a particularly dark chapter. Help us to end it by contributing to take this major legal case forward. Our aim is justice for all members.

Comments (33)

  • RC says:

    The catch-all charge of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ (or words to that effect), as long as it remains in potential force, will nullify any benefits success in these other fields may bring. It highlights the political importance of this (or any other) leadership faction; a good example is the almost unbelievably crass diktat issued within the last few days by David Evans, the GS. His example of treating members with respect is threatening us with litigation; his claim that opposition to the so-called IHRA’s so-called definition of antisemitism impedes the party’s ‘opposition to racism’ is totally undermined by the party’s instigation (from 2007), as well as condonation, of a hostile environment for those BAME residents who cannot -usually because the Home Office has destroyed their landing slips. Little could bring the party into deeper disrepute.

  • ruby lescott says:

    Done. Shocking and shameful that it has come to this.

  • Doug says:

    Happy to contribute
    My question is are you coordinating with other groups currently involved in legal action. [Answer is yes! – web editor]
    There will be common ground and resources can be concentrated in those cases that have the best chance

  • A member says:

    I think that it might also be worth addressing the fact that members may have a “permanent warning” on their file, even when their case has not been heard. I was suspended and then unsuspended without explanation, save being told that there would be a permanent warning on my file. I believe this to be contrary to natural justice

  • Sean O'Donoghue says:

    Some of you have been told what the charges are….11 months on and I haven’t been told the charges against me. Looking at my SAR however, it can only be my questioning a LP aparatchik and perhaps criticising LP HQs and then sending said aparatchik that “They were worse than useless” ….my observations were prescient!

  • Ann Lewis says:

    I feel very torn on this issue.I do understand what you are saying but the thought of the Labour Party becoming embroiled in an internal legal dispute horrifies me .The disruptive bitter internicene energies unleashed would be tragic. All our energies need to be reserved for holding the Tories to account and for preparing to replace them at the next election. No I cannot contribute to this fund.

  • Martin Read says:

    I can understand some members feeling trepidation, but feel that this action is vital, in order to salvage democratic accountability, thus fairness, for the party. Happy to contribute. May justice prevail!

  • DJ says:

    All power to your elbow. The Labour Party disciplinary process has become an absolute disgrace. If employers used the same tactics against their workers or their representatives we would all be outraged. It’s high time the trade unions affiliated to the party put a stop to this witch hunt. It reminds me of the days of blacklists. What is the point of affiliating to a party which operates a kangaroo court system of justice? A system based on unspecified complaints from anonymous individuals. A total fiasco!

  • Paul Crowther says:

    I’m saddened by Ann’s comment that she can’t contribute because of the internal Labour upset it might cause, distracting from fighting the government. Labour stands for natural justice, or it stands for nothing. How can we compromise on wrongs done to members?

  • MAX COOK says:

    We have been given no alternative, we must fight for our rights, I am still suspended well over 14 months now and no reply to any of my questions.

  • Dee Howard says:

    TO ANN LEWIS – Unless we sort out the party, before more members either leave in disgust or are chucked out, we will have nobody to challenge the Tories, only people who work with them!

  • Margaret West says:

    There was a move by a CLP (can’t remember which one) for a change in disciplinary proceedings – an account of which was on this site. What happened to this? I have heard too that there are moves to a. change from other CLPs

    Could something be made of this without resorting to legal action? I see from Labour List that
    “Local parties warned against motions on Panorama settlement, EHRC, IHRA”

    Now while disciplinary procedures. might very well involve EHRC, IHRA etc the emphasis would not be on what a charge might comprise – but how complaints are made, dealt with, confidentiality, transparency, documentation etc.

    Examples could be given of (as above) members not being told of the charge, being suspended and unsuspended, without explanation and a permanent warning on file. Surely anyone would agree these are against Natural Justice.?

    As has been said – how terrible it has come to this!

  • Allan Howard says:

    Ann, the Right of the party – along with the corporate media and the BBC and the Jewish newspapers and the CAA and the JLM et al – have just spent the past five years smearing and demonising Jeremy Corbyn and the left membership so as to bring him down, and as we now know, former staff actively worked to sabotage the 2017 general election, but for which, Jeremy may very well have won and now be our PM. In other words, not only did they smear good, decent people as anti-semites AND cause concern and consternation amongst many people in the Jewish community in the process, but they set out to subvert democracy by doing so. Are you not horrified by all THAT?

    What our energies should be focussed on is exposing – to the millions who have been duped and deceived by all the lies and falsehoods – what these anti-democratic forces did. And why would anyone on the left have any inclination to replace Blue Tories with Red Tories!

  • Jed Bland says:

    Now is the time to get this sorted while an election is some way in the future. Let us get this party cleaned up once and for all, or it will always be tainted and not a party of justice in the voter’s mind

  • TM says:

    Well, I anticipated the icy wind that would blow in with David Evans but his recent email to CLPs closing the door on Free Speech beggars belief. I think there must be a legal challenge on this alone.
    All those voices I hear saying we mustn’t detract from defeating this Tory Government are the same voices who invited them in through their open hostility to or lack of support for the Democratically Elected Leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. There is a reason to defend Free Speech. Surely we must know where censorship leads to. History screams at us these days.
    So, yes, I’ll be supporting whatever challenge there is against Party Injustice and for a fully accountable, transparent, Democratic, Socialist Labour Party.

  • John W says:

    These kangarro courts are a disgrace – and the latest edict from the General Secretary forbidding ANY discussion on the issue of antisemitism in Conference motions a classic Stalinist technique to hush opposition.

  • Dave Hansell says:

    The structures and processes covered in this legal action are certainly not fit for purpose. There is a total absence of objective due process standards and principles which is systemically compromised for sectarian purposes by individuals and organised groups across the Party.

    This is just as much the case for those submitting complaints – even ones in which serious legal breaches have occurred – as it is for those subject to complaints. Unfortunately, this is not limited to AS complaints based on a policy of a hierarchy of oppression.

    Some complaints which suit these criminal sectarians are fast tracked and processed whilst others go missing from the system even when resubmitted; and then spend over a year allegedly being subject to an investigation in which no witnesses are contacted and SAR’s for specific data supplied and the way it has been used is ignored whilst the focus and priority of limited staff numbers and time is given to one specific kind of complaint to the detriment of others.

    Evidence is ignored to suit convenience in order to smooth the career paths of charlatans on the backs of decent hard working members. And now blank cheque promises have been made to sub contract out the process to a hostile third Party which claims monopoly rights to police not just the Party and its members but an entire community. Denying the diversity of that community in favour of hegemony over it.

    The observation made by Ann at 20:55 14/08 misses a number of fundamental issues which need to be dealt with for the health and future of any democracy in these islands.

    The sectarians in the Party are waging war on the movement’s support base. Having lost traditional voters thinking they had “nowhere else to go” they are now turning on the members. Deliberately losing elections in order to ensure no change from a corrupt status quo in which politicians of all Party’s are bought and paid for by lobbyists and wealthy doners seeking to prevent change and set current arrangements in aspic in perpetuity.

    This will not change in the future and disenfranchises millions of voters from genuine choice whilst undermining the demos. There is therefore, Ann, no choice but to tackle this virus head on if the 99% are not to be made surplus to requirements.

  • CVA says:

    @Ann Lewis, taking action is defending the Labour Party. Not taking action is siding with a Party bureaucracy that denies due process and natural justice to its members.
    What is the difference between the Party bureaucracy and the Tories? Didn’t you hear? Allegedly in 2017 they did everything they could to ensure that the Tories did win.
    We need to reclaim our Party as a Party of equality and justice and if legal action is what it takes, then we must support the legal action and donate to their crowdfunding.

  • RC says:

    (1)the wretched autocorrect wrote ‘political importance’ of the leadershipo faction instead of my ‘political impotence’ – by this I refer to the inability of GS David Evans to advance credible or indeed visible political arguments to argue that opposing Zionist oppression will hinder his alleged struggle against racism. (His contempt for CLPs and their democracy is also on public record).
    (2) Ann Lewis is quite right to deplore the introduction of legal repression into inner-party struggles,. But Starmer and Evans in their collusion with the BBC etc are responsible for this situation. Should we really stay ‘naked in the conference chamber’? If we simply pass resolutions, Evans will simply rule them out of order or suspend us as ‘racist’…Good luck, Ann, but your weapons are looking very weak.

  • John Burton says:

    I don’t agree, Ann. Until the Labour Party faces up to this corrupting injustice, it will always be on a shaky moral foundation, and that means it won’t be able to bring about the huge changes that we are striving for in our society and in Britain’s place in the world.
    I will contribute.

  • Angela Edmunds says:

    Pleased to contribute. We are pensioners so can’t afford much, but will do so again. Please keep us posted and remind us when funds are needed. We are on the verge of leaving LP, but would still support. There needs to be a complete overhaul and airing of the poison at the heart of Labour. Clear it out and start afresh.

  • Edward Hill says:

    “As with other major political parties, complaints and disciplinary procedures are wanting.” Chakrabarti report, June 2016. “Labour’s existing disciplinary procedures …were outdated and not fit for purpose, and after the change in General Secretary in 2018 sustained effort has been made to ensure they are appropriate to the challenges the party faces.” Leaked document p. 669, April 2020. “An independent provider should be used to process all complaints to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.” Board of Deputies of British Jews 2nd pledge, agreed by Keir Starmer January 2020. So there is lots of agreement about the need for change, and some would say those brought about by Jeremy Corbyn made the disciplinary processes worse for those who supported him. Legal actions are liable to turn into bottomless financial pits; this may be a pit too far. Resources might be better saved for trying to ensure the eventual new processes from Starmer are fair and independent, given that they are not so when handled within.

  • Rob Gardiner says:

    I am also happy to contribute and send my comradely good wishes to those stuck on that Kafkaesque wheel of “justice”, otherwise known as the Labour Party disciplinary process. I wish to assure you you re not alone and friendless, but am aware you must be experiencing huge levels of stress at this time. But of course that is the whole point and meaning of this exercise of blunt , destructive, power. To drive us out of the Party, and/or pour encourager les autres to be silent and passive, lest they come for us. Martin Niemoller’s famous plea comes to mind, which ends up ” and when they came for me there was no one to speak up for me”.
    So sorry Ann , as we all seem to be getting at you, and I share your concern at ridding our country of this pestilential Tory party, but but I refuse, indeed I cannot tolerate this slow corrupting of the basic principles of fairness and justice. Please read David Evans’s diktat to CLPs, and allow yourself to experience the sense of being talked down to like children , with the implicit threat of being sent to your room if you dare to speak out. The tone and feeling of being a member of this Party is changing by the day, nay by the hour. And so they reveal themselves for what they are– petty tyrants, anti-democratic, bullies, hypocrites.
    Finally, I am still a member, but no longer donate to the party nor campaign nor participate in any form of activism. The hope is gone, and I do not know how much longer I can remain a member of such a flawed and decaying organisation. Please accept my donation.

  • DAVID JONES says:

    I disagree Ann. I have always been told to stand up to bullies – no action will just be taken as weakness by these racists. If no action is taken now, then it could well be the green light they have been waiting for to get rid of anyone who is to the left of Genghis Khan (if that isn’t happening already).

  • Graeme Atkinson says:

    Why are those taking action hiding their identity? How does that help?

    JVL web editor: They have been strongly advised by their lawyers that they may place themselves in further jeopardy if their names are made public before the papers are lodged with the court and this appeal is to pay for the work to do that. They don’t like it. JVL has taken steps to ascertain their bona fides before promoting their call and we are prepared to vouch for them.

  • Janet Crosley says:

    I am a pensioner and agree with Angela. I dispair. Pleased to contribute a little, more if required.
    If these civil actions do not change the opportunism without integrity, l will have to leave. l had to do that during the Blair administration. Do not wish to repeat.
    Thank you for taking a stand.

  • Doug says:

    Call on a trade union to look at this, must have best disciplinary process experts in country in their ranks
    What is best practice, natural justice and transparent

  • DJ says:

    If JVL are prepared to vouch for these comrades, that’s good enough for me. We need maximum unity at this moment in time. We are confronted with a cancer in the labour movement. The latest edict from the General Secretary confirms this.

  • Stephen Mitchell says:

    If you want to create another New Labour then don’t contribute Power without purpose is useless.

  • Graeme Atkinson says:

    Is the Labour Party worth “saving” when it is a refuge for careerists, political scabs, witch-hunters and the occasional lesser-spotted but heavily plumed entrist looking for a home?

  • rc says:

    I wonder what this ‘further jeopardy’ is? There is always the ‘protection racket warning’ – “nice little membership status you have here – wouldn’t it be a pity if it somehow got damaged…”…
    Sometimes it is hard to see where the line is between a ‘candid friend’ and an ill-concealed opponent.
    In dealing with this situation, which has intensified since 2016, the vagueness of phrases like ‘further jeopardy’ has the effect of undermining what little democracy or independent thought is permitted by David Evans and his bureaucracy.
    So what exactly are the dangers and from whom?

  • Alan Stanton says:

    Dave Hansell, I was particularly struck by the second and third paragraph of your comment, drawing attention to the failures of Labour’s process to respond fairly to **complainants**. Including the party’s failure to respond properly to an SAR (Subject Access Request).

    I see the problem as similar to what I’ve read was called “Window”, or possibly now “chaff”, as a countermeasure to radar detection. The “screen” fills with fake “detections”. So not only is it far harder to identify the genuine article but Party staff may be drowning in huge numbers of both (some) real and (many) invented complaints. Recent examples include hundreds (thousands?) of complaints about online antisemitism which turned out to involve non-Labour members.

    As people have pointed out there also seems to be a growing practice of trawling through past online accounts to find . . . something, anything, however flimsy. And if there’s nothing much there, then cut-and-paste bits out of context. Or tell outright lies.

    Not so long ago, it might have seemed fantasy to suggest that at least part of this could be deliberate; organised attempts by people or organisations hostile to Labour to damage the Party. But now we know better. https://network23.org/arspycatcher/2019/09/12/mark-kennedy-from-spycop-to-corporate-spy-and-the-animal-rights-connection/

Comments are now closed.