Nottingham East members defend suspended CLP chair

Members of  Nottingham East CLP have asked us to publish a statement from them to correct the false narrative put into the public domain by those who support Evans’ gagging order.

The Labour leadership has ramped up its anti-democratic war against the left in the party with a pledge from Angela Rayner, Keir Starmer’s deputy, to “suspend thousands and thousands of members” to eradicate supporters of Jeremy Corbyn from the party.

The purge has netted two well-known socialists in recent days – Pete Firmin, chair of Hampstead and Kilburn CLP, and Louise Regan, chair of Nottingham East, a former NUT president and vice-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Both were suspended within hours of permitting discussion in their constituency general meetings of motions calling for Corbyn to be readmitted to the Parliamentary Labour Party. Any motions “touching on” this subject have been banned by edict of general secretary David Evans, causing an outcry across the party.

 

 

 

 

Louise Regan, Chair Nottingham East CLP

In Defence of Louise Regan – Statement from members of Nottingham East CLP

We are members and delegates of Nottingham East CLP who were present at the meeting on Friday 27th November, held on Zoom.

We wish to express our solidarity with our Chair, Louise Regan, who was suspended from the Labour Party within 15 minutes of the end of the meeting. We also wish to correct some misleading statements about the meeting currently circulating on social media – including that of our MP Nadia Whittome.

There were different – strongly held – views expressed on whether we should hear the motion that called for Corbyn’s reinstatement, the lifting of disciplinary measures from others for discussing the issues as well as for the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party. Nevertheless, the meeting was conducted throughout with respect for all speakers – with one notable exception, described below.

All who wished to speak in the debate, both for and against, were given the opportunity to do so – and many did – such that our invited speaker volunteered to return at a future meeting. Several Jewish members gave their perspectives including many in favour. The leader of Nottingham City Council spoke against the motion being heard. Speakers also included our MP – who spoke twice against hearing the motion – despite not being a member of our CLP.

At one point there were 58 participants, not all of whom were delegates able to vote. It is a credit to the Chair that the meeting was conducted fairly and respectfully with such a contentious issue. Members were asked to keep themselves muted unless they were called on to speak so that there was no sound interference when people were speaking. It should be noted that all the functions of the Zoom meeting, such as muting, were under the control of the Secretary and not the Chair.

There was only one interruption during the meeting. This arose when one member stated that in his personal experience he had never witnessed any antisemitism in any of our meetings. As he continued with his personal view, another member shouted out – in a manner that some found to be aggressive – that he himself had suffered personal, antisemitic abuse from the person speaking, who was taken aback and stated that this wasn’t true; the Chair intervened and tried to calm things down. At this point the member who had interrupted declared that he no longer felt safe at the meeting and left.

Members were stunned by this exchange, and the ensuing statement from the member saying he did not feel safe, followed by his exit. The atmosphere of the meeting immediately became tense and uncomfortable and many were very upset by it. It should be noted that there had been no anti-Semitic behaviour or language at the meeting. Several members then spoke of their concern for the member who had left and the Chair stated that she had reached out to him to check that he was ok. When all who wanted to speak had done so, a vote was proposed and seconded and the delegates voted on whether to hear the motion. This was carried overwhelmingly by 22 votes for to 9 against.

The meeting then proceeded as per the agenda and on the suspension of standing orders to allow more time.  The motion was presented to the meeting, with delegates voting that it should be under the condition of one person being allowed to speak in favour of the motion and one person against.  The motion went to a vote and was carried by 23 votes in favour to 10 against

Additional concerns have arisen by the discovery that someone present was sending out live information – including members’ names – to a journalist known to be hostile to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, who was live tweeting this information. It has also been noted that the member who left has changed his narrative on social media to stating that the member he accused had ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than had attacked him personally.

All Labour Party meetings should be conducted in a safe environment where all members’ views can be expressed without fear of attack, either within or without the meeting.

Louise Regan chaired our meeting in exemplary fashion throughout and we call for her reinstatement, along with all those who are facing disciplinary action for merely discussing issues of democracy and due process within the Party, as expressly affirmed in the EHRC report and in accordance with the Human Rights Act. Nadia joined others in saying thanks to Matt and Louise for the way they had conducted the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (22)

  • goldbach says:

    I assume that we can now expect the BBC to correct the article on the website which gave the clear impression that a Jewish member left the meeting because of antisemitic abuse at the meeting …………. then again, given the track record of the BBC, probably not.

  • Margaret West says:

    I saw the article in LabourList – which referenced the meeting in Nottingham and this was what is stated:

    “It is also in this context that the Friday evening meeting of Nottingham East Labour took place, which considered a motion calling for the whip to be restored and led to a Jewish member leaving after being confronted with denial of antisemitism. ”

    This does NOT reflect what happened as reported above and is extremely poor reportage ..

  • Doug says:

    The BBC have asked Louise Regan for a comment, would be good opportunity to get some facts out

  • Kuhnberg says:

    What does it mean when a member says that he or she doesn’t feel safe in a meeting? Are they saying that they are Jewish and feel themselves to be outnumbered? If Jewish heritage is in question, I understand that there were other Jewish members present, so that can’t be it. If it is a matter of being surrounded by members who hold different opinions, that is an unavoidable aspect of political debate. The third possibility is that the statement and subsequent action was a political ploy, designed to attract attention to the complainant’s sense of victimhood and to serve as ammunition for Starmer and Rayner’s assault on party democracy. Take your pick. I already have.

  • Dr Paul says:

    It seems to me that anti-Semitism is currently being redefined by the Labour Party leadership. I fear that party members are in danger of being accused of anti-Semitism by the party leadership should they consider that although anti-Semitism exists within the party, and therefore needs to be properly and robustly dealt with, it is nonetheless not as widespread as it is customarily considered to be, and that this perception of extensive anti-Jewish sentiments within the party has been used by people both within and outwith the party for political purposes.

    On this basis, one can easily see why Ms Rayner is claiming that ‘thousands’ of party members, including this writer, could be expelled, falsely branded by the Labour Party leadership as being anti-Jewish merely because they demur from the leadership’s standpoint on the matter of the prevalence of anti-Semitism within the party and the use for political purposes of perceptions of anti-Semitism within the party. Should the party leadership make any attempt to expel or otherwise discipline me by falsely accusing me of hostility towards Jews, a libellous accusation which I would consider as both a personal and a political insult, because of my demurring from its standpoint on this matter, it should not expect me quietly to accept its decision.

  • John Westmoreland says:

    Total solidarity from Doncaster People’s Assembly. Stay strong Louise. Your fight is our fight.

  • Johnnie BYRNE says:

    Thank you, JVL, for your courageous stance. You are heard and respected by those who matter and will, one day, be acknowledged by those who have the power.

  • James Dickins says:

    “I assume that we can now expect the BBC to correct the article on the website which gave the clear impression that a Jewish member left the meeting because of antisemitic abuse at the meeting …………. then again, given the track record of the BBC, probably not.”
    _____________________________________________________________________

    The BBC is now the least trusted for its news of the 5 major broadcasters – and no surprise, in my opinion: https://beastrabban.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/bbc-fifth-most-trusted-news-broadcasters/

  • DJ says:

    The Labour Party leadership has now officially declared war on the struggle for Palestinian justice. I hope they live to regret this

  • Sally Cook says:

    Has this report been sent directly to Nadia Whittome and to Angela Raynor?

  • Mary-Ann Collis says:

    I’ve been a Labour voter, supporter and member for many years but have left the party in protest at the dreadful treatment of Jeremy Corbyn and the fact the higher echelons of the Party have removed our right to Freedom of speech. I never, ever thought I would witness such a thing. It is abhorrent to me. I have written to Nadia Whittome on a few occasions and Kier Starmer and never had a reply. I no longer have a political party I can vote for but would like to join Louise Regan and others if they meet to discuss what to do about these great injustices.

  • Margaret West says:

    I have just read the “Jewish News” report on this meeting and what Nadia Whittome told them completely contradicts what is reported above :
    For example:
    “Nadia joined others in saying thanks to Matt and Louise for the way they had conducted the meeting.”

    Was this meeting recorded ?

  • goldbach says:

    Mary-Ann – The cuckoo lays eggs in the nest of a host and the young cuckoo pushes the other nestlings and eggs out and takes over the nest. You were pushed out but you still have a chance to get back in again and fight back.

  • Joe Horner says:

    I did post this article to our CLP page but, within an hour, the Chair had been ordered by the central Party to delete the thread.

    Needless to say, I’ve made a point of reposting anywhere I can and invited the Party to suspend me.

    I’ve also made sure my email with the Party is up to date just in case:

    “I’ve been asked by the secretary of my CLP to advise you of a change to my usual email. My details are:

    Mr J Horner
    Membership number: Lxxxxxxx
    CLP: yyyyyyy

    My old email, on your records is:

    [email protected]

    My currently active email address is:

    [email protected].

    I’d appreciate it if you’d action this as quickly as possible to ensure my anticipated suspension notice for defending open debate arrives safely.

    Many thanks,

    Joe”

    Happy to be one of The Thousands.

  • Stephen Roper says:

    The Labour Party leadership, deputy leadership and the general secretary have chosen to behave in an authoritarian and undemocratic manner denying members the freedom to openly debate issues of concern and threatening the membership with suspension and expulsion. Starmer portrayed himself as a Socialist during his leadership campaign and described himself as a friend of Jeremy Corbyn. I now doubt his and Angela Rayner’s integrity. Solidarity to you Louise.

  • David Townsend says:

    It seems to me that the current Labour leadership has removed the means whereby the Labour membership can disagree with the Labour leadership.

    This is neither ‘Democratic’ nor ‘Socialist’ as my now defunct membership card states.

  • Patrick Brennan says:

    It was foolish of the General Secretary to issue his edict without having obtained the prior authorisation to do so from the NEC. Little is served by that GS claiming that the NEC (WHO PRECISELY?) is/was ‘very supportive’ of him. To then attempt to suspend officers of any CLP for ‘defying’ such edict by enabling members to discuss whatever topic they wished is also crass. The GS claims to have ‘delegated authority’ from the NEC, but fails to produce such evidence. Very poor behaviour from the GS in my view.

  • Margaret West says:

    I have absolutely no idea how the NEC organises itself..! However what has happened in organisations I have belonged to and similar to that discussed is that an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) has been called.

    So could the NEC convene an EGM which discusses the actions of the GS? Does there have to be a majority of NEC members supporting this action for it to happen – or is there no such thing as an EGM in the Labour Party?

  • Vera Lustig says:

    This isn’t just about Jeremy, shameful though the withdrawal of the whip is. It’s about suppression of free speech, not just about Starmer’s treatment of Jeremy, but about the apartheid state that is Israel. A renowned human-rights lawyer like SKS demeans himself by weaponising (and thus devaluing) the loaded term, “anti-Semitism” (as in the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey). I wrote to Starmer about this, and about his planned visit to Palestine/Israel under the aegis of LFI, nearly 6 months ago, and have still received no reply. We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t: if we stay in the Party, we devote time to fighting our corner that should be spent in opposing this corrupt government. If we leave and form a new party, we split the opposition.

  • john Hall says:

    Thank you for your balanced explanation of the Nottingham East CLP meeting. Socialism cannot exist without truth and empathy and until the present national leadership is replaced I fear for its future.

  • ruby lescott says:

    Kuhnberg I agree totally with your theory. The campaign against us is an active one, not reactive. There are 5th columnists everywhere, the leaked report showed that. We have to record everything, every smallest meeting.

  • Stephen Richards says:

    You have to get behind Jeremy B4 you can stab him in the back…..unless you’re Jess Phillips.

Comments are now closed.