Hastings Labour’s Call for Justice

The Hastings & Rye delegate to Labour’s Brighton Conference won a thundering standing ovation for a motion supporting freedom of speech in political discourse, and was given a “categoric assurance” from the platform that these issues “will be considered as part of the [Democracy] Review”.

But it soon turned out that internal party discipline procedures were not within the remit of the Review. Many are now wondering how the Party can properly review its democratic processes while giving its enforcers a free hand that often stifles democracy itself.

Hastings and Rye have now adopted an overarching Preamble to it submissions to the Democracy Review, setting out some essential principles for Labour’s internal party life. We hope that many other CLPs will also adopt this Preamble to head up their own submissions, making it loud and clear that the Review cannot exclude these issues of basic justice:



In order to define and deliver Labour’s promise of a fairer distribution of wealth, and the public services needed to provide a decent life for all, our party must be truly democratic.

There can be no active democracy or policy-making where free speech and actions are stifled by the threat of summary suspension for unlimited periods by arbitrary and unaccountable powers.

Therefore all party rules, Codes of Conduct and disciplinary action against individuals and local Parties must be consistent with legal due process: natural justice, proportionality, presumption of innocence, fact-based verified evidence, transparency, reasonable time scales and right of challenge and reply, modelled on common law, Human Rights Law and proposals of the Chakrabarti Report.

We call for guidelines and standards along these lines to be included in the Democracy Review.