Jo Bird, leading left candidate for the NEC, has been suspended

The following statement was posted earlier this evening on the JVL Facebook page. You can see many comments there.

Wirral councillor Jo Bird. Photo: Liverpool Echo

Labour List has reported that Jo Bird has been suspended. The Party keeps confidential what Jo, the only Jewish candidate standing for the NEC, has been suspended for. Given previous events, we have to assume that it because of allegations of antisemitism.

Jo is the leading left candidate running for the NEC so the timing of this suspension is deeply suspicious and has the hallmarks of a deliberate attempt to undermine members’ wishes and Party democracy.

We urge all Labour Party members to argue for Jo’s candidature to be considered at CLP nominating meetings. If this is prevented members should consider the option of calling an emergency AMM/GC as soon as possible after the nominating meeting to discuss and condemn threats to the Party’s democracy from the misuse of our disciplinary processes to secure partisan advantage in internal elections.

If the suspension is for antisemitism we can say we have known Jo for a long period and worked closely with her. We know she is a proud Jew and opposed to antisemitism just as she is has shown over the years to be an active opponent of all racism.

Suspension before investigation is an extreme measure and the Party must show to all members why they have taken such a step in the middle of an election process.

Comments (41)

  • Anti-fascist says:

    The ongoing witch-hunt and intimidation of Jo is a disgrace and yet another declaration of political weakness and cowardice by those like the JLM, the JC and the BoD who think it is open season on left-wingers. Their relentless campaigns of lies and smears are worse than shameful and serve only the interests of the right and extreme-right.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    Any suspension must be resolved quickly so that we, the members, can make our voice and vote count. We cannot allow anonymous individuals or groups to usurp our democratic systems bu submitting complaints at this time. In addition, the accuser must be named.

    If Jo wants to seek an injunction I will happliy co tribute to a fund

  • John Bowley says:

    I believe that an antisemitism slant against Jewish Jo Bird was tried on before. The next false accusation is the catch-all of ‘bringing the Party into disrepute’. The celebs who actually bring the Labour Party into disrepute are relatively untroubled by disciplinary processes.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    How desperately sad – and how sinister. Solidarity with Jo.

  • Edward Hill says:

    While we await further information about the allegations, it is hard to resist looking back at how this CLP NEC election campaign has developed. This is my perception of events so far:
    23 January: Skwawkbox reports delay in agreement on left NEC slate; prints ‘Statement of Candidates for Momentum’ s support in Internal Elections’, and comments that it: “is clearly meant to put candidates in a position that will tie their hands if the BOD list is put to the NEC under the new leader, even though a lot of people have grave reservations about the demands, whether they discriminate against minority Jewish groups and whether some of them are lawful for other reasons.”
    27January: Labour Left Alliance endorses candidacy of Jo Bird.
    29 January: Campaign for Labour Party Democracy endorses candidacy of Mo Azam.
    06 February a.m. Leading three candidates in terms of total CLP nominations received so far are: 1/Johanna Baxter (backed by Labour First); 2/ Jo Bird; 3/ Lauren Townsend.
    06 February p.m. Skwawkbox reports two candidates have been suspended.
    07 February. The suspended candidates are named as Jo Bird and Mo Azam;
    Momentum slate revealed as Lauren Townsend and Leigh Drennan.
    Can anyone detect a pattern here?
    08 February: The thousands of members who voted for Jo maintain their support.

  • RH says:

    Also note that Asa Winstanley has now resigned from the Labour Party in the face of the corruption of the disciplinary process.

    The only potential up-side to all this is the way in which the Israel Lobby is bit by bit revealing its moral bankruptcy and logical absurdity as it attacks anti-racists and aligns itself with the corruption of desperate totalitarian methods.

    The case for the current nature of the state of Israel is, in actuality, being demolished by all of this dishonesty , with the concomitant strengthening of the Palestinian narrative and moral superiority.

  • Alice Bondi says:

    My CLP nominated Jo. We have no intention of changing our nomination. I am thinking to get my branch – meeting this coming Tuesday – to write to protest having our nominee removed during the course of an election procedure. What do you all think?

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    This really does look like another attack on our democracy. Jo Bird is an excellent candidate with great talent and integrity. This needs to be resolved rapidly by Labour HQ.

    At a time when manifestations of the Right Wing Authoritarianism that led to Nazism and the Holocaust are being reported across the world, and here in the UK, one must question the wisdom of those who believe attacks on left-wing Jews are the answer.

  • Robyn Moore says:

    I am appalled at this. Just as I am sick of being called a “self-loathing Jew” by Zionists who deliberately conflate any criticism of Israel’s murderous policies towards Palestinians as being anti-Semitic.

  • Nigel James says:

    Should we be demanding the suspension of the NEC elections until these matters are brought to a conclusion? If they end up being exonerated they have been robbed?

  • Ruth Appleton says:

    If you want me to endorse a letter in support of Jo I’m only too happy. Why the hell can they get away with this abuse of power!?

  • David Stretton says:

    You couldn’t make it up and then you realise they probably did. Solidarity with Jo.

  • Martin Kilkie says:

    The one thing I agree with the “moderates” is that the party machine is broken. I made 3 official complaints about Tom Watson breaking GDPR regulations and the law but nothing ever came if it except he got a knighthood.

  • Alex Cairns says:

    I smell a rat. A set up. The hand of corruption working again. This is bad news and l believe Jo Bird is undoubtedly innocent

  • Doug says:

    Every Labour member make a complaint to party under heading anti semitism,
    Ask the party what they are doing about “vexatious claims of anti semitism ‘
    Do they accept they are hate crimes and should be prosecuted
    Do they accept they should suspend pending expulsion any individual or group who make such claims
    Also contact every candidate for leader and deputy and ask them to comment on this issue

  • Richard Samson says:

    Make no mistake. We are struggling for the soul of the Labour Party. The right wing will stop at nothing to wrest back control. Hence these outrageous accusations and disqualifications. Momentum is duplicitous. (I resigned from Momentum last year.) Jo Bird and Mo Azam have my full support. Asa Winstanley has been excellent throughout. The struggle goes on.

  • Colin Lomas says:

    There is a deep well-founded suspicion that the suspension of Jo Bird is a result of pressure from outside the party. The party is about to take the extraordinary step of allowing the Board of Deputies to control part of the discipline processes. It’s entirely possible that the BOD has complained about Jo Bird because she does not give uncritical support to Israel.
    The suspension is of course clothed in a Kafkaesque secrecy, which itself is deeply troubling.

  • Phil Welton says:

    It is a sad commentary on human nature that both in the UK and the USA so much cynical power is being used in the ‘decent’ political parties to prevent actual decency becoming party policy.

  • Norman Niblock says:

    This decision stinks, like so much of the ‘back office’ functions of the LP, there is no transparency or accountability, the people who suspended Chris Williamson and cost the LP £000s are the same people subverting the party from within.

  • Diana Kornbrot says:

    How sad, how dire.
    Current NEC has been instrumental in promoting factionalism an anti-semitism against anti-racist Jewish members.
    Teh disciplinary procedurte, please note Jenny Formby, is so undemocratic that I do not know who to vote for on NEC to rpevent suhc incidents. Clearly voting JVL recommendations [except Landswon who is toxic to me] last time was a mistake

  • john green says:

    I have writtten to the NEC compalining of the appalling abuse of due process and the suspension of Jo Bird

  • Philip Lowe says:

    The Berwick Upon Tweed CLP nominated Jo for NEC yesterday Sat 7th

  • Diane Miles says:

    Who are “they” in the Labour Party who decides who should be suspended – with no reasons given?

    Members need to have control of the Labour Party. Such decisions need to be transparent.

    I feel dispair.

  • John Webster says:

    Orwellian. Suspend someone from membership as they face election with no reason given. This is room 101 stuff….

  • Tom Pendleton says:

    We must not allow the ‘Conservate Board of Deputies ‘ …… sorry my mistake … we must not allow the Jewish Board of Deputies to dictate the rules regulations and membership laws of our party . ynwa KTF 6

  • Dee Coombes says:

    The suspension of Jo Bird is outrageous, and if the accusation is of antisemitism, wildly inappropriate. I know Jo and her family, and the likelihood of any of them thinking, let alone expressing, a single antisemitic sentiment is beyond my imagination. She was one of the candidates nominated for the NEC by our CLP and she is who we want.

  • Dee Howard says:

    I agree that it IS Orwellian and I said as much when I emailed my disgust at the lack of democracy to Jennie Formby, saying that I believed a ‘1984’ scenario was happening in the party when certain words have been outlawed from Labour Party discussions in person and especially online.

  • David Pavett says:

    What does this episode tell about Labour’s views on openess, transparency, justice and the importance of justice being seen to be done? Nothing good I am afraid.

    First the rush of all the leadership candidates to sign the outrageous 10 pledges from the BofD and now this. Will any of them them express concern over these suspensions? If not then we will have grounds for serious doubts about their commitment to the fairness and openess required for democratic processes.

  • Mary Davies says:

    It is disgraceful that Jo has been suspended and we are not given the reason. So much for democracy and accountability.

  • Helen Martins says:

    This is deeply deeply disappointing. I nominated Jo at our Sittingbourne and Sheppey CLP selection meeting on Friday, only to find out that she had been suspended two hours previously. What an outrage. Solidarity to Jo.

  • Limbu Rajen says:

    Proud Jews? Or Proud British? Who she is for? Is she for Israel being a proud Jew or for Britain being British. I am confused.
    There must be a reason(s) behind, she being suspended.

    • Mike Cushman says:

      She is a proud Jew standing up for peace, equality, justice and Palestinisn rights.

      Being a Jew, proud or not the same as standing up for Israel.

  • Roshan Pedder says:

    As a relatively new member of the Labour Party (since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader), can someone please provide simple guidance as to how and who to complain to regarding this outrage. This is not the Labour party I signed up for. It is tempting to leave but I think we need to stay and fight.

  • Diana Kornbrot says:

    Finchley & Golders Green CLP met yesterday 9/2.
    There was substantial ‘unease’ from the floor about Bird suspension. Committee, correctly informed meeting that Bird could not be nominated while suspended.
    I would have liked to propose an emergency motion deploring the Bird suspension. 1. because rules are clearly ‘guilty until proved innocent’. 2. because there was conflict of interest in current NEC excluding a popular rival from the vote.these 2 issues are of eual importance.
    The NEC nomination process comprised 2 blank slots. There was no candidate list on the ballot or available in the room. In my view this makes F&GG NEC nominations ‘dubious’. I would have liked to propose a motion regretting lack of candidate list.
    I raised my hand but chair decided there had been too many Bird protests and Chair decided to ‘move on’. I moved out of the meeting!
    It is my intention to ask EVERY candidate for ALL offices, whether they support rules to exclude suspended members while their case is still pending and whether they support disciplinary procedures that are: transparent as to evidence and votes of disciplinary committee; fast; innocent until proved guilty.
    Answers will determine my vote, and ultimately may determine whether I leave the Labour party. Recommend staying in Labour party unitl at least after elections to fight for socialist outcomes. Afterwards….?
    Best, in hope of socialist solidarity. Diana

  • A disgrace to hear especially for such a committed anti-racist. Having worked with jo in Israel and in Palestine. Her support in helping to raise the importance and plight of Palestinian Olive farmers was instrumental to much of our early success. The presence of Fair trade Olive oil into the UK is perhaps one of few success stories for Palestine the UK and the Labour movement can be truly proud of. It’s journey strengthen through the kindness of many who like Jo bird are working daily to seek better time of peace and justice throughout the Middle East and beyond.

    Atif Choudhury
    Zaytoun CiC

  • steve walshe says:

    How can it be Jo Bird is suspended due to an allegation when Keir Starmer and his team have been accused of illegally breaching Data regulations yet he is not removed from the leadership ballot?
    Perhaps Keith Vaz (NEC member who should have been suspended following serious allegations about his illegally procuring drugs) could help? Maybe he could take time off from being sick ( delaying a Parliamentary investigation into his conduct) and sit on an NEC disciplinary panel ( as he did in Chris Williamson case) – before going back on his decision to allow Chris back into the LP claiming to still be sick when the Right wing pro-Israel section of the party denounced his decision.
    Why does the grossly unfair guilty until proven innocent condition only apply to Left leaning Labour party members?
    There is a serious problem with the excessive power the NEC and the PLP holds over the membership and this needs resolution before anything else if Labour is to regain power and oust the cruel Tory govt.

  • Alan McEvoy says:

    Jo Bird has made some in Jewdiscious statements !

    I hope she receives Jewprocess

    ( ps I am not Jewish )

  • John Brooks says:

    Montgomeryshire CLP nominated Jo Bird on 10 Feb. There has been no official communication to CLPs to say that she is suspended and cannot be nominated.

  • Daniel Vulliamy says:

    Statement above from John Brooks is critical. If it is fake news, that is serious enough. But can this claim be investigated and verified, please.

  • Stephen Field says:

    I am proud to tell you that the issue of Jo’s suspension before investigation was discussed at the nomination meeting of South Ribble CLP last night and that Jo Bird was nominated as a candidate for the CLP to vote on. I don’t yet know the results of voting from last night but support in the room for Jo was strong.

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