POLITICS

Angela Eagle's Wallasey Constituency Labour Party To Have Suspension Lifted In May

But local activist faces disciplinary action

07/03/2017 14:29 GMT | Updated 07/03/2017 15:43 GMT
Jack Taylor via Getty Images

Former Shadow Cabinet minister Angela Eagle’s local Labour party will have its suspension lifted in a bid to get it ready for a possible general election, HuffPost UK can reveal.

The Wallasey constituency Labour party on Merseyside was effectively shut down last summer after allegations of homophobia and far-left infiltration.

Eagle had also been targeted by a brick which smashed through a window at her local party building, an internal report found in October.

On Tuesday, the disputes committee of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee decided that the suspension should be lifted after the May local elections.

But it will still remain ‘in special measures’ after that, with the strict condition that all meetings would be supervised by regional officers. 

The measures will be lifted when the North West regional party feels Wallasey is functioning normally, after consultation with Eagle.

LGBT Labour will also organise mandatory equalities training for officers of the local party, who will have to make written pledges to abide by party rules. New elections for key posts will also have to be held.

But one key suspended activist in Wallasey Labour party faces expulsion for their conduct.

PA
The smashed window in Eagle's constituency office building

Their case was referred to a formal disciplinary panel, the National Constitution Committee, on Tuesday. A quasi-judicial hearing will determine their future membership of Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn and Eagle have both wanted to get Wallasey ‘battle-ready’ for a snap general election, with key conditions to prevent further incidents of abuse.

An internal report last year found that Eagle had been the target of attacks in the wake of her leadership challenge to Corbyn in 2016.  She later stood aside for Owen Smith, who was beaten in a landslide by Corbyn.

The report to the NEC concluded that it was “highly likely” that the former Shadow Business Secretary and her office were subjected to intimidation.

Some Corbyn supporters have long claimed the allegations are ‘smears’ against them, but the report - based on evidence from 100 witnesses - dismissed such arguments.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Angela Eagle on the day of her leadership launch in July 2016

“The investigation has received many hundreds of abusive, homophobic, and frightening messages that have been sent by Labour members to Angela Eagle,” the report stated last October. 

It found a “toxic culture” in Wallasey and “a high level of inter-member abuse” in the local party.

HuffPost was told that Eagle was referred to as a “dyke” during the annual general meeting of the Wallasey party and the report confirmed the claims. A homophobic gesture was also allegedly made at a meeting.

Some activists have strongly disputed the findings, but the party HQ has endorsed them.

A spokesman for Corbyn said last year that he wanted “the issues relating to Wallasey CLP to be resolved so campaigning can resume.”

A spokesperson for Angela Eagle said in a statement on Tuesday:

“Angela joined the Labour Party in Merseyside when she was 16 and has been the MP for Wallasey for 25 years.

“In all that time she has fought for Labour values and for Labour to be in power. We cannot do that without effective campaigning CLPs that get behind their representatives in the Council and in Parliament.

“It is a matter of regret that Wallasey became a site of conflict. Angela takes no pleasure from any individual being referred to the Party’s National Constitutional Committee.

“The charges are exceptionally serious. Jeremy Corbyn has put the Labour Party on a General Election footing.

“It is time for us to come together and take the fight to the Tories in Wallasey and across the Wirral and Merseyside in the crucial mayroal elections in May and in advance of a snap general election that could come at any time.”