THE BLOG

Letter to Ken Livingstone

12/03/2016 15:02 GMT | Updated 13/03/2017 09:12 GMT
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This blog is an unedited version of a letter sent by Labour NEC member Johanna Baxter to Ken Livingstone on Saturday 12 March

Dear Ken,

As members of Labour's NEC we are entrusted with our Party's future. Ours is the body that our members look to for leadership, fair treatment and sound management. It is an incredible responsibility.

It is a responsibility I feel keenly every time I sit around the NEC table with you. It is a responsibility I feel keenly every time I chair a disputes panel or investigatory hearing, where we are the arbiters of others behaviour.

We are the enforcers of our Party's rule book. Specifically the rule book states that:

"... the duties and powers of the NEC shall include:

A. to uphold and enforce the constitution, rules and standing orders of the Party and to take any action it deems necessary for such purpose, including disaffiliation, disbanding, suspending or otherwise disciplining any affiliated organisation or Party unit; in furtherance of such duties it shall have the power to suspend or take other administrative action against individual members of the Party subject to the provisions of the disciplinary rules set out in Chapter 6 below of these rules"

It matters therefore how we conduct ourselves whilst we hold this position. We rightly ask that members treat each other in a comradely manner. But we cannot sit in judgement of others if we are not seen to uphold the values we espouse.

So I know you will understand how important it is that you retract your recent comments comparing the donations received by Dan Jarvis to "Jimmy Savile funding a children's group". You know there is no comparison. You know that to make such a comparison is therefore not only provocative but seriously misleading. I know that you have concerns about hedge fund donations but you know that you do not have to make such a comparison to have those concerns heard. You should have confidence enough in your own record of contribution to know that when you speak on such issues people listen, they do not have to be provoked into doing so.

All members must be treated with respect - you should know me well enough by now to know that I would call out anyone who made such a comparison of you - and the NEC must be able to command the respect of the members we are there to represent. I therefore implore you to withdraw those remarks and apologise. I look forward to seeing you at the NEC on Tuesday.

Best wishes,

Johanna Baxter

Labour NEC, CLP Representative