THE BLOG

My Unpurging

29/09/2016 13:18

In a perfect Kafkaesque symmetry my suspension was lifted in the same way as it had been imposed, without reason or apology.

Ten days into my purge I received an email from the Labour Party Constitutional Unit notifying me that my suspension was lifted with immediate effect. No information was given as to when I would receive my leadership ballot nor if any action would be taken against the person who had made a false allegation against me.

The letter informed me that I was now free to resume the full rights conferred by Labour Party membership but with an unconscious totalitarian nod contained a reminder members must at all times behave in a comradely manner.

Since announcing my suspension I have been contacted by hundreds of members subjected to similar treatment. Many have told me of their devastation at being suspended and the impact it has had on their health. Several people suspended have been in the late stages of cancer, some have mental illness others are very isolated and rely on the party for companionship. Some were purged for using words like Blairite or for having previously supported another party. In one case a person has been expelled for being friends with George Galloway in another for expressing their liking for the Foo Fighters. These rules are being applied retrospectively and in many cases even before the person purged had joined the Party.

In my case it has emerged that I was suspended on the basis of a vexatious complaint from a person on the far right of the party. The person making the allegation had given an entirely fictitious account of a meeting. I was suspended on the word of one person who provided no evidence in support of their claim. Considerable independent evidence has since been provided to the Labour Party confirming the allegation against me to be fictitious, yet no action has yet been taken against the person responsible. Incredibly however, two further members of my CLP were suspended on the basis of the same false allegation by the same person after the date I had been reinstated. At this time of their suspensions the Labour Party had in its possession evidence that the allegations are false and vexatious yet suspended them instead of the person making the false allegation.

What is most disturbing is the blatant contempt for democracy and fairness. Suspending or expelling people on the word of another without evidence. Failing to provide details of allegations, giving no details of appeal rights and denying any right of appeal all amount to incredibly shoddy practice guaranteed to bring breaches of natural justice. If such practices were used by an employer, Local or Central Government no doubt politicians would be shouting out and condemning such unfairness and poor practice. Yet the silence of most MPs, Councillors and others in positions of authority on this abuse of power in our party has been deafening.

There can no longer be any doubt that the purge has been part of an orchestrated campaign to rid the party of as many Corbyn voters as possible to affect the outcome of the leader election and the votes at conference. I am aware of 3 Smith supporters suspended compared to thousands of Corbyn supporters.

The purge is systemic not accidental. Totalitarian not moderate. What has taken place in our party is so serious it cannot be simply swept under the carpet. We must have an inquiry into this scandal. Members deserve it.

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