Please move this in your CLP asap – the deadline for rule changes to be received by the Labour Party is June 11. Please remember that you need to send all motions to your CLP secretary in advance of the meeting (one or two weeks).
This CLP notes:
- The National Constitutional Committee (NCC) was established in 1986 following several High Court injunctions that year which halted expulsion procedures on the grounds of natural justice. As an unincorporated association the Labour Party is bound to comply with common law requirements that it applies natural justice in its disciplinary procedures, especially to expulsions or punitive suspensions (John vs Rees 1968, 2 All ER 274; Lewis vs Heffer 1978, 3 All ER 353). This means that members are entitled to both a fair hearing and for the procedures to be unbiased.
- At the 2019 Labour Party Conference the Rule Book was amended to introduce so-called ‘fast track’ procedures to allow the NEC Disputes Panels to expel or administratively suspend without giving members a hearing at the NCC. Specifically the rule amendments or insertions which substituted the NEC for the NCC were to Chapter 1, Clause VIII, Section 3.A (see pages 147 – 149 of the 2020 Rule Book), Chapter 1, Clause IX, Section 2, sub-clause C (page 149), Chapter 2, Clause 1.9 (page 149), Chapter 2, Clause III.2 (page 150), Chapter 2, Clause III.3 (page 151), Chapter 6, Clause 1.1, sub-clause B (pages 151-153), Chapter 6, Clause 1.1, sub-clause D (page 153), Chapter 6, Clause 1.1, sub-clause E (page 153), Chapter 6, Clause I.2 (pages 153-154) and Chapter 6, Clause 1.3 (pages 154-155).
- Since September 2019 the number of expulsions and administrative suspensions enacted by the NEC Disputes Panels has massively increased, especially after April/May 2020 when right factions of the Party gained a majority on the NEC. Given the volume of 100s of cases being processed by the NEC Disputes Panels since 2020, members are being summarily suspended or expelled with little more than 15 to 20 minutes per case without a hearing. In parallel the number of referrals to the NCC has fallen equally dramatically, and it is clear that the NCC has effectively been side-lined.
- A revocation of the 2019 amendments, as listed in Notes 2 above, in their entirety would not be ultra-vires under Chapter 3, Clause III, 2.H (page 20 of the 2020 Rule Book) because such a revocation would NOT have ‘the same or similar primary objective’, but rather the opposite.
This CLP believes:
- Although introduced to deal with only the most ‘egregious’ cases of alleged anti-Semitism, the
‘fast track’ procedures have become the principal mode of operation by the NEC and it is clear that they are being abused. The abuse of the ‘fast track’ procedures for narrow factional reasons is profoundly undemocratic and thus invalid.
- The abuse of ‘fast track’ procedures is also unlawful in common law as members are being summarily suspended or expelled without a hearing in a transparently biased manner by one faction of the Party for factional interests.
- The Party is now wide open to a class or other legal action by an individual member or groups of individual members who have been punitively suspended or expelled on the same legal precedents which led to the establishment of the NCC in 1986. Such a successful action could cause serious financial and reputational harm to the Labour Party.
This CLP, therefore, resolves:
- To call on the NEC (a) to halt with immediate effect the use of the ‘fast track’ procedures by the NEC Disputes Panels and (b) to rescind all prior punitive suspensions and expulsions enacted since September 2019 by the NEC Disputes Panels pending an independent legal review into their use.
- To call on 2021 Conference to revoke in totality all of the amendments made at the 2019 Conference to the Rule Book listed above in Notes 2.