PRESS RELEASE, 27 JANUARY 2021
MEMBERS CALL ON LABOUR TO HALT “UNLAWFUL” EXPULSION PROCEDURES
Expelled and suspended Labour Party members are calling on the party to halt the “unlawful” use of fast-track expulsion procedures.
Since the late 1980s and until September 2019, members could be expelled only after a hearing in front of the party’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC).
Now figures recently released by the party reveal that of the members who went through the disciplinary process from May 2020, 32% have been expelled and 12% punitively suspended — all without a NCC hearing.
Dr Neil Todd of Labour In Exile Network (LIEN), a body set up by suspended and expelled members, said that the Labour Party’s use of these procedures is unlawful.
He said: “As an unincorporated association the Labour Party is bound in common law to apply the principles of natural justice to its disciplinary procedures, and in particular to expulsions and punitive suspensions. Natural justice requires that members both be given a fair hearing and have their cases treated without bias.”
In 1986 Dr Todd and two other members of the Exeter Labour Party successfully obtained a High Court injunction to block their expulsion on the grounds that it was in breach of the principles of natural justice.
Following this, and other successful similar cases, the Labour Party changed its constitution and created the NCC in order to ensure that members were given a fair hearing. But since May, Dr Todd said, the NCC has been effectively sidelined.
According to the recently released figures, Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) has held 30 sub-panel meetings to deal with 287 cases — corresponding to about 9 to 10 cases being processed for each meeting (or about 15 to 20 minutes per case for a three hour meeting).
These figures don’t include the more than 60 administrative suspensions of local party officers in recent months for allowing resolutions disallowed by the party’s general secretary to be discussed.
Dr Todd described the party as being subject to a purge.
He said: “It is difficult to believe that these sub-panels can be any more than witch-hunt rubber stamping machines designed to mass-purge socialists, anti-racists and Palestinian rights campaigners from the party.”
He added: “Much of the purge is being conducted on the pretext of fake antisemitism smears, manufactured on an industrial scale by a network of local trolls, who, it would appear, have little else to do than spend their time in the Orwellian exercise of trawling the social media accounts of thousands of party members”
A prominent regular sub-panel member is Labour First NEC member Gurinder Singh Josan, Dr Todd pointed out, who has himself been accused of bullying and other misdemeanours.
Dr Todd said: “Any pretence that Labour’s quasi-judicial disciplinary panels are anything other than highly-partisan kangaroo courts run for factional interest can no longer be sustained. Josan is totally unfit to sit in judgement of others, given his record.”
He added: “The whole rotten process stinks to high hell from a legal perspective. The Labour Party is in a state of profound constitutional unlawfulness.”
Dr Todd is now investigating the possibility of legal remedy in the form of a new High Court injunction.
He said: “I think it’s possible to use the same legal arguments as the cases brought by myself and others in the 1980s. In this way I hope we can bring to an immediate halt the current unlawful fast-track procedure, with the immediate rescinding of all prior unlawful expulsions and punitive suspensions.”
For this purpose, Dr Todd said, LIEN will also be urging its members to submit their case documents to a forthcoming survey of people’s experiences of injustice at the hands of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit and the NEC.
LIEN is holding its launch conference on Saturday 27 February and has started a petition calling for the reinstatement of suspended and expelled members on https://www.change.org/p/keir-starmer-notice-of-non-cooperation-to-keir-starmer
NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr Neil Todd is a former member of Exeter Constituency Labour Party who, after successfully moving resolutions opposing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “definition” of anti-Semitism, and in support of Marc Wadsworth, was investigated, then suspended from the party. Following harassment by a journalist, who had been briefed by the party in breach of data protection, and the election of Keir Starmer, he subsequently resigned.