JANUARY 18 2021
SUSPENDED LABOUR MEMBERS FIGHT BACK
Labour Party members are taking collective action to fight a string of suspensions of local party officers
Members are saying they will pursue a policy of non-cooperation with the party’s bureaucracy until the officers are reinstated.
The revolt has been launched by a new group called Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) on behalf of scores of party chairs and secretaries who have been suspended in recent months, mainly for allowing discussion of motions supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.
Norman Thomas of LIEN said: “People are being punished for simply carrying out their duties as elected officers. We have to take action to fight these outrageous suspensions. This is a battle for justice, free speech and democracy in our party.”
In a notice addressed to Keir Starmer and the party’s ruling National Executive Committee,
LIEN is also demanding the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, a review of previous suspensions and a recognition of the right of constituency parties to consider motions as they see fit.
Norman Thomas was chair of South Thanet Labour Party until December of last year. He was suspended because his party passed a motion demanding the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.
Thomas said: “Our former leader Jeremy Corbyn and many party officers have been the victims of a gross injustice — and we will not cooperate with our party bureaucrats until this injustice is righted.”
Around a third of local parties have now defied Labour’s general secretary to discuss motions critical of the new leadership’s conduct. More suspensions are expected.
Thomas added: “We are seeing a planned purge of left wing members of the party. By suspending officers the Starmer leadership is hoping to demoralise people and get them to resign. Many are going. But I think we should stay and fight for the party we believe in. The battle has only just begun.”
LIEN’s notice can be found at:
TO THE LEADER AND THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE LABOUR PARTY
We the undersigned members of the Labour Party demand:
• the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn;
• the reinstatement of all Labour Party members wrongly suspended or expelled since the appointment of the current general secretary;
• a review of all previous suspensions and expulsions imposed during the previous leadership;
• a root and branch reform of the deeply flawed complaints and disciplinary processes of the party;
• and an immediate restoration of the right of constituency parties to freely discuss and pass motions on political issues as they see fit.
Until these demands are met we will pursue a policy of non-cooperation with the party’s general secretary, regional officials and the governance and legal unit, and we will absolutely refuse to comply with any advice, guidance or instructions from any of the above which we consider unfair and discriminatory.
As members of the labour movement we are taking immediate, collective action in solidarity with our comrades who have been unfairly punished.