LABOUR IN EXILE NETWORK
“PURGED” LABOUR MEMBERS MAY PRINT THEIR OWN MEMBERSHIP CARDS
Labour Party members being “purged” under Keir Starmer are refusing to leave the party — and they’re even considering printing their own membership cards as an act of defiance.
Since Keir Starmer became leader of the Labour Party hundreds of members have been suspended or expelled from the party. But now a fight-back is underway.
Terry Deans, who was punitively suspended by the party last year said: “People are being kicked out because Starmer is creating a new party in his own image. But this is our party and we’re not going anywhere.”
Following an investigation by Labour’s National Executive Committee, Falklands War veteran Deans was sentenced to a 12-month suspension, a decision that has left him puzzled as he was denied the opportunity for a hearing. He is still awaiting acknowledgement of his submission of appeal nearly five months after lodging it within the two-week deadline of the suspension date given to him by the party. Now, like growing numbers of members, he is planning to fight back.
He said: “As was reported following last year’s Equality and Human Rights Commission looking into antisemitism in the Labour Party, the disputes and disciplinary process is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose. All I want is a proper, fair justice system. So, we are not leaving the party, nor are we starting a new party. The Labour Party is our party and we are staying put.”
It’s Starmer, Deans said, who should be leaving the Labour Party — not the members he’s trying to purge.
He said: “Starmer is trying to dismantle Labour and build a new, right wing party in his own image. The majority of members don’t want to know. Why should we be forced to leave our party because of Starmer?”
Deans is one of the founding members of a new group called Labour In Exile Network which will be meeting later this month to launch a campaign to change the party.
He says they may event print their own Labour Party membership cards to prove their commitment to the party. But the cards will bear the original Clause IV of the Labour Party’s constitution, calling for the common ownership of industry which was later rewritten when Tony Blair was leader.
Deans said: “The cards will show people that whatever Starmer does, whether he suspends or expels us, and whatever he does to the party, the original party remains and we remain members of it.”
Another issue LIEN plans to take up is the controversial part played by the general secretary of the party.
Deans said: “ I stand in solidarity with my chair and secretary comrades who have been suspended following an unconstitutional directive by the acting general secretary, David Evans for doing the jobs they were elected by their members to do — namely, facilitating members’ motions to their local parties. The present general secretary was appointed by Starmer and has played a disgraceful part in trying to restrict free speech in the party. Why shouldn’t grassroots Labour members set about electing a new general secretary, if only as a symbolic first blow in bringing democracy to the party?”
Labour In Exile Network will be launched at its founding conference on Saturday 27 February at 11am. It will be holding a briefing meeting on the “purge” in the party at 7pm on Saturday 20 February. For more details go to www.labour-in-exile.org .