The writing’s on the wall for Labour vote-riggers – who may soon be up against it

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones campaigning with Alun Davies in Blaenau Gwent in the run-up to this year's Welsh Assembly elections [Image: Wales Online].

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones campaigning with Alun Davies in Blaenau Gwent in the run-up to this year’s Welsh Assembly elections. Did Mr Davies have anything to do with the alleged rigging of BG’s Labour leadership election nomination? [Image: Wales Online.]

It seems some of Blaenau Gwent Labour’s CLP officers (and former officers) were lucky not to be put up against a wall and shot after revelations at their meeting this week.
Blaenau Gwent was one of very few constituency parties in Wales that nominated Owen Smith as its choice to be leader of the Labour Party nationally – and it transpires that this was against the wishes of the majority of members.Instead of asking all members to attend a meeting and nominate their choice of leader on a one-member-one-vote basis, as happened in the 2015 leader election when Jeremy Corbyn was nominated, Blaenau Gwent’s officers decided that only delegates to their general committee would be allowed to vote – in a secret ballot.

This meant Owen Smith was nominated by 26 members – against the wishes of the 250-strong CLP membership.

Secretary Mick Bishop (who has since resigned, we’re told) read an email from Welsh Labour headquarters which advised CLP officers to hold a secret vote.

As a result, it appears CLP chairman Mark Thomas-Turner, who also chaired the ‘secret vote’ meeting, is facing calls for a vote of ‘no confidence’. He has been forced to agree that all key decisions from now on – including the election of a new constituency secretary – will be carried out on a one-member-one-vote basis.

This is from a post by Paul Starling on his Facebook page: “There was total chaos at one point, with questions being fired from all directions. An attempt to appoint a CLP officer to monitor and control social media groups and posts got lost in a meeting determined not to be deflected away from the key questions.

“The now-resigned clp secretary Mr. Bishop now faces questions of whether he was parachuted in, from the Reading CLP, to smooth the way for the secret vote. He told the meeting that the nomination vote (the secret vote) ‘was on the advice of the Welsh Labour HQ’.”

Mr Starling added that the removal of the former CLP secretary and the decision to change the voting system would not be the end of the matter. A meeting was to be held on Friday (October 14), in advance of a special meeting of all members, to compile a further series of questions and plan a strategy to disempower those at the heart of what they describe as the “stitch up”.

A key figure said, before this evening’s meeting .. “the fight-back started last night .. the leadership nomination process was roundly-condemned by the meeting, and we are going to make sure this never happens again”.

Mr Starling urged members of other Constituency Labour Parties across the UK to share the Blaenau Gwent revelations as widely as possible, so every Labour member feels empowered to “join the fightback” against those who tried to hijack democracy in the Labour Party.

This Writer’s CLP – Brecon and Radnorshire – never held a nomination meeting. Members were never asked if they wanted one. This is a questionable omission in itself, but the revelations in Blaenau Gwent raise further questions. Did my CLP officers receive a similar email from Labour HQ?

Did yours?

Note: Blaenau Gwent’s Assembly Member is Alun Davies, recently nominated by Carwyn Jones to be Welsh Labour’s representative on the party’s National Executive Committee. Did he participate in this “stitch up”?

If so, I think his loyalties must be called into question. Welsh Labour must not allow an enemy of democracy to make decisions on the NEC.


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21 thoughts on “The writing’s on the wall for Labour vote-riggers – who may soon be up against it

  1. Brian

    These ‘Old Boy’ scams are everything wrong with politics. If it’s wrong for the Tories, it’s wrong for Labour. Let Labour set the standard and lead by example. People are angry at such manipulation. It has to stop.

  2. PensionCredit60

    Labour denying working class men and women the right of one person one vote.

    Back to the days of feudalism where its not your vote that counts, but me Lord, the male Count who votes alone.

  3. jeffrey davies

    yet again again blairs puppets have been stiching up the party not untill they all gone will there be piece in the party has to many have become greedie

  4. Jezzabola

    Up against a wall? A firing squad is too clean and quick an end for these traitorous swine. ¡Viva la Revolución!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I should warn readers to take Jezzabola’s comments with a pinch of salt. Not entirely serious!

  5. Vanda Bubear

    So the process of justice starts, and those who have tried to take away the voting rights, by fair means or foul (mostly foul), from the members of the Labour Party WILL be held to account. Not that all their machinations and scheming did them any good, and Corbyn won by an increased landslide anyway. However, the underhand tactics used to try to subvert the course of democracy should be despised, and addressed as soon as possible, in every CLP in the country. Those responsible should be thrown out of the party. As the article says, people prepared to do such things have no place in a democratic SOCIALIST party. They certainly should not be represented on bodies which make decisions on behalf of members.

  6. John Riggins

    And ultimately the buck goes back to one Iain McNicol one of the traitorous treacherous scabs that has been working tirelessly behind the scenes with Tory Bliar, Peter Meddlesome and that Campbell thing to remove JC as leader.

  7. shaun

    The behaviour by those who championed the selection of Owen Smith is an example of the very worst in British politics. It is what the term Machiavellian was coined to describe, but, in reality, is actually worse than what Nicholai Machiavelli (that’s ‘Old Nic’) set out in his treatise on how the Prince should conduct himself in the political sphere.
    Ultimately, what’s worse is that these people could behave in that way and it not bring forth a national scandal from the nation’s media. When you allow scandalous actions such as described above (and elsewhere) by those whose political ends are the same as your own you are making it more acceptable as a general form of conducting democratic decision making and undermining the political/democratic process itself. So, beware. For what you’ve created can come back to haunt those sanctioned its use or kept quite. After all have we not been here before with the Brexit vote!! Does that not show how totally powerless the establishment can become once it plays fast and loose with the truth and sucks up to the wishes of media barons?


  8. paulrutherford8

    If our CLP secretary had such a message, she ignored it. I’ll ask tomorrow at our EC meeting. We had an all member meeting and overwhelmingly voted to back Corbyn again!

  9. Michael Williams

    Paul Starling is NOT a member of Blaenau Gwent CLP. Can you please correct your article accordingly.

  10. Mike Williams

    Paul Starling is NOT a member of Blaenau Gwent CLP and, as such, he was not at the meeting he refers to. It would seem he has received inaccurate information from a third party. Can you please correct this post accordingly and, perhaps, post an apology as this has been widely shared.

    To be honest Mike, I’m really disappointed that you’d take Starling’s stuff at face value.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      As you have not provided the slightest evidence that Mr Starling’s evidence is inaccurate, I shall await such material before making any changes (other than the clarification about his membership, which appears accurate from his own comments).

      In the absence of any opposing evidence, I have to rely on the information provided to me.

      I’ll ignore your patronising comment about being “disappointed” for the time being. Did you think you were going to browbeat me into doing what you wanted?

      1. Mike Williams

        I’m not trying to browbeat you in to doing anything. I made the first comment from a tablet and wasn’t sure it worked so I did it again from my laptop and then the first comment appeared.

        As for supporting evidence, surely the “fact” that Starling is not a member of the CLP so was not present at the meeting he has supposedly presented “details” of , is exactly that?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No – if a person wasn’t at a meeting, that doesn’t mean their information is false. I have cut your last paragraph as you are clearly trying to disparage This Blog for no very good reason.

  11. Charlie Mansell

    The CLP I chair has held all-member nomination meetings both years. We are one of just 69 CLP’s that actually nominated the leader both times. But then we also selected the first transgender Labour Parliamentary candidate – who had a big battle with the Sun Newspaper before they got an apology out of them in one of the first IPSO rulings – and 56% of our candidates were women and that was no accident. We are now about to pioneer work in 2017 on mental health and neuro-diversity with the Labour Campaign for Mental Health to create practical guidelines for other CLP and welcome other suggestions to pilot your ideas if your own CLP is rubbish at doing new things.

    In saying this, I would remind comrades that for many years people opposed moves to all-member meetings only on good political principles as it was used to dilute the TU link as well as abolish branches. It has been interesting to see people who spent most of their lives opposing OMOV ballots as recently as the Collins Review in early 2013 – I stood outside the Excel Conference centre talking to them – now wholeheartedly supporting it. This is welcome to those of us in my own borough who were 2 of the first 50 CLP’s in the country to use OMOV in 1981. I’m proud that our political consistency over 35 years has gathered such wide support on all wings of the party now.

    As a result of the above the CLP I chair is thus a compromise that comprises a pre 1990’s “old Labour” GC structure but many all-member elements we have added over the last decade

    a) All Member meetings for nominations, policy discussion and conference motions – this seems to be what our more inactive members will definitely come out for

    b) GC delegations (though all-members can observe) for election of CLP officers and conference delegate and any key financial decisions. Legal, financial and data protection issues are put on a clear constitutional footing as a result. Our current GC is entitled to have more GC delegates than the highest ever AMM attendance so everyone can get to be a delegate and we help members out to do that too. In any case it is very easy for a CLP to change its 1 delegate for xxx members (ours is 1 for 20) if it wants everyone at an AMM to be a delegate also. By making people ‘delegates’ it can get more people to ‘commit’ in social psychology terms to attend regularly, so this can be useful too.

    c) All member, affiliate and supporter meetings for political discussion, training and social events. We have held 2 training events (one with Hope Not Hate) for new members and have a third on Community Organising in November. We also hold a monthly pub social meeting to get new people to come along, which works

    This model has been tested over a number of years and both protects out TU delegate and branch structure, but also allows wide participation. I recommend it to all CLP’s

  12. Mike Williams

    I’m not trying to disparage this blog Mike, I’m pointing out that it’s inaccurate. Why cut the last paragraph? What I wrote about Paul Starling was accuracte.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The article is not inaccurate. It very clearly shows what Mr Starling says.
      As for what you wrote about him not being a member – I’ve corrected for that. It doesn’t change what he wrote.

Comments are closed.