If Labour is blocking conference delegates, there should be an investigation

Last Updated: July 31, 2017By

John Spellar: Is he the anti-democratic ‘rotten apple’ that has spoiled Warley CLP’s executive?

Interesting allegations have been published in Skwawkbox today (July 31), concerning a Constituency Labour Party that has apparently blocked members from electing Corbyn-supporting delegates to attend the national party conference in the autumn.

Warley CLP, whose MP is the rabidly anti-Corbyn John Spellar, apparently discovered that its executive committee had bypassed democracy by changing the venue for the elections and not announcing the decision to members.

So, having decided to send five delegates, including three who would be self-funding, Warley CLP branches nominated candidates and expected to carry out elections at the next meeting of their general committee.

But they were then informed that the election had been moved (for no reason) to the executive committee meeting – and when members attended that meeting they were given minutes of an officers’ meeting at which the delegates had already been chosen.

According to a source inside the CLP, “The minutes stated that this was because Momentum was going to “flood” the conference with it’s own supporters. Although the treasurer had said that the CLP can only afford to fund 2 people, they’d now increased this number to 3 and have refused self funders.”

When CLP members objected at the general committee meeting, their complaint was said to have been “rudely dismissed”.

If true, this is a clear breach of Labour Party democracy. The course of action taken by officers was not agreed with the members – indeed, it was a direct, anti-democratic, contradiction of the agreed plan.

In these circumstances, This Writer would consider it appropriate to contact the National Executive Committee and demand action similar to that taken during the leadership election last year, when members who were considered to have acted inappropriately were suspended, pending investigation by an NEC team.

The officers of Warley CLP who pushed through this offence to democracy should be suspended and the elections run again – in a democratic manner.

I would strongly urge anybody who has been affected by this offence – or similar offences in other CLPs, if they have taken place, to contact the NEC and initiate proceedings.

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  1. Dez July 31, 2017 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Yup all seems pretty straightforward political corruption by those with an agenda. Agree these same undemoncratic officials should be placed before the voters asap and flushed from the Party machine.

  2. John R Holmes July 31, 2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Don’t know if this is part of the issue, but when I was a CLP Chair (before the flood!) we always had a dispute concerning self-funding volunteer Conference Delegates. It’s a very simple argument. If the CLP is so strapped it cannot afford the appropriate number of delegates it is extremely unfair to send those whose personal wealth allows them to self fund. This is a tricky issue for socialists and is often resolved by not sending the quota of delegates, in the name of basic fairness. Our CLP made every effort to make the decision unnecessary by collections, fund raising etc, but sometimes allowed the self funding even when we were down to one delegate. However, these decisions were always made by the General Committee, usually following a CLP Executive recommendation. The process is critical. Best wishes, John.

  3. katythenightowl August 1, 2017 at 2:09 am - Reply

    . . . and people wonder why there are so many calls to get rid of right-wing CLP committee members!
    With actions like this being done all across the UK, is it any wonder that us newbies are starting to wonder whether this IS a democratic party, or not? :(

  4. peskirabbit August 3, 2017 at 12:49 am - Reply

    I contacted the Labour party about this and this is the reply I received:Thank you for contacting us regarding this.

    It is a matter for the CLP Executive to decide how to choose delegates for conference (this includes what meeting they’ll be decided at and how many of their entitlement they feel able to finance sending). These procedures should be made clear to all those eligible to be delegates and to participate in this selection. If there have been any issues with the procedures that haven’t been addressed by the CLP Executive, any members of Warley CLP with concerns should contact their Regional Office. The Governance and Legal unit has not received any complaints or concerns raised about the selecting of Warley CLP’s delegates to Annual Conference. (to be continued)

  5. peskirabbit August 3, 2017 at 12:50 am - Reply

    (Labour party reply continued) Delegates should not pay for themselves. This leads to more affluent members being able to attend as delegates and discriminates against those who are unable to pay. Many CLPs do not send their full entitlement of delegates to conference for financial reasons. Some only send 1 delegate because they only have the funds for that, or because they have more funds but feel they need to use these for an election. Sending fewer delegates not change the weight of the CLPs votes at conference. The weighting of the CLP’s ballots and card votes will be kept the same regardless of how many delegates attend. (EG: If you send 2 delegates, the weighting for card votes would be split 50/50. If you send 1 then their card votes would be the full weighting of the CLP).

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