Labour fakes who accused Marc Wadsworth kicked a hornet’s nest – and will need more than vinegar to help them

Marc Wadsworth: We should all stand up against the injustice that Labour has done to him.

Unless you were under a rock yesterday, you’ll know This Writer’s reaction to the decision by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee to expel veteran anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth – for “bringing the party into disrepute” by means of anti-Semitism.

That’s right: An anti-racism campaigner – who, by the way, started the Justice for Stephen Lawrence campaign (you may have seen coverage of the memorial service to mark the 25th anniversary of his murder) – expelled for a form of racism. The sheer, fly-in-the-face-of-facts stupidity of it is brutal.

And now we have evidence that the decision flew in the fact of the evidence presented to the NCC as well. Here’s Chris Williamson who gave evidence for Mr Wadsworth:

His statement reads as follows [boldings mine]:

“I am astonished by the National Constitutional Committee’s (NCC) perverse determination of Marc Wadsworth’s case.

It flies in the face of the evidence that was presented and offends against the principles of natural justice.

“The NCC’s decision has all the hallmarks of predetermination and tramples on the Labour Party’s record of standing up for fairness.

“I will therefore continue to stand four-square behind Marc and assist him in his efforts to clear his name, and his reputation as a veteran anti-racist campaigner, which have been besmirched by this absurd NCC ruling.”

Of course, some prominent (do I mean prominent? No – more accurate to describe them as mouthy) Labour Party figures had to stick their oar in:

Like this?

And what, exactly, is “brave and tenacious” about lying for nearly two years in order to turn public opinion against a fellow party member, and then removing the evidence of the lie from her Facebook page?

Ms Smeeth deleted the following from her page on or around February 24 this year:

https://twitter.com/GHNeale/status/989967000616210434

It’s a fair point, don’t you think? Ms Smeeth deliberately tried to undermine the democratically-elected Labour leader – and continues to do so – yet she has not been disciplined for it. Why not?

https://twitter.com/FlamingoAlan/status/989971275685777413

Media sites and Labour-related organisations have already started broadcasting their opinions – and the verdicts will already be causing huge headaches for whichever genius thought it would be a good idea to make the wrong decision. Here’s Asa Winstanley of The Electronic Intifada.

Jewish Voice for Labour had this to say:

“The expulsion from the Labour Party of antiracist activist Marc Wadsworth marks a new low in the unprincipled campaign by enemies of the left to misuse justified concerns about antisemitism for factional ends.

“In ruling that Wadsworth subjected Ruth Smeeth MP to antisemitic abuse at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report on June 30, 2016, the National Constitutional Committee panel has ignored the factual evidence and based its decision on a distorted interpretation of the incident in question.

“An individual’s clam to have felt abused, and the perception of their supporters, must of course be taken seriously. So the Party was right to investigate Ruth Smeeth’s complaint. But that claim and those perceptions cannot be the deciding factors in the case. Sir William Macpherson’s ruling in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry was precise on that point. (Wadsworth, as it happens, played a leading role in the campaign for justice for the Lawrence family.)

“In this case, a comment by Wadsworth about an exchange he witnessed between one Daily Telegraph journalist and one MP has been represented as a generalised attack on Jews. The NCC have given their stamp of approval to manipulation by media and other commentators, which twisted an unremarkable throwaway comment to claim it as a vile antisemitic slur – that Jews collectively control the media.

“The NCC made its judgement against the background of Wadsworth’s summary suspension 22 months ago, which was itself a travesty of the transparent, fair and equitable procedures one would expect from a labour movement organisation.

“Wadsworth was punished in advance of investigation and hearing of the case. He was universally pilloried in the media as guilty of a detestable hate crime. Headlines described him as “the activist who made Jewish MP weep” and his name was linked repeatedly with antisemitism. Representing this veteran Black activist as guilty of abusing a Jewish politician is not only unjust. It risks damaging the essential cause of combating rising racist bigotry in society by pitting blacks against Jews.

“It is a bitter irony that Wadsworth’s unjust treatment would not have been possible if the relevant recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report had been implemented rather than being obstructed by the party’s entrenched bureaucracy. The machinery in place since long before Corbyn was elected leader has continued to deploy the flawed processes, that Chakrabarti declared unfit for purpose, against pro-Corbyn party members.

“Some cases of genuine antisemitism – hostility towards Jews for no other reason than that they are Jews – have been identified,, and these need to be dealt with in a just, equitable and transparent manner.

“It must be a priority for the new General Secretary to ensure that:

“* Marc Wadsworth has the opportunity to appeal the judgement against him and to have the appeal heard by an independent arbiter

“* other outstanding disciplinary cases, involving antisemitism and other allegations, are reviewed and unjust suspensions lifted,

“* disciplinary procedures and structures are reformed as part of a review process involving the full spectrum of opinions in the party.

“Jewish Voice for Labour looks forward to playing a positive role in this process.”

And here’s Red Labour:

https://twitter.com/Redlabour2016/status/989971092247859201

For clarity, it says:

“We are extremely concerned at the expulsion of long serving anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party this morning.

“The first thing to say is that the hearing could hardly avoid being prejudiced by the media circus around it, not helped by the 40 or so MPs who theatrically marched Ruth Smeeth over to where Marc’s case was being heard.

“The second thing to say is that it wasn’t, as widely reported, about anti-Semitism. The charge against Marc Wadsworth was one of “bringing the party into disrepute”. We have to ask, how many members of the party, never mind the public, will understand that, considering the media storm? In the meantime, a lifetime anti-racist’s reputation is tarnished.

“Thirdly, the evidence of Marc’s “bringing the party into disrepute” was plain for all to see; it was captured on video. Almost everyone who watched that footage will have been perplexed at the idea that his actions were serious enough to warrant expulsion. The idea, promulgated by the MPs mentioned above and their chums in the media, that his intervention was anti-Semitic was so ridiculous that even Smeeth deleted the charge from her website.

“Yes, of course, we can have a debate about what is appropriate behaviour from party members, whether experienced or not. People will often misjudge situations and make mistakes, but they are not expellable offences. Sorry episodes like this really damage the party, and we should do all we can to stop them. Unfortunately, many in the PLP have instead fanned them, in order to undermine the leadership.

“What is so reckless about this, in addition, is the specific damage it has done to the trust and engagement that many BAME members have in the party. Expelling prominent black activists divides those communities and gives a clear signal to BAME activists that already feel marginalised by the party’s structures.

“Lastly, the way the Marc Wadsworth case has been handled undermines faith in the party’s structures and processes. The thing about justice is that it must be consistent to be credible. You can’t, say, have one rule for one member of a party and another for a different member. In addition, that consistency must cut across personal loyalties, favours, power and influence. It’s not about what is politically convenient, ever. It should only be about justice. And when you set a precedent, it must then apply to all. That’s why you must be very careful that you are 100% correct in setting them.

“In other words, we’re looking forward to similar disrepute hearings for our finger-jabbing friends on the Labour benches, who daily rip up the rule book, abuse the democratically-elected leadership and treat the party’s members with contempt.”

So the Wadsworth decision:

  • Flies in the face of the evidence, offends natural justice, appears to have been predetermined and tramples on fairness.
  • Relies on distorted evidence rather than factual information, to produce a result that was pre-demanded by MPs.
  • Gives the NCC’s stamp of approval to manipulation by media and other commentators.
  • In expelling a BAME member under false pretences, has increased concern about racism in the Labour Party rather than calming them.
  • Shows that Labour MPs are abusing the party’s structures in order to harm the innocent, while they get away with huge abuses themselves.

As a Labour member whose case is likely to go before the NCC in the next few months, who has also been subjected to trial-by-media after details of the National Executive Committee’s deliberations about me were leaked to a Tory-supporting paper, who faces accusations that rely on distorted evidence rather than factual information, and who has been frustrated by party structures that have made it practically impossible for me to state my case without it being misrepresented by party officers, it seems perfectly clear that I won’t get justice.

So I agree with Alan Shore (above) – it’s time all Labour members of good conscience made a formal complaint to Labour’s compliance unit and/or general secretary Jennie Formby.

If I recall correctly, both may be contacted at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT.


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16 thoughts on “Labour fakes who accused Marc Wadsworth kicked a hornet’s nest – and will need more than vinegar to help them

  1. foggy

    Absolutely gut wrenchingly appalling. I’m wondering if this will be the new expulsion excuse to be used for those they want to get rid of but have zero or paper thin evidence to do it.

    I would be of mind to ask for an independent board hearing, instead of the obvious kangaroo court, as has been stated in the article, due to media interference and leaks. I would also secretly record the entire hearing without telling them…it would be my data they would be discussing so no data breach therefor it would be admissible evidence in a court of law.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve just read another article which stated that the NCC decided that Mr Wadsworth could be taken as having committed an anti-Semitic act if anyone who witnessed a report of what happened at the Chakrabarti Report launch felt that it was anti-Semitic.
      No question about whether those people might be lying, or acting for political motives, or anything else. They would just accept it.
      This means they have a guaranteed way of ensuring they can expel everybody who has been accused.
      It would be totally unjust, but that’s Labour’s NCC for you.

      1. marie

        A bit like YouTube videos of chemical attack then. Whatever happened to justice and fairness? Who is pulling the strings?

      2. Florence

        This will not end well. An additional point to make, us the the NCC was all white too? Did no one at HQ stop for a moment just to think this through?

        It might intimidate some, but if nothing else the LP has anti Racists by the hundred thousands who are by their very nature opposed to the core to discrimination and injustice.

        Now we have proof, and a cause celebre, exposing the malevolence festering in a few. Or as we say, together, united we will never be defeated. We are lined up behind Marc and yourself and the others who have been treated as mere ciphers in their (rapidly unhinged) battle against the leadership and members.

        We must treat everyone with respect and dignity and not allow the bad to become the norm. And yes, that means treat all our colleagues with respect, even those who offend us. But it does not mean we will be cowed, and we must hold all to the same standards. We demand that those who bring the party into disrepute, daily, in the media and in the HoC PLP, to account under the same rules.

  2. Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Totally support Marc. If he gets in touch I will happily help him as much as I can.

    A small pedantic point. The rule was conduct causing prejudice or an act that brings the party into ‘gross’ disrepute. The adjective ‘gross’ raises the bar on the standard of
    the act to needing to be very obvious. Disrepute is a common catch all for unincorporated associations and allows for a wide range of behaviour or actions to be considered as causing disrepute. E.g. Get drunk at an event and play grab ass you get charged with disrepute. The charge might say disrepute but the underlying actions are the behaviour. So it might be disrepute but that might mean antisemitism as the underlying act. The NCC does not give full written judgements. It is not in law required to but I would suggest the party rules should be amended to require a concise written judgment in all cases involving expulsion by the NCC.

    Anyhow in Marc’s case I would say that burden was not met. However the JVL request for an appeal is impossible. Party rules don’t allow for an appeal. The only avenue is legal i.e. court. The downside of that is the court won’t want to look at the content of the discretionary decision made by the NCC. It will limit itself to procedure. Was the decision made properly? From what I have gathered the NCC may have relied on the wrong version of rule 2.I.8, using the 2018 version not the 2016 version which was in force at the time the act occurred in June 2016, so that is procedurally fatal to their decision. There may equally be arguments around arbitrariness, bias, and an irrationality argument. There is also the Wednesbury unreasonableness point as well in relation to things they should not have or should have taken into account in making the discretionary decision. In my view quite a lot of options for legal challenge. The unfortunate thing is if the Party fight it then it could end up costing a 6 figure sum because of a flawed decision by the NCC and all to get back to square one. Nonetheless I believe justice for Marc and by extension for all members requires this one be taken up and fought tooth and nail. It is perhaps time for members to steel themselves for our own internal Battle of Thermopylae.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Are any legal experts reading this who would consider representing This Writer?
      I’m facing a few false accusations myself, you know.
      I mention it merely in passing.

      1. Duncan Shipley Dalton

        If I was able to I would. Unfortunately I am not qualified in England and Wales as I was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1996. I am in the process of trying to get through the bar transfer test to be called in E&W but that probably won’t happen until the Autumn.

        I can offer legal opinion under the Legal Services Act so drop me a line and if I can I will try to at least offer my opinion if it helps.

  3. Simon Cohen

    This point NEEDS to be clarified by Labour so it cannot be manipulated:

    “The second thing to say is that it wasn’t, as widely reported, about anti-Semitism. The charge against Marc Wadsworth was one of “bringing the party into disrepute”. We have to ask, how many members of the party, never mind the public, will understand that, considering the media storm? In the meantime, a lifetime anti-racist’s reputation is tarnished.’

    As a person of jewish background, I am alarmed at the trivialisation of antisemitism inherent in this lack of clarity. It will only feed real antisemitism. It needs to be made abundantly clear that marc was in no-way antisemitic and that it was Ruth Smeeth who was distorting and manipullating the definition of anti-semitism.

    I feel clear that Marc was WRONG to use that platform to make a point, that whilst valid in itself, was not appropriate in that context-he needed to be censured for that-but expulsion was too strong and will fuel further rift, division and resentment-just what the neo-liberals want.

  4. Dave Rowlands

    This is all becoming childish, I don’t like you so I’m going to make a complaint about you because you upset me. OMG, we need grown up people but non exist in the NCC.

  5. Stu

    This is the pathetic level that this whole thing has stooped to…

    “You’re picking on me because I’m Jewish you’re anti-semetic”

    “I didn’t even know you were Jewish”

    “You’re picking on him because he’s Black, you’re racist ”

    “I didn’t even know he was Bl…… oh !”

  6. aunty1960

    Ruth Smeeth worked as PR for Nestle, so she is used to lying through her teeth and promoting crap over truth at the loss and disadvantage of others.

    PR Slick Chick with real connections. Mark did not stand a chance

  7. aunty1960

    #iammark

    image made for people to upload on fb profile

    having problems making a hastag. NO I DONT WANT PRO.

Comments are closed.