Tag Archives: Parliament

Labour is purging left-wingers from Parliamentary selection lists. Here’s how

Set adrift: how many potentially excellent Labour candidates have been rejected by Keir Starmer’s skewed Parliamentary selection procedure, that seems to contradict democracy and party rules to exclude left-wingers?

Labour Hub has reproduced an important twitter thread by Angus Satow on Keir Starmer’s purge and the implications for Britain’s democracy.

I reproduce it in full below, in view of its importance:

Keir Starmer accused of ‘purging’ Labour Left as Corbynite candidates blocked from standing to be MP

Leader criticised for promoting ‘disunity’ in party, but allies say he is ensuring a high standard

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2022/11/05/keir-starmer-accused-purging-labour-left-corbynite-candidates/

Labour is in the process of selecting its Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for the next General Election, with the NEC signing off batches of seats.

Per Michael Crick’s useful blog, only ONE out of the first FORTY can be classified as left-wing. Why?

In brief, every Left candidate likely to win is being blocked before the race even starts. So far:

– Doina Cornell in Stroud
– @cllr_maya in Hastings
– @LisaForbes_ in Peterborough
– @mowords in Camberwell & Peckham
– @LaurenJTownsend in MK North
– @emmadentcoad in Kensington
and more

How can they do this?

Well, according to Labour’s own rules – they can’t. But….

There are three stages to selections: longlisting, shortlisting and the selection.

Longlisting: NEC Majority, with trade union input
Shortlisting: Local Party and trade union representatives
Selection: Labour members

The Leader of the Opposition’s Office and the Labour machine – working in tandem – are intervening at the longlisting stage, where they have control.

This is when they’re blocking candidates from even being considered or voted on by members – even council leaders, senior council figures and ex-MPs!

The Labour Party leadership are clear about this – they are ensuring that loyalists are selected, figures from the Labour right who will never cause any problems.

They’re stitching it up.

The strategy for this was brazenly revealed to @siennamarla just before Conference: the Heir and the Spare.

They block all left-wingers from the start, and ensure any candidate offered to members is ‘friendly’.

This is no democratic choice at all.

But they face a problem:

Under a rule agreed by Starmer’s NEC, trade union-backed candidates are *automatically longlisted*.

Every left-winger blocked has enjoyed trade union backing, often from Unite and the CWU.

In @LaurenJTownsend‘s case from six unions inc Unite AND Unison.

So they come up with a workaround: ‘due diligence’.

A ‘dossier’ is compiled of ‘concerning evidence’ which has ‘come to light in the course of routine due diligence’ checks on social media.

There are some truly laughable examples of what this evidence consists of.

– Once having liked a Caroline Lucas tweet
– Liking a tweet by Nicola Sturgeon about testing negative for Covid

Equally, there are some truly disturbing examples of ‘evidence’ which is grounds for blocking:

– having mentioned Palestinian refugees (a blatant act of anti-Palestinian racism)
– Liking a tweet calling on Labour to be bolder in its economic policy
– a ‘history of protest’

It’s not hard to disprove the Leadership’s half-baked claim that this is about ‘quality control’.

For example, here’s the Leadership’s ‘heir’ for Milton Keynes North doing the exact same thing as Lauren Townsend.

In Barking, Labour Right NEC members first ignored, then swept under the carpet evidence of Blue Labour figure Darren Rodwell engaging in what have been termed racist jokes.

He was let off and won the selection. ‘Quality control’ ?

Labour councillor who said he had “worst tan for a Black man” cleared of wrongdoing

Exclusive: Labour councillor Darren Rodwell sparked outrage with his comments at Black History Month event and had been subject of an investigationhttps://

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/darren-rodwell-racism-labour-barking-b2207861.html

Upon receiving the dossier, the candidate is then invited to a meeting at one day’s notice, with the outcome all but certain: blocking.

These amount to nothing less than show trials.

The next day, the candidate receives a perfunctory email, saying only that the panel considered their representations, and they rejected them.

No rules are cited, no judgement given. No due process.

You might wonder – will the trade unions tolerate this blatant abuse of process, blocking their candidates?

The answer is no – earlier this year, trade unions agreed with the NEC a clarification of ‘due diligence’ that it could only be used for things such as serious financial wrongdoing.

But this agreement has been ignored, time and again.

Candidates backed by unions across the board – from USDAW to Unite, UNISON to the CWU – have been blocked on spurious grounds.

Nor is it only left-wingers being blocked.

From Bella Sankey in Hastings to Jack Hemingway in Wakefield, even soft left figures are being blocked.

As Momentum put it, anyone to the left of Tony Blair faces attack.

Starmer allies reject claims leftwingers blocked from standing for Labour

Party figures understood to have urged leader to rein in acolytes after candidates from left excluded from longlists

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/01/starmer-allies-reject-claims-leftwingers-blocked-from-standing-for-labour

All this is the polar opposite of what Starmer promised in 2020.

The media shouldn’t have any hesitation in saying this: Starmer lied to get elected.

He did so because this strategy is wholly out of touch with the mood in the Party and the country.

Instead, as reported by @patrickkmaguire, it is a tight coterie of Starmer staffers on the hard-right of the Party leading this purge.

Their desire to reshape the PLP with Starmerite automatons trumps all else, from trade unions to local parties.

Starmer’s quiet purge of his would-be MPs

6am, May Day, 1997. New dawn has broken, has it not, over the Royal Festival Hall. Tony Blair, having won a parliamentary majority that might make Kim Il-su

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/starmers-quiet-purge-of-his-would-be-mps-cwnm8xspf

It’s out of step with the country, because people want their MPs to be local, but from Wakefield to Stroud, the Leadership are happy to exclude popular local champions in favour of loyalist parachutes.

Back to the bad old days.

And polling also shows that from a higher minimum wage to public ownership, people want left-wing economic policies!

But whether it’s deselecting Socialist Campaign Group members or blocking left-wingers, Starmer is intent on wiping these ideas out of the public sphere.

But there are more damaging effects still. As @MichaelLCrick reports, very few candidates are working-class.

Instead, they are from the professional political classes.

In Milton Keynes North, Lauren Townsend, a trade unionist who came to the labour movement by organising her workplace as a waitress, was blocked.

The Leadership’s supposed heir is a pollster.

This is the Starmerite counterrevolution to put working-class interests back in a box.

It gets worse.

In Camberwell & Peckham, @mowords, a prominent anti-racist activist and working-class black man, was blocked. No black man has been elected as a Labour MP since 2011

Meanwhile, Rodwell was let through, despite his ‘black man’ remarks.

Britain’s leading Black newspaper – The Voice – has sounded the alarm on a crisis of anti-black racism within Labour.

All this within the context of the Forde \\Report and criticism from Black MPs.

Yet the Voice has been *ignored* by the Labour Party.

Labour crisis intensifies as ‘racist’ candidate picked

Meanwhile, in another safe London seat, party members resign over blocking of popular black candidate for ‘spurious’ reasons

https://www.voice-online.co.uk/news/uk-news/2022/10/31/labour-crisis-intensifies-as-racist-candidate-picked/

Meanwhile, in Kensington, the ex-MP, @emmadentcoad, the only person to ever win the seat for Labour, and a passionate advocate for a community scarred by Grenfell was blocked.

Locally there was widespread disgust at the decision.

Left wing ex-Labour MP Emma Dent Coad blocked from standing in Kensington

Left wing ex-Labour MP Emma Dent Coad says she has been blocked by the party from standing as the candidate in Kensington.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/londoners-diary/londoners-diary-emma-dent-coad-labour-kensington-blocked-b1033237.html

As @FisherAndrew79 has remarked, this obsessive purge is also draining Labour’s activist base.

With members disempowered and local councillors and even ex-MPs blocked, why would anyone go out and knock doors? The disrespect is palpable.

Labour’s Cult of Factionalism Is Going Into Overdrive | Novara Media

From Emma Dent Coat to Maurice Mcleod, the Labour right is busy destroying would-be leftwing MPs – and its own electoral prospects in the process, writes Andrew Fisher. 

 https://novaramedia.com/2022/10/21/labours-cult-of-factionalism-is-going-into-overdrive/

Indeed, when the Party blocked the *deputy leader of the council* in favour of two people who live outside the constituency, the entire Wakefield CLP Executive resigned.

Wakefield Labour executive resigns accusing Starmer of byelection stitch-up

Members quit en masse over ‘arrogant’ handling of candidate selection process

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/may/13/wakefield-labour-executive-resigns-accusing-keir-starmer-byelection-stich-up

So in sum:

❌ promises broken
❌ rights of trade unions disregarded
❌ local members and parties disrespected
❌ failing on anti-racism
❌ anti-democratic stitch-ups

This is Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Source: What’s going on with Labour’s Parliamentary Selections? – Labour Hub

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Tory Mark Francois makes racial slur against Japanese people in Parliament

Is a delay in building a ship really a good reason to make a racist remark? Tory MP Mark Francois seems to think so.

Here he is in Parliament, doing just that:

The word that was bleeped out is “Japs” – a term often used to describe Japanese people in a derogatory way, for example during the Second World War. It has not been used in the House of Commons since the 1940s.

Francois reckons he didn’t mean any “disrespect or offence”, but that’s hardly the point. If anybody of Japanese ethnicity heard his speech and took offence, they would be entirely within their rights to do so.

He made his comment during Defence Questions on Monday (November 7). At the time, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle didn’t condemn the language Francois used, nor did Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

It was only in response to a point of order by Labour’s Sarah Owen that the Speaker said “the casual use of racial terms causes upset and should not be used” and asked MPs to choose their words “carefully”.

It’s not good enough.

Tories have been nurturing an atmosphere of division in the UK since they slithered back into office in 2010, and deepening racism has been a keystone of this.

Now, it seems, they feel comfortable enough to make racist remarks in the House of Commons itself.

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Bryant sticks to his guns over bullying in Parliament

Unrevealing: Chris Bryant took this image in an attempt to show bullying in the voting lobbies – but it did not demonstrate such behaviour clearly enough. Should he have taken video? And would it have mattered, knowing that photography is forbidden there in any case?

After a woefully inadequate ‘investigation’ ruled that there was no bullying during the controversial ‘fracking’ vote that led to the downfall of Liz Truss, whistleblowing MP Chris Bryant has insisted that the verdict was wrong.

He has tweeted the following:

The prohibition of photography in the voting lobbies must be a gift to anybody wishing to intimidate MPs. Elsewhere on the Twitter thread, Bryant agreed that CCTV cameras would be welcome:

The answer, of course, is to modernise the system with electronic voting, as is used in the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Doesn’t the reluctance to introduce such a system smell of corruption to you?

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Could ‘Security risk’ Suella bring down ‘Second chance’ Sunak?

Suella Braverman and Rishi Sunak: by giving her a job, has he dropped himself into a morass of trouble?

After watching his former boss Boris Johnson face an inquiry about lying to Parliament, could Rishi Sunak really be foolish enough to let himself go the same way?

It seems possible – and all because he offered Suella Braverman a second chance.

We all know the story here – or think we do – right? Braverman is said to have quit her role as Liz Truss’s Home Secretary voluntarily, after having sent sensitive documents via her personal email. Apparently the wrong person saw them.

Sunak, tackled about it in Prime Minister’s Questions, said, “She made an error of judgment, but she recognised that, she raised the matter and she accepted her mistake. That is why I was delighted to welcome her back into a united Cabinet that brings experience and stability to the heart of Government.”

But then former Conservative Party chairman Jake Berry gave a TV interview that suggested this was not the truth:

So, according to Berry, Braverman did not volunteer any information about this; it was discovered by someone else who raised the red flag. The evidence was then put to her and (we may infer) she was told to resign.

That would certainly explain the amount of vitriol against Truss’s government that Braverman put in her resignation letter.

This indicates, though, that Sunak lied to Parliament by saying Braverman was the one who raised the matter – and it casts doubt on his claim that she resigned voluntarily and deserved a second chance.

It makes it more likely that Sunak offered Braverman – a senior member of the European Research Group (ERG) wing of the Conservative Party – a Cabinet post in order to secure the support of her cronies.

This information is all, now, in the hands of former Director of Public Prosecutions, now leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer.

Phil Moorhouse discusses what Starmer may do with it in the clip below:

Is Sunak storing up a similar fate for himself as that which Johnson is already facing?

Time will tell. But what do you think?

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MPs spent the first day back in Parliament trolling Kwasi Kwarteng

This video is great fun, so let’s all enjoy Kwasi Kwarteng being discomfited by his own idiocies.

Best bit for This Writer? When someone congratulates the Tory government on its overnight transformation of 10 Downing Street – from a nightclub to a casino.

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Half a million people call for an early general election

Almost six times as many people as voted Liz Truss into 10 Downing Street are demanding an early general election in the hope of having her ejected.

Parliament will have to debate the petition because it has topped 100,000 signatories – and this may create a problem for Truss, who does not have the full support of her party in Parliament (especially after the godawful stink she has made in just four weeks).

The call for an election has been echoed by former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

She tweeted that there was ‘widespread dismay’ at the prime minister – and we can conclude that she meant among her fellow Conservative MPs.

The government responded to the petition on September 20, saying nothing would change: “A change in the leader of the governing party does not trigger a general election – this has been the case under governments of successive political colours.”

But that isn’t the issue now.

The issue now is that the UK’s current – unelected – leadership has crashed the economy and cannot accept its role in having done so, and millions of people think it is time for a new administration.

Source: 500,000 people sign petition calling for early general election

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How is Liz Truss spending the ‘mourning period’ Parliamentary recess? Like this?

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

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Extinction Rebellion activists arrested after Commons chamber protest

This was only to be expected. You can’t break into the seat of UK government and cause a scene, and then expect to walk away totally free.

But it does show one thing: it really was completely disproportionate for the Tory government to try to label Extinction Rebellion as a terrorist organisation.

If the group had been terrorists, they would have been able to level the Palace of Westminster from the inside before anybody in authority had a clue what was happening.

And that’s the reason This Writer thinks the arrests really happened: it is humiliating for Parliamentary authorities to discover that anybody can waltz in and superglue themselves to the Speaker’s chair whenever they feel like it.

So here’s what has happened:

Eight people have been arrested after climate activists glued themselves together around the Speaker’s chair in the House of Commons.

The protestors, from Extinction Rebellion UK, were on a guided tour of Parliament when they took the action, a spokeswoman said.

MPs are currently on their summer break, and are due to return next week.

The Met Police said it had launched an investigation into the “full circumstances of the incident”.

It’s an entirely token effort. These people have probably been released already.

One wonders whether their message will be taken as seriously as their presence was?

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Extinction Rebellion invades Parliament to protest climate change inaction

This just in from Extinction Rebellion:

Just before noon today (Friday, September 2), a group of around fifty people took nonviolent action at the House of Commons to kick off the first phase of Extinction Rebellion’s September plans. The Parliament action began with three people booked on an official tour of the building, gluing themselves in a chain around the Speaker’s Chair inside the Parliamentary Chamber. They took it in turns to read a speech, pointing to the need for a Citizens’ Assembly to cut through the corruption deep in the heart of Westminster. They wore t-shirts that read ‘Let The People Decide’.

Behind the Speaker’s Chair in the great hall, two people held two large banners that read ‘Citizens’ Assemblies Now’ and ‘Let The People Decide’. Outside of the building, a member of Extinction Rebellion climbed up the scaffolding around Big Ben and held another giant banner that read ‘Let The People Decide- Citizens’ Assemblies Now”, while two others chained themselves to the railings.

Everyone inside the building had entered legally via an official tourist booking.

The speech read out in the chamber said: “We are in crisis. And what goes on in this chamber every day makes a joke out of us all. We can not afford to carry on like this. 

“It is possible to act on climate and costs in a way that is fair and supports everyone. But our political system is too out of date and out of touch to see beyond the next election cycle and do what needs to be done. We need a new way of making decisions, where more voices are heard, not just those at the top. We need the true diversity of the country to be represented.

“We need a Citizens’ Assembly, now. Citizens’ Assemblies empower ordinary people to make decisions that benefit everyone. Decisions that can get us out of this mess and make life better, safer, fairer for all of us.”

With a new Prime Minister to be chosen next week by a fraction of the country, and the UK suffering from a cost of living scandal meaning millions won’t be able to pay their bills this winter, faith in politics is at an all time low. There is an urgent need to upgrade our political system to allow more representation and give ordinary people a say over the major crises facing us.

In July this year the high court ruled that the UK Government’s pathway to net zero is unlawful because it is so lacking in detail it’s not even possible to hold them to account on it. Recent polling by Ipsos found that eight out of ten people in the UK are concerned about the climate crisis and over 52% percent think the government’s plan to get net zero by 2050 is too late, that’s around 35 million people who think the government’s plan isn’t good enough. Yet both candidates for PM have said they plan to increase production of new fossil fuels.

Our current politics is too focused on the short termism of the election cycle to tackle the major issues of today, like widespread inequality and the climate and ecological emergency. A citizens’ assembly on climate and costs would break the deadlock on Westminster corruption, allow more people to be represented, and restore trust in politics.

Alanna Byrne of Extinction Rebellion, said: “It is possible to change things and update politics so it really represents ordinary people. Independent citizens’ assemblies can show that those blocking progress in Westminster have no democratic mandate to continue destroying the environment and give power back to people. Selected like a jury and supported with independent, expert knowledge, this is true democracy that reflects the diversity of the population. 

“But to create a new, fairer politics will require first thousands, then millions of us. It will require sustained culture-shifting civil disobedience, until we become impossible to ignore. Then, when there’s enough of us, positive change will become inevitable.”

The action today is the opening act for Extinction Rebellion’s September plans, which itself will act as a launch event for a 5 phase plan to bring 100k people onto the streets in civil resistance next Spring. This exciting new plan will centre people power at its core, because Extinction Rebellion’s mission is to build a movement that is impossible to ignore. [3]

September will boost energy and build momentum as a first step in a laser focused, strategic plan that sees Extinction Rebellion growing in numbers and building momentum towards Spring  2023. Politics as usual will do anything to avoid facing up to the reality of the climate and ecological crisis, so without large numbers out on the streets our demands will be ignored. We believe now more than ever as cost of living leaves people desperate, and strike action for better pay is demonised, that a mass movement of 3.5% of the population is needed to bring about radical change. In order to achieve that there’s an urgent need for a mature plan that people can believe in, a plan which maps out precisely how we can win between now and next Spring.

Extinction Rebellion has worked on a roadmap to success and it begins with fierce mobilisation and connecting with communities across the UK. After the September weekend, we will tour the country to hold People’s Assemblies to capture the true voice of the country and find out the biggest concerns people are facing, and how we can tackle them together. This will be followed by mass disruptive action together with other groups, for maximum impact on October 14th, focusing our outrage at the cost of living scandal into solidarity action.

Following this, Extinction Rebellion will be focused primarily on growing the movement and targeting all of our energy in April 2023.

The plan will be in 5 phases:

PHASE 1: A curtain raiser action prior to the 10th and mass London and UK – wide Paint the Streets on the evening of Friday 9th Sept!

PHASE 2: Meet at Marble Arch on September 10th for 3 days of deliberative democracy, community building & resistance in an undisclosed, disruptive green space.

PHASE 3: Rebellion Buses will tour the country over 4 weeks, hosting People’s Assemblies, meeting and hearing from local groups and communities, engaging in intensive mobilisation.

PHASE 4: On the 14th October we invite everyone to come back to Westminster, London, for disruptive nonviolent civil disobedience to join forces with other groups organising around the cost of living scandal.

PHASE 5: THE BIG ONE – This will centre major government disruption over a prolonged period until the government agrees to empower an independent Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Integrated with our methodical mobilisation campaign, Project 3.5, we will pledge to sign up 100k people by Spring 2023 to come back to London for major nonviolent civil resistance to win on our demands.

The protest has been live-tweeted on Twitter:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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This is the real reason Labour wants Parliament recalled over the cost-of-living crisis

People say to me: “What’s the point of Labour unveiling a policy on this, or demanding that Parliament be recalled to debate it? They’re not in power. They can’t do anything.”

No, they aren’t, but there is a very good reason for Labour to agitate about action that its leaders – and those of the other Opposition parties – think the Tory government should be taking.

So when we read (in this instance, on the BBC),

Labour has called for MPs to return to Parliament early to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House of Commons, has written to the prime minister asking him to recall MPs two weeks early on 22 August.

She said new policies were needed before a rise in the energy price cap in October.

we should recognise that Labour isn’t just saying this in a vain bid to see it happen.

It’s being said to highlight the fact that, despite such action being necessary, the Conservatives aren’t making it happen.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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