Tag Archives: procedure

Shocking verdict in Mike’s court case against Labour means NOBODY is safe

Anybody who hands their personal information to a third party – a company, a club, a political party, the government or whoever – may see that data handed out to others or made public, with no way of seeking legal redress, according to the finding of a court case today.

And Labour members going through the party’s complaints procedure are still unlikely to get justice, even after the party promised to follow recommendations by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

These are the inevitable conclusions drawn from the verdict in This Writer’s court case, in which I accused the Labour Party of breach of contract.

I had said that Labour had failed to follow its own procedures for investigating complaints against party members after an allegation of anti-Semitism was made against me in 2017.

And I had said that a party official – or several – had leaked information, including lies, about me to the press while I was going through that process, in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Both of those claims were found to be accurate.

But in the hearing this afternoon, Deputy District Judge Whiteley said he could not uphold my case against Labour because the party’s Rule Book does not say that it must follow the procedures it has created to investigate complaints, or that it must adhere to the DPA.

That’s right. Unless an organisation’s rules specifically state that it will adhere to the Data Protection Act, then there are loopholes in the law – large enough to drive a lorry through – that mean your personal information can be passed on to anybody at all, regardless of your own wishes.

In this case, I had said somebody within the Labour Party had passed information that I had been accused of anti-Semitism to the Western Mail in 2017, and a Labour employee (I don’t know whether it was the same person) had passed false information about the allegations against me to The Sunday Times in February 2018. I said this breached the Data Protection Act because information about me had been passed on without my permission.

But Labour said that the party itself had not authorised the leak and that it had been unable to identify that anybody within its system had caused it. The party could not deny that the leak came from within Labour because the information had been generated as part of its complaint process and could only, therefore, have come from Labour.

The law states that an unincorporated association (which is how Labour is defined for legal purposes) is responsible for prohibited conduct carried out by its employees and agents against members and prospective members. Breaching the DPA would count as such.

But it also states that an association would not be legally responsible for the act of an employee that was not carried out in the course of their employment – and the court deemed that leaking information was not an act carried out in the course of their employment.

This means that any organisation that has your personal information may pass it on indescriminately – to anybody it likes, no matter what the Data Protection Act says or how avidly it states it adheres to that law, because anybody working there can follow the actions of Labour’s employee(s) and know they will get away with it.

So if you have provided your information to any third party at all, it is not safe.

Nor will it be safe until our lawmakers find a way to close this loophole in the law. They will not even consider doing so unless they are pressured into it. That will be your responsibility.

The judge also said that Labour had not breached its contract with me by failing to investigate the complaint against me according to its own procedures, because those procedures were not enshrined in the party’s Rule Book and therefore it had no obligation to follow them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has announced that the party will follow the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, whose report on anti-Semitism in the party contains a chapter on the failings of the process by which complaints are investigated.

The EHRC recommended that Labour should “publish a comprehensive policy and procedure, setting out how antisemitism complaints will be handled and how decisions on them will be made”.

It says the party should “develop and implement comprehensive internal guidance for all stages of the antisemitism complaints process”.

None of this means a damned thing because anybody challenging a failure by the party to follow its procedures will find that it has no obligation to do so; they are merely procedures, not rules.

Consider the way current complaints procedures have been flouted wholesale recently – not just over the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn but over complaints against allies of Starmer who have been accused of anti-Semitism – and against Starmer himself.

It seems clear that the Labour Party Rule Book is not worth the paper it is printed on – or the electricity required to put it on your screen.

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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#MyLittleCrony: Johnson and Hancock face court for putting their chums in big jobs they can’t do

Grim faces: this is the only shot This Site has handy of Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock together, and it shows them getting a tongue-lashing from Chief Medical Office Chris Whitty. Wouldn’t it be ironic if he was angry about them appointing know-nothing bozos they know from “the club” to vital Covid-fighting jobs instead of experts?

It had to happen – and it couldn’t happen at a more appropriate time.

Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock are being taken to court for bypassing normal tendering procedures in order to give important public sector roles to their personal friends.

According to the Huffington Post story, the court case by the Runnymede Trust and the Good Law Project focuses on the Tories appearing to have breached their public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010 by filling senior public sector roles with their mates:

Recruitment without open competition may be indirect discrimination on grounds of, in particular, race and disability, contrary to the landmark equality legislation.

The Tories have a defence against that, which is that the rules were waived under emergency procedures, in order to establish new roles to tackle Covid-19 as quickly and efficiently as possible.

But when you consider the kind of people they appointed – people like Dido Harding and Kate Bingham – it seems there’s a strong argument that they won’t be able to substantiate their claim.

And we know about them! What about all the other contracts these Tories have awarded? The contracts we know nothing about – other than their £4 billion cost – because Boris Johnson hasn’t allowed them to be made public?

What is Johnson hiding?

The Twitterati have made up their own minds already:

Notably:

There appears to be a considerable amount of public support for this legal action against the government. A crowd fundraising effort towards litigation fees titled It’s Time For An End To Cronyism has achieved its £30,000 goal in just 24 hours.

Best thing to come out of it? This:

The extent of the corruption and cronyism this app maps out is horrifying – and all using public money belonging to the people of the UK.

We deserve better – especially when the issue at hand is a global pandemic that is raging through the country, killing our loved ones at the rate of one every three minutes.

This court case cannot start soon enough. The evidence alone should be devastating to Johnson, the Tories … and, of course, their cronies.

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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Latest ‘anti-Semitism’ attack on Labour reveals the cruel intention behind it

Injustice: How many innocent Labour Party members have suffered as a result of false accusations?

Labour has been “letting off” party members accused of anti-Semitism, according to the Board of Deputies of British Jews – but they are deliberately misinterpreting party policy.

Still, what can we expect from an unelected self-interest group?

The claim is that Labour’s own disciplinary process shows that members can avoid punishment – by apologising and agreeing to take part in education to show why their actions were wrong.

And why shouldn’t they be excused from suspension or expulsion, if they know they have done wrong, have accepted it, and are willing to learn, so they don’t do it again, even inadvertently.

The Board of Deputies, it seems, wants all offenders to be driven out of the Labour Party, no matter whether they have accepted and apologised for wrong-doing or not. That is unreasonable.

Still, what can we expect from a predominantly right-wing – Tory-dominated – group? It seems to me that this demand springs from a desire to weaken the Labour Party, rather than any wish for justice.

And in any case, there is plenty of opportunity for injustice in Labour’s system as it is.

I was accused of anti-Semitic behaviour on several occasions, based on false allegations by that fake charity, the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

One or several of its members had concocted a press release in which they mangled my words in a bid to claim hatred of Jewish people where there was none.

Accused – and summarily suspended – by Labour, I expected a proper investigation into the truth or falsehood of the allegations against me. I received none.

The party’s attitude was that the accusation against me was proof of my guilt. After I proved that my actions were not anti-Semitic by any accepted definition of the term, the party changed its tune to claim that it did not matter, because my words had caused upset, and that was enough.

(It isn’t enough. And, as the party could not produce anybody who claimed to have suffered such upset, no such person legally exists.)

I was initially offered reinstatement, if I apologised and accepted education on anti-Semitism – in line with the policy against which the Board of Deputies is now protesting.

I refused it because I had done nothing wrong and Labour’s investigation had been a farce.

But because the party’s disputes team had already made up their collective mind that I was guilty, I was subjected to another farce when my case was heard by the National Constitutional Committee.

That was the day it earned its derogatory nickname of “National Kangaroo Court”. It is clear that nobody who enters such a hearing may expect anything even approximating justice.

In fact, the entire procedure shames the Labour Party to the deepest level, and all those who defend it – from the lowest party official posting out suspension notices to the NEC, NCC and the general secretary.

All these people have been complicit in huge harm to the livelihoods and reputations of those whose names their decisions have besmirched.

In the light of these facts, Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl’s claim that “Labour’s disciplinary processes still seem to be more geared towards protecting antisemites than protecting Jews” is silly childishness.

The process is not a “‘get out of jail free’ card for racists,” as she claims. It is a mechanism to persecute the innocent.

So, by rights, I should be in favour of the now-much-touted demand that Labour turn over its disciplinary system to an independent organisation.

But here’s another stumbling-block: When Labour offered me the chance to apologise and take a course on anti-Semitism, the people running that course would have been the Jewish Labour Movement.

That would be the same Jewish Labour Movement whose members secretly recorded Jackie Walker when she attended a “safe space” meeting (meaning attendees had been promised freedom to discuss anything, without their words being used against them), and then used her words against her by passing a version of that recording on to the press.

I would describe that behaviour, at the very least, as untrustworthy. Wouldn’t you?

The Jewish Labour Movement has been highly-critical of the Labour Party in the past, as have the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, all of whom have endorsed the call for an independent investigation/disciplinary process.

Perhaps they intend to demand that they should carry out such a process?

Whether they do or not, they must certainly never be allowed to do so.

Source: Jewish leaders accuse Labour of ‘letting off’ antisemites | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour’s complaints procedure is a nightmarish mess – but that’s no reason to condemn the new chief

I’m sorry, why are we condemning Laura Murray’s appointment as Labour’s new head of complaints, again?

Is it because she gave perfectly good advice when she was asked for it – for example, saying a member should be investigated who was later arrested in a police inquiry into anti-Semitism? That would be unreasonable.

Is it because she tweeted comments about ‘Princess Countdown’ Rachel Riley that the now-litigious TV presenter didn’t like? Big deal. And, by the way, Ms Riley is trying to sue me for libel and knows what I think about that.

Or is it because deeply untrustworthy individuals like Margaret Hodge and the current leaders of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement want complaints about Labour Party members to be handled by a separate organisation – presumably one that they may control at will?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying an independent complaints procedure is a bad idea. Labour’s own process is an ongoing train crash of titanic proportions, of which every single person involved, from the so-called compliance unit up through the National Executive Committee to the bunglers on the National Kangaroo Court Constitutional Committee should be deeply ashamed. It is a national humiliation for that great political organisation.

I’m just saying it should never be handed over to people with an overt agenda, such as those named in the Guardian article to which you may find a link below.

They include, but are not restricted to: Margaret Hodge, anybody in the JLM, Stella Creasy, Wes Streeting, Ruth Smeeth, or anybody in the Parliamentary Labour Party who supports their version of an independent complaints process.

Labour members deserve better – but they have a long way to go until they get it. Maybe Laura Murray is the first step on the way.

Source: Labour row erupts as ex-Corbyn aide is made head of complaints | Politics | The Guardian


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Latest benefit-related suicide – DWP excused as coroner claims errors were breach of procedure, not duty

151212DPACStephenSmith

Oh, so the DWP shouldn’t be blamed for causing Stephen Smith’s deaths because it breached procedure, rather than breaching its legal duty, did it?

What filthy rubbish, from a man who should know better.

Perhaps assistant coroner Nigel Parsley should read up on the DWP’s recent history of such ‘errors’ and see if, perhaps, he can discern a pattern there?

Possibly a target-related pattern?

How many of these deaths need to take place before people like Parsley accept that there is a purpose behind them?

Until he does, the only thing he has achieved with his mealy-mouthed apologism is providing Iain Duncan Smith an excuse for his appalling death count.

A 50-year-old man from Leiston with a history of anxiety took his own life after changes to his benefits left him unable to cope, an inquest heard yesterday.

Stephen Smith, of Seaward Avenue, took his own life on January 17 this year, following a long period of mental health problems.

Changes to the benefits system in June last year meant that Mr Smith was invited to submit a Personal Independent Payment (PIP) claim, as his disability allowance was about to expire.

But after the Department of Work and Pensions ruled that he was ineligible, Mr Smith and his partner Lucy Stewart, who was also on benefits relating to a learning disability, saw their weekly total cut by £137.55, and left the 50-year-old in depair over his financial situation.

However, a follow-up call from the DWP explaining its decision did not take place, prompting Mr Smith to send a formal letter to reconsider the assessment in November with the help of the Disability Advice Centre..

A second error at the DWP in December resulted in Mr Smith’s details being updated, before his appeal was mistakenly closed down before it had been labelled for reconsideration. The DWP in its statement said it admitted that errors had been made.

At the inquest in IP-City Centre Ipswich yesterday, Miss Stewart’s father David said the ensuing anxiety and reduced payments were the triggers for Mr Smith’s suicide.

Assistant coroner Nigel Parsley … recorded that Mr Smith had taken his own life.

Mr Parsley added that while the DWP had admitted to errors, they were mistakes in procedure and were not a breach of its legal duty.

Source: Leiston man, 50, died after being unable to cope with changes to benefits – News – East Anglian Daily Times

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Bercow bemoans ‘sorry saga’ of European Arrest Warrant

Perfect timing: Chief Whip Michael Gove arrives in the Commons chamber just as Speaker John Bercow is finishing his attack on the government's handling of the proposed debate and vote on the European Arrest Warrant. The blame for the fiasco has been laid on the government's whips.

Perfect timing: Chief Whip Michael Gove arrives in the Commons chamber just as Speaker John Bercow is finishing his attack on the government’s handling of the proposed debate and vote on the European Arrest Warrant. The blame for the fiasco has been laid on the government’s whips.

John Bercow is a Conservative – although, for much of the time, it’s hard to tell what planet he’s on, let alone whose side.

As Speaker of the House of Commons he is supposed to be impartial but he seems to find it hard to maintain this stance, with his own party bearing the brunt of his displeasure more often than not.

Today has been a prime example. The government had scheduled a debate over the European Arrest Warrant but there was confusion over whether a vote would take place.

It had been promised by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.

But the matter had been complicated when some MPs tried to turn it into an issue about the European Union, rather than justice.

The motion today followed a decision last year to opt out of 133 EU police and criminal justice measures, including the European Arrest Warrant – and was expected to be about rejoining 35 of those measures, including the EAW.

But at the start of the debate, Mr Bercow had to tell MPs that the vote would be on only 10 of the regulations. It seems the government was hoping to slip the EAW through ‘by proxy’. Perhaps the hope was that this would avoid a possible schism in the Conservative Party over the EU.

Former Tory – now UKIP – MP Douglas Carswell tweeted his opinion of this behaviour: “Devious and underhand tactics by govt whips have reduced Commons to a farce.”

The BBC has reported that Mr Bercow said he had expected a vote on the warrant, condemned the situation as a “sorry saga” and added that “the House should not be put in that position”.

He said: “A commitment is a commitment to be honoured, rather than trying to slip things through [by] some sort of artifice.

He said the public expected “straightforward dealing and they are frankly contemptuous… of what is not straightforward dealing”.

That discussion took place between 4.30 and 5pm and at the time of writing – 7.30pm – MPs remain undecided about what they are debating.

You see, it gets worse. After the Speaker savaged the situation, InJustice Secretary Chris Grayling got up and said the vote would be on all 35 measures the government wants to bring back in – directly contradicting Mr Bercow. That got shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper up on her hind legs to deliver the damning verdict: “What a shambles; what complete chaos.”

It is.

It is another example of the low regard Conservative ministers have for Parliamentary procedure and the rule of law.

If they want to push a measure through, then they will descend to any depth in order to achieve it. In this case, it seems they wanted to avoid giving Eurosceptic Tories a chance to rebel against the government, so the Chief Whip (Michael Gove), the Justice Secretary (Chris Grayling) and the Home Secretary (Theresa May) seem to have cooked up a fudge, with a vote on only 10 measures but the decision expected to count on the EAW as well.

That is “not straightforward dealing”. It is “trying to slip things through [by] some sort of artifice”.

It is not statesmanlike.

It certainly isn’t honest.

It is the behaviour of people who clearly do not deserve to be ministers in the UK government.

But then, the Coalition has made a mockery of Parliament ever since May 2010.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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