‘Draconian and contrary to every standard and value Labour should stand for. A literal bonfire of members’ human rights.’
‘Stinks of Stalinism. If party rules say he is allowed to decide contents of meetings then the rules need to be changed.‘
Labour members across the country have responded to a Labour Grassroots survey by lambasting the General Secretary of the Labour Party for his latest email directive.
David Evans wrote to Labour officials across the country to tell them that motions should be ruled out of order if they express any ‘solidarity’ (without specifically mentioning what or who with), or if they discuss the internal workings of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
His justification for this ruling was that such motions ‘provide a flashpoint for the expression of views that undermine the Labour Party’s ability to provide a safe and welcoming space for all members, in particularly our Jewish members’.
This has been interpreted as a coded message against motions calling for the whip to be returned to Jeremy Corbyn.
The fact that Evans does not mention Corbyn by name gives the email a sinister tone that has not gone down well with members.
‘It’s absolutely unbelievable – almost Mccarthy-esque’ (one survey respondent)
‘Unbelievable in a so called democratic socialist Party. Seriously questioning if Labour has lost its way.’ (another survey respondent)
‘Suppression of freedom of thought and speech worthy of China and Russia.’ (another survey respondent)
‘An affront to democracy. It’s also vindictive, the making of dictatorship. Very dangerous precedent.’ (another survey respondent)
‘A streak of authoritarianism and a pervasion of due process seems to have began its erosion of the Labour Party’ (another survey respondent
Since Evans’s email, several CLPs have held meetings where a motion of no confidence in the General Secretary has been passed.
And some CLPs have defied his directive by putting forward motions in support of Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour Grassroots survey found a vast majority of members think it is right that motions in support of Jeremy Corbyn should be allowed to be discussed in meetings.
The survey found a similar result in response to the question whether Labour members should be suspended from the party if they allow motions in support of Jeremy Corbyn to be discussed at meetings.
Unfortunately, several Labour members have been suspended for upholding freedom of speech and this has led to even more anger with the party’s bureaucracy.
On tomorrow’s ‘Not the Andrew Marr Show’, we will be discussing the General Secretary’s latest directive and are joined by outspoken NEC member Howard Beckett as well as Labour activists who have been caught up in this issue.
One or two members are even joining us wearing a disguise as they are worried about disciplinary action should they be identified.
To watch, register below