Labour members who have been prohibited from supporting Jeremy Corbyn in party meetings have now been told they cannot discuss the subject of freedom of speech.

An email last Thursday from the party’s administrative head, the General Secretary, David Evans, ruled that any motions of ‘solidarity’ (with anyone) or any motions discussing the processes of the Parliamentary Labour Party are out of order.

His reason for prohibiting these motions was that they 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 particular our Jewish members’.

This has caused a great deal of anger for members who support Jeremy Corbyn but abhor anti-semitism, and has also upset many Jewish members who do not feel that the General Secretary should speak for them in this way.

Since the directive from Evans, a number of CLP Secretaries and Chairs have been suspended from the party for allowing motions to be discussed at their meetings. This includes respected NEU National Officer Louise Regan (in Nottingham East), Pete Firmin and Bridget Dunne (Hampstead & Kilburn).

Their suspensions have been covered by national media and they have been hounded on social media.

Chairs and Secretaries of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) face a dilemma as they are being urged by many members to allow discussion about Jeremy Corbyn, while also being threatened by unelected Regional Officials who tell them to block debate. Jon Rogers spoke eloquently about this on Sunday’s discussion on ‘Not the Andrew Marr Show’.

Many CLPs, such as Sedgefield, have decided the only course of action to take that satisfies members’ desire for discussion is to table a motion of no confidence in the General Secretary. They have seen this as the last resort.

Regional directive

In the last couple of days, however, at least one Regional Director of the party has extended the scope of what motions are prohibited.

Labour Grassroots was sent a copy of an email sent by Phil Gaskin, the Labour Party’s South West Regional Organiser, that argues that allowing a motion of no confidence in Evans would ‘create a situation where Jewish members would be made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome’.

Gaskin’s authority comes from Evans so it is not a surprise that he would wish to stick up for his boss, but his claim further undermines the authority and integrity of CLP officers who would not allow members to feel unsafe for any reason.

Former human rights lawyer Sir Keir Starmer has not commented on the matter.

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15 Comments

  1. We members of the Labour Party must make a stand against this leadership’s disgraceful interference in CLP business. They have no power to dictate what we can or can’t discuss and their attempt to smear us as ‘antisemite’ if we wish to pass motions critical of the leadership’s authoritarian behaviour against members is deeply cynical and will not be tolerated.

  2. After 52 years of either being a member, voter, donator and helper walking the streets in all weathers promoting Labour I am absolutely appalled at what has and what is happening within Labour, never seen the like in all those years! I, my family and friends are done with Labour under its present guise. KS is not fit for purpose and if he and Labour carry on with the disgusting dictatorship it will be the death knoll for the Labour Parliamentary Party!!!

  3. Yes its smacks of dictatorship seen it coming with JC leadership challenge and then his explosion, When you have a really authentic freadom fighter for a true just society go then so is its foundation very distablising

    1. I absolutely agree with you. Did Hitler act like this? Keir Starmer is a disgrace for a human being.

  4. We are no longer a party of the people we have a right to freedom of speech I am appalled by this party leader if all we hear is true the man is a despot and holds not one value that could be called socialist

  5. Seeiously shocked by this; this is political censorship!

    Ruling out of order a discussion because it may ‘undermine the Labour Party’s ability to provide a safe and welcoming space for all members, in particular our Jewish members’…………..ensuring a safe and welcoming space for members is responsibility of the Chair, members of the Executive and the members themselves!

    A safe and welcoming space is created by a politically educated and conscious membership.

    Without a political participating membership, the Labour Party is in serious danger of loosing me, and many others!

  6. I think now the only course of action is to leave in droves. Maybe a coordinated action, restyling local CLPs as Free labour Party.

  7. It has been suggested that a vote of confidence in KS be moved….and everyone votes against it. Genius.

  8. I’m afraid I’ve already left due to the Party’s utter failure to address the obvious conflicts between women’s rights and trans rights ( not that Jeremy was any better in this). The last straw was being required to mourn for the deaths of mostly transwomen in Brazil working in prostitution and the implication that transpeople in the U.K. are at huge risk of homicide. In the last ten years several more transwomen have murdered people in the U.K. than have actually been murdered, And an accurate objective statement that mammals cannot change sex can be reported as a hate crime, and is included in statistics. Finally, on the day of the “ Counting dead women” event we are still informed that transwomen are women. Just sick of this sycophancy.

    1. Absolutely right Alison, it’s become totally intolerable. I was rejected as a party member when I applied to rejoin well over a year ago, because i defend womens sex-based rights – and for alleged) anti-semitism. Have been waiting a year for an appeal hearing. Not saying sorry, and not changing my mind. But why would I want to be a member of a party that bans debate on topics that are fundamental to the essence of its being. It’s McCarthyite behaviour on the part of the leader and the general secretary. And is actually contrary to the recommendations of the EHRC report. Though I do have plenty of criticisms of the many failings of the EHRC enquiry and its report.

  9. Labour Party now in Keir 4
    Increasing numbers of cases of Corbyn have been detected in all areas of the Labour Party. The Leadership has therefore taken the drastic but necessary step of placing the whole of the Labour Party in Keir 4 with immediate effect. Keir 4 is the highest level of political lockdown.
    The Rules in Keir 4 are as follows:
    (1) The symptoms of Corbyn include Socialism, Anti-Imperialism and Party Democracy. All members must be on their guard at all times and suspected cases must be reported and placed in Quarantine.
    (2) All members not officially authorised to speak by David Evans or Angela Rayner must wear a muzzle in all public or private gatherings of more than one person.
    (3) Any member uttering the words “Jeremy”, “Corbyn” or “Jeremy Corbyn” in a non-pejorative context is a “Carrier” and will be suspended and must self-isolate until expelled.
    (4) The same applies to the words “Racism” (except when meaning anti-Semitism), “Islamophobia” and “Palestine”.
    (5) Any member who has been in contact with a Carrier must self-isolate until further notice.
    (6) There is no such thing as the Israel Lobby and referring to it is anti-Semitic and will lead to expulsion.
    (7) In order to ensure that the Labour Party is a safe and welcoming space for Jews, any Jewish member expressing views unacceptable to the Israel Lobby will be expelled.
    (8) The Labour Party must convince the Northern working-class voters who have gone Tory that we have the greatest respect for them and understand their legitimate frustration. This is to be achieved by incorporating the stupid, racist, xenophobic prejudices of the Authentic Working Class in the next Labour Manifesto.
    (9) Any BAME member or MP who complains about racism by Labour Party staff or office-holders is undermining the drive to reconnect with the Authentic Working Class, thereby imperilling the Labour Victory to which Keir Starmer is leading the Party, and must be suspended pending expulsion.
    (10) Labour Party staff who sabotaged the Party’s campaign at the last Election and worked for a Labour defeat are to be compensated for having it pointed out.

  10. A PLP beyond any criteria for assessment and criticism means they no longer part of the party. Not everything can be put under the umbrella of “provide a safe and welcoming space for all members, in particular our Jewish members’. These attempts to do so are anti-democratic and duplicitous because they are afraid of coming out and being honest about what they’re doing. When and if they come out of the closet and put forward their real reasons instead of this pretence of protecting a particular group they will at least be truthful. The most important thing is that while this is going on we are the party of racism; locked inside one argument and ignoring all others about prejudice, bias and repression. It means we are not a party worth voting for or fighting for because it makes us Tories under the skin, wearing their clothes and applauding their efforts.

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