Response of Mark Sandell, chair-elect of suspended Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, to Neil Grant, executive producer of Channel Four Dispatches (to be broadcast at 7.25pm on Monday, September 19)

Mark Sandell was sent a letter by Neil Grant, managing director and executive producer of Films of Record, the independent production company responsible for Channel Four Dispatches (September 19). He received it barely a week before broadcast — and five weeks after covert filming of a public talk he gave on August 8 at a public meeting of Lewisham Momentum in a public library. His reply — to which he has not yet had any response — was:

Friday, September 16 2016

WITHOUT PREJUDICE: Films of Record and Channel Four’s Dispatches

Dear Mr Grant,

Thank you for your communication dated September 12 2016, barely a week before proposed broadcast of Channel Four’s Dispatches on Monday, September 19.

I am puzzled why you covertly filmed me speaking publicly at a public meeting in a public building. Can you send me copies of the paperwork you must have submitted to Channel Four in line with their rules for such subterfuge by independent production companies? Can you also send me copies of Channel Four’s written permission for such subterfuge?

Please also explain why you did not approach me for comment — either on camera or off camera — in the five weeks since your subterfuge. I have taken advice and I am advised you have already materially breached the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

I would also point out that the reference to “….the Labour Party (from which you have been banned)…..” is patently untrue.

I am happy to answer and correct the salient points in your letter:

· It is demonstrably false to state that I “ran the Momentum slate for the Brighton, Hove, and District Labour Party”;

· I have no knowledge — and have seen no evidence — of anyone attending the annual meeting who was not entitled to be there;

· I joined the Labour Party in 1986 and did not mislead anyone;

· I did not mislead anyone about my political views. I am not a member of any organisation other than the Labour Party. I have never made a secret of my support for the ideas of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), which is not named as a proscribed organisation. I have sold Solidarity, the AWL’s newspaper, at several Labour Party meetings in the last year;

· What I said was said publicly at a public meeting, in a public building. Why was subterfuge and covert filming used without me being even asked for an interview?

· If senior representatives of the Labour Party continue to use their positions to attack the membership and the democratically-elected leadership of the party — thus undermining Labour Party chances of winning elections — members are entitled to vote to select alternative candidates and representatives, in accordance with procedures already laid down in the Labour Party Rule Book. (Mandatory reselection would require a national rule change by the Labour Party.). Boundary Commission changes to Brighton and Hove constituencies will make a selection process almost inevitable. And, given that Peter Kyle will not even join a junior doctors’ picket line, I very much doubt I will be supporting him.

Mark Sandell, chair-elect of Brighton, Hove, and District Labour Party

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