Statement following expulsion of Mark Sandell and suspension of at least 15 members of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 19
Enough is enough, say members of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party
Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have called a public meeting of Labour Party members in Brighton and Hove after it emerged one of the party’s leading figures has been expelled.
The move — triggered by the expulsion of Mark Sandell, elected chair at the 6,200-member party’s annual meeting in July — comes as it was revealed that at least 15 other members have also been suspended.
One member was suspended — for a Facebook post made in December last year — only days after he had voted for Mr Corbyn in the most recent leadership ballot; as a result, his vote for Mr Corbyn was cancelled.
To protest at the expulsion and the suspensions, a public meeting for Labour Party members and supporters will be held as a matter of urgency. [Note to editors: the date and venue will be confirmed later today.]
Labour Party branches across Brighton and Hove are also being urged to pass motions calling for all expelled and suspended members to be re-instated immediately. [Note to editors: For wording, see below.}
Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party (the “City Party”) — the biggest party unit in the country — has been suspended for more than three months, even though allegations about “spitting” and “abusive behaviour” at the meeting at City College on July 9 have been proved to be untrue.
Members of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss the secret findings of a three-month investigation into BHDLP. They decided to force the City Party to be divided into three separate constituency parties — although this is unlikely to be possible before January next year.
Mr Sandell was secretly filmed by Channel Four Dispatches criticising Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove, for not joining junior doctors on picket lines and for not supporting calls for railways to be brought back into public ownership.
In a statement, Mr Sandell — who first joined the Labour Party in 1986 — said: “My expulsion is a direct attack on the hundreds of Labour Party members who attended the annual meeting of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party (BHDLP) on July 9.
“Members voted overwhelmingly for me and other supporters of Jeremy Corbyn as the new leadership team to represent more than 6,200 members across our city.
“Those who lost the election could not accept this decision. They immediately spread lies and false allegations — about “spitting” and “abusive behavior” — all of which have been shown to be untrue.
“Within days, BHDLP was suspended and banned from nominating Jeremy Corbyn. It is now being run by the old executive committee, which is mostly made up of those who lost democratic elections so badly.
“My expulsion is another desperate and undemocratic manoeuvre by those in the Labour Party who have lost the political argument against Corbyn and who want to silence the majority of Labour Party members.
“This small clique of career politicians and spin doctors will never accept socialist politics that put working-class people’s interests first. They want to return to the Labour Party of Tony Blair and are willing to crush party democracy in order to achieve their goal.”
For more information — including the forthcoming public meeting — please contact Greg Hadfield; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Model motion for discussion by Labour Party branches across Brighton, Hove and District:
This Labour Party branch deplores the fact that — since July — Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party (BHDLP) has been prevented from meeting by the party’s national executive committee (NEC). We do not believe any evidence has emerged that justifies the annulment of BHDLP’s annual meeting on July 9.
It is this branch party’s view that the punitive action against BHDLP was a response to allegations of poor conduct surrounding BHDLP’s AGM, which have been shown to be without substance.
Further, this branch party is very concerned by suspensions, auto-exclusions and expulsions of Labour Party members, which have been taking place since the 2016 Labour leadership contest began and which are continuing both in BHDLP and other constituency Labour parties (CLPs).
We believe the vast majority of such measures are spurious and undermine Labour Party unity and democracy at all levels of the party, due to the secretive and unaccountable working practices of the party’s Compliance Unit and other Labour staff or members involved.
We wish to move forward in a spirit of unity within a Labour Party that upholds its democratic socialist principles to extend the strongest principles of natural justice to all dealings with its members and supporters. Accordingly, this branch party calls on the re-imposed BHDLP executive committee to:
1) Organise a meeting of BHDLP, so that all BHDLP members have the opportunity to express their views. If BHDLP remains unable to meet, we call on its executive committee to organise separate but rolling meetings of the three CLPs to achieve the same end;
2) Write to all NEC members to make clear the view that the July 9 AGM was conducted properly and democratically, and its results should stand; and to invite NEC members to attend the meeting specified above. This letter and any responses received to be published on BHDLP’s website and Facebook page;
3) Support and publicise campaigns to re-instate to full party membership anyone suspended, auto-excluded or expelled from the Labour Party on the basis of their political orientation within the party, and to make clear that BHDLP supports freedom of speech and freedom of thought;
4) Co-opt the candidates successfully elected at BHDLP’s July 9 AGM as full voting members of the re-imposed BH DLP Executive — in particular, to ensure a smooth transition where officer roles are changing hands.