Tonight, 19 people will seal the fate of 8,400 members of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party
This is an article that will be published in the next issue of Labour Briefing. Because the inaugural — final? — meeting of the NEC-imposed steering committee is tonight (7.30pm, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD — see agenda), I wanted to publish it in an attempt to inform Labour Party members across Brighton and Hove.
You probably have not even heard of some of the 19 committee members; you certainly will not have heard from them; and you will almost certainly never have a chance to vote on what they decide. So please read, suppress your tears, and share your anger — about another nail in the coffin of Labour Party democracy.
There is no other way to describe the NEC-imposed steering committee appointed to subvert the democratic wishes of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party (BHDLP).
The future of the biggest party unit in the country — with more than 8,000 members — lies in the hands of 19 people. Some have no connection with the city; some were overwhelmingly defeated at the party’s annual meeting on July 9; some were responsible for lies about “spitting” that resulted in the party being suspended and its elections annulled.
The truth is the elections were “voided” only because members voted by up to 65% for a new leadership team comprising supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.
In the letter of suspension, members had been promised a re-run of the annual meeting and new elections. Even that promise has been binned.
When it was disclosed a steering committee was to be tasked with splitting the citywide party into three constituency Labour parties (CLPs), we were assured it would comprise outgoing officers and those elected in July.
Comrades correctly calculated pro-Corbyn members would have a narrow majority. How could the anti-democrats fix it otherwise?
First, they expelled Mark Sandell, the elected chair; then, they suspended me — a few days before the 19-member committee was appointed. Then the extent of the “fix” became clear. For the committee now includes: two members of Labour’s southeast regional board; the regional director; Peter Kyle, MP for Hove; and — irony of ironies — Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council, who repeatedly spread lies about the “spitting”.
The fear is the re-organisation — already on the agenda for many on the left — will be rushed through over Christmas and New Year. There are concerns there will be no role for all-member meetings in the CLPs, nor in the Local Campaigns Forum as it initiates the process for selecting council candidates.
About 150 people attended a “Stop the Purge” meeting organised by Momentum Brighton & Hove. The biggest gathering of BHDLP members since July voted to accept the split — but with details being overseen only by officers elected in July.
We can expect huge inaugural constituency meetings soon in Hove, Brighton Kemptown, and Brighton Pavilion. Thousands of members will refuse to be defeated by the undemocratic manoeuvrings of a tiny minority of sore losers.
Greg Hadfield was elected secretary of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party on July 9; the results were “voided” on July 14; he was suspended on October 26. He blogs at: www.medium.com/@greghadfield. Twitter: @greghadfield.