Natural Justice Goes Out the Door as Labour’s Expulsion Circus Rolls On
Labour’s National Executive Committee is Struck Dumb — not least its left wing members
On 30th June Shami Chakrabarti produced a Report on Racism. It has now been taken down on the orders of Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol from Labour’s website. The reason for this is that the recommendations of the Chakrabarti are clearly inconvenient to McNicol’s apparatchiks in the Compliance Unit who would not recognise a breach of natural justice if they had stumbled into Ronald Freisler’s Peoples Court (he was Hitler’s favourite judge).
I have therefore copied it to my google drive and people can access it there!
In a section on Publicity Chakrabarti stated that:
It is completely unfair, unacceptable and a breach of Data Protection law that anyone should have found out about being the subject to an investigation or their suspension by way of the media and indeed that leaks, briefing or other publicity should so often have accompanied a suspension pending investigation.
She spoke about ‘the application of the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality.’ and noted in respect of Labour’s complaints and disciplinary procedures that ‘they are wanting. They lack sufficient transparency, uniformity and expertise in delivery.’
You might think, given that McNicol’s monkeys in the Compliance Unit had taken 17+ months to bring a case against me, that the NCC would have no objection to me having more than 4 weeks within which to prepare a reponse to a bundle comprises 189 pages. However you would be wrong.
Labour’s witch hunters are in a hurry. After having received a knockback over the expulsion of Moshe Machover, an Israeli anti-Zionist, they are determined to get the ball rolling. I am one of the three main targets of the witch hunters, the other two being Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth.
The Jewish Chronicle predicted on October 31st that ‘Three forthcoming NCC hearings will involve Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein — all of whom face charges of antisemitism.’ and sure enough two days later I was emailed a Bundle of nonsense. Expelled anti-Zionist Moshe Machover readmitted to Labour Party
One suspects that even the notorious Justice Melford Stevenson, whose house was named ‘truncheons’ would have had some difficulty in refusing an application for a postponement when the person is in hospital! However Labour’s nominally independent National Constitutional Committee is made of sterner stuff.
I won’t bore people with the details as I am copying below the relevant correspondence. A Jane Shaw, who is one more party apparatchik, has only once shown signs of humour. That was when she told me that “The Party never discusses matters relating to individual members with third parties.” Given that the first I learnt of why I was suspended, back in April 2016, was when the Telegraph and Times printed stories on the basis of leaks from the Compliance Unit, I can only assume that this was said in jest.
What is clear is that McNicol and Labour’s Blairite bureaucracy, after the Left’s success at Conference, are determined to pursue the witch hunt and to do their best to ensure that right-wing MPs are protected against reselection. It is to the shame and discredit of the Left on the National Executive Committee that they have been silent on the witch hunt.
The major mistake of Jeremy Corbyn so far has been to refuse to move against Iain McNicol. As long as the Labour apparatus is in the hands of Blair’s appointees then the Party will not be in full support of its leader. We saw that in the last election when on McNicol’s instructions the Party’s main efforts were put into defending the position of Progress MPs and not in supporting candidates in winnable seats. McNicol is a treacherous snake whose head should have been cut off long ago. As long as this viper is allowed to remain in post he will do as much damage as he can to the Labour Party. His first loyalty is to Labour Friends of Israel and Progress/Labour First.
I have also written to Ms Shaw stating my objection to Peter Mason, from the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, having anything to do with my case as he was elected to the NCC. In the Jewish News of July 2016 he expressed the view that ‘Ken Livingstone’s continued membership of the party is no longer tenable.’ I realise that Mason probably thinks he is in Greater Israel where convictions in military courts, which try Palestinians (not Jews of course) are running at 99.7% but I have let the NCC know that I object to this creature being anywhere near a tribunal hearing my case.
It has been a slow process getting people together but we have the next meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt on Saturday 2nd December at 12.00–3.00 at the Calthorpe Arms, Gray’s Inn Road, Kings Cross.
Governance and Legal Unit
The Labour Party
105 Victoria Street
Friday, 24 November 2017
Dear Ms Shaw,
I don’t want to be offensive but corresponding with you is akin to arguing with a dictaphone. You or those who instruct you seem incapable of responding to the points I have made.
I sent you a detailed letter of 21st November. I referred you to the sections of the Chakrabarti Report in respect of due process. What was your response? Nothing.
By your own admission the time limits, which are a minimum not a maximum, in Appendix 6 have not been adhered to yet no flexibility has been shown on the question of time limits.
I have also pointed out that Appendix 6 of the Rules which governs the proceedings of the NCC is in any event advisory i.e. it is not part of the Rule book. In other words the NCC retains its discretion but has chosen not to exercise it.
I have also pointed out that section 6(D)(i) of Appendix 6 states that complaints about the procedure adopted by the Party prior to the presentation of charges will ‘not be entertained by the NCC or panel thereof unless it is material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges.’ (my emphasis)
You say that ‘Your email includes no new information or evidence to support your contention that you are unable to provide an answer to the charges by 1 December.’
It should be obvious that a delay by 17+ months in preparing the case against me is highly relevant as to whether I have sufficient time to prepare my case. Again you are struck dumb. There are only two explanations. Either the person instructing you is incapable of understanding a point that any normally intelligent child would be able to comprehend or that they are determined to do McNicol’s work as quickly as possible. My preference is for the second explanation.
You say that my complaint re the above ‘should be directed to the General Secretary.’ But I thought the NCC was in control of its own procedures? Are you really saying that even over the simplest matters of timetabling that you are taking instructions from the Iain McNicol? You would seem to be confirming that the NCC lacks even a figleaf of independence from those prosecuting the case. Iain McNicol is the last person to direct a complaint to.
As regards providing ‘independent evidence’ regarding my health or caring obligations, the evidence I have provided so far is more than sufficient. I am not willing to play games with you. The fact that I was in hospital when you sent the charges and the fact that I am under continual medical supervision by virtue of a liver transplant would be sufficient evidence for most people.
Whilst I am happy to provide evidence that my son is detained under the MHA and that he is due for release soon I have no intention of asking the hospital to provide what can only be subjective evidence about something they have no knowledge about. In any event I would not wish to involve them in such a matter.
The real question is what is the objection to allowing a reasonable time within which to fully answer the 59+ separate charges? The fact that the Labour Party has taken some 20 months since my suspension, which is itself an outrageous length of time for anyone to be suspended, would be considered extremely relevant by anyone who purported to be independent.
The only conceivable explanation is that the NCC is more concerned about going through the motions in its desire to effect my expulsion.
As part of your commitment to transparency you have also failed to inform me of the identity of the NCC members who will try my case. In addition to, of course, the identity of the complainants. I therefore wish to register my objection to Peter Mason, a member of the NCC being on any panel. He is a member of the Jewish Labour Movement which has made a complaint against me and whose Chair Jeremy Newmark has tweeted comments desiring my expulsion. The inclusion of Peter Mason would be what is usually known as a corrupt practice.
Dear Mr Greenstein,
I refer to your email sent on 21 November at 05.59.
Your email includes no new information or evidence to support your contention that you are unable to provide an answer to the charges by 1 December and be prepared to attend a hearing on 11th December. The NCC’s position therefore remains as stated in previous correspondence.
As regards your complaints regarding the administration of the investigation and other processes undertaken between your suspension and the charges against you being presented, it is not accepted by the NCC that the matters of which you complain are “material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges” and as such in accordance with appendix 6.6.D.ii the complaint should be directed to the General Secretary.
I still look forward to receiving your answer to charge, but regarding the timetable and hearing date, I have to advise you that there will be no further consideration by the NCC of the points you have raised unless you are able to provide independent evidence that your health or caring obligations will prevent you from meeting latest submission dates and/or attending the hearing.
Governance and Legal Unit
The Labour Party
Labour Central, Kings Manor
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA
From: Tony Greenstein [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 23 November 2017 12:21 AM
To: Jane Shaw
Dear Ms Shaw,
I confess that when I read your statement ‘The Party never discusses matters relating to individual members with third parties. ‘ I had to rub my eyes in astonishment. I can think of only 3 explanations for your statement.
i. Either you are in possession of one of those extendable Pinnochio noses or
ii. You are in possession of a sense of humour, a quality not normally known amongst Labour’s Blairite civil service or
iii. You are suffering from delusions, hallucinations or other symptoms of a psychotic disorder, in which case you have my sympathy.
I first learnt about the reasons for my suspension when I read the Telegraph and Times of 2nd April 2016. Up to then the Compliance Unit had refused to tell me what it was that I was alleged to have said that had led to my suspension. This could only have come from a leak from Labour Party staff such as yourself. Jackie Walker and others have complained about having been leaked against suggesting that it is an unofficial policy condoned by Iain McNicol.
McNicol has consistently resisted my suggestion that he Inquire into these leaks. It is of course understandable that he should resist having a leak Inquiry since there is no purpose in inquiring into that which you already know.
Perhaps I should remind you what Shami Chakrabarti said in her Report, a Report that is no longer available on the Labour Party’s website. In a section titled Publicity she wrote:
‘It is completely unfair, unacceptable and a breach of Data Protection law that anyone should have found out about being the subject to an investigation or their suspension by way of the media and indeed that leaks, briefing or other publicity should so often have accompanied a suspension pending investigation.’
Your absurd statement was sent in response to my having pointed out that you were saying one thing to me and another thing to others who are suspended in respect of time limits for preparing submissions.
You have no said where the NCC hearing is. Please be advised that because of care for my son I will, like the Investigation Hearing, be unable to make a meeting at a venue outside Brighton and Hove.
On 22 November 2017 at 15:53, Jane Shaw <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Mr Greenstein,
The Party never discusses matters relating to individual members with third parties.
From: Tony Greenstein [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 21 November 2017 07:08
To: Jane Shaw <email@example.com>
Cc: akerr <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Alex Rowley <email@example.com>; Alun Davies <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Andi Fox <email@example.com>; Margaret Beckett <firstname.lastname@example.org>; HollandDiana <Diana.Holland@unitetheunion.org>; george howarth <email@example.com>; Jasmin Beckett <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Jim Kennedy <email@example.com>; birchk <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Kate Osamor <email@example.com>; Jeremy Corbyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>; paddy illis <email@example.com>; firstname.lastname@example.org; Rebecca Long-Bailey Parliament <email@example.com>; Tom Watson <firstname.lastname@example.org>; John Trickett Parliament <email@example.com>; nicholsw <firstname.lastname@example.org>;email@example.com; Shabanamahmoodmp <Shabana.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Lies and Deception
I have just received a copy of your email to another person under suspension:
‘The relevant section reads:
‘The NCC and I take no part in any aspect of the Party’s Disciplinary proceedings prior to charges being presented against a member and regardless of process undertaken and the time taken previously; thereafter the NCC proceeds towards hearings without unnecessary delay in accordance with appendix 2 of the Rule Book. We appreciate that Christmas is imminent and allowance will be made for that when the hearing date is arranged, but being legally represented is not a reason that is normally accepted for deferring the date when the answer to charge is due to be received. Therefore until you hear otherwise I be advise you that your answer etc. remains due on 8 December.
A panel of the NCC will now be appointed to hear this case and details of the hearing will be given to you as soon as possible. Hearings are currently being arranged to take place in January 2018 and every effort will be made to accommodate you according to your availability if you can let me know before 28 November which dates you could not attend a hearing in January.
I look forward to hearing from you.’
Perhaps you would like to explain why I was not asked which dates I could make. It would seem that I am being singled out for ‘special treatment’ (you can ask McNicol the significance of that phrase for Jews)
I really do not appreciate being deceived
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 03:08:49
A Question of Equity — the proposed hearing by the NCC of charges against me
Dear Ms Shaw,
Thank you for your email of 20th November in response to my previous communication. Before responding to the substance of your comments it might be helpful to outline the basis of the disagreement that exists between us.
i. I was suspended from the Labour Party on March 18th 2016 because of comments I was alleged to have made. I was not informed, either then or subsequently, as to the nature of those comments. It is noticeable that the present charges do not refer to those comments. I was therefore suspended first and then a search was made for evidence to justify that suspension. Repeated requests on my part as to the nature of the allegations against me elicited no response from John Stolliday of the Compliance Unit.
ii. On April 2nd I learnt what the general nature of these remarks were when stories ‘Corbyn told to ‘exorcise’ anti-Semitism in his Party’ ‘Labour welcomes back blogger who compares Israelis to Nazis’ were leaked to the Telegraph and The Times.
iii. On April 4th I emailed the Respondent concerning the above whilst simultaneously being refused any information concerning the accusations against me. Iain McNicol replied that he was more concerned at my ‘unwarranted attack on a hardworking and diligent member of the Compliance Unit’, John Stolliday, than the leaks themselves.
iv. There can be no doubt that the Compliance Unit deliberately leaked this information. The Telegraph article spoke of:
‘’Evidence compiled by Labour’s compliance unit when Mr Greenstein attempted to join the party last summer, seen by The Telegraph.’ (my emphasis)
v. At no time has McNicol set up an Inquiry or displayed any interest in finding out how confidential material concerning my suspension found its way to the press. Others who have been suspended have also reported experiencing similar leaks to the press.
vi. McNicol’s disinterest is understandable. Why set up a leak inquiry into what you already know? The purpose of such leaks can only have been intended to prejudice future hearings into the allegations apart from being a flagrant breach of the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
vii. On May 30th I attended an Investigation hearing into the allegations which was conducted by Harry Gregson of Southern Region.
viii. Until your email of November 2nd 2017, over 17 months later, I received no further communication regarding my suspension or any hearing.
The Rules and Procedures of the NCC
ix. You state in your email that ‘The NCC proceeds towards hearings in accordance with appendix 2 of the Rule Book in all cases regardless of the process undertaken before charges are presented to it.’ Appendix 2 is concerned with procedural guidelines on membership, recruitment and retention.’ I presume you meant Appendix 6.
x. Appendix 6, the Procedural Guidelines in disciplinary cases brought before the NCC, do not form part of the Party’s rules although they have been approved by the NEC. [paragraph 2, Appendix 6] In other words they are advisory and not binding.
xi. The NEC has also given its approval to the Report of the Chakrabarti Inquiry of 30 June 2016, which I notice has been surreptitiously removed from the Labour Party’s web site. In view of the detailed attention paid by Shami Chakrabarti to the Labour Party’s disciplinary process it is, to say the least, remiss that you didn’t also send me this Report or the relevant parts.
xii. Chakrabarti devotes Section 5 (pp. 15–22) to ‘Clear and transparent compliance procedures for dealing with allegations’ and the opening paragraph speaks of ‘a lack of clarity and confidence in current disciplinary procedures from all sides of the Party, including on the part of those who have complained and been complained against.’
xiii. Chakrabarti says that it is ‘important that the procedures explain that those in respect of whom allegations have been made are clearly informed of the allegation(s) made against them, their factual basis and the identity of the complainant — unless there are good reasons not to do so.’
xiv. In a section Publicity Chakrabarti states that ‘It is completely unfair, unacceptable and a breach of Data Protection law that … leaks, briefing or other publicity should so often have accompanied a suspension pending investigation. Indeed such an interim suspension being public ought to be the greatest exception rather than the rule.’
xv. Under The Power of Interim Suspension Chakrabarti speaks of the ‘application of the vital legal principles of due process (or natural justice) and proportionality.’ It is unacceptable that you have chosen to pay no regard to Chakrabarti’s recommendations and comments which have equal if not greater weight than Appendix 6.
Regarding the specific points which you make in your letter:
1. You state that the NCC ‘proceeds towards hearings in accordance with appendix 2 (i.e. appendix 6 — TG) of the Rule Book in all cases regardless of the process undertakenbefore charges are presented to it.’ (my emphasis).
2. Not only is this contrary to the most basic rules of natural justice and equity but it also ignores section 6(D)(i) of Appendix 6 which states that complaints about the procedure adopted by the Party prior to the presentation of charges will ‘not be entertained by the NCC or panel thereof unless it is material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges.’ (my emphasis)
3. My complaints are clearly material and relevant to the consideration of the evidence especially in the light of Chakrabarti’s recommendations.
4. You state that ‘Appendix 6.5.B.i requires letters enclosing the charges and bundle to be relied upon, be sent to the Respondent giving about six weeks’ notice of the hearing.’ Not only is Appendix 6 not part of the Labour Party’s Rules but it has to be seen in the light of Chakrabarti and also the basic principles of natural justice, fairness and equity.
5. You state that the charges and bundle were emailed to me. There is no provision within Appendix 6 for email. The email did not include a copy of the Rules and being in hospital I was unable to act upon it. Regardless I do not accept service by email.
6. You state that the package was posted to me with guaranteed next day delivery on November 2nd. There is of course no postal rule. It is a fact, which you do not dispute that I was in hospital in London until 3rd November and therefore was not at home to sign for the package. I signed for it on Monday 5th November. Since I was expected to respond in full within 4 weeks, this was clearly less than 4 weeks.
7. It is also noticeable that s.5(B)(i) says that ‘Letters shall normally be sent… giving about six weeks notice’ whereas in 5(B)(ii) it specifically mentions ‘two weeks after date of posting of the letter’. There is no reference in the former to time running from the date of posting as opposed to receipt.
8. By your own admission the bundle and papers were only ‘technically sent’ within the guideline at appendix 6.5.B.i, and you yourself admit that I was ‘given less than a full six weeks’ notice of the hearing’. Having accepted that I was given less than the requisite time it is clearly untrue to then go on to state that I was given a ‘full four weeks’ to submit my response to the charges. Your suggestion that ‘If anything that puts the NEC at a disadvantage’ I shall treat as no more than a rhetorical flourish.
9. Regardless of whether the procedures in Appendix 6 were strictly complied with, despite admitting that they weren’t adhered to or were only ‘technically’ complied with, my complaint relates to the procedure leading up to the laying of charges which have had a serious and adverse affect on my ability to conduct my defence.
10. The NEC had over 17 months since my Investigation Hearing or 20 months from the suspension itself before it laid charges.
11. Although there are 3 separate charges in the Charge Sheet they are broken down into what are, in reality, 54 separate points. In addition there are 6 separate complaints. Contrary to assurances that were given at a hearing concerning an Order under s.7(9) of the DPA 1998, the identity of the complainants has not been revealed. That cannot help but be prejudicial since it leaves me unable to assess the complainants’ motivation.
12. Apart from a copy of my suspension letter and 4 pages of notes of my Investigation Hearing by Harry Gregson there are 152 pages of social media posts and random articles as well as 4 pages of Labour’s Social Media Policy.
13. Despite the fact that the meeting was tape recorded and a verbatim transcript produced, the NEC has chosen to use Harry Gregson’s inaccurate notes even though the Labour Party produced in the DPA hearing above the actual transcript from my blog.
14. Clearly a lot of work has been undertaken assembling the charges and evidence against me and this has taken 17 months. It defies belief as to how you can suggest it is not material to the charges made against me.
15. Even were I fit and healthy then it would be reasonable to extend the period by which I had to fully respond. In view of the 17 months taken by the NEC then a further period of 3 months would not be unreasonable unless the Panel has reasons for wishing to expedite the process. To refuse all consideration of my requests suggests that the Panel is irredeemably biased.
16. Your second paragraph makes no sense. You state that you did not dispute the fact that I was in hospital but you simply required more information. This is disingenuous. In your email of 13th November you wrote:
‘As regards your request for a postponement of the hearing set for 11 December and for additional time in which to submit your answer to the NEC’s charges, I have to advise you that the it has been brought to the attention of the NCC that although in hospital recovering from surgery when you received the emailed notice of the charges and hearing on 2 November, on Saturday 4 November you travelled to London to attend a PSC march and rally and that that your photograph taken at Brighton station, was posted on Twitter. https://twitter.com/BrightonPSC/status/926761392203497472
I am therefore instructed to ask you to provide medical evidence regarding the matters that you wish the NCC to make adjustments to the usual timetable for.’
17. It is clear that you considered that your photograph of me at Brighton station was conclusive proof that I was not convalescing, otherwise why mention it? I won’t go into the morality of someone who searches the net for photographs of someone attending a demonstration or their motivation or even their identity.
18. If you had actually bothered to read the evidence I sent you then you would have realised that my stay in hospital related to having recently had a liver transplant. Being registered disabled, the fact that I went on a demonstration is completely irrelevant to the timescale required to respond to the charges which have been levelled.
19. I repeat once again that the time which has been given for a response to the charges, which is less than 4 weeks, is wholly insufficient and suggests that the Panel is merely going through the motions by holding a hearing. If the Panel refuses to review their previous decision then I shall be forced to take legal advice with a view to preventing the hearing on 11th December going ahead.
20. I will copy this to the NEC and other interested parties as the matters above are clearly of more general concern.
Monday 20 November 2017, 14:21
Dear Mr Greenstein,
The NCC proceeds towards hearings in accordance with appendix 2 of the Rule Book in all cases regardless of the process undertaken before charges are presented to it, in which the NCC and I take no part. Appendix 6.5.B.i requires letters enclosing the charges and bundle to be relied upon, be sent to the Respondent giving about six weeks’ notice of the hearing. In your case the letter and bundle was emailed and posted to you with guaranteed next day delivery on 2 November. In addition to the letter, charge sheet and bundle the posted package also included copies of the rule under which you are charged, chapter 6 and appendix 6 of the Rule Book. Taking account of the fact that although the package was technically sent within the guideline at appendix 6.5.B.i, you had been given less than a full six weeks’ notice of the hearing, a timetable was set and included in the letter sent to you that ensured you had a full two weeks after the letter was received to confirm whether you intended to contest the charges and a full four weeks to submit your answer to charge, witness statements etc. as required in appendix 6.5.B.ii. If anything that puts the NEC at a disadvantage in that its’ time to respond to your answer, should it wish to, is reduced.
As regards the request for medical evidence, it was not made because the NCC disputed that you were in hospital when you received the emailed letter and bundle on 2 November, but to confirm and provide more information about matters mentioned by you that could require the timetable as set to be amended to accommodate; i.e. your health issues and your caring obligations to your son. However the document you provided (there was nothing further sent with your email dated 16 November) only confirmed that you had a two night stay in hospital for elective surgery and when considered together with evidence of you being able on 4 November, the day after discharge from hospital, to travel to London to attend the PCS march and rally, the NCC decided there was insufficient reason to amend the timetable and that your hearing should take place as planned on 11 December.