JVL + suspended officers test lawfulness of Labour Party instructions

by JVL + suspended officers Marion Roberts & Louise Regan

JVL + suspended officers test lawfulness of Labour Party instructions

by JVL + suspended officers Marion Roberts & Louise Regan
JVL + suspended officers Marion Roberts & Louise Regan
Case Owner
Marion Roberts, Vice Chair, Camberwell and Peckham CLP & Louise Regan, Chair, Nottingham East CLP - both administratively suspended from Labour Party. JVL representing Jewish & non-Jewish members
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JVL + suspended officers Marion Roberts & Louise Regan
Case Owner
Marion Roberts, Vice Chair, Camberwell and Peckham CLP & Louise Regan, Chair, Nottingham East CLP - both administratively suspended from Labour Party. JVL representing Jewish & non-Jewish members
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Latest: Dec. 26, 2020

Current target reached

The response to this appeal has been fantastic and we have very nearly reached our stretch target of £15000 in 2 days. This shows the strength of feeling for this action.

We have now raised enou…

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JVL and suspended officers Marion Roberts and Louise Regan are challenging the right of the General Secretary to restrict freedom of speech and free political debate at our meetings. 

We call upon David Evans, General Secretary, to rescind the existing instructions to Party members and to end the suspensions of any officers suspended for alleged breaches of these instructions.

Like many others, we have been deeply alarmed by the decision of David Evans, the Labour Party General Secretary, and the party’s legal and governance team, to issue a series of directives over recent weeks purporting to instruct CLP officers as to what can and can’t be discussed at meetings as ‘competent business’. This has led to many CLP officers up and down the country being suspended, sometimes within minutes of a meeting ending, with no explanation given as to the reason for their suspension, but seemingly for simply allowing members to speak on issues of importance to them.

We are seeking to examine the lawfulness of his action and to challenge both those actions and the suspensions that have resulted.

We have taken advice from counsel and have written to the Labour Party outlining our case. We will need your help to cover this action and to continue such action as is needed following their reply.

Currently the directives from the General Secretary prohibit Chairs and Secretaries of CLPs from permitting the tabling and debating of motions or other forms of business which concern:

  • expressions of support for the former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn following his suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party
  • the findings of the EHRC Report
  • the merits and demerits of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's "Working Definition of Antisemitism" as party policy
  • the Labour Party's decision to settle the BBC Panorama "whistleblowers" legal action against the Party by in effect admitting liability and paying the "whistleblowers" £600,000 out of party funds.

These directives are unprecedented in their sweeping nature and censorious tone.  Many CLPs consider the instructions are unfair and/or unreasonable; and that the General Secretary’s actions, in resorting to the use of delegated powers in issuing them, go beyond the limits of reasonable interpretation and application of the Party Rule Book.

We aim to find out if these restrictions:

  • infringe the contractual rights of rank-and-file members, including their right to free speech and debate
  • put officers of CLPs into a position of conflict between their duty (such as it is) to comply with the instructions of the General Secretary issued under his delegated powers, and their own duties as CLP officers, bound as they are by CLP standing orders. 

As numerous CLP chairs and secretaries put it in an open letter to the Respondent on 8 December:

Suspensions of officers who allow discussion on the removal of the whip from Jeremy Corbyn to take place also raises serious issues – chairs have in some instances had their membership of the party suspended for allowing discussion to take place when the General Committee or All Member Meeting has voted for them to do so. As CLP Officers, we are elected by General Committees or All Member Meetings, not appointed by the General Secretary and therefore we are being called upon, under threat of membership suspension, to break our own standing orders, and the rules of the party…

Treating our members’ rights with respect is also important for morale and increases the capacity of local parties to turn outwards and campaign in elections. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that was long fought for and has been traditionally upheld by the Labour Party, including in our party meetings...

We need your help to challenge the General Secretary’s actions, to determine whether there has been unlawful political interference in members’ rights to free speech, and to seek to halt and reverse these prohibitions. We want these wrongfully suspended CLP officers to be reinstated!

We know there are many calls on your generosity at this moment, but if you can, please donate to this action and share widely.


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Update 2

JVL + suspended officers Marion Roberts & Louise Regan

Dec. 26, 2020

Current target reached

The response to this appeal has been fantastic and we have very nearly reached our stretch target of £15000 in 2 days. This shows the strength of feeling for this action.

We have now raised enough to cover our current costs, so we will be updating in the new year when we know what is needed for the next stage.

In the meantime JVL is also supporting the crowd justice funding for LA4J, donation can be made here:


Thank you for your support.
Update 1

JVL + suspended officers Marion Roberts & Louise Regan

Dec. 24, 2020

Link to letter sent to Labour Party on JVL website

Please follow this link to the JVL website to read the letter that has been sent to the Labour Party:

https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/statement/evans-end-harassment/

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