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Friday, 2 March 2018

Open Letter to Labour’s NEC – How Long will the Chakrabarti Report be Ignored?

Why, after over 19 months, has Labour’s not Implemented the Chakrabarti Report Proposals for a fair Disciplinary Procedure?
I have been expelled on the basis of charges that relate solely to allegations and material that surfaced after I was suspended on March 18th 2016.  In paragraph 102 of the Skeleton Argument of the Labour Party's barrister, Thomas Ogg, be states:
102. All of the charges relate to conduct after Mr Greenstein's suspension from theLabour Party on 18 March 2016.

In other words I was suspended first and then the Compliance Unit looked around for evidence.  If that happened in a bourgeois court the charges would be thrown out for abuse of process.  In the Guidelines to the National Constitutional Committee, Appendix 6 Clause 6D Procedural matters at NEC or CLP level states:
i. The rules under which the NCC operates make it clear that the NCC and its panels are concerned only with the charge(s). The procedures adopted on behalf of the Party or a CLP in advance of a referral to the NCC are not matters for the NCC dealing with a particular case. The NCC is entitled to (and will) act on the basis that the charges are properly brought before them and cannot become embroiled in dealing with complaints about the administration of any investigation leading to the charges. Any such complaint will therefore 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.

This is what I have termed the 'Turning a blind eye' clause.  Whatever the injustices perpetrated by Sam Matthews and the Compliance Unit, the NCC is obliged to ignore it except of course that in Chapter 9, Clause IX (4) the Rule Book lays down an obligation on the Labour Party to be fair:
4. The NCC or any panel thereof in hearing and determining charges against an individual shall have regard to procedural guidelines as determined by the NCC. The NCC shall have the power to supplement such guidelines from time to time and to modify its procedures in order to meet the circumstances of any particular case to ensure fairness to both the individual and the Party.
Below is a letter from members of the Labour Party in Holborn & St Pancras and Hampstead & Kilburn asking why, 19 months later, the Chakrabarti Report’s recommendations on a fair disciplinary process have not been implemented.

The Chakrabarti Report has gathered dust for the past 19 months as the Labour Right cannot openly oppose its recommendations on natural justice and fair process
We have seen Labour Parties such as Brighton and Hove and Wallasey suspended on the basis of outright lies.  See Warren Morgan, Emma Daniels & The Spitting Incident That Never Was - The Lies that led to the Overturning of Elections & the Suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party [see Labour party's tensions between left and right in focus in Brighton]
Brighton and Hove were suspended solely because, having lost democratic elections to Momentum candidates, the Right invented false allegations of spitting and intimidation.  In Wallasey, after the attempted coup by 172 MPs, Angela Eagle became the challenger to Corbyn. Wallasey CLP made it clear that they were going to back Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party headquarters responded by suspending the party.  The pretext was false accusations of homophobia which apparently took place at an AGM.  Now, after the dust has died down, these allegations have been quietly dropped because of course they were always without substance. 
The late and unlamented Iain McNicol and his servants were happy to suspend whole parties for the benefit of Progress and the 172 PLP traitors on the basis of outright lies.  We had the spectacle of the Disputes Committee investigator in Brighton, Katherine Buckingham refusing to look at the video of the alleged spitting incident on ‘data protection’ grounds.  The real reason was, of course, that it proved that the original allegations of spitting at the front entrance were complete lies and that Councillors Warren Morgan and Emma Daniels who made the original allegations were liars.
The Letter that Anne Black, recently deposed Chair of the Disputes Committee, sent to the suspended Brighton & Hove Labour Party - from the beginning Black assumed that the allegations were true, as can be seen in her final sentence
The Chakrabarti Report on Racism and Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has gathered dust for over 18 months.  It made a comprehensive series of recommendations, basic principles that every court of law in the country takes for granted.  However for McNicol, the Compliance Unit and Labour’s civil service, the idea of according people accused of offences under the Labour Party constitution the basic right of knowing who your accusers are, what the charges are and the evidence against you is unthinkable.  These petty bureaucrats, who would not have been out of place in Stalin's Rusia, invent allegations against those they suspend and ‘auto exclude’ for naked political reasons on the flimsiest of pretexts.  The last thing they want are any written procedures.  Fairness doesn’t come in to it.   That is why the Chakrabarti recommendations have been comprehensively ignored.
One of the demands of Labour Against the Witch-hunt is that Chakrabarti is now implemented and we expect the  now left Labour NEC to do exactly that.
Katherine Buckingham sent out the above email but her real job was to ensure that the original decision to suspend Brighton & Hove Party was vindicated
Tony Greenstein
Letter to Labour's National Executive Committee
Sisters and Brothers

We have waited for 19 months for the Chakrabarti Enquiry’s recommendations to be put into practice, and give our party the fair disciplinary procedures it needs and deserves.  We hope that the NEC will make a start today by clearing David Watson of unfounded charges and letting him return to Walthamstow where he was a valued officer.

We have seen so many good comrades across the Labour Party suspended on the basis of anonymous accusations, and still waiting to be reinstated. There have been waves of factional purges which are shameful in a democratic party. First members were accused of being Green, then trade union militants, then antisemites and then transphobic. Accusations seem to have come down most heavily on people of colour, thus further excluding them from our party which we say that we want to reflect the society we live in.

We are all members of the Labour Party in Holborn & St Pancras and Hampstead & Kilburn. Many of us have Jewish heritage.  We are concerned for Labour in future government to have a real ethical foreign policy including international co-operation and fair trade. This includes confronting the internationally condemned actions of the state of Israel and reining in its unfair trade privileges, creating equal rights for Palestinian citizens and more. We strongly deny that supporting the international nonviolent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions is antisemitic, or that questioning the colonising actions of Israel shows that the Labour Party harbours hatred of Jews. This is not our experience.

We are still waiting for suspended active members like David Watson to get a fair hearing and be reinstated. We need their abilities to win the next election.

23 January 2018

Signed (in alphabetical order)

Ruth Appleton, Highgate branch, GC delegate from Unite
Simon Burton, Kings Cross branch
Prof Miriam E David, Highgate branch
Daphne Davies, Kings Cross branch
Harriet Evans, Vice-Chair, Highgate branch
Pete Firmin, CWU delegate, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Sam Gisagara, BAME officer, Camden Town with Primrose Hill branch
Alice Gray, Camden Town with Primrose Hill branch
Owen Holland, Bloomsbury & Kings Cross branch
Agnes Kory, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Richard Kuper, Political Education & Training officer, Highgate branch
Marie Lynam, West Hampstead & Fortune Green branch, GC delegate GMB
Bernard Miller, Gospel Oak branch
Moshe Machover, Queen’s Park branch
Tom Muirhead, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Gareth Murphy, Kentish Town branch, GC delegate from Unite
Barbara Rosenbaum, Camden Town with Primrose Hill branch
Jo Rostron, Camden Town with Primrose Hill branch
Linda Sayle, GC delegate, Kings Cross & Bloomsbury branch
Amanda Sebestyen, GC delegate, Camden Town with Primrose Hill branch
Prof Tom Selwyn, Vice Chair, Camden Town with Primrose Hill branch

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