Demand for Natural Justice and Due Process
This Group is dismayed by the actions of Iain McNicol in his role as General Secretary and the manner in which the administration of the Labour Party has been used to suspend or expel thousands of members.
The NEC has fallen short in ensuring that any and all suspension and expulsions are carried out with respect for due process and natural justice.
We have been made aware of a list of tweets and posts supplied to NEC members and used to justify and rationalise the manner in which the Compliance Unit and the NEC panels conduct the disciplinary affairs of the Party.
We wish to make it clear that we condemn any process used by the Labour Party that is not in deference to due process and natural justice. Due process and natural justice MUST be the over-riding framework for all and any investigation. We hold the NEC and the General Secretary responsible for the way this large scale action is affecting thousands of our members.
Regardless of whether we personally, or collectively, condemn many, the majority, or all of the tweets and posts provided to the NEC members as a justification we wish to categorically state that we condemn the process that has been used to deal with the problem.
Mr McNicol cites the rule book and the right for the NEC to automatically suspend a person if they are bringing the Party into disrepute. Firstly to use this as a justification for immediately suspending members is an abuse of the trust given to the NEC to deal with any clear cut case that meets that criteria. It is obvious to the `man in the street` that the spirit of that option is given in good faith and trust to allow for instant action in exceptional cases. We consider that the Labour Party itself has been brought into disrepute by the use of this trust to suspend or expel FOUR THOUSAND members.
We have had brought to our attention dozens of cases of people being suspended or expelled for spurious reasons, for retweets or reposts which may show support for the sentiment of another Party on for example, green issues, or even to express displeasure of the sentiment (for example UKIP tweets and posts). Equally we have examples of people whose health and wellbeing is affected to the extent they have taken the decision to resign from the Labour Party because the stress of the long drawn out process is aggravating their condition. We condemn the use of instant administrative suspensions by the Labour Party.
There are many issues related to this debacle: the lack of due process; the lack of natural justice; the issue of data protection violations. Just one case where any single of these is lacking is sufficient to bring the whole system into question.
Further, we have been told that the NEC considers that `this should never happen again`. INDEED. To that end we wish to make it clear that we expect an open and transparent investigation to look at how this came about, how it is allowed to continue and what went wrong.
We are very concerned, dismayed, that such trust given to the General Secretary to apply instant suspension or expulsion has been applied to justify the expulsion or suspension of 4,000 members. We therefore also consider that Chapter 6 of the rule book is completely overhauled to reflect the members disquiet on what we consider to be an abuse of this trust.
We demand that the Labour Party now constructs a transparent, clear process of dealing with any cases of discipline. We must have a new system that has at its very foundation: Natural Justice.