A motion of no-confidence in Mr McNicol over the wave of suspensions and expulsions that prevented tens of thousands of members voting in the recent leadership election on top of those excluded on the basis of an arbitrary date, was debated at the CLP’s monthly meeting, with passion on both sides of the debate but in a completely comradely fashion.

An attempt was made to neuter the motion by proposing a drastic amendment to it, effectively removing all but a couple of lines, including the no-confidence motion, turning it into a mere expression of concern and request for clarification – but this was rejected by almost all those present.

 

Those against the motion argued that members should ‘move on’ and let bygones be bygones in order to concentrate on attacking the Tories.

Those for argued that this was missing the point – that taking the fight to the Tories properly is hampered as long as people prepared to exploit and subvert proper process to deprive members of their right to vote are left in a position to do so in future and that this would discourage new members from joining, or from full, enthusiastic participation if they do join.

The full motion is available at the end of this article, but the crucial part reads as follows:

As general secretary, Mr McNicol has legal responsibility for the Labour Party and must ensure that everything done by the party is legal. He has not ensured that the processing of complaints against members has achieved an acceptable standard and – because this directly relates to the leadership ballot – this means he has not ensured that the processing of ballots to members has been carried out properly.

We therefore call for a vote of no confidence in Mr McNicol as general secretary of the Labour Party. The CLP resolves for the process of suspensions/expulsions to be transparent, fair, clear and completed in reasonable timescales due to members not being able to particpate in meetings and the distress and damage to members mental health.

The result of the vote was ‘against’ 14, ‘for’ overwhelming (i.e. no full count of the ‘for’ votes was taken because the vote was so clearly carried. Ms Eagle voted against, as is to be expected.

MOTION CARRIED:

1. Retrospective code of conduct and suspensions/expulsions This CLP notes with alarm the imposition of new rules of conduct by the National Executive Committee which were supposed to be used to prevent abusive behaviour between members but which seem to have been used as a tool to purge people from the party prior to the leadership election, by suspension or expulsion.

There seems to have been no clear standard or even guidelines and the NEC ‘panels’ enforcing the new rules seem to have relied on their own arbitrary judgment. This means that people have been purged for things they have said on social media in the distant past even when the comments do not relate to their political lives in any way.

Some have been purged over previous support for policies put forward by other parties – but when we need to win over those who have voted for other parties in the past, why should anyone be barred from Labour just because they have expressed support for a policy proposal by another party?

Others have been purged for reasons that can only be described as ridiculous – such as the person who expressed her support for a particular rock band in a forceful way. All of the letters notifying members that they are no longer members had Iain McNicol’s name attached to them.

As general secretary, Mr McNicol has legal responsibility for the Labour Party and must ensure that everything done by the party is legal. He has not ensured that the processing of complaints against members has achieved an acceptable standard and – because this directly relates to the leadership ballot – this means he has not ensured that the processing of ballots to members has been carried out properly.

We therefore call for a vote of no confidence in Mr McNicol as general secretary of the Labour Party. The CLP resolves for the process of suspensions/expulsions to be transparent, fair, clear and completed in reasonable timescales due to members not being able to particpate in meetings and the distress and damage to members mental health.

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