On Tuesday yet again there is a meeting about the appalling abusive  (non) procedures of the Disciplinary system currently used and DEFENDED by the NEC.

We demand:

a) that from now on each and every single case of discipline is automatically allowed an appeal.

b) that every person who is under `investigation` (that must be in quotes because the lack of investigation for the majority is conspicuous by its absence) is automatically notified that they can appoint an Advocate (that may seem extreme but needs must when confronted with the abusive way most members have been treated in relation to the disciplinary `procedure`).

c) that any Administrative suspension absolutely MUST be followed by a full and proper investigation where the accused is given the opportunity to fully hear and respond to every aspect of the accusation. In other words no Warning letters without a full enquiry and even then an appeal must be allowed.

It is clear from reports and responses to date that the NEC is not taking responsibility for this abusive shambles. They are making noises that it `won`t happen again`  – this is unacceptable as it HAS happened and unless they take full responsibility for the mess it can happen again. It is unacceptable that they consider it just to behave like the police policing themselves.

Now given the dismissive attitude that we and members have so far received none of that will be considered. That is the measure of just how little respect the NEC is displaying toward members.

Lets see if they even have the decency to immediately advise people that any warning is time limited (quite ludicrous that it is not already the case).

For your interest here is a cross section of the heartbreaking and ludicrous aspects of this situation, and it continues:

Clive Andrews: To be suspended for comments that are less bad than many others such as MPs etc and then have no power of appeal or indeed no appropriate process to challenge judgment is unprofessional, unethical and frankly is a disgrace. I now have on file a black mark that I am not allowed to contest given by a group I do not trust or feel have any legal right to have done so. I have written to Compliance, Legal and Ann Black and have been dismissed or sideswiped or ignored.  It’s completely disgusting.

Pamela Ann: I think the warning letters are intimidating, and threatening.

Gordon MacIver: What is missing, in my opinion, is the right to have the evidence against you with chapter and verse as to why it merits suspension as well as the right to a hearing ALL before suspension can occur: particularly when suspension denies the right to vote or hold office. I have demanded same and more before I will meet with them. One other thing is this ‘chat on the phone’. Imagine that being a procedure at work …….. that is truly laughable and I have told them I will not dignify it. It is for them to justify their accusations, before we defend ourselves. I need to know EXACTLY what I am accused of before I can respond.

Marilyn Browne: I was reinstated after being excluded on the grounds of repeatedly supporting another party on twitter. This was on the basis of one retweet and one taking part in a poll. I don`t call this repeatedly but also as it was based on a trawl for the phrase green party was misconstrued and out of context. SAR did not show any discussion at NEC and who reported or decided to exclude. In fact not very much sent to me on my SAR at all. I now have this on my record which they may set against me in the future. No one spoke to me about my intentions on the tweets and no one contacted or notified my branch where they actually know me and know that I supported the Labour Party all my life. It was clearly used as a means of taking my vote out of the system. Funny too that I am reinstated just before membership fees are due.

Sheree Bell: I was accused of Abusive Conduct and told that my actions were detrimental to the Labour party. My crime was expressing an opinion about an MP in a private message that nobody else could see! I am a qualified Social Worker, with a 40 year career in safeguarding vulnerable adults, who fights for equality and social justice constantly, and so to be labelled an ‘Abuser’ was one of the hardest things I have ever had to read. After complaining to Ian McNicol I was reinstated to the party but with ‘a warning’ on my file. Can you imagine how this feels for a public servant working in Health & Social Care to have it recorded on a government system somewhere that I have engaged in abusive and detrimental behaviour? And that recording has been done with no investigation and no access to appeal? I am furious and devastated at the same time.

Glynis Millward: I am still suspended for “breaching the rules on recruitment”. I have just undergone an “investigation” meeting and am awaiting the notes from that. My suspension letter did not state which clause/rule I had breached – so how can I know and more to the point how can I confirm that the NEC have correctly applied the admin suspension. Despite making 64 phone calls to the Labour helpline, legal queries and ERS I did not receive my ballot or indeed receive details of the alleged breach. It was not until I submitted my court claim that I finally found out what clause I was alleged to have breached. Are the NEC honestly expecting suspended members to make 64 phone calls and lodge a court claim before finding out what it is they are alleged to have done? Although I have not had a warning (yet) I do not believe for those that have, that it should lie on file indefinitely; that is a clear breach of DPA (retaining data accurately & fairly).
Carl Freeman: “I poured my heart and soul into correspondence with the General Secretary and spent hours composing letters in which I have desperately sought evidence of my “crimes” and attempted to have an unjustified warning on my file removed. And I got nowhere. I was therefore reluctant to spend any more time writing on this matter. The opaque, intransigent disciplinary process, lacking in any natural justice had taken such a toll on my emotional wellbeing last year that I took the decision to withdraw from the Labour Party.
I refused to be treated as a second class member and so I had only two options. To continue to try and secure justice for myself or to throw in the towel. Those close to me saw the effect that it was all having on my mental health and so urged me to give up. Which is what I have done. Taking a break from it all over Christmas gave me the space I needed to see how the fiasco was impacting on my health.

The only reason I am writing now is in the hope the the NEC is serious about wanting to learn lessons. To be honest, I am not overly confident that they really want to. I suspect they would prefer to try and brush the whole thing under the carpet. But that strategy is doomed to failure and will simply hold the Party back. Only an independent review will work and even then it requires a genuine commitment from the NEC to accept the findings.

Of course that will take great courage. I am sure that in their heart of hearts, most NEC members realise how badly the Party got things wrong and so will be reluctant to open themselves up to criticism. But owning up and apologising for mistakes can be hugely cathartic. It is not too late to try and put things right. OK – it is too late for me. I am no longer a member. But the Party itself needs to heal. And only an open, independent and transparent review will enable that to happen.”
Pat Roberts: After going 69 years without a stain on my character My beloved party put one there! I’ve stopped my membership and monthly donation until they remove a warning for something that was a retweet of someones opinion!! They can also do their own doorstepping, admin work and envelope licking in future, as well as their telephoning and running people about on voting day!!
Colin O`Driscoll: I was expelled on the the basis of a retweet from a twitter account of a joke by David Schneider about Zac goldsmith. This made me a Tory apparently. The expulsion was replaced by a suspension for a retweet from October 2015. I am still waiting to hear when I would be interviewed for this alleged crime.
Demetra Jones: The NEC carries out the purge and the same NEC discusses the purge and what can be done differently. To me this is a joke. There should be an investigation carried out by an independent body.