With disappointment, but not surprise, I sent the following by post and email to Mr McNicol this morning:
Mr Iain McNicol, General Secretary,
I am writing to ask you why I have received no substantive reply to my letter to you dated 14th November last year. The letter was sent by post and email simultaneously. You acknowledged receipt by email the following day, stating “The letter and email have been received and will be responded to in due course”.
More than three months have now elapsed since that communication. Given the very serious nature of the allegations that you made against me, this is stretching the limits of “in due course” beyond what is reasonable, and into the realms of unprofessional discourtesy.
Following a submission of an SAR request soon after my suspension, the Party was obliged to provide me with all the data it held concerning me. When it arrived, I noted that it did not contain any evidence to support any of the allegations that you had made. My letter of 14th November gave you another opportunity to comply with the request. The fact that you have still not provided any evidence relating to any alleged offence, or any details of the investigation that you stated would follow my suspension, leads me to believe that no such evidence exists, and that there was no investigation.
In view of the above, I am inclined to suspect that you made serious allegations against me without checking their validity, and despite your clear and unequivocal statement regarding an investigation, you have made no subsequent attempt to determine the facts. What motivated you to make allegations which impugned my character, and to ignore your own stated intent to investigate them?
Without any contrary explanation having been offered by you, I have no option but to conclude that the allegations were made either erroneously or maliciously. If it is the former, why are you showing such reticence in communicating with me? If you or others have acted in error, I would welcome an explanation, and retraction of the formal warning, and be pleased to consider the matter closed.
In addition, I would appreciate an apology.
Unfortunately, my experience, and those of others I know in very similar (sometimes eerily identical) circumstances, lead me to conclude that my suspension was not the result of an honest mistake. Although I would be delighted to learn of an alternative explanation, your words and deeds in relation to my suspension and reinstatement, and your silence since, makes it impossible for me to conclude that the actions of the Party in suspending me were anything other than a malicious and undemocratic move to prevent me voting in the recent leadership election.
What’s done is done. I am anxious to move on, and do all I can to help ensure that Labour form the next government. I am sure that we share that goal. However, despite what you and/or others in the Party might hope, I refuse to rest while the sanction of a formal warning remains hanging over me – particularly when no one in the Party has provided, or made any attempt to provide, any reason why that sanction might be justified.
Again, I must insist that you retract the formal warning against me without any further delay.
It might be desirable for some in the Party to hope that I will either give up and meekly submit to an injustice, or resign my membership of the Party. I hope that you are not relying on me taking either course of action. I will do neither. I am not going to go away. With that in mind, please do not ignore me, or inform me again that I will receive a reasonable response to a reasonable request “in due course”.
I believe that I deserve an answer to my questions. I am certain that I deserve to be treated with basic courtesy – which has been conspicuously absent in my dealings with the Party in recent months.
Good day Sir,
Mr C Billing
The disciplinary process and the rule book has always been perfectly well administered in the past. That was before the Election Procedures Committee thought, in their arrogance, that they could adapt the disciplinary procedure and the rule book to suit themselves.
As a result all and any semblance of fairness, justice, due process and natural justice was thrown out the window. The resulting `purge` of thousands and thousands of members on spurious grounds is sickening. It disgusts me on all levels: for the individuals subjected to the abuse by the procedures committee, the lack of responsibility of the NEC (who allowed this in the first place by handing over the reins of the disputes panel to the procedures committee) who, in my opinion, demonstrated a dereliction of duty, and continue to do so, by not highlighting how the disciplinary process put in place by the procedures committee breaks all the rules of the rule book and simply has, and continues to have no regard for common decency.