A rose by any other name is still a rose – and these administrative suspension are NOT administrative suspension – they were PUNISHMENTS.
The `purge` has been going on for months. It started in earnest just as the run up to the leadership election started. The NEC allowed the Party to invoke the use of `administrative` suspension for THOUSANDS. In the past this was reserved for such cases considered serious and requiring instant blocking of members activity within the Party pending a full investigation. Minor alleged infringements on the spirit of the Party contract with members were reasonably dealt with by a warning.
Let me be clear about this: ALLEGED minor infringement issued a Warning that it MIGHT be perceived as breaking the Party constitution. This would be better described as `Advice`. As a lay person looking at this it seems to me that a Warning strongly suggest guilt, and where guilt is suggested then a right of reply should be an integral part of the Discipline Procedure.
However, not only has the NEC and the Disputes Panel decided it is ok to assume guilt by issuing a Warning they have done this AFTER invoking an `administrative suspension`. Let me also be clear on this: an `administrative suspension` is used as a measure to take a member out of action prior to an INVESTIGATION.
The unacceptable issue is this: members have been `administratively suspended` and yet not been afforded an investigation. This means that the Party are using the term `administratively suspended` when it does not apply because they are not carrying out any investigation. All they are doing is revisiting the suspension and deciding, in effect, that they should merely have issued a Warning letter at most [I argue that the first communication should be an Advice Letter, but that`s a different issue]. These members have been punished – not allowed to go to meetings, not allowed to attend conference (and many lost hundreds of pounds in booking fees and hotel deposits lost), and PUNISHED BY TAKING AWAY THEIR VOTE.
Now IF there was an investigation following an administrative suspension, and the report sent to the NCC and therefore the member having the automatic right to attend an investigation and to appeal any outcome then at least that would go some way toward ameliorating the position. But what has actually happened has made it worse. The Disputes Panel have simply issued a Warning letter and so the member has no right to appeal – and this gives the impression in passing that the Party is being reasonable for they have `only` issued a Warning. This is deceptive and further insults the members.
The actions of the Disputes Panel in issuing Warnings clearly shows that the suspension was not an appropriate response in the first place, and further it tells us that the so called `administrative` suspensions were no such thing because if that were the case there would be an automatic investigation as per Ch 6 clause 1 A: `the NEC may, pending the final outcome of any investigation and charges(if any,suspend that individual`
We demand the lifting of ALL so called `administrative` suspensions NOW and a removal of ALL Warning letters. The Party must be seen to act in accordance with due process and natural justice and with respect to the spirit of the rules and not interpreting the rules to suit their own ends. NO the end does NOT justify the means. The `purge` is a stain and a blight on the Party. We have offered to work with the NEC on behalf of 959 members but our offer has been declined.
Members Compliance Support Group