For the attention of the National Executive Committee, Jennie Formby (General Secretary of the Labour Party), Rachel Garnham (Eastern Region NEC Rep) Jill Gipps (Herts CLP rep for the regional executive committee) Andy Smith (Acting Director Eastern Region), Keir Starmer MP, Angela Rayner MP.
Re:- The Work of the Labour Party’s Governance Unit in relation to anti-semitism 2014-2019 (prepared to form part of the evidence for the EHRC investigation).
This CLP wishes to express its shock and disgust at the revelatory allegations in the above report, which contains detailed conversations apparently evidencing the following:-
- Misconduct in the handling of all complaints including failure to log or investigate complaints whilst insisting to those in the leader’s office and the NEC that they were being processed by the governance unit (GLU). Decisions with regard to action appear to have been made on a factional basis, ignoring complaints against those who were considered allies. When action was taken, only 34 of the 300 or so complaints during this period were reportedly brought to any conclusion.
- Racist and misogynistic abuse towards BAME MPs and derogatory remarks towards other staff and members who were not considered to be allies of this senior management and regional staff group; comments relating to a young member’s mental health; insulting and aggressive language towards those with whom they disagreed, in particular the leader of the opposition. Some of the comments contained in these conversations were deeply offensive and upsetting to read.
- During the 2017 election campaign the apparent misdirection of funds away from key target seats whose candidates the senior management team deemed politically unacceptable. The funnelling of funds instead to safe seats held by those with similar factional views, all the while working to keep this secret from the NEC and party leadership in a clandestine operation called ‘operation cupcake’. It appears from conversations reported in the document that some were hoping and working for a Labour loss in order to oust the leader of the party. This is made even more unpalatable by the loss of seven key marginals which could have enabled our party to form a minority government in 2017.
- There is also an allegation that during the leadership election campaign there was a drive to reject all new applications from anyone who was construed as left leaning, referring to this campaign as ‘trot hunting’. This appears to have included such spurious grounds as expressing approval of a Green Party policy.
- It is further noted that some staff referred to in this report are employed by our regional office in senior positions which, if these allegations are true, has seriously undermined our confidence and trust that they will operate impartially in the future.
It is noted that the efforts made to improve processes and combat antisemitism under Jennie Formby’s tenure, such as expanding NCC panels, assigning barristers to advise on decisions, and the publication of antisemitism education material, have been welcome and we support her in this endeavour. At the same time we acknowledge that there is a long way to go in terms of systemic reform of the processes involved.
Of course there is much more in this 851 page report to take issue with and no doubt the planned enquiry announced by the Labour Leader and Deputy Leader will thoroughly work through all that it contains. In the meantime our CLP has the following demands:-
- Forward the report (redacted in terms of complainants) to the EHRC, as it is clear that this document is central to the remit of their investigation. Furthermore to make clear to the membership the reasons why it was decided not to submit this report by publishing the legal advice on which we are told this decision was made.
- Suspend members and staff involved pending independent investigation ensuring that the process is timely, fair and with appropriate representation. If appropriate to take legal action and support any criminal proceedings taken by the Police/CPS.
- Embed clear processes to ensure that we regain the trust of the Jewish community which has been used in this factional battle as a political football.
- Continue to create a fairer and more transparent complaints process which is accountable to the membership both on a regional and national basis.
- To establish a non-factional administration, nationally and regionally, answerable to and serving leadership and members, governed by strong management reporting and above all working in the spirit of the Party’s constitution.
Hemel Hempstead CLP Executive Committee