David White, the erstwhile secretary of the Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party who has had his membership suspended for two months without being informed what offence he is alleged to have committed nor who are his accusers, has written to the party’s general secretary demanding immediate reinstatement and an apology.
White’s letter was sent today to Iain McNicol, Labour’s senior most administrator. It follows the publication of a report by Shami Chakrabarti into the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Chakrabarti, the lawyer and former head of the human rights body Liberty, conducted the inquiry following the suspensions of Naz Shah MP and Ken Livingstone.
Chakrabarti’s report stated, “Critical and abusive reference to any particular person or group based on actual or perceived physical characteristics cannot be tolerated”, and its recommendations included that Labour politicians should “resist the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors, distortions and comparisons”.
The Guardian has reported that Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, broadly welcomed the Chakrabarti report’s rejection of abusive language.
White’s suspension happened after someone complained about an already-deleted tweet in which the lifelong Labour Party member had sought to clarify some of the remarks made by Livingstone. White’s support for the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, led to some speculation that the complaint may have been filed by members of Progress in an effort to undermine a party official who happens to be a socialist.
White maintains that he has been denied natural justice in being suspended without any hearing or being found to have committed any offence.
Today, he wrote to McNicol saying, “In light of Shami Chakrabarti’s report, and in particular her comments about lack of natural justice in existing disciplinary procedures and suspensions, I request that my suspension, and the suspensions of other people, be lifted immediately.
“There was never any justification for even investigating the tweet which appears to be the reason for my suspension, let alone suspending me. The fact that I have not been told who my accusers are, or exactly what the charges are, or given any timetable for an investigation despite eight weeks having elapsed, is grossly unfair.
“The suspension has caused stress and is an unwarranted slur on my reputation after 46 years’ membership of the party. It has also caused inconvenience in the running of Croydon Central CLP, of which I am Secretary.”
White concludes his letter be asking: “Please may I have an unreserved apology on behalf of the party?”
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