David White, the Secretary of the Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party, has had the suspension of his membership lifted – just in time for the party to ban the CLP from holding any meetings for two months ahead of its anticipated leadership election (another one).
White, a life-long Labour Party member, was suspended 10 weeks ago shortly after he had issued a single tweet during the Ken Livingstone-Hitler-Zionism row. He has since fought his corner, arguing that he has been denied natural justice to have been suspended without a hearing and without being informed of what offence he was alleged to have committed or who it was that had reported him.
And while retired solicitor White sought an apology from the Labour Party over the matter, the written notification of his reinstatement, dated July 12 and signed by “Sam Matthews, investigations officer” (yes, the modern Labour Party has one of those), contained a thinly veiled threat:
“I would like to remind you that the Labour Party takes accusations on un-comradely behaviour and bad conduct very seriously. Documents relating to this case will be kept on file and if it is felt that relations do not improve locally and further complaints are raised regarding your conduct, I will not hesitate to take further action.”
It is thought that White might now make a request to the Information Commissioner to seek the release of these documents which the Labour Party has on file to discover, finally, who his secret accusers might be.
Regarded as being from the left of the Labour Party and a keen supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, White said today, “I was looking forward to being able to return to Croydon Central Labour Party meetings. But the lifting of my suspension comes just in time for the ban on all Constituency Labour Party and branch meetings which has just been agreed by the NEC [national Executive Committee].
“Many are speculating that the real reason for this ban is that some of the Labour MPs who plotted against Jeremy Corbyn face possible votes of no confidence from their members if they are allowed to meet.” That, of course, is not an issue in Croydon Central, where Tory Gavin Barwell scraped his way back into Parliament in 2015 with a 165-vote majority.
In a statement today, White said, “I am pleased to report that my Labour Party suspension has been lifted, after 10 weeks.
“I was never told in detail what the charges were against me or who accused me, but the matter seems to have originated with a single tweet of mine commenting on Ken Livingstone’s claims that there was an agreement between the Nazis and some German Zionists in the 1930s.
“No reasonable person would have concluded that my tweet was anti-semitic or otherwise offensive. I believe my suspension, and that of between 30 and 50 others around the UK, was part of a manoeuvre by Progress and other right-wing elements within the Labour Party (and outside it) to put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
“Progress and the Right started with ‘Labour has a problem with anti-semitism under Corbyn’, then moved to ‘Jeremy didn’t do enough in the referendum’ and on to the present ‘Corbyn supporters are intimidating party members’. It is all part of a long war of attrition which will no doubt continue even if Corbyn is re-elected leader by the party’s large membership in the forthcoming ballot.
“I am very grateful for the support I received from so many members of Croydon Central Labour Party and Croydon TUC, and others. I’m particularly grateful to the Executive Committee of Croydon Central party who wrote two letters to the Party’s General Secretary calling for the lifting of my suspension.
“Another factor which helped enormously was the report by Shami Chakrabarti which found no substantial problem of anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Shami was very critical of the Party’s current disciplinary and suspension procedures and recommended reforms to bring in an element of natural justice.
“There are still a number of suspensions outstanding. These include former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Jewish anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein from Brighton and black activist Marlene Ellis from Lambeth whose alleged ‘offence’ was signing an open letter calling for Ken Livingstone to be reinstated.
“I intend to continue to campaign for all the suspension cases to be concluded and for Shami Chakrabari’s recommendations to be fully implemented.”
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