Members of Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party – where use of the word “Blairite” was once banned – will this week debate a motion of no confidence in their party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and David Evans, the party’s general secretary.
Another motion to be discussed at Thursday’s virtual meeting calls for the Labour whip to be restored to former party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Croydon Central covers the area where, nearly 20 years ago Evans, after working on two General Election campaigns for Tony Blair, set up the offices of his business, The Campaign Company.
Evans has been an influential figure behind the scenes with Croydon Labour, while his company has benefited from hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of council contracts. He shares a daughter with Alison Butler, the former deputy council leader and part of discredited council leader Tony Newman’s Blairite clique.
Croydon Central is the parliamentary constituency of Sarah Jones, the shadow minister of state for police and the fire service in Starmer’s Westminster team.
A week ago, one of the CLP’s branches – Fairfield, Park Hill and Whitgift and South Croydon, covering three wards in the borough – passed a motion that read, “This branch Labour Party has no confidence in Keir Starmer as Leader of the Party or David Evans as general secretary.” A source who attended the remote meeting says that the motion was passed “by a comfortable majority”.
The motion was put forward following Evans’ unilateral decision to suspend Corbyn from the party, and Starmer’s subsequent move to withhold the Labour whip in parliament. Dozens of local Labour parties around the country have discussed and passed similar motions critical of Starmer and Evans, who took up the job as general secretary in June.
“We partly framed the motion to get round Evans’s gagging order,” one member told Inside Croydon. “That ruling purports to ban discussion of a number of subjects, but votes of no confidence are not included.”
Some CLPs have been ordered by Labour HQ not to discuss the status of Corbyn or the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into antisemitism in the Labour Party. Grassroots Labour officials have even been suspended as a result.
Whether the motion of no confidence in Starmer and Evans is successful at the CLP-wide meeting is uncertain. Croydon Central is the CLP where – when Jones was a constituency official, and before her election to parliament in 2017 – the use of the word “Blairite” was banned, as it was deemed to be a term of abuse.
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