CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: A former Labour member of the GLC and long-time activist in Croydon Central who did much to get Sarah Jones elected to parliament has been kicked out of the party because of pro-Palestinian tweets from eight years ago.
STEVEN DOWNES reports
The concerted efforts of self-harm being conducted by the Blairites and Progress members running the local Labour Party continued today when veteran activist David White confirmed that he had been expelled from the party of which he has been a member for 51 years.
White has been expelled without any hearing, and has been told that he has no right of appeal. “It grieves me that the party I joined so many years ago has moved so far away from basic notions of natural justice, fairness and freedom of speech,” White said today.
White, a retired solicitor, is a former elected member of the GLC – he was a contemporary of Ken Livingstone at County Hall. For many years White was the secretary of Croydon Central’s Constituency Labour Party, and did much campaign work to get Sarah Jones elected as an MP in 2017.
Despite his long service and hard work in support of socialist principles, there was not a single official of the Labour Party prepared to put their own name to the formal notification of White’s expulsion. The decision was conveyed, White says, in an unsigned email.
White had his membership suspended in September, on the eve of the 2021 Labour Party Conference in Brighton. The move meant that White was not allowed to attend the policy-setting event as a democratically elected delegate of Croydon Central CLP.
White was among hundreds of delegates from the left of the party who were subject to an eve-of-conference purge, thought to have been engineered by David Evans, the party’s controversial General Secretary whose appointment to that powerful position was due to be subject to a confirmation ballot at Brighton.
White’s suspension for a three-month period also saw him barred from attending crucial meetings of the Local Campaign Forum, the powerful committee which oversees candidate selections for this May’s local elections. White was Croydon LCF’s vice-chair.
White now joins colleagues including Livingstone and MP Jeremy Corbyn, of whom he was an enthusiastic supporter, outside the Labour Party, at a time when the party nationally is financially struggling, after 200,000 members have left the party since 2020. Labour membership in some Croydon wards has halved since Keir Starmer became party leader and appointed Evans as General Secretary.
In an emotional message posted on social media this morning, White has written, “I’m sad to say that my 51 years of membership of the Labour Party have come to an abrupt end.
“Two days ago I received an email from an anonymous person in the disputes department of the party telling me I have been expelled.
“The grounds for expulsion are said to be antisemitism.
“This accusation is hurtful as I have spent my whole adult life campaigning against antisemitism and all other forms of racism.
“The party cites some tweets I have written, dating back to 2014. Some of these support Palestinian rights and are critical of certain actions of the Israeli government. Others express my view that the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party has been exaggerated by some in order to smear the left of the party in general and Jeremy Corbyn in particular (though I have always made it clear that even one case of genuine antisemitism is too many).
“I stand by these views and wrote a detailed response to the party when I was suspended on the eve of Labour Party Conference in September last year.
“There has been no hearing of my case and I have no automatic right of appeal. It grieves me that the party I joined so many years ago has moved so far away from basic notions of natural justice, fairness and freedom of speech.
“If this matter concerned me alone it would not be of much consequence.
“However there are hundreds of Labour Party members all over the country who are being similarly investigated, suspended or expelled. There must be an end to this so that Labour can campaign in a united way against the current Tory government.”
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