Fresh row as Momentum official replaces veteran chair of Labour disciplinary panel


The longstanding chair of Labour’s key disciplinary committee was today ousted from her position in favour of a top Momentum official.

Ann Black was replaced as head of the disputes panel by Christine Shawcroft, above, a veteran left-wing activist with ties to Jeremy Corbyn.

Shawcroft took control of the panel – a sub-committee of the national executive committee (NEC) – by a margin of 22 to 15 votes with the backing of Jon Lansman and two other new new reps who were elected yesterday in an overwhelming victory for the Labour left.

Shawcroft is listed at Companies House as a director of Momentum.

She will now lead the panel which has traditionally been non-factional and makes decisions on whether to investigate complaints over sexism, racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.

The move prompted surprise among activists because Black is an experienced activist who was first elected to the NEC in 2000.

She had for years enjoyed the support of the Labour left, and was seen as even-handed in her decision-making, but was dropped from the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance slate in July 2016 following a row over the rules for the leadership contest in 2016, when the NEC cut to just two days the window for people to become registered supporters, raised the price from £3 to £25 and imposed a freeze date as far back as January of that year.

“Targeting Ann Black shows the contempt the Momentum-Left have for party democracy when things do no go their way,” said Stephanie Lloyd, deputy director of Blairite group Progress.

“Inevitably the hard-left turn in on themselves and it is pretty unedifying to watch.”

Yesterday Lansman, founding chair of Momentum, Manchester councillor Yasmine Dar and national policy forum rep Rachel Garnham won a huge victory in elections to the NEC. The three were backed by the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance, which makes recommendations to supporters of Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.

A spokesman for Labour declined to comment.

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