NEC candidates demand clarity from Labour over suspension of frontrunners

Candidates in Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) by-elections have demanded clarity over the suspension of two of the frontrunners in the contest.

A letter signed by Labour members and eight of the other NEC candidates in the race said that the party “must make it clear that due process has been followed”.

Mohammed Azam and Jo Bird, both running to be Constituency Labour Party (CLP) representatives on the party’s ruling body, were suspended from the Labour Party by the NEC itself last week.

Claims of a ‘stitch up’ have followed, as Momentum chair Jon Lansman is a member of the NEC and the Momentum slate of NEC candidates does not include Bird or Azam, who are instead promoted by rival left slates.

The suspension makes the candidates ineligible to stand as NEC candidates but Labour Left Alliance has tweeted to encourage Labour members to continue nominating Azam and Bird at their CLP meetings.

Three of the signatories – Trish Williams, Peter Apps, Peyman Owladi – have received nominations from more than five constituency parties and have secured their place on the ballot in the CLP rep contest.

Below is the full text of the letter sent to the Labour Party.

Elections have to be fair, and they also have to be seen to be fair. We are concerned that the elections for NEC representatives are not meeting this standard.

The media have reported that two candidates for NEC CLP representative posts have been suspended and are therefore not eligible to stand in the election.

If these candidates have been ruled ineligible as reported, the Party must make it clear that due process has been followed to come to this conclusion. Members have a right to know who has decided to remove them from the process, the rules under which this has happened, and the conditions that had to be met for this step to be taken.

And if these candidates are still eligible, the Party must inform members immediately. There is widespread confusion about whether nominations for these candidates are still in order, and Officers of Constituency Parties organising nomination meetings have received no guidance.

In the absence of any official statement to clarify these points, it’s unsurprising that members are speculating, rightly or wrongly, about whether these elections are a free and fair process. We urge the Party to clarify the situation immediately so that we can start to rebuild trust in the process.

Signed,

Peyman Owladi, Luton South (NEC CLP rep candidate)
Trish Williams, Berwick-upon-Tweed (NEC CLP rep candidate)
Pete Apps, Vauxhall (NEC CLP rep candidate)
Thomas Plater, NE Herts (NEC CLP rep candidate)
Yaqub Hanif, Luton North (NEC CLP rep candidate)
Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal, Ealing Southall (NEC BAME rep candidate)
Omolola Oyewusi, Chatham & Aylesford (NEC BAME rep candidate)
Mehmood Khan, Luton North (NEC BAME rep candidate)
Markus Keaney, Luton South (CLP Chair)
John Regan , Blyth Valley (CLP Chair)
Holly Sutherland, Newcastle Central (CLP Chair)
Ian Chapman , Berwick-upon-Tweed (CLP Chair)
Sheila Williams, City of Durham (CLP Chair)
Tom Tunney, Newbury (CLP Secretary)
Mick Kennedy, St Ives (CLP Secretary)
Mohammad Qadri, Luton North (CLP Secretary)
Sorrel Adams, Waveney (CLP Secretary)
Anjona Roy, Northampton South (CLP Secretary)
Keri Edmonds, Milton Keynes (CLP Secretary)
Emma Smith, Gosport (CLP Secretary)
Jessica Leschnikoff, Maidstone & The Weald (CLP Secretary)
Jan Appleby, North Herefordshire (CLP Secretary)
Angie Ray, Dover & Deal (CLP Secretary)
Judith Wardle, Witney (CLP Secretary)
Hannah Walter, City of Durham (CLP Secretary)
Bill Haylock, Hexham CLP (LCF Secretary)
Jon Farley, Leeds North East
Jim Hignett, Mid Beds
M Shafi, Cambridge
Jean Watson, Bedford
David Plank, Cambridge
Jennifer Runham, Cambridge
Philip Veasey, North Herefordshire
Jenny Secretan , Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Dan Dowling, Hexham
David Mallon, Blyth Valley
Justin Cousins, Cambridge
Angela Mallon, Blyth Valley
Michael Armstrong, Blyth Valley
Michael Lloyd, Blyth Valley
Graham Eastwood, Blyth Valley
Brenda Stephenson, City of Durham
Rachel Edge, Blyth Valley
Dean Jackson, Blyth valley

The letter can be signed here.

More from LabourList