Three councillors in the Haringey Council Labour group have been suspended from the Labour Party, forcing a week-long delay of its annual meeting and an expected challenge against the incumbent leader.
Following LabourList‘s report last week of complaints submitted by Labour colleagues alleging Islamophobia, it is understood that councillor Pat Berryman has now been suspended pending investigation.
Along with Berryman, who had been expected to stand against incumbent leader Joseph Ejiofor at the cancelled meeting earlier this week, LabourList understands that fellow councillors Noah Tucker and Dana Carlin have been suspended.
In an email seen by LabourList, Berryman appears to have accused a member of “weaponising your religion” when they asked for arrangements to be made in meetings for those fasting during Ramadan.
The complainant also alleged that Berryman accused them of “playing the race card” when raising concerns about racist social media posts targeting the current Labour local authority leader.
Commenting on the allegations last week, Berryman told LabourList: “I am aware of a complaint, though I don’t know the full substance of it, and it will be handled by the Labour Party.
“Until then, due process must be allowed to take place and it would be wrong for me to comment. However, I am confident that once the complaints procedure examination runs its proper course it will find in my favour.”
Tucker has reportedly been suspended for allegedly sharing antisemitic content on social media. He told LabourList: “I am an opponent of racism in all its forms including antisemitism.
“Social media posts have been collated, including selective editing, seemingly in a malicious attempt to falsely associate me with antisemitism.
“States and organisations which engage politically are legitimately subjects of discussion and criticism. I am confident that a fair process by the Labour Party will reinstate me soon to full membership.”
A senior source within the north-London Labour group has told LabourList that councillor and deputy mayor Carlin has been suspended following complaints from party members that she allegedly used the n-word in a meeting.
These fresh suspensions follow those in recent months of Haringey councillors Preston Tabois, understood to be for alleged antisemitism and Vincent Carroll for allegedly threatening behaviour towards a colleague.
This brings the total number of Haringey Labour councillors suspended from the party to five. LabourList understands that the group’s annual general meeting is now set to go ahead next week regardless.
The latest disciplinary procedures for Carlin, Tucker and Berryman come after councillors hoping to oust the incumbent leader had reportedly managed to force an earlier leadership challenge.
Party guidance says that where councils have decided to delay their annual meetings, local Labour groups should also postpone their AGMs, in which the councillors vote for group officers including leader.
Ejiofor had made a decision, in consultation with mayor Sheila Peacock, to postpone the annual council meeting until next May due to Covid. But councillors voted in July to hold the meeting this month instead.
Only 22 of the then 41 Labour Party councillors attended the meeting. Ejiofor, the mayor and his cabinet were among the 19 councillors who did not attend to vote on when to hold the council’s annual meeting.
A Labour Haringey spokesperson said: “The Labour Party has a complaints and investigation procedure that does not just have to be fair, but seen to be fair to everyone involved, as well as retain the confidence of the wider community.
“The confidentiality of these procedures is paramount, meaning it would be inappropriate for us to provide any further comment at this time.”
Councillors Dana Carlin and Pat Berryman have been contacted for comment. Labour does not comment on individual disciplinary cases for confidentiality and data protection reasons.