Local parties warned against passing motions on disciplinary cases

Elliot Chappell

Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) have been warned by the party’s general secretary David Evans not to “have discussions about, or pass motions in relation to any aspect of individual disciplinary cases”, LabourList can reveal.

The guidance today follows the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn for his response to the EHRC report last week, in which he argued “the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents”.

The report published last week found Labour responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act relating to political interference in antisemitism complaints; failure to provide adequate training to those handling them; and harassment.

The Labour leadership was accused of a “factional crackdown” earlier this week following allegations that the London regional executive committee was prevented from voting on a motion expressing solidarity with Corbyn.

In an email to local party chairs and secretaries seen by LabourList, the general secretary has today stated he is “aware of the considerable strength of feeling and the range of views that members will have about the suspension”.

But he wrote: “I must remind you that in accordance with the instructions of my predecessor – which I fully agree with – it is not competent business for CLPs, branches and any other party units to have discussions about, or pass motions in relation to any aspect of individual disciplinary cases.

“This is necessary in order to protect the integrity of our processes, and to ensure that cases can be investigated and determined confidentially.”

Then general secretary Jennie Formby had previously advised local party secretaries not to accept motions on individual disciplinary cases in 2019, warning that “there is a lot of interest in the party and the media about our internal systems”.

Evans also reiterated a warning issued last week on the publication of the 128-page document, in which he urged CLPs not to “question the competence” of the EHRC report in local meetings or on social media platforms.

That advice, which urged local party executives to ensure that such motions are “ruled out of order”, reflects an instruction given in August that they should not accept motions on a number of specified topics related to antisemitism.

The guidance today told recipients that Labour “will not hesitate to take appropriate action – including against individual members – where our rules and guidance are not adhered to, or standards of behaviour fall below that which we expect”.

It follows concerns, such as those raised by national secretary of the Jewish Labour Movement Peter Mason, that the row over the suspension of the former Labour leader is distracting from the EHRC findings and the impact on Jewish members.

Labour has been served with an unlawful act notice on the basis of the investigation by the EHRC. The party was given six weeks – until December 10th – to produce an action plan to the EHRC in response to the findings and recommendations.

All candidates in the Labour leadership election earlier this year pledged to implement an independent process, and this is a compulsory move following the publication of the final EHRC report on Labour antisemitism.

More from LabourList