Labour’s ruling body has agreed to proscribe four groups – Socialist Appeal, Labour in Exile Network, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Resist – in a move that could see at least 1,000 members automatically expelled from the party.
The national executive committee approved the proscriptions paper today, after amending it to specify that decisions made by the panel being established to look at possible bans of other groups will need to be ratified by the NEC.
The new panel – referred to as a “Star Chamber” by Unite the Union, which criticised the proposal – will look at the detail of proscribing groups in future, but the NEC will be required to ratify or overturn any of its decisions.
Not all members of the Labour NEC who are considered to be on the party’s left voted against the proscriptions today. A core group of ten members opposed the banning of LIEN and LATW.
Nine NEC members voted against the proscription of Resist, the group led by former Labour MP Chris Williamson that intends to register as a political party. 12 voted against the action against Socialist Appeal.
NEC member and ex-MP Laura Pidcock published a statement criticising the proscription of the four organisations. It was signed by most left NEC members – nine, plus incoming Unite rep Amy Jackson – but not all.
Reacting to the vote today, a Jewish Labour Movement spokesperson said: “We welcome this decision and the strong political signal it sends – membership of these groups is incompatible with Labour’s values and its drive to tackle antisemitism in our party.”
Although the NEC meeting today took place online, protests against the proscriptions were held outside Labour headquarters, which saw Tony Greenstein in attendance. Covid-19 denier Piers Corbyn also spoke, though had not been invited to do so by the organisers of the demonstration.