If there is one thing uniting the Left its the disappointment in Sir Keir Starmer as Labour Leader
A coalition of left-wing MPs, unions and Labour members are calling on Sir Keir Starmer to hold an emergency party conference in hope of persuading him to turn from his present course, a direction that can only lead to the loss of the Labour party has the political party for the British working class.
Arguing that there is a crisis in the Labour Party and the way out is Party Democracy, in a press release they say “Discussion in local Labour Party meetings has been suppressed; motions banned; scores of activists suspended; and anger and disillusionment is exploding across our lay membership across the Party. Members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction at the attack on democracy and free speech. Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party anymore.”
‘Reclaim Democracy Recall Conference’ suggest:
“There is a crisis in the Labour Party & the way out is Party Democracy.”
Of course, for all those ‘in the know’ The irony is Sir Keir Starmer is a member of the Trilateral committee who also suggests there is a ‘Crisis of Democracy’ however their answer to this perceived crisis is to reduce working-class participation in democracy, to take away our vote.
RDRC, which also has support from within Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and from activist groups Momentum and Don’t Leave, Organise, pointed out that Clause VI of Labour’s constitutional rules gives the NEC the power to recall conference before its currently scheduled date in September.
The campaign asked members to table and support motions in their local Labour branches to help “reclaim party democracy” through a conference recall.
The motion is backed by the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, which includes John McDonnell and Richard Burgon among others, as well as the powerful trade union Unite, Momentum and the Bakers’ Union.
The Reclaim Democracy, Recall Conference (RDRC) campaign said that anger over motions being suppressed and members being suspended had reached breaking point and that the “very soul of the party” is now at stake.
Since Sir Keir Starmer became leader, members have been banned from voicing solidarity with his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn after he was suspended and subsequently readmitted to the party without the whip.
According to the Huffington Post, The motion says an emergency online conference could be organised to coincide with the party’s women’s conference in June, and calls on Labour’s ruling national executive committee to force one.
It reads: “Discussion in local Labour Party meetings has been suppressed; motions banned; scores of activists suspended; and anger and disillusionment is exploding across our lay membership across the party.
“Members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction at the attack on democracy and free speech. Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party anymore.”
It follows the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn and comes amid speculation Starmer could face a leadership challenge as members fear he is repositioning the party to the centre.
Leeds East MP Burgon accused Starmer of attacking the left with a “wave of unjust suspensions” of party members, saying: “Our party should be laying out a clear alternative to the Tories. But instead of uniting to fight the Tories, the leadership has been fighting the Left with a wave of unjust suspensions and a clampdown on party democracy.
“It’s clear we can’t go on as we are. Members are the beating heart of our party – volunteers who give up their spare time to keep the party going in our communities. But members are leaving in droves and many more are demoralised with the direction of the party.
Keir stood to be party leader promising unity in our movement. Instead the divisions have widened.
“A recall conference is needed to put an end to the wave of suspensions on party democracy and to unite the whole party behind the policies we need to force the government to change track from its disastrous handling of this crisis.”
The move comes as the party faces allegations local party motions showing solidarity with Corbyn are being blocked.
The former leader was suspended by Labour after saying the scale of anti-Semitism had been “overstated” by the party’s opponents, after the Equality and Human Rights Commission report was issued last year.
Corbyn was later readmitted but Starmer has refused to allow his predecessor back into the Parliamentary Labour Party.
There is also frustration after several ex-officials suspended over the contents of a damning leaked report have been let back into Labour.
The Forde enquiry has been put back and back again, however, some of the staffers have been readmitted to the Labour party without the investigation being made public or completed.
Unison assistant general secretary Emilie Oldknow, wife of Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth was once thought to have been Sir Keir Starmer’s choice for Labour general secretary, she was chief among those suspended last year after the “Labour leaks” dossier emerged.
Oldknow was Labour’s executive director for governance, membership and party services – making her part of a senior management team who the document alleges conspired to replace Corbyn as leader.
Her name features hundreds of times in the leaked report, with some of the most shocking and offensive statements attributed to her. Yet she is allowed back into the party without the Forde inquiry being completed or made public.
Meanwhile, thousands of Labour members remain suspended some of which unjustifiably suspended in a witch hunt by these very same staffers that in all appearance made the greatest efforts to undermine their own party and fit people up for doing as little as liking the wrong social media comment.
NEC member Nadia Jama warned that “members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction.”
“Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party any more,” she said.
Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union which last month launched a consultation on disaffiliating from the party – said that members have a “real battle” on their hands.
“We are fighting for the very soul of the party and are confident we have the bulk of the membership behind such a move,” he added.
The Fire Brigades Union said it supports an immediate conference to “address the party’s glaring crisis of policy, party democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of discussion.”
And former NEC member for Unite Martin Mayer said: “There’s huge disillusionment and anger across the party’s lay membership at the suppression of basic democracy and free speech. A recalled conference is the way out of this crisis.”
Momentum co-chairman Andrew Scattergood added: “Right now, hard-working Labour members are being unjustly suspended, while CLPs have had their rights and freedoms undermined.
“A conference will give us the opportunity to reassert the democratic principles on which our party was founded.”
Labour, which is already planning to hold its Women’s Conference online in June, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Guardian also last week revealed a strategy document which said Labour was considering refocusing on patriotism, the Union flag and veterans’ causes to win back “Red Wall” seats captured by the Conservatives in 2019.
The research document also said voters were confused about “what we stand for, and what our purpose is, but also who we represent”.
Starmer will face his first major test at the ballot box in May when elections to councils and city halls are set to go ahead despite the Covid-19 crisis.