We have written to all left candidates. We will publish all answers online as soon we receive them so that our members and supporters can decide who to nominate from their CLP and who to vote for when elections commence in November. Feel free to contact the candidates, too.
We believe an active approach to candidates is much better than simply endorsing one or the other slate. The work of the National Constitutional Committee goes to the heart of LAW’s campaigning work – it deals with all disciplinary cases that the NEC feels it cannot resolve. Currently, a referral usually results in expulsion from the party. That’s why it is very important to choose candidates who will genuinely fight for members’ rights.
Four Questions for NCC candidates
1. ‘Working definition’ on Anti-Semitism, published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
We believe that this document has many shortcomings. Most seriously, we believe that some of the examples listed are conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people. For example, one of the examples labels as anti-Semitic the description of Israel as a “racist endeavour”. We disagree. Opposing and criticising a state that systematically, and constitutionally, marginalises and demonises Palestinians while subjecting them to discrimination is by definition a form of apartheid. In our view, it is not anti-Semitism to state this fact.
We would much prefer if the Labour Party adopted a simple definition of anti-Semitism, like in the Oxford Dictionary (“Hostility to or prejudice against Jews”) and the very clear submission to Labour’s Code of Conduct on Antisemitism by Jewish Voice for Labour and Free Speech on Israel: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/antisemitic-misconduct/
What is your attitude to the IHRA document, which, as you know, is so controversial that not all members of the NEC, including Jeremy Corbyn, wanted to adopt it in full? We note that the annual conference of the Green Party has also just rejected it.
2. Disciplinary process
Do you think the disciplinary process in the Labour Party should be radically reformed? If so, what is your attitude towards LAW’s following suggestions:
- that a member accused of a breach of rule be informed of who their accuser is
- that a member accused of a breach of rule be given all the evidence submitted against them by their accuser;
- that a member accused of a breach of rule be regarded as innocent until proven guilty;
- that membership rights must not be removed until disciplinary investigations and procedures have been completed (there might be valid exceptions in cases of serious bullying/harassment);
- that disciplinary procedures must include consultation with the accused member’s CLP and Branch;
- that disciplinary procedures must be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months should be dropped (unless there are serious, unavoidable reasons for the delay)
- that the cases of all those who have been summarily expelled or suspended from membershipwithout due process within the last three years be reviewed for possible immediate reinstatement.
3. Compliance unit/Complaints department
We believe that all disciplinary decisions should be taken only by elected bodies, not by paid officials. We therefore believe that the ‘compliance unit’ (Complaints department/Disputes) should be abolished. What is your attitude towards this body?
We believe that the first part of rule 2.1.4.B (‘Exclusions’) should be abolished: it bars from Labour Party membership anybody who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the party”. This rule has exclusively been used against left-wingers and Corbyn supporters.
Almost 25% of delegates at Labour’s conference 2018 voted in favour of abolishing this rule. What is your attitude to it?
Many thanks in advance for taking the time in answering our questions. You can email your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
CLGA candidates for NCC elections