On Tuesday 20 July, hundreds of Labour Party members picketed Labour’s London headquarters on Southside protesting against suspensions, expulsions and the proscription of left-wing groups.
At the picket were a number of those groups now under threat of being banned by the party, including Socialist Appeal, Labour Against The Witchhunt, and Labour In Exile Network (LIEN). But they were joined by other bodies including Jewish Voice For Labour and the Labour Representation Committee.
Norman Thomas, suspended chair of South Thanet, and one of the organisers of the event, said: “This was a marvellous show of unity of the left in Labour. But it is a sad day when people have to picket their own party’s head office just to try to get democracy, justice and freedom of speech.”
The picket took place at the same time as Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee was debating proscribing the left groups.
Thomas said: “These proposed proscriptions are an obvious attempt by the leadership to hasten the purge of the left in the party. Starmer is prepared to rip the heart out of the party. He’s trying to push us back to the days of Tony Blair. We will not let him do that. We will keep on fighting for a democratic, socialist party.”
Contrary to rumours, no anti-vax campaigners spoke at the meeting. A spokesperson for the organisers said: “Some anti-vaxxers harassed and shouted at us, but we refused to allow them to speak. We believe a few ant-vaxxers decided to hold their own ‘event’ in the street, but that was only after we closed our lobby.”