Labour Party members rights to select candidates for public office are enshrined in the Rule Book. Ever since I was elected to the National Executive Committee and was made aware of party matters in Stoke on Trent, I have been researching how authority for actions in the name of the NEC has been granted.
This morning firstname.lastname@example.org commented on my last posting. S/he states there is no 2-year plan, but states:
I'm sure that we should have a 2 year plan, agreed and shared amongst all the members but to the best of my knowledge no such document exists.
I have asked the person concerned to reveal their true identity. I hope that this statement is genuine. If so, it could prove a positive development.
Very urgent action is needed to halt the steamrollering of members' rights to select remaining candidates for Stoke City Council elections on 6 May.
As matters stand, members in three Stoke Central wards, have been invited to selection meetings in a central location in less than a week's time on Friday 19 March. Those who attend will have NO prior notice of who the candidates are before they arrive at that location. What the vast majority who do attend will know is that three local members the chair, secretary and political education officer of Stoke Central CLP who all applied to stand had their applications refused and appeals overturned.
Those decisions were not taken by their peers as provided for in the Rule Book, but by persons imposed by the Labour Party NEC, from elsewhere in the West Midlands. The Appeals were conducted by NEC members Mike Griffiths - a former TU representative on the NEC , now removed from his role in Stoke, Cllr Ann Lucas representing local government and Stephanie Peacock, the Young Labour representative.
What was the NEC doing in Stoke in the first place? I have yet to see any justification that would stand up to public scrutiny for its intervention in the selection of local government candidates in Stoke on Trent. Now we know there is no plan, who authorised this unwarranted intervention? Why should members - all volunteers - tolerate this gross interference in their rights? In particular, why should they take part in selections of candidates whom they have no prior knowledge of, whilst candidates whom they know (warts and all) are refused their rights to stand for the Council under the treat of disciplinary action if they continue to refuse to accept the NEC's authority? In plain language, they are being bullied into submission.
I have just taken a call from another woman member in Stoke who told me that the regional office and their 'trusties' in Stoke supported by the NEC "set out to get them". "It is quite awful, and cruel how they have treated Mick Williams and the others."
Mick Williams was given a Labour Party Merit award in 2008.