Post by Martin Francis in a personal capacity
I left the Labour Party a very long time ago (c1965) but have kept up an interest in developments in the party from Wilson to Starmer. Recently I have been dismayed by the way Labour Party friends have been treated under the Starmer regime. A lack of natural justice and a developing authoritarianism is evident in the disciplinary processes that I have observed from the outside.
It makes me anxious about the approach Labour would take as a government.
Pamela Fitzpatrick is a local example of such an unfair disciplinary process. This is her account below:
It is now 14 months since I lodged my appeal against my expulsion from the Labour Party. I was a long standing member of the Party and at the time of my expulsion I was Chair of the Harrow Labour Group, the Labour appointed Chair of the Planning Committee, a Labour councillor for almost 8 years, and a recent Labour Parliamentary Candidate. Throughout my time in the Party I also held a variety of CLP and Branch positions.Against this long history and work for the Party the sole reason I was expelled was that I had given an interview to the organisation Socialist Appeal in May 2020 and in doing so the Party judged me to be in breach of a rule it had created over a year later. I have contacted Labour several times over the past 14 months to ask for an update on my appeal, but I have had no response or acknowledgement. Reluctantly therefore I have instructed Solicitors who have now issued a letter before claim to the Labour Party.Labour has 28 days in which to respond and remedy this illegality. But if they fail to do so satisfactorily, we will have no choice but to commence proceedings in the High Court. This is not my desired outcome.The letter before claim sets out the impact the unlawful treatment by Labour has had on me. It has resulted in my exclusion from any political positions associated with the Party and has had a profoundly damaging impact on my political career. Upon expulsion from the Party, I lost my position as a Labour Councillor, as Chair of the Harrow Planning Committee and as Chair of the Harrow Labour Group. I also lost my position on Labour’s National Women’s Committee. A position I had been elected to in June 2021 by Labour members, with a majority of over 100,000. This is a committee that is very close to my heart as I have experienced abuse within the Party and am aware of many other women who have also experienced similar abuse. The position was voluntary and lasted 2 years.I have not been able to exercise the role since my expulsion. I am unable to put myself forward for selection as a Parliamentary Candidate (having stood for Harrow East in the 2019 General Election).I was an active member of my CLP but have been unable to participate in any Labour Party events or activities. This includes going to the Party Conference, any events that are organised, branch meetings, taking part in canvassing, fundraising events. These activities have taken up the majority of my time for many years, but I am no longer able to attend them.I have been shunned by people I previously considered to be colleagues, including other councillors who ignore me now if I meet them. This has all had a damaging impact on my professional and political reputation. It is uncontroversial that such treatment would have a negative impact on a person’s personal life and wellbeing, as it has had on me. But I know I am but one of so many treated this way.My heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported me. Solidarity really is the most beautiful of words.
Pamela's friends and supporters have launched a fundraiser to help her in her Challenge to Labour's lack of fair procedures and natural justice. They say. 'At this first stage we are simply seeking an appeal hearing in Pamela’s case that is conducted in a fair, impartial and transparent way. We will also be looking at all legal avenues to achieve our goal.
As of today the fundraiser stands at £11,438 against a target of £15,000 with eleven days to go.
Follow this LINK to the fundraiser which contains more details of the case.