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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Elements within the Parliamentary Labour Party and within the National Executive attempt to stifle debate.

Allow the membership to take a view.

Dorchester Branch members

The West Dorset Constituency Labour Party, of which I am a member (Dorchester Branch), has again chosen not to hold a special meeting to discuss endorsement of one or other of the candidates in the forthcoming Labour Party leadership election. There now seems to be some debate if not controversy in Dorset, as the CLP management committee came to the same view prior to the leadership contest of last year. The following exchanges with the CLP, outline the extent of the controversy:

"It is noted that the recent instructions from the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, sent by e-mail to Chair and Secretaries by Isobel Laing, Regional Administrator, Labour South West has suspended Constituency Labour Party meetings together with Labour party branch meetings ", during the period of the Leadership election". It is further noted that the NEC instructions are qualified to exclude, "CLP Supporting Nomination Meetings – and meetings which relate to National Labour Party Conference (contemporary resolutions etc).
Under this provision from the NEC, it is hereby requested that a "Special meeting" of the Dorchester Labour Party Branch and the West Dorset Constituency Labour Party be convened no later than Thursday September 1st or such other dates as may be set in order to avoid a conflict of dates between branch and constituency meetings.
The purpose of such "Special Meetings" is to consider the following:

This Constituency Party, is appalled that less than 12 months after the leadership election of 2015, the Labour Party is faced with another leadership election resulting from a challenge mounted by certain elements from within the Parliamentary Labour Party. We consider that actions of the PLP are divisive in the extreme for the Labour party, and are of benefit only to the Conservative party, their supporters and those sections of the media and television who have historically been or are now hostile to the Labour party.
The PLP have behaved despicably in their conspiracy to overturn the democratic decision of Labour party members taken in September of last year. A conspiracy which has been under construction for at least 18 months and has now resulted in the shabby farce of a leadership challenge mounted by Owen Smith, as the sacrificial "stalking horse", because none of the PLP "heavy weights" had the courage to stand up themselves but were quite prepared to bully Smith into the role of challenger.


Consequently, it is therefore resolved that this Consistency Labour Party endorses Jeremy Corbyn for the role of Leader of the Labour Party in the current Leadership election contest. It is further resolved that this Constituency Labour Party condemns in the strongest possible terms the actions and motives of the Parliamentary Labour Party in launching this challenge to the leadership and for inflaming division and discord within the party."

The response from the CLP Secretary was disappointing:

"The executive committee of West Dorset CLP have taken the decision not to hold a supporting nomination meeting for the leadership contest. It is for each individual
member to decide how they will vote in a one member one vote election.

It is likely that we will be holding a meeting to discuss a contemporary motion to 

conference in September.


After due consideration of the CLP response, I sent the following:

"Thank you for your e-mail.
Frankly, I am disappointed that the West Dorset CLP executive committee should take "the decision not to hold a supporting nomination meeting for the leadership contest", without any opportunity for party members in the Constituency to express an opinion. I recall that the Constituency executive took the same decision prior to the Labour Party leadership election of September last year, which I and others found very disappointing.
Whilst I agree that, "It is for each individual member to decide how they will vote in a one member one vote election" the fact remains that under these circumstances. there is no difference between a Trade Union giving a collective endorsement to one or other candidates, but at the same time recognising that individual members of the Union or affiliated organisation, may well support another candidate. There is no such thing as, "collective responsibility" on the question of nominations or endorsements.
Constituency Parties, Trade Unions and affiliated organisations may choose to endorse or nominate one candidate, while some of their membership may vote differently in the subsequent ballot.

In view of these comments, I request that the decision not to hold a special meeting to consider the contents of my e-mail of yesterday (22nd July 2016) be reviewed as a matter of urgency.


It is a worrying and sinister feature of the present situation in the Labour Party, that elements within the PLP and the National Executive Committee, should seek to stifle debate within the party while at the same time banging on about "Democracy".

I am awaiting a response from West Dorset CLP.