A string of longstanding Labour party activists – including the leader of an affiliated union – have been suspended or blocked from voting today, as the party performs ‘vetting’ ahead of the leadership election.
Ronnie Draper, the long-serving General Secretary of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union – and a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn – said he was “disgusted and in shock” after receiving a letter informing him he’d been suspended.
Mr Draper believes his suspension relates to something he wrote on social media.
Labour say the vetting is being performed by a panel of members of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC). While the process is ongoing, it’s thought a block of notifications were delivered today.
And the rash of suspensions hasn’t just affected Corbyn supporters.
Jonny Chambers has previously worked as an advisor to MP Stella Creasy, and supports Owen Smith . He left the party in March, in protest over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, but had applied to rejoin following the mass resignation of Shadow Cabinet members in June.
He says the party told him they never processed his cancellation, but told him he had been expelled this morning.
He believes it’s down to an article he wrote saying Theresa May would be the best Tory candidate to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister – but noting he wanted a Labour leader that could beat her.
He said: “Today I’ve been expelled from the Labour Party . A wonderful demonstration of Labour’s values: welcoming anti-Semites with open arms and kicks out long standing hard-working activists who have given many years of frustrated but dedicated service to a party I believed in, for the country love.
Labour claim that evidence shows I have demonstrated support for the Conservatives – something I have never done. I posted an article about why Labour people should have a stake and an interest in a race that was choosing our next Prime Minister – and I quite clearly said that whilst Theresa should be the next Prime Minister, I wanted a Labour leader than can beat her and the Conservatives.”
Mr Chambers says he will be appealing the decision.
Former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said the decision was “remarkable”, and said he would support his appeal.
Another longstanding member, John Dunn, says he’s been blocked from voting in the election because of something he wrote on his Facebook page.
Mr Dunn, an Orgreave justice campaigner, says he believes it’s because of a comment he wrote comparing the “actions in the PLP coup” to “the UDM scabs who undermined our strike.”
Mr Dunn spoke at a rally in Sheffield on Friday, in support of Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour party say their validation process includes an electoral register check and a duplication check.
It also includes “verification all voters share the aims and values of the Labour Party”, but they have not revealed on what basis this is judged.
It’s been suggested that supporters’ social media accounts are being examined for words including “traitor”, “scab” and even “blairite”, though Labour would not confirm this.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: We don’t comment on NEC decisions regarding individual members.
News Source MirrorNews