By Martin Thomas
The Fire Brigades Union [FBU] is calling for an emergency recall Labour Party conference to protect democracy in the party.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack announced the call at an online meeting on 7 February attended by over 400 Labour Party people and organised to demand the reinstatement of dozens of Constituency and branch Labour Party officers.
The dozens were suspended for allowing debate on critical motions following Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension, reinstatement, and withdrawal of the whip.
Other speakers included Tony Kearns, deputy general secretary of the post and telecom union CWU, and Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers’ Union. Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett was billed but absent with internet difficulties.
The Skwawkbox blog reports that 50 of those suspended have been reinstated (though with a warning, or “reminder of conduct”, finding them guilty of “not following the guidance of the General Secretary”). Alan Gibbons, secretary of Walton CLP, chaired the 7 February meeting and told it that he had a reinstatement letter, but other speakers said that only one other letter had yet definitely been received.
An analysis by John Stewart counts 91 CLPs passing motions which might have flouted the General Secretary’s bans, and 29 with officers suspended, a total of 56 individuals. That may not be all.
Skwawkbox claims, plausibly, that the reinstatements were due to Labour Party HQ fearing that it would lose legal cases over the suspensions.
Sadly, some speakers in the 7 February meeting identified the key problem with Keir Starmer as him having been too anti-Brexit. No one mentioned the background fact of the EHRC [Equality and Human Rights Commission] finding on Labour antisemitism. No-one talked about tackling antisemitism in Labour, although one of the big issues of the current clampdown is the barring of local Labour Party plans to organise educationals about antisemitism.