Some Constituency Labour Party members of the National Executive Committee are proposing a motion in January 2022 to curb the wave of exclusions and suspensions on arbitrary grounds or by “retrospective” criminalisation contrary to standard principles of justice.
Some suggested wording for motions in CLPs:
We declare our sympathy with the motion being put to the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee in January 2022, seeking to stop the retrospective use of a 20 July 2021 NEC decision for summary exclusion of members found to have given “support” for any of four named groups.
Whatever the merits of that decision, it cannot justify exclusion of people for giving “support” (sometimes of the most minimal and tenuous sort) to those groups when they were entirely “legal” in Labour Party rules.
As the motion points out, when the previous decision was made: “There was no mention of the retrospective application of the decision to proscribe these organisations nor, crucially, was there a clear, exhaustive, description of what constitutes ‘support’ for the organisations listed”.
“Retrospective proscriptions are against the legal principle that people cannot be guilty of a criminal act that was not illegal at the time of the offence”
It proposes that “The retrospective application of this rule ceases and that all members who have faced disciplinary action and investigation because of any ‘support’ for subsequently proscribed organisations before the date of the 20 July NEC meeting should have that action rescinded”.
We support a political and educational drive in the Labour Party to eliminate antisemitism, and recognise that may include some exclusions, which will have educational value if they are done with due process and with clear political explanation.
We express concern about the continuing surge of exclusions and suspensions without due process, a surge which predates the 20 July 2021 decision but has been accelerated by it. In particular, we are concerned that hundreds of members have remained suspended without due process for long period, and have been told that complaints about this to other Party members will be considered a further disciplinary process.
Suspension should be used only when urgently needed to protect the functioning of the party. Expulsions should be limited to cases proved with due process to lie outside Labour’s traditional “broad church”.