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Attempts to stifle legitimate discussion are harming our local parties – Letter to David Evans from 190+ CLP Chairs & Secretaries

“We urge you to withdraw the ‘guidance’ you have sent to our CLPs & halt any disciplinary action currently being taken against Party Officers for facilitating democratic discussion of party business.”

196 Chairs and Secretaries have written to Labour Party General Secretary David Evans, instructing him to withdraw his ‘guidance’ which restricts democratic debate of party business, such as expressions of solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and motions which call for the whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn. The letter is produced below, with thanks to CLPD and others for circulating. We reproduce below the text and list as circulated by CLPD.


Dear David Evans,

We are writing to you, as Constituency Labour Party Secretaries and Chairs, to raise our concerns about recent emails you have sent us, that instruct secretaries and chairs to prohibit discussion on certain topics.

Our party membership and its collective discussion in local branch and CLP meetings are vital to building an effective local political party. Unfortunately, the recent emails from you, placing restrictions on items of party business that can be discussed in meetings, accompanied by threats and suspensions, are undermining our efforts to build up our local parties. Democratically discussing the issues of party business that concern our members helps us develop and motivate our local party.

Treating our members’ rights with respect is also important for morale and increases the capacity of local parties to turn outwards and campaign in elections. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that was long fought for and has been traditionally upheld by the Labour Party, including in our party meetings. The right to freedom of expression is not only about the right to speak but it is also about the right to listen to others and for different views to be heard. Party members should have the right to express their views, including on whether the whip should or should not be restored to Jeremy Corbyn.

The policing of discussion, on a decision which has received a lot of media attention, is also demanding a great deal from volunteers who take up the role of administrators to facilitate and encourage dynamic campaigning local parties. Our local members and party officers are all volunteers, many of whom work very hard for the party. We feel that your recent guidance only puts us further into the firing line, and is affecting the mental and physical health of chairs and secretaries, many of whom are standing down from their posts because of the stress. This is expertise the Party can ill afford to lose with important elections coming up in May 2021.

Suspensions of officers who allow discussion on the removal of the whip from Jeremy Corbyn to take place also raises serious issues– chairs have in some instances had their membership of the party suspended for allowing discussion to take place when the General Committee or All Member Meeting has voted for them to do so. As CLP Officers, we are elected by General Committees or All Member Meetings, not appointed by the General Secretary and therefore we are being called upon, under threat of membership suspension, to break our own standing orders, and the rules of the party.

It is vital for us that the national party acts in a responsible way to help us maintain members’ enthusiasm to campaign for Labour. The attempts to stifle legitimate discussion are harming our local parties and their campaigning capacity, notwithstanding the suppression of members’ rights to speak and be heard.

We urge you to withdraw the ‘guidance’ you have sent to our CLPs and halt any disciplinary action currently being taken against Party Officers for facilitating democratic discussion of party business.

We look forward to your response. 


Signed by the following 196 Chairs and Secretaries from 141 Constituency Parties
(Last updated 09 Dec 2020 at 11:50pm)

CLP Chair, Aberconwy
CLP Secretary, Aberconwy
CLP Chair, Almond Valley
CLP Secretary, Almond Valley
CLP Chair, Bath CLP
CLP Chair, Battersea
CLP Co-Secretary 1, Battersea
CLP Co-Secretary 2, Battersea
CLP Chair, Berwick-upon-Tweed
CLP Secretary, Berwick-upon-Tweed
CLP Secretary, Beverley and Holderness
CLP Secretary, Birkenhead
CLP Chair, Birmingham Ladywood
CLP Chair, Bishop Auckland
CLP Secretary, Bishop Auckland
CLP Chair, Blyth Valley
CLP Chair, Bolton West
CLP Chair, Brecon & Radnorshire
CLP Secretary, Brecon & Radnorshire
CLP Chair, Brent Central
CLP Secretary, Brent Central
CLP Chair, Brentwood and Ongar
CLP Chair, Brighton Pavilion
CLP Secretary, Brighton Pavilion
CLP Chair, Bristol North West
CLP Secretary, Bristol North West
CLP Chair, Bristol West
CLP Co-Secretary 1, Bristol West
CLP Co-Secretary 2, Bristol West
CLP Chair, Burton
CLP Secretary, Burton
CLP Secretary, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross
CLP Secretary, Camberwell and Peckham
CLP Secretary, Camborne, Redruth and Hayle
CLP Secretary, Carlisle
CLP Chair, Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr
CLP Secretary, Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr
CLP Chair, Carshalton and Wallington
CLP Secretary, Carshalton and Wallington
CLP Chair, Ceredigion
CLP Secretary, Ceredigion
CLP Secretary, Chelmsford
CLP Chair, Chipping Barnet
CLP Secretary, Chipping Barnet
CLP Secretary, City of Durham
CLP Secretary, Cleethorpes
CLP Chair, Clwyd South
CLP Secretary, Clwyd South
CLP Secretary, Cynon Valley
CLP Secretary, Dover
CLP Chair, Dulwich and West Norwood
CLP Secretary, Dulwich and West Norwood
CLP Secretary, Dwyfor Meirionnydd
CLP Secretary, Ealing North
CLP Secretary, Ealing Southall
CLP Secretary, Easington
CLP Secretary, Edinburgh Central
CLP Chair, Elmet and Rothwell
CLP Chair, Filton & Bradley Stoke
CLP Secretary, Filton & Bradley Stoke
CLP Chair, Forest of Dean
CLP Secretary, Forest of Dean
CLP Secretary, Glasgow Kelvin
CLP Secretary, Guildford
CLP Chair, Hackney North and Stoke Newington
CLP Secretary, Hackney North and Stoke Newington
CLP Chair, Hackney South & Shoreditch
CLP Secretary, Hackney South & Shoreditch
CLP Secretary, Halifax
CLP Secretary, Hampstead & Kilburn
CLP Chair, Harborough
CLP Chair, Harrow East
CLP Secretary, Harrow East
CLP Chair, Hastings and Rye
CLP Secretary, Hemsworth
CLP Chair, Hendon
CLP Secretary, Hendon
CLP Chair, Heywood & Middleton
CLP Secretary, Heywood & Middleton
CLP Chair, Hornsey & Wood Green
CLP Secretary, Hornsey & Wood Green
CLP Secretary, Horsham
CLP Chair, Hull West & Hessle
CLP Secretary, Inverness Teuchter
CLP Chair, Islington North
CLP Secretary, Islington North
CLP Chair, Kenilworth and Southam
CLP Chair, Kingston upon Hull North
CLP Secretary, Kingston upon Hull North
CLP Chair, Labour International
CLP Secretary, Labour International
CLP Chair, Leeds North East
CLP Secretary, Leeds North East
CLP Secretary, Leicester South
CLP Chair, Leicester West
CLP Chair, Leyton & Wanstead
CLP Secretary, Leyton & Wanstead
CLP Secretary, Lincoln
CLP Chair, Liverpool Riverside
CLP Secretary, Liverpool Walton
CLP Chair, Liverpool West Derby
CLP Secretary, Loughborough
CLP Chair, Luton North
CLP Secretary, Luton North
CLP Secretary, Luton South
CLP Secretary, Maidenhead
CLP Chair, Maidstone & The Weald
CLP Secretary, Maidstone & The Weald
CLP Secretary, Mansfield
CLP Chair, Mid Bedfordshire
CLP Secretary, Mid Bedfordshire
CLP Chair, Mid Dorset and North Poole
CLP Chair, Mid Sussex
CLP Secretary, Mid Sussex
CLP Secretary, Mid Worcestershire
CLP Chair, Montgomeryshire
CLP Secretary, Montgomeryshire
CLP Chair, Morley & Outwood
CLP Secretary, Morley & Outwood
CLP Secretary, Newbury
CLP Secretary, Newcastle North
CLP Chair, North Devon
CLP Secretary, North East Bedfordshire
CLP Secretary, North East Fife
CLP Chair, North West Cambridgeshire
CLP Secretary, North West Cambridgeshire
CLP Secretary, North West Durham
CLP Secretary, Northampton South
CLP Chair, Nottingham East
CLP Chair, Orkney Islands
CLP Secretary, Orkney Islands
CLP Chair, Oxford East
CLP Chair, Pendle
CLP Secretary, Pendle
CLP Secretary, Penrith and the Border
CLP Chair, Pudsey
CLP Chair, Reading District
CLP Secretary, Reading District
CLP Chair, Rotherham
CLP Secretary, Rotherham
CLP Chair, Rushcliffe
CLP Chair, Scarborough & Whitby
CLP Secretary, Scarborough & Whitby
CLP Chair, Sedgefield
CLP Chair, Sefton Central
CLP Secretary, Sheffield Central
CLP Secretary, Sheffield Hallam
CLP Chair, Sheffield Heeley
CLP Chair, Shipley
CLP Secretary, Shipley
CLP Chair, Somerton and Frome
CLP Secretary, South East Cambridgeshire
CLP Secretary, South East Cornwall
CLP Chair, South Staffordshire
CLP Secretary, South Suffolk
CLP Chair, South Thanet
CLP Secretary, South West Bedforshire
CLP Chair, South West Devon
CLP Chair, South West Wiltshire
CLP Secretary, South West Wiltshire
CLP Secretary, Southampton Itchen
CLP Chair, St Austell & Newquay
CLP Secretary, St Austell & Newquay
CLP Chair, Stafford
CLP Secretary, Stafford
CLP Secretary, Stevenage
CLP Secretary, Stockton South
CLP Secretary, Suffolk Coastal
CLP Secretary, Sutton and Cheam
CLP Chair, Swansea West
CLP Secretary, Thornbury & Yate
CLP Secretary, Tonbridge & Malling
CLP Secretary, Tooting
CLP Secretary, Tottenham
CLP Chair, Truro and Falmouth
CLP Secretary, Truro and Falmouth
CLP Secretary, Wallasey
CLP Secretary, Wansbeck
CLP Chair, Warley
CLP Secretary, Warley
CLP Secretary, Washington and Sunderland West
CLP Chair, West Ham
CLP Secretary, West Suffolk
CLP Secretary, Weston-super-Mare
CLP Chair, Wimbledon
CLP Secretary, Wimbledon
CLP Secretary, Winchester
CLP Chair, Windsor
CLP Secretary, Windsor
CLP Chair, Wirral West
CLP Secretary, Wirral West
CLP Secretary, Woking
CLP Chair, Wolverhampton South West
CLP Secretary, Wolverhampton South West
CLP Chair, Worcester
CLP Secretary, Worcester

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