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We must reclaim democracy in our Party – Labour MPs, unions, Left groups & NEC reps respond to NEC decision to reject a recall conference.

“At over half a million people, Labour’s members are its greatest strength. But in the past year, their right to democratic debate has been curtailed & those who have questioned attempts to limit political discussion have faced disciplinary action.”

“We are deeply concerned to hear that Labour’s NEC has rejected the call from CLPs for a recall conference in the face of an ongoing crisis of democracy in our party.

At over half a million people, Labour’s members are its greatest strength. But in the past year, their right to democratic debate has been curtailed and those who have questioned attempts to limit political discussion have faced disciplinary action. More recently, in Liverpool, Glasgow Kelvin and elsewhere, members have had their right to choose their Labour candidates undermined. Extraordinarily, while the former leader of the party remains a Labour member, the leadership continues to refuse to reinstate the Labour whip.

While the freedom of members to participate in the democratic culture of the party has been restricted, the party leadership has changed the party position – or adopted controversial positions – on a variety of issues, for example, supporting the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill; ignoring the advice of education unions, parents, and experts on the schedule for schools reopening; opposition to corporation tax increases; and most recently opposition to our 2019 pledge to increase nurses pay by 5%.

Members have a right to participate in democratic debate, and a right to question the political direction of the party. It is disturbing to read that curtailing these rights and the shift in our party’s position on key issues has led to an exodus of members. There are no signs that it has benefited us in the polls.

The party must reverse the draconian measures it has implemented and the PLP must reinstate the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. A recall conference would have been the opportunity to solve the crisis of democracy in our party, address the corresponding drift in our political platform, and chart a united way forward.

We can only win if we harness the power of our members, using their knowledge, skills and talent to set out a vision of a better world, based on our values of democratic socialism. That means empowering them through democratic debate, expanding our democratic structures, and giving members a real say over the direction of the party.

We will continue to support calls to reclaim democracy in our party because without it, we cannot hope to build the movement for change in our workplaces and communities the country so desperately needs.”

Signed:

Diane Abbott MP
Apsana Begum MP
Ian Byrne MP
Ian Lavery MP
Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
John McDonnell MP
Ian Mearns MP
Kate Osborne MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Jon Trickett MP
Nadia Whittome MP
Beth Winter MP
Pauline Bryan Labour Peer
John Hendy Labour Peer
Howard Beckett Assistant General Secretary Unite the Union & rep on Labour’s NEC
Andy Kerr, CWU Deputy General Secretary
Fire Brigades Union
Ian Hodson National President BFAWU
Sarah Woolley General Secretary BFAWU
Ian Murray, FBU President & rep on Labour’s NEC
Jayne Taylor, Unite rep on Labour’s NEC
Yasmine Dar Labour NEC CLP Rep
Nadia Jama Labour NEC CLP Rep
Laura Pidcock Labour NEC CLP Rep
Mish Rahman Labour NEC CLP Rep and Momentum NCG
Lara McNeill Labour NEC Youth Rep
Andi Fox
Kate Flannery
Chris Peace
Laura Smith, Cllr
Pamela Fitzpatrick, Cllr and Grassroots Labour Women candidate
Andrew Scattergood, Co-Chair, Momentum
Gaya Sriskanthan, Co-Chair, Momentum
Labour Representation Committee
Jewish Voice For Labour
Red Labour
Arise – A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas.

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