Labour Party Report
A Critique of the NEC Report
(The salient parts of the report have been put into bold type and then commented on. Supporting documentation is appended. My comments are in italics. A more comprehensive 102 page response has been submitted to the labour party)
(4) It is not true that most meetings started in this way. The issue regarding the rules was that the Wallasey CLP never provided a copy of their rules to any member and the Secretary said that none existed that she could find. Despite this the Chair and Secretary would from time to time quote the non-existent rules. Model rules are provided by the Labour Party and the CLP just needs to delete a few options and insert some words into blank spaces.
The Secretary had been asked to provide the rules in order to avoid confusion (appended)
(5) There is no explanation given here as to what the problem is with members submitting motions to political meeting. No examples are offered of problem motions or scripted questions.
(6) At the Annual General Meeting the outgoing officers (both Councillors and experienced at the way such meetings are run) were supposed to make their annual reports which would have been the ideal opportunity to point out any issues over the preceding 12 months. They did not make any Report and the first time they mentioned the issues referred to in this Report was to the Press after the new officers were elected and after Angela Eagle launched her leadership bid without the support of the new officers.
The new officers stood for office because we felt the meetings were badly run but not because they were as described in this Report.
Immediately following election the new officers produced a code of conduct for members attending meetings (appended). This was known to the Labour Part prior to the writing of the Report but not mentioned in the Report.
- Campaigns against Labour Council
A small, but vociferous, group of new Labour members have engaged in a campaign against the Labour council, and have called for the deselection of any councillors who refuse to set illegal budgets. (7) It was felt by some that these people only wanted to criticise the Party rather than support it. This includes motions to meetings (8), social media activity, and a Labour leaflet in one ward designed (but not distributed) (9) criticising the Labour council. Leaflets for 2016 were delayed significantly (10) in some areas because those involved could not agree on the message. Councillors expect that they will be deselected in the coming few years (11), based on the rhetoric that they have become familiar with in Wallasey.
(7) None of this ever happened. If it had, minutes of meetings would record it. No minutes recording this are referred to in this Report. No date is offered as to when this supposedly occurred.
This is entered into the Report to insinuate there is some link with Militant Tendency in Liverpool during the 80s. It did appear as though a few of the Councillors and long standing members were paranoid and suspicious of all new members. They could not understand why any member would question a Councillor or MP about what they were doing. They seemed upset at the idea of members questioning Councillors about Budget Decisions or the MP about bombing in Syria.
(8) I have never seen any such motion. If one existed I would have thought it would have been reprinted in the Report or appended. The only motion re the Council Budget called for a legal budget. (appended)
(9) There is no explanation as to who designed the leaflet or what was in it. Surely a copy could have been appended. I any event what is the relevance of a draft leaflet that was never used?
(10) In which Wards were leaflets delayed? The Candidates have an Agent and it is the Agent plus Branch Officers who design leaflets. Mont leaflets were centrally produced by the Local Campaign Forum and/or the Labour Group.
(11) There is no evidence of this and I never heard of any such campaign. This Paranoia on the part of some councillors however may well explain why some are seeking the suspension of the CLP.
The CLP holds most meetings as All-Member Meetings, but the AGM is a delegate body.
Tensions were raised from the beginning of the meeting, as the meeting room was too small for all attendees. It became apparent that there were more people present than were delegated.
The investigation heard differing explanations of the confusion over delegations.(12) Some felt that the delegate list was inaccurate, whilst others felt that one part of a delegate list was falsified. The Chair and Secretary ruled that only those invited to the meeting as delegates could stay in the meeting.
It was reported by all sides that there was much frustration and confusion in the room, for approximately 30 minutes. Some reported that tensions were raised and the atmosphere was febrile and increasingly frightening. It has been reported by several respondents that one member loudly threatened physical violence to another member during this period (13). Whilst it is unlikely that this threat would have been carried through, this created a frightening atmosphere, particularly for the older and younger members, who felt vulnerable.
When a vote was called on a proposal to postpone the meeting, it was reported that some members (14) voted to continue the meeting ‘and get it over with as they felt that they would never return to another Labour meeting after those events.
(12) This is a gross exaggeration of what actually happened and the minutes of the meeting have been provided to the Labour Party. These explain how the confusion occurred. It was a direct result of Wallasey CLP not publishing any rules.
Exaggeration or not, this part of the meeting was before the election of the new officers and it is accepted that after we were elected the meeting ran smoothly. The Labour Party know that the people making complaints about the way the first part of the meeting was run are the same people who ran it!
The model rules state that Union delegates would have had to have paid their affiliation fees paid by the end of 2015 if they are to be entitled to attend the 2016 AGM. Any new branches that affiliated during 2016 could not send their delegates to the 2016 AGM (but would be able to in 2017) but nobody from Wallasey CLP told them that so some new delegates turned up believing they were entitled to attend.
Even at the meeting neither the Secretary nor Chair explained the rules to the meeting but just kept repeating “if you are not on our list you will have to leave”
The Labour Party knew this before they prepared this Report and they also knew that the new officers immediately drew up a document to prevent the shambles at the start of this AGM ever being repeated. (appended)
(13) It would have assisted the NEC if the Report had mentioned that this refers to an incident when a female delegate was pleading with the Chair to allow her son to remain in the meeting if only as a non voting observer. He had been voted in as a Youth Delegate to the CLP from Leasowe Branch but was “not on the list” so being asked to leave.
While she was speaking on behalf of her son the largest male in the room (who happened to be the brother of the Councillor Chairing the first part of the meeting) sitting few rows back was heckling her in a manner that some say was intimidating. She turned to him and said either “shut your mouth you” or “shut your mouth you or I’ll shut it for you” (people present have differing versions)
Not particularly pleasant but not seriously threatening and just a flash in the pan. The Chair did not even think it worth bringing the meeting to order and the meeting then proceeded in good humour.
The business of the AGM was conducted relatively smoothly, although there were few reports
from Officers. (15)
(15) These same officers two weeks later went on TV and in the papers saying that meetings had been awful during the year with bad behaviour from members. It was at this stage of the AGM under Officers Reports that they should have reported on any problems faced in the previous 12 months. They did not because there were none.
At the end of the meeting the new Chair appeared to agree to a debate on a motion that was ruled out of order at the beginning of the AGM. This is subject to contrary accounts. (16) Some felt that the meeting was formally closed, so that the motion could be taken afterwards. Some felt that the motion wasn’t taken, but a debate was held on the same subject and a ‘proposal’ on the same subject was taken from the floor. It is clear that some members left (17) when the business of the AGM was finished, before this item. It is also clear that some older members were confused about the content of the motion or proposal, and did not understand what they were voting on. Amid this confusion, it was decided that the CLP would formally send Angela Eagle a letter. This letter contributed to the raised tensions that then followed. (18)
(16) This is not quite true. On the day of the AGM two Labour MPs had triggered the Leadership Challenge to Jeremy Corbyn. A member approached the Secretary and Chair before the meeting started and asked for a motion on this to be taken as an emergency. This member was told that it could not be taken and she did not challenge this nor did the Chair rule on it once the meeting started.
The last item on the agenda was MPs Report and the same member raised the issue then with the newly elected chair asking for her meeting to be accepted for debate. The outgoing Secretary insisted that according to the (non existent) rules no motions could be taken. Eventually it was agreed that Angela Eagle should be made aware of the sentiments of the meeting by way of a letter (had she been in attendance to give her report it could have been discussed with her face to face but she had tendered her apologies)
A draft copy of the AGM minutes which explains all this was sent to the Labour Party (appended).
(17) Only one member left and gave her apologies for doing so, citing childcare responsibilities
(18)The letter sent to Angela Eagle was polite and not controversial at the time (appended). That is why only around 5 members voted against it being said. Most of those have since been in the media making allegations about the CLP.
A copy was in the possession of the Labour Party but they did not include it in the Report. It asked her to continue supporting Jeremy Corbyn and received support of the vast majority of those at the meeting.
It only became controversial 3 days later when Angela Eagle resigned from the Shadow Cabinet so putting her in conflict with the wishes of the meeting.
At the same time as the suspension of the CLP, the CLP Secretary sent all members a motion she had received from a branch, regarding the allegations about the CLP, naming some members explicitly. Other motions had been sent to the CLP, including one in support of Angela Eagle, but only the one motion was distributed. Unfortunately this was a confusing time in the CLP and the new Secretary was establishing a new email address. The one motion that was sent was felt by some to be attacking some members specifically.
(19) This is untrue and the Labour Party knows it to be untrue as the Secretary acted on the advice of the North West office of the Labour Party over this matter. There were email exchanges between them. Ample evidence that this is untrue has been provided. All 4 motions received were circulated.
- Allegations of homophobia
The investigation has found that some members have truthfully claimed that homophobic instances occurred during the AGM. Others truthfully said that they were not aware of those instances. It is possible for the events to have occurred without the knowledge of all members. The allegations are not that the CLP is institutionally homophobic or that members were aware of homophobia but took no action, but are specific to individuals. (20)These allegations will be reported to the next meeting of the Disputes Panel regarding individual disciplinary action. Some members felt that these allegations affected the reputation of all members present. Others felt that the angry and public denials of the claims led to some members feeling intimidated about coming forward to address their concerns.
(20) To those who were present this is very surprising and it is hard to believe that in such a small room (24 foot by 18 foot) anyone would be able to indulge in such disgraceful behaviour without just about everyone witnessing it especially as several individuals went to the media stating that the homophobic abuse was throughout the meeting.
This Report also suggests that more than one person was responsible as it refers to individuals.
The Report fails to mention why no one at the meeting complained about the alleged behaviour at the meeting but waited for 2 weeks before doing so in the press (appended). There were 5 Councillors and 4 full time Union Officers the attendees as well as several gay members. The newly elected Cahir and Secretary have Gay children and have always been active in campaigning for Gay rights.
This is an allegation of criminal activity. The Report fails to mention that as soon as the new Wallasey Officers heard about this via press reports they consulted with the Police and compiled a 6 page report calling for an Investigation and any evidence reported to the Police (appended)
The Labour Party has failed to explain why it is failing in its Civic Duty and ignoring its own procedures by not doing so.
Over the summer there has been a high level of inter-member abuse in Wallasey. Members are angry about the action taken, and they were angry about the leadership election. This has resulted in genuine fear and intimidation of a small number of other members. (21) This creates an environment in which some members are fearful to take part in the Party or raise their voice about any issue, as they see that those that do are subject to abuse. This culture is toxic and it is self-perpetuating.
One member in particular has endured a significant level of personal abuse. (22) A hashtag was created to encourage people to ‘shame’ him publicly and his home address and personal details were published online. It is likely that this had a substantial detrimental impact on the member’s family. A website appears to have engaged in a course of intimidating behaviour to this member. There have been calls for members to be disciplined if they can’t publically substantiate the complaints. (23) This only perpetuates the intimidation. Instead of supporting those that are scared, members have been sent hand-delivered letters of condemnation.
(21)This is not recognised as reality by me if it is suggested that Labour Party members were responsible for this. There have been no meetings of Wallasey CLP over the summer for people to be abusive at even if they wanted to be.
(22)The Labour Party has not provided any evidence of such abuse being perpetrated by Labour Members, nor does this paragraph actually suggest that it has.
(23) I have not heard any such calls and no evidence has been offered of such calls
A small number of members held a public meeting to discuss their concerns about the suspension of Wallasey CLP. The public meeting explicitly named some members. Some leaflets promoting this were distributed specifically to the houses of Party members, including brand new members. The Party received complaints about a breach of data protection in what appeared to be an abuse of recent membership lists. (24) One member was personally criticised for this. This member is aggrieved that complaints claimed he was distributing leaflets when he was not present. (25) It is not possible to establish with certainty whether Party membership lists were used to promote this meeting.
(24) Wirral TUC called a meeting for Labour members and supporters. It was publicised in the press,
by way of 10,000 leaflets and on Social Media. 400 people turned up. The only members mentioned by name at the meeting were those who had been on TV and so put themselves in the public arena.
3 members complained that they were the only ones in their street to get the leaflet and that they had seen me delivering the leaflets making unauthorised use of Labour Party Data (appended). If true that could have led to my expulsion from the Labour Party.
(25) This is an oblique reference to the fact that the 3 Angela Eagle supporters gave a false statement to the Labour Party regarding alleged activities myself. Unfortunately for them, but lucky for me, I was in London the day they say they saw me in Wallasey and the Labour Party given evidence of this which they omit from the Report (appended). The Labour Party has not taken any action against those making the false statement or even referred to it in the Report
6. Campaign against Angela Eagle
It’s highly likely that the brick thrown through the window of Angela Eagle’s office was related to her leadership challenge. The position of the window made it very unlikely that this was a random passer-by. (26)The window was directly between two Labour offices. Untrue rumours were subsequently spread that the building was occupied by many companies and the window was in an unrelated stairwell. This was based on a Companies House search which found that the landlord had a number of companies registered there; in fact the only other occupant is the landlord on the upper floor. Once this incorrect rumour was spread, members repeated it as clear evidence that Angela Eagle was lying. This is categorically untrue.
Regardless of the truth of the matter, there is no doubt that this event had a strongly negative effect on the local atmosphere, and it is clear that it put many people in fear. Instead of supporting frightened members, some people engaged in an angry course of abuse (27) to those suggesting it was a politically motived attack, just compounding the stress.
(26) The smashed window was a criminal act by person or persons unknown. There is absolutely no evidence that a Labour Party member was responsible. The position of the window is actually in a side passage that is a public thoroughfare between a local pub, known for rowdiness, and housing.
It may have been a politically motivated act or it may have been vandalism. We may never know. I cannot see what this has to do with Wallasey CLP.
(27) No evidence has been supplied that any Labour member has spread any such rumours or been abusive. Nor does the report actually say members were responsible.
The office of Angela Eagle has endured a significant amount of abuse, including abusive and intimidating phone calls. Staff members were eventually forced to unplug the phone. The Investigation has received many hundreds of abusive, homophobic, and frightening messages that have been sent by Labour members to Angela Eagle. Where appropriate, members have been administratively suspended pending investigation.
(28) This was disgraceful behaviour and criminal acts. The names of those known to be responsible, Labour members or not, should be handed to the Police.
There is no information as to the number of Labour Party members allegedly involved in this criminal activity. If the number is provided we could assess whether there is a widespread problem in Wallasey CLP or not.
The office received a death threat for Angela Eagle, (29) for which a man has been arrested. Instead of condemning this and supporting the MP and the office staff receiving this, members have questioned whether this really occurred. The death threat has been seen by the investigation.
(29) I have never heard any Labour Member suggest that the death threat never happened and the Labour Party has provided no evidence of this. For some reason the Report fails to mention that the man responsible, and convicted, is from Glasgow and not a Labour Party member. They fail to explain why this criminal act was reported to the Police whilst the other allegations of criminal activity have not.
The Police advised Angela Eagle to cancel her drop-in Advice Surgeries. Instead of expressing concern that matters should have reached this level, members called her a liar and suggested that the Police (30) had done no such thing (the wording of the Police statement was advisory, as is the correct protocol).
In what seems like a co-ordinated campaign, the MP’s office has been subject to ‘Distributed Denial Of Service’ attacks – the deliberate flooding of their systems. Even if one did not believe these events happened, the comradely response would be to support fellow members in true distress. Members instead went to the press to insinuate that the allegations were lies.
(30) I have seen no evidence of any member calling Angela Eagle a liar ;none is in this Report
(31) I wrote to Merseyside Police complaining that our MP was not being offered police protection. (appended) The Labour Party is aware of this.
There are many members in Wallasey under the age of 18. Meetings are mostly all-member meetings so any young person could attend (and have done so), and even the AGM included members under the age of 18. These children should not be put in the unacceptable position of fearing Labour Party meetings.(32) The Party has an obligation to create a welcoming and safe environment for young members.
(32) There is no evidence whatsoever that any one has ever been in fear at a Labour Party meeting.
The current atmosphere in the CLP is toxic and divided in the extreme.(33) It is not possible for the CLP to safely meet in the current climate, and the Party should support them to move forward from these problems.
(33)No evidence has ever been provided to support this assertion. Minutes of all meetings are available. No complaints were ever made to the Labour Party until the Secretary was voted out and the CLP declined to support Angela Eagle’s Leadership bid.
It is recommended that the CLP be suspended (34) subject to a review in January. The CLP should be supported to start meeting again, with oversight from the Regional Office, and a code of conduct for meetings should be put in place.
(34) If a few members have achieved the suspension of Wallasey CLP due to unsubstantiated claims of fear of intimidation then they can simply continue to express fear and effectively veto meetings being held. A simple solution would be to have a Regional Officer of the Labour Party attend our monthly meetings to not only ensure fair play but see how our meetings are actually run.
The Regional office will facilitate meetings of the key stakeholders in Wallasey to discuss a joint campaign strategy, policy issues, and CLP matters.
During the suspension, any candidate selection meeting should be overseen by the Regional Board.
All role-holders in Wallasey should receive training on organisational matters before the end of the suspension. Formal meeting structures will help manage the tensions in meetings.
This report should not be used to exacerbate problems. Claims and counter-claims will not improve the environment, and we will not act on unsubstantiated allegations.
Except that the CLP has been suspended as a result of “unsubstantiated allegations”.
Appendix re point 4; request re rules
On Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 9:15 AM, Paul Davies <****@btinternet.com> wrote:
Hi Bernie and thanks for this.
I think this could end up with all sorts of boring arguments at the AGM or subsequent meetings as the Party rules appear to suggest C LPs can either be based on all members meetings or delegate meetings.
Wallasey has all member General Meetings and Delegated AGMs.
That makes sense to me but that does not appear to be an option in the Rule Book (I may of course have missed something)
To save potential arguments over this it would help if there was something in writing from the Labour Party to clarify this. Is there something or have I missed something in the Rule book?
Sorry to be a pain but best sorted before the AGM so that it all runs smoothly.
Sent from my iPhone
Appendix to point 6; Code of Conduct; CLP Document
This is an extract from the CLP Code of Conduct drawn up by the new officers within a week of being elected and prior to the Investigation. It was provided to the Labour Party prior to the NEC Report
Conduct of members during meetings
In many ways this is quite simple. Members are expected to be polite and respectful of all other members whether they agree with the views they are expressing or not.
This can be expanded to explain that aggression, racism, sexism and homophobic comments will not be tolerated.
If a member wishes to speak at a meeting he/she should indicate this by raising her/his hand. The Chair of the meeting will acknowledge this and then call the members, who have raised their hands, to speak in turn.
Any member speaking must be listened to with respect even if other members totally disagree. With what is being said. There must be no heckling and no interrupting. Members can applaud if they think a contribution is good enough but there can be no booing.
If you object to the way a person is speaking or acting and the Chair is not, in your opinion, handling the situation properly then you can get on your feet and raise what is known as a point of order but this is seldom necessary.
The Chair plays an important role in the meeting by making sure that the rules are followed and all business conducted efficiently and in line with good conduct and with all members treated with dignity and respect.
If anyone is speaking or acting out of turn then it is the responsibility of the Chair to bring things to order.
The Chair is in total control of the meeting and can even stop someone to stop speaking or ask them to leave the meeting! This seldom happens and we cannot ever remember it happening in Wallasey but the Chair has that power.
The Chair’s power can be challenged however.
If the meeting thinks that a Chairs ruling on any matter is wrong then this can be challenged but it takes a 2/3rd majority to overturn a Chairs ruling not just a straight 50%
I hope this helps new members. Don’t worry it’s not as complicated as it looks and we certainly don’t remember any meetings as hostile as one or two people have reported in the press recently.
If you want to have your say; just put your hand up and you can be sure of a respectful audience.
Appendix to point 8: call to set an illegal budget
The only motion to the CLP regarding cuts called for the Labour Group to maximise its use of reserves and put the blame for cuts on the Tories. This was carried at the CLP on Friday 22nd January 2016.
The motion read:
This meeting condemns the Tory local government settlement announced in December 2015. It is putting huge pressure on Councils to make even more cuts.
We recognise the appalling position that this creates for Wirral Labour Councillors. We note the advice given to Labour Councillors by Jeremy Corbyn in December. We agree that Labour must support the setting of legal budgets. We also agree that every effort should be made to avoid cuts by using reserves and borrowing, whilst Labour Councillors lead a local campaign against the cuts. It is vital that Labour Councillors demonstrate, as Jeremy puts it, that at every level “our Party is now clearly an anti-austerity party.”
This meeting calls on Wirral Labour Councillors to:
Set out the extent to which they are proposing to utilise reserves and borrowing to minimise the impact of the Tory announcement;
Explain how they propose to make the bulk of the savings in 2016/17, since the Council consultation appears to specify cuts of about £3 million, when £24 million savings are required.
Set out how they will, in Jeremy’s words, ensure that “the blame for the cuts in local government services squarely on the government, which is causing them.”
Set out their proposals to help the Labour leadership “build a national campaign and to work alongside Labour councils to mobilise local campaigns in their areas to expose the devastating impact of this government’s cuts to local council spending…. forging strong alliances with local community campaigners, council staff who are under duress as a result of Tory spending cuts, local citizens and others in defending local services.”
As can be seen the motion specifically supported the setting of a LEGAL budget and is nothing like the impression given in the Report
Appendix to point 12; Improving the AGM; CLP Document
This was drawn up by the new officers within a week of being elected and endorsed by the one and only Executive meeting. A copy was sent to the Labour Party on several occasions prior to the Report being compiled.
Improvement of the Conduct of the AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Wallasey CLP is an important meeting and it is important that it is well run. After each meeting, but especially the AGM, the Executive should consider how the meeting went and suggest improvements. These are some simple straight forward suggestions to ensure that our next AGM is run smoothly.
Of Copy of the full rules to be made sent to all members and posted them on our website.
We produce Wallasey CLP Rules and Procedures plus a Code of Conduct to be followed at all meetings and circulate this to members and post them on our website.
Prior to the next AGM we e mail all members reminding them that the AGM is delegate only, enclose a list of those we believe are entitled to attend and ask those who believe we have omitted them to go back to the Unit who they nominated them.
When we receive a new affiliation after the 31st of December the Affiliating Organisation be in formed when acknowledging that affiliation that their delegate is not eligible to attend the AGM.
We e mail all Affiliated party Organisation again re their delegation to the CLP and whether they are entitled to attend the AGM prior to the meeting.
We e mail all Delegates the nominations with the Agenda and inform them of the procedures to be followed at the AGM.
We clarify the rules re Ordinary business and emergency motions at the AGM.
We check membership and delegate credentials at the door utilising the services of the membership Secretary and Executive members.
We appoint the elected Tellers to act also as Stewards.
Appendix to point 16 ; AGM Minute re letter to Angela Eagle
Angela Eagle MP Annual Report; There was no report
Under this item J*** C*** submitted an emergency motion for the consideration of the meeting which read;
“I am asking for the support of Wallasey CLP to the appeal to all members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to REJECT the motion of no Confidence in Jeremy Corbyn tabled by Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey.
I agree that the Country now faces critical questions about the future of our economy and society. I also believe that a leadership contest at such a time would be self indulgent and a waste of our party resources . It would also let the Tories off the hook at a time when they are bitterly split.
If Labour MPs move to oust Corbyn now, they would be showing contempt for the colossal democratic mandate he received from party members and supporters less than 12 months ago”.
A*** R*** suggested that the meeting should record, by way of a motion, its appreciation of the stance being taken by Angela Eagle in not being drawn into the Leadership debate, not resigning and continuing to support Jeremy Corbyn.
B*** M***, suggested that there were no provisions in the rules for such motion to be taken at an AGM and she had rejected this motion at the start of the meeting. J*** M*** suggested that any motion relating to the conduct of our MP was inappropriate as she is free to perform her role as she sees fit.
The Chair ruled that these could not be considered as an emergency motions at the AGM and suggested that she could close the AGM and immediately open an emergency Ordinary Meeting if the members so wished.
There was then discussion as to whether the AGM meeting should be closed and then an Emergency Ordinary Meeting be held to consider this motion and whether this would be within the rules.
P*** D*** suggested that to cut through any complication regarding the rules relating to Motions, a letter be drafted by the Chair and Secretary along the lines of the sentiments expressed by Alan, if the writing of such a letter had the support of the meeting. This was supported by A*** R*** who withdrew his proposal for a motion.
The Chair put the proposal of a letter to the meeting for a vote and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that such a letter be sent on behalf of the meeting.
The Chair thanked the Officers for their work during the previous year, the members who had stood for office, whether successful or not, and everyone present for attending the meeting.
There being no other business the Chair thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting .
Appendix to point 20 ; Press Reports re Allegations of Homophobia
On Politics today on 5th July, speaking in support of Angela’s leadership bid and responding to a point that Angela’s CLP were backing Corbyn: “I’ve spoken to Angela about her meeting. Angela faced homophobic abuse at that meeting”.
Councillor Bernie Mooney, outgoing Secretary
On North West Tonight on 7th July 2016 speaking about the AGM :
“There were homophobic gestures made to our newly elected LGBT member. There was hostile names called at Angela. At one point somebody called her a dyke. Now people will say that that didn’t happen, but there are people who will give evidence to that that that’s the type of thing that were happened through this meeting”.
Standing in front of Sherlock House and responding to the vandalism there, Bernie alleged that a Wallasey Labour Party member threw the brick through the window at Sherlock House:
“Thanks. I’m absolutely disgusted with what’s happened it’s awful this isn’t how people should work it’s not how the Labour group should work. This is not what Labour members should be doing to their MP it’s a disgrace”.
On Newsnight on 12th July 2016 in answer to the question “What sort of things have you heard at meetings?” James said
“Well, homophobic comments made at Angela Eagle, who wasn’t present at the meeting, homophobic gestures made towards people at the meeting at the mention of Angela’s name. One lady at a recent meeting even threatened to punch somebody.”
And on BBC North West Tonight: “At the last meeting there was threats of violence, homophobic abuse, arguments between grown men and women, it’s not a pleasant environment to be in”.
And on Newsnight “Well within Wallasey the tone of the meetings has been appalling, threats of violence, homophobia, arguments between grown men and women, and now most recently today we’ve had an actual act of violence – a brick thrown through a window”.
On BBC TV referring to Jeremy Corbyn and the threats, intimidation and violence – “They are being done in his name and he needs to get control of the people who are supporting him and make sure this behaviour stops and stops now.”
Evan Davis – We saw, you know, a brick thrown through your Constituency office window.
Angela Eagle – Yes.
Evan Davis – Do you think its Labour members, of any kind, who were responsible for the violence, for the death threats, for the hate that we have seen?
Angela Eagle – Erm, there’s a lot of hate, there’s a lot of death, there were death threats I’ve been told tonight, there’s a lot of vitriol. I have to say that my office workers have to work in that environment. You heard from one of them tonight. They’re just trying to do their job. They shouldn’t be subjected to this kind of approach. It’s happening up and down the country, it’s bullying …
Evan Davis – Is it Jeremy Corbyn supporters?
Angela Eagle – … and it should stop. Jeremy should tell his supporters who are orchestrating this on social media to stop it.
Extracts from The Guardian article on 1st August
Angela Eagle’s local Labour party is in further turmoil over a formal complaint that alleges she was referred to as “Angie the dyke”, and that a member was threatened with being punched in the head at an official meeting.
The Labour MP, who challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership before withdrawing from the contest, saw her constituency party of Wallasey suspended last month over the claim of bullying and intimidation.
The complaint by 17 Wallasey party members, seen by the Guardian, alleges that Eagle was the subject of the homophobic slur, and that others were intimidated at the annual general meeting on 24 June, which the MP did not attend. The original complaint about the AGM was made by 17 delegates led by Paul Stuart, also a vice-chairman of the suspended party.
“Meetings have become very hostile, with people attending who should not be present. Members have been heard threatening people, saying they ‘Would come back there and punch you in the head’ for having an opinion. This is commonplace now and goes unchallenged by anyone because of intimidation and bullying,” the complaint says.
“When people try to leave, people stand in the way of the door and are told those trying to leave, they are not leaving and sit down. While people do leave, the actions are an intimidating act … At our AGM, when electing the LBGT officer, there was some delegates who started limping their wrists to each other and laughing. Homophobic comments have been said by members including ‘Angie the dyke’, making reference to Angela Eagle MP.”
The day after she declared as a candidate, her staff said a brick was thrown through the window of a stairwell in her office building. Some of her opponents have questioned whether the incident was linked to her challenging Corbyn, but Eagle made it clear she believes they are related, appearing in the media at the time asking the leader to “control” his supporters.
Appendix to point 20 ; CLP Report into Homophobia
Sent date: 04/08/2016 11:40
Subject: Fwd: My report on how to deal with the allegations of Homophobic behaviour
Attachments: Version 2 Allegation of Intimidation ad Homophobic behaviour at Wallasey CLP AGM v2.docx 38.8 KB
Bernie and Helen.docx 19.5 KB
Subject : My report on how to deal with the allegations of Homophobic behaviour
My report presented to our Executive on 11 July and copy given to Noel Hutchinson of NW Labour. I also attach letters I hand delivered to the only two people I know of who were at the meeting and are making allegations.
Allegations of Intimidation and Homophobic behaviour at Wallasey CLP AGM
There have been reports in the press and TV , first about Intimidation which surfaced in the Liverpool Echo Saturday July 2nd ; 8 days after the Annual meeting and, more recently, Homophobic Behaviour.
The reports all refer to alleged behaviour at the Wallasey AGM Friday June 24th two days prior to the announcement that Angela Eagle was resigning from the Shadow Cabinet and contemplating standing as Leader.
In the Echo it was alleged as a headline to a near full page article on page 6:
“Threats of violence over Eagle Leader bid”
This was attributed to Wirral Young Labour and the article reads as if members at the CLP, or some of them at least, were angry at Angela launching a Leadership bid.
This mystified your Officers because of course no one at that meeting knew that Angela was doing anything but supporting Jeremy Corbyn and the meeting congratulated her for doing so. She resigned 2 days after the CLP meeting. There was no reason for any member to be antagonistic towards her and if they were it could have nothing to do with her Leadership bid.
The penultimate paragraph of the Echo article quoting the unnamed spokesperson for Wirral Young Labour states;
“Claims of doctored lists, threats of violence and a walkout of ashamed members paints a particularly dire picture of our own internal democracy”
Indeed it would if true.
There is no mention in the article of any Homophobic behaviour.
The Officers attempted to call an Emergency Executive meeting to discuss these allegations and draft a response but were advised that 7 days’ notice would be required. In any event the previous Secretary had not responded to a request by the incoming Secretary to provide contact details so it would have been impossible to convene an Executive meeting.
The Chair and Secretary asked the Vice Chair Paul Davies to speak to the media about this issue and any other accusations regarding the conduct of the CLP and handle any other requests for interviews from the media.
The Echo article was followed by a Television interview on Politics Today on Sunday in which Tessa Jowell alleged:
“I spoke to Angela about her meeting. She faced homophobic abuse at that meeting”
This Television interview was then widely reported in the Press including the Pink News. It gave the impression that Angela Eagle was at the meeting and “ faced” direct abuse.
The article in Pink News stated;
“Angela Eagle has been subjected to homophobic abuse since resigning from the Shadow cabinet and revealing her plans to challenge current Leader Jeremy Corbyn according to a senior Labour Politician”
If Angela has been subjected to abuse of any kind this should be deplored but any such abuse could not have happened at the AGM in response to her Leadership bid as she declared her resignation 2 days after the meeting. Obviously Angela could not have “faced” direct abuse at the meeting either because she was not there.
Neither Tessa Jowell nor Angela Eagle were present at the meeting so of course neither were a witness to any such events themselves and there was, unfortunately, no mention as to what exactly happened.
More recently Bernie Mooney a Wallasey Councillor, the Secretary of the Constituency until the recent AGM (when she was replaced after a ballot) and former Trades Union Tutor appeared on BBC North West Tonight on 7th July 2016 and made the following allegations:
“There were homophobic gestures made to our newly elected LGBT member. There was hostile names called at Angela. At one point somebody called her a dyke. Now people will say that; that didn’t happen, but there are people who will give evidence to that. That’s the type of thing that happened through this meeting”.
Again this could give the impression that Angela was at the meeting as the hostile names were allegedly “at Angela” not about Angela. It also suggests that there was not an isolated incident but such behaviour “happened throughout the meeting.”
There were no complaints about any misconduct made at the actual AGM or to the Officers of the CLP during the week that followed, so the Press reports were the first your new Officers knew about these allegations .
Bernie Mooney was at the meeting and from her Statements appear to have first hand knowledge of what was said or know of people who do have such first hand knowledge and so, fortunately, can assist us in finding out exactly what happened.
The allegations are particularly upsetting to those members who were present who are Gay or members who have Gay children , such as our new Chair and Secretary, and who have opposed such behaviour over many years. This is especially so as they were reported in the Pink News. They should also be upsetting to all other members of our CLP whether present or not.
Seriousness of the Allegations
The Labour Party is proud to have been at the forefront of the long campaign to eradicate Homophobia and discrimination in whatever form it may manifest itself.
Homophobic Behaviour can be very distressing to those who are the direct target and those who witness it. No such behaviour should be tolerated and should always be challenged.
These are very serious accusations. They reflect badly on the Wallasey CLP if it is thought by our General Membership or the General Public that our 44 delegates, several of them very experienced in the Labour Movement, in attendance on the night witnessed such behaviour and took no action to prevent it and either correct the behaviour or move to eject the person or persons responsible.
If there was such behaviour, even if not witnessed by everyone present then action must be taken to both defend our members against abuse at future meetings and maintain the reputation of our CLP.
We must neither discourage members from attending future meetings nor let anyone who does attend think that they can act in such a way with impunity.
Homophobic behaviour is a crime and should be treated as such.
One of our Executive Officers met with the Police at Manor Road Police Station once we heard the Bernie Mooney interview and was assured that any complaint would be treated seriously provided there were people prepared to come forward. Those witnesses do not have to be the direct victim of the abuse.
The law on Homophobic Behaviour is covered by the section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986:
A person is guilty of an offence if he uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment alarm or distress thereby.
Sections 28-32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 result in offences under the Public Order Act being treated more seriously and an increased sentence the behaviour if related to Homophobia.
There were seasoned and well known Campaigners for LGBT rights, and against Intimidation and Homophobia, at this AGM including Councillors, workers in Angela Eagle’s office, Labour Party branch Officers, Trades Union Officials and Shop Stewards who would not be intimidated by anyone so we should have no problem getting to the bottom of this provided Delegates co-operate with any investigation. Any of these should of course raise the matter at the meeting when the first alleged incident happened if they witnessed it.
The way forward
There may be members who think that we should just let this all blow over. There may be some who think that because the allegations were not made at the meeting or witnessed by everyone present they should be ignored. There may be some who think that unless the person who was the victim of the alleged abuse wants to make a complaint then there should be no further action.
We do not agree with any members who feel this way for the following reason:
If anyone is allowed to get away with homophobic behaviour they may decide that they can continue with such behaviour, whether inside Labour Party meetings or outside.
We owe it to anyone who has been impacted by whatever happened at the AGM to ensure that this matter is dealt with properly.
The accusations tarnish the good name of our CLP and this would be justified if we did nothing about the accusations.
As the alleged behaviour occurred, as already stated, before any Delegate to Wallasey CLP knew that Angela Eagle was anything but a loyal supporter of Jeremy Corbin, it could not have been as a result of any Political views or support for either Angela or Jeremy and so any investigation should not be clouded by any disagreement regarding who should be our future Leader. All members should be able to unite in a desire to see this matter dealt with properly.
We propose that:
There be a thorough investigation into the behaviour of members at the AGM and subsequently of any allegations conducted by a subcommittee of the Executive comprising of 3 members, including and chaired by the Vice Chair.
If there is a complaint and call for Disciplinary Action as provided for in Clause II 1A then the Procedures as laid out in Clause II 1A-M be strictly followed. If there is not a complaint calling for Disciplinary Action then the Executive will in any event instigate an investigation which should be conducted so far as is practicable the procedures laid down in Clause II.
A full report of this Investigation to be made available to the full CLP and the Regional Officer of the Labour Party and interim reports as to the progress (but not interim findings or evidence) of the Investigation to presented each meeting of the Executive.
The subcommittee e mail all delegates in attendance at the AGM asking them to submit statements regarding any Homophobic behaviour or Intimidation they witnessed
Any member/members who were the victim of Homophobic abuse or witnessed such abuse and should be advised to take these allegations to the Police who assure us that they will take the allegations seriously and deal with Complainants sympathetically. It would be extremely helpful if any one making such a complaint to the Police advises the CLP Officers and provides the Crime number.
Members should be encouraged in future to object to any perceived Homophobic or other inappropriate behaviour at meetings at the time it occurs and not wait until after the meeting.
If members are nervous about raising such a complaint at the meeting they should approach the CLP officers or our LGBT Officer immediately after the meeting.
Members to be asked in future to first make any allegations they may have either to the Police or Officers of the Party rather than taking such complaints to the Press.
Appendix re point 24; Allegation of misuse of data
Sent date: 05/08/2016 12:38
Dear Kathy Runswick, (Wallasey CLP Chair) & Kathy Miller, (Wallasey CLP Secretary),
I am writing because I have a number of serious complaints about an event being organised by what purports to be Wirral TUC on Tuesday 2nd August 2016 from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. The meeting has been advertised by post to members of the Labour Party.
I am among five Labour Party Members at three addresses in C**** Gardens, Wallasey.
All five of us received a flyer (attached to this email) advertising a meeting of “Wallasey Labour Party Members and Supporters” at Wallasey Town Hall.
I, Mrs L***** K*****, and two of my neighbours and Labour Party members, Miss S**** P*** & Mrs S*** S****, witnessed Paul Davies posting the flyer through our letter boxes on Saturday 30th July 2016. No-one else in our close received this flyer!
I believe that Labour Party membership data may have been illegally procured and used by an external organisation and/ or unauthorised people without consent.
Kathy Miller, as the CLP secretary, you are one of few people who officially and legally holds a full membership list for Wallasey CLP.
I would like to know how Mr Davies procured this list?
While my husband and I joined the Labour Party in March 2016, my neighbours have only recently joined, at the beginning of July, and so I do not think this is an issue whereby a ‘legacy list’ was left lying around;
This appears to be the deliberate misuse or illegal procurement of an up-to-date register of members.
My understanding is that Wallasey CLP is currently suspended by the national Party because of problems that include allegations of abuse and intimidation by certain members of the local Party.
I deplore any abuse and intimidation and support the suspension of the CLP until such matters can be investigated fully.
Might I ask whether such a meeting, the use of members’ data and the communications to members, are fully compliant with the suspension of the CLP?
I would request that you deal with this as a matter of urgency given the meeting is on Tuesday.
In particular, I understand that Mr Davies has been very vocal on the media in criticising our local Member of Parliament, Angela Eagle. I am happy to speak to Ms Eagle further about my concerns and ask that she take an active interest in this investigation because the meeting notice mentions her personally.
I am copying this email to a number of other officials. I am also copying the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, because he is coming to Merseyside today and I believe he would condemn any such behaviour.
Given the public interest in this matter, and Mr Davies’ very public pronouncements in the run-up to this meeting, I will be releasing this letter to the media.
The Labour Party Head Office Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT Labour Central, Kings Manor, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 6PA 0345 092 2299 | labour.org.uk/contact
2nd August 2016
Dear Mr Davies,
The national Party has received complaints that you have used Labour Party membership data to deliver promotional leaflets on behalf of a third party (copy attached) to the houses of Party members in Wallasey, which may constitute an unauthorised use of the personal data of Labour Party members. The Labour Party takes allegations of breaches of Data Protection extremely seriously.
Everyone with authorised access to membership data must comply with their legal obligations in terms of handling and using this personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998. It may be an offence to disclose data to a third party for an unauthorised purpose.
Could you please confirm what data you used to determine where you delivered your leaflets? In order for us to respond to the complainants I require a response from you by the end of Wednesday 3rd August 2016.
Head of Disputes and Discipline
Appendix to point 25; proof of being in London
Subject: My London Trip
Attachments: train ticket 001.bmp 15.6 MB
John Lewis Financial Services.pdf 110.5 KB
Good afternoon Katherine
Please find below confirmation of my booking at the Restaurant in London. My phone shows me ringing them to book that morning and then later to change booking to earlier time.
I attach part of my train ticket which was purchased as Midland Trains to Crewe and then onward to London via Virgin Trains. I have not found the first part of the ticket and presumably left it on the train but in any event would have had to get to Crewe and even by car would have had to leave early.
I also attach my credit card statement which shows me topping up my Oyster card at Liverpool St station on Saturday 30th. It does not show the time and I do not know if I can get that information but it was soon after I arrived in London and our hotel was next to the station.
I also have a text message sent to my daughter that afternoon telling her I was in London. This does not scan but I can get a photograph of it if needed.
The 3 people who are lying about me told at least one reporter that they saw me mid afternoon. I asked him that question when he rang me about the accusation.
I can only repeat my outrage at this fabricated accusation, and the time I have to take to disprove it on the basis of being guilty until I prove my innocence, and no doubt if it had not been my good fortune to be out of town then this accusation would have been believed.
Having seen the other outrageous and fabricated accusations about our AGM I suppose I should not have been surprised!
Sent date: 31/10/2016 09:03
Subject: Fwd: Letter re: data use
Begin forwarded message:
From: Paul Davies < ****@btinternet.com >
Date: 1 October 2016 19:16:32 BST
To: Katherine ******* < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Subject: Re: Letter re: data use
Good evening Katherine and I hope you are well.
I have not chased this up sooner as I presumed you would be busy given the Leadership election and Conference.
I would be grateful for a response now however as I am not happy that some members have conspired together to fabricate lies about me and to date no action taken against them.
Appendix to point 31 in NEC Report; e mail to police re MP Surgeries
Sent date: 23/07/2016 14:
Subject: RE: Angela Eagle surgeries [
Not Protectively Marked]
Good afternoon Paul,
In order for Merseyside Police to progress with your complaint can you please supply me with a contact number?
0151 709 6010 OR 101
Paul Davies [mailto: ***** @btinternet.com]
Sent: 23 July 2016 12:59
Subject: Angela Eagle surgeries
I wish to complain that Merseyside Police advised our MP to close her weekly surgeries rather than offer her protection. As I understand it there were only two sessions, each of two hours, left prior to the Summer break. Surely a PC or CSO could have assisted the Town Hall security staff.
Sent from my iPhone