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Friday, 22 July 2016

Time to say Goodbye to Ann Black on Left Slate for National Executive

Black Suspends Brighton & Hove Labour Party & Invalidates Election Results at Whim
Labour's Left Witch-hunter
Unsigned letter from Ann Black to Secretary, Greg Hadfield of Brighton Labour Party

LRC statement that they will no longer support Ann Black
Ann Black is Chair of the Disputes Panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee.  She is also one of 6 people on the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance and as such is supported by the Left and Momentum for the NEC Elections.

Ann was personally responsible, as Chair of the Disputes Panel, for suspending Brighton & Hove District Labour Party and cancelling the elections they held for a new Executive solely on the basis of allegations made by those who had been defeated in those elections and their New Labour associates.

Brighton & Hove Labour Party voted by nearly 2-1 in the largest ever AGM, some 600 people.  Black, without even bothering to consult those affected, handed down her dictat from on high.  Her decision in principle is no different from dictators through the ages to cancel elections they don’t like.  It is an affront to democracy.
The Progress leader of Brighton & Hove Labour Council, Warren Morgan and his associates such as councillor Emma Daniels made false allegations that they then showed remarkable reluctance to investigate.  Black has done no investigation whatsoever. 

Couple this with her vote, at the NEC meeting earlier this week, to uphold the NEC decision to charge people £25 to vote and to bar 130,000 members from voting and it is clear that she is not part of the left.  The vote was won by the Right by 2 votes so her vote was crucial.  She is on the Grassroots Alliance slate this year but I agree with the Labour Representation Committee that this should be the last time that the Left supports her.
Ann Black's explanation to me as to why she wasn't going to overturn exclusion of 130,000 members from the leadership elections
As Chair of the powerful Disputes Panel she has been crucial in overseeing the operation of the Compliance Unit and the suspension of many people on the Left – myself included – throughout the last 6 months. 

It is time to have socialists on the slate for constituencies in future.

Tony Greenstein
next year's centre left slate
Packed meeting last night of Brighton & Hove Momentum

PO Box 173
BN51 9EZ
22nd July 2016
Ann Black
Disputes Panel
Labour Party National Executive Committee [NEC]

Dear Ms Black,

On July 12th, in an unsigned and undated letter, as Chair of the NEC Disputes Panel, you took a unilateral decision to suspend Brighton & Hove District Labour Party.  You did this without bothering to consult or talk to elected officers or make even the most cursory of investigations.  

On the basis of unfounded, untested and as subsequently demonstrated, false allegations, from those who had been defeated in elections, or their associates, the newly elected Executive was removed from office.  The recently defeated Executive was reinstated by your personal dictat.

On Saturday 9th July, 600 members of the 6,000 strong Brighton and Hove District Labour Party, the largest unit in the Labour Party, voted at its AGM by a margin of nearly 2-1 to replace the existing Executive.  By majorities of nearly 200 the members voted for Officers who better represented a party that had nearly tripled its membership in one year.

By your own personal decision you decided that the false allegations of those who had been defeated in elections should be allowed to triumph over the democratic votes of ordinary members.  At no stage did you inquire into those allegations.  Instead, in your letter you insultingly ‘hope(d) that the local Party will return to comradely conduct’ when it was your own personal conduct which was uncomradely.

You  stated that you were ‘concerned that the safety of members at the meeting was compromised’ because a hall which was far too small for an AGM of 600 people had been booked.  You then proceeded to reward the very Executive which had booked this hall, even though it had been warned about this beforehand.  As a result there had to be 3 separate hustings.  Nonetheless no one’s safety was compromised and this is another transparently false pretext for the decision you made.
the only real incident - a hate crime that Black chose to ignore
Despite having to queue for an hour or more in many cases, people were good humoured throughout and waited patiently.  The only incident that occurred, a hate crime which included threats of physical violence, happened after the meeting had finished.  Its perpetrator was a Progress supporter, Harris Fitch, a young thug who is an admirer of the BNP. Fitch threatened a Black Momentum speaker, Seema Chandwani and her companion, who had come down to Brighton to speak at a rally.  This was reported in the Morning Star of July 11th but you ignored this.  [See Labour right thugs threaten own side and Revealed: The anti-Corbyn “moderate” in Brighton and Hove who stands accused of the hate-crime against Seema Chandwani] Several Labour councillors were present when this happened.
The real reasons behind the false allegations are not difficult to discern.  Even before the AGM, Council leader Warren Morgan had expressed his concerns in a private email: ‘Next Saturday our City Labour Party faces a takeover by a group of individuals from Momentum… They have made clear that they will be very hostile to me and the other Labour councillors… with some talking of deselections.’  [PRIVATE: The socialists trying to “take over” Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party — according Warren Morgan (a member of Progress)
Warren Morgan's secret email to fellow cronies before AGM
The allegations of a takeover by secretive left-wing groups were and are false.  As newly elected Secretary, Greg Hadfield said:  I have been a member of the Labour Party for 10 years and have never been a member of any other political party. The only party I have represented in elections is the Labour Party.’
The central allegation of those who were defeated was that someone spat at a caretaker.  [Brighton Labour member accused of spitting at party meeting makes formal complaint]  Even if this allegation were true, it would not have affected the conduct or fairness of the vote itself.  An individual, isolated act cannot negate the outcome of a whole meeting.
In fact this allegation was a malicious invention by Councillors Warren Jones and Emma Daniels.  [see Alleged spitting incident at Labour AGM never happened and Warren Morgan, Emma Daniels & The Spitting Incident That Never WasBrighton and Hove City College, which employed the caretaker in question, issued a statement saying that “We have no comment to make about any alleged incidents concerning our staff.” I understand that they have since elaborated on this refusal to comment.
Warren Morgan deliberately spreading false allegations of abuse - nothing would have pleased him more if there had been abuse!
No complaint was made to the Police and no attempt has been made by anyone, you included, to see the CCTV, with the exception of the alleged spitter, Matt Tully.  Tully, a new member of the Labour Party, has vehemently denied the allegation.  In short there was and is no evidence upon which you based your decision. 

One of the many ordinary members who have given testimony stated:
The truly extraordinary thing about the AGM(s) was the extremely well organised, polite and respectful manner in which it was carried out, and which make the later claims made about it such a travesty of justice. The atmosphere throughout was cordial and good-natured. The subsequent ballot count was conducted by party members who supported different sets of candidates. No complaints were made from either side about the integrity of the voting or count.’  [Democracy Suspended: What Really Happened at the Brighton Labour AGM?]
Your decision to cancel the elections and suspend Brighton & Hove District Labour Party makes you the Madam Erdogan of the Labour Party.  You have displayed an utter contempt for democracy.  

The Labour Representation Committee has just issued a statement:  ‘Ann Black and the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance Slate for NEC saying that it will never again support your candidacy for the NEC and calling for your resignation as Chair of the Disputes Panel.  In view of your behaviour, both with respect to the above and the arbitrary suspension of individuals, of which I am one, I am writing to you to endorse that call.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein 

Letter from 3 members of the existing and newly elected Executive Committee of Brighton & Hove Labour Party

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