Appeal against my expulsion and continuing ‘auto-exclusion’

To: Christine Shawcroft
Chair, The Labour Party Disputes Panel

Dear Christine

On Sept 10th 2016, I was told in an email, purportedly sent on behalf of the General Secretary Iain McNicol, that my membership of the Labour Party had been revoked and that I had been auto-excluded from future membership for at least 5 years. This was said despite my long record of service to the Party.

Somewhat strangely, given I was a long-standing member, the email was sent from supporter_applications@labour.org.uk.

I am asking again for my case to be heard by whichever body in the Party can reverse this decision.

The alleged reasons for my expulsion

The only explanation I have ever been given for my expulsion was in the letter I received from Iain McNicol when it said that it was because I was an ‘active supporter of the AWL’.

No explanation was given of what this meant or why this now rendered me invalid for membership, as my views had not changed for many years previously and were no secret. There had been no ban on having any relationship with the AWL that had been agreed by the Party or that I had been notified of.

I have been denied the right to see the evidence against me. The only possible evidence that I have seen was from an anonymous twitter account who claimed he had seen a submission made against me, possibly the person who submitted it. The screenshot of the ‘evidence’ he tweeted at me was a gross distortion of what I believe as a Marxist. I believe I have should have the right to review and respond to all the evidence against me.

When I have written to the General Secretary Iain McNicol to contest this exclusion on two occasions, I was told by email on both occasions (Sept 19, 2016 and Jan 19, 2017) that my request would be passed on to the appropriate panel. But I heard nothing subsequently.

My CLP opposes my expulsion

My CLP has repeatedly opposed my expulsion. It immediately decided by an overwhelming majority at all members meeting on 12th September 2016 to submit a contemporary motion to that year’s conference on the matter. The motion was not however allowed onto the agenda paper of conference.

The CLP repeated its support via a unanimously passed resolution in my support on 23rd  September 2016.

My CLP know of my work over many years for the Party. They know that I have been a member of the Party for over 35 years.

They knew in particular of my work in this CLP from 2010 until the date of my expulsion.

  • At the time of my expulsion I was the CLP Chair.
  • I had carried out the role of Constituency Secretary for over 2 and a half of the previous 6 years.
  • I had been Branch Secretary for two years.
  • I had submitted through my CLP a successful motion to Sept 2015 Conference on restoring the trade union rights taken away by the Thatcher government in the 1980s. I was involved in compiling the unique aspects of the motion with those of other unions and spoke to it at Conference, where it was passed unanimously.
  • I had been one of the first activists in my CLP and in the region to get moving in recognizing the possibilities of building the Party membership and involvement as a result of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
  • I had long been active in both getting the issue of Palestinian rights recognised, organised a public meeting of the Party during the 2014 Gaza conflict as well as written the CLP’s submission during the Chakrabarti enquiry on how we might combat the problem of anti-semitism on the left.

I have accounted for my activities in these areas in the blog post I wrote at the time of the notice of my expulsion https://beestonleftie.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/1794/

My political views

I consider myself a Marxist and have done so throughout almost all of my political life. I do not believe that is incompatible with Party membership or ever has been. I believe there should be freedom of speech in the Party. I believe that members should have the right to campaign for their beliefs with co-thinkers in the Party, as long as they are not racist or of other forms of hate crimes.

These rights to organise should apply universally whether they be of members holding views from the Progress right of the Party to the many campaigning and other groups on the left.

My activity with the Party since my exclusion

Since my unexplained exclusion I have continued to work as closely as I can with my local Party despite attempts by the Compliance Unit to restrict my contact with them. Officers of the CLP notified me that they had been told by the Compliance Unit that the CLP might face being closed down if I attended functions of the CLP. Although these functions were unspecified.

Nevertheless I continued to participate in Party activities where I could be of help, most importantly in last June’s General Election.

Work during the general election

During the election campaign I not only joined in most of the canvassing sessions. I also took the initiative in organising a number of other important election events.

In consultation with my comrade Greg Marshall the parliamentary candidate and his election team:

  1. 14th May 2017: I arranged for journalist Paul Mason to visit the constituency and address a well publicised and hundred strong, energetic campaign meeting in the constituency followed by a mass canvass.
  2. 3rd June 2017: I arranged the visit of the General Secretary of the PCS Mark Serwotka to the constituency and I organised and chaired the election campaign meeting when Mark spoke alongside my own Unite Regional Secretary AnnMarie Kilcline and our candidate Greg Marshall. The midday rally attracted 200 people most of whom took part in the canvassing on the day.
  3. 5th June 2017: I arranged for the President of the Bakers Union Ian Hodson and some of his union’s staff to join constituency campaigners in visiting many fast food and catering establishments in the constituency. We took the message of Labour’s commitment to end low pay, facilitate union rights to staff there as well as to customers and passers-by. We were joined later by our parliamentary candidate.
  4. 6th, 7th and 8th June 2017: On the final three days of the campaign I organised a team of comrades to hold static street demos at peak traffic times, holding up banners with Labour’s key and positive election manifesto such as those on £10/hr, housing provision, tuition fees, NHS etc on major commuting routes through the constituency. There were seven of these each involving eight and more members during every rush hour and will have been seen by many thousands on each occasion.

These above activities were thought by many party members and external participants to have significantly contributed to the energy of the campaign and the successful result we had in the constituency with the Tory MP Anna Soubry’s majority being slashed from 4,287 to 873.

  • 132 of my fellow CLP members have signed a statement calling for my reinstatement in which they reference my work. They include almost all the Party officers at constituency and branch level. See Appendix Item 1.
  • Paul Mason makes reference to this in his statement in my support.
  • Mark Serwotka gives his own comments on my work in his statement (in a separate attachment to this correspondence).
  • Greg Marshall, our Parliamentary candidate for Broxtowe, gives a statement in my support in Appendix, Item 3.

Work over the last year to strengthen the Party’s relation with unions

Also during the period of my exclusion, I have worked with senior Unison officials to strengthen the relationship between the Party and their School Support & Teaching Assistant members who had suffered a 25% pay cut as a result of the Derby Labour Council decision. I have a long-standing relationship with Derby Unison officials through joint work with them over many years whilst working at Derby.

I am attaching a testimony (Appendix Item 2) from Unison Branch Secretary NEC member and Labour Party members Nicole Berrisford to verify the contribution made to the credibility of the Party by my work there.

I am currently working with my union, Unite Community, to get a joint campaign going between them and the CLP on claimants’ rights, low pay and unionisation. This is a key element in winning back some of the disengaged poorer working class communities which was progressed well in the last June’s election. The East Midlands Unite Regional Secretary AnnMarie Kilcline and the Regional Coordinator for Unite Community Shaun Pender, whom I am copying into this correspondence, tell me that they will be happy to substantiate this fact should it be needed.

I believe both my activities over the last year, recorded in some detail here, and my work in the previous years, summarised more briefly further above, demonstrate that I am and have been through all the years of my Party membership, a loyal and committed worker for the success of the Party.

Conclusion

I ask you to give me what I believe is only fair and just, legally and morally. The right to be considered for immediate reinstatement; and the right to challenge what I can only believe must be dishonest or gross distortions of my views by those who must have presented evidence against me.

In solidarity

Pete Radcliff

Statements and letters of support for the reinstatement

Item 1 – joint letter by officers and members of Broxtowe CLP

Dear Iain

We, the undersigned members of Broxtowe CLP, call on the NEC to restore the membership of colleagues who have been expelled for allegedly being an active supporters of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, most specifically Pete Radcliff, the former elected chair of this CLP at the time of his expulsion, who was denied any hearing or any chance of answering the charge made against him. He is a long serving and dedicated supporter of the Party, including during the recent election campaign, and deserves to be reinstated without delay.

The same goes for Liam Conway and Vicky Morris from Nottingham East, who have also made major contributions to the recent election campaign in our constituency and over a great many years, and we are sure to other members of AWL in a similar position.

Signed by 132 officers and members of Broxtowe CLP

Item 2

Statement from Nicole Berrisford
Derby Unison Branch Secretary, member of Unison NEC and Labour Party member

Pete helped immensely during the Derby City school support staff dispute supporting UNISON members and raising awareness of their plight with the wider labour movement. He is a good ambassador for the Labour Party working proactively to retain and build confidence in UNISON members involved in a dispute with a Labour council to have faith and trust in the wider Labour Party.

He worked closely with me to encourage our members to become Labour Party members and his passion for the Party played a pivotal role in encouraging UNISON members to be active within the Party and make a difference to local politics.

Branch Secretary Derby City UNISON
UNISON NEC member and Labour Party

Letter from Greg Marshall, Broxtowe PPC in June 2017 and re-elected as PPC for next election

Dear Christine

I write in support of Pete Radcliff’s readmission to the Labour Party. I have known and worked closely with Pete for many years.

Firstly when we established Notts Stop the BNP to confront the racist and fascist threat on Broxtowe Council (subsequently expanding and campaigning across the far right in the East Midlands and nationally).

In addition, Pete has been at the forefront of trade union and community based campaigning against the most devastating of cuts to local communities.

Most recently Pete has been a consistent and committed activist both to me personally in my local and parliamentary election campaigns but far more importantly to help deliver the aims and objectives of the wider labour movement.

The policy of Broxtowe Labour Party is to support his reinstatement – I fully support this. It is both morally and principally the right thing to do.

Yours fraternally

Greg Marshall

(Broxtowe Labour Parliamentary Candidate)

Beeston West Borough Cllr

————————————————————————————–

Item 4

Statement of support from Paul Mason, Journalist and Labour Party member

I am writing in support of Pete Radcliff who was “auto-excluded’ from the Labour Party in Sept 2016.

Pete was Chair of Broxtowe CLP at the time of his exclusion, having been CLP secretary for many years before.

Pete is a Marxist and remains a dedicated worker for the Labour Party in Broxtowe and throughout the area despite his exclusion.

I was able to observe some of his tireless and innovative work for the Labour candidate Greg Marshall during the 2017 general election despite his exclusion.

There is nothing wrong in being a Marxist, our Party has always benefitted from wide ideological debate. There is nothing wrong about anyone in the Party promoting their views through journals and papers. The only question that should be asked is do they work for the much needed Labour victory.

Pete clearly does. He should be immediately readmitted.

Paul Mason

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