Labour suspends Brighton and Hove branch and quashes election of new executive

Posted On 14 Jul 2016 at 11:09 pm

The Labour Party has suspended the Brighton, Hove and District branch and annulled the election of a new executive committee.

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn were elected to key posts at the local party’s annual general meeting (AGM) at City College, in Pelham Street, Brighton, on Saturday (9 July).

The branch is the biggest in the country with about 6,000 members – and more than 600 voted in the elections at the AGM which took place in three sittings to accommodate the large turnout.

Accusations have since been made about the conduct of some people at and after the meeting in what one member described as “tit-for-tat” claims.

Questions have been raised with the party about the integrity of the ballot on Saturday and safety at the crowded venue.

One complaint alleged that the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Warren Morgan, had brought the party into disrepute over remarks that he made on Twitter about a “spitting” incident. Councillor Morgan is expected to dispute this.

The complaint against him was made shortly before 5.30pm today when the local party was formally suspended in a letter sent by Katherine Buckingham, the national party’s head of disputes and discipline. It seems unlikely that this complaint triggered the suspension.

The party was also asked to investigate whether the newly elected chairman of the local party, Mark Sandell, was ineligible because he used to be a member of the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL). The AWL has opposed Labour in the past.

Separately a local party activist told a Labour supporter, Seema Chandwani, who had come to Brighton for a “Keep Corbyn” rally on Saturday, to fuck off back to London. The abuse was said to have taken place in a pub close to Brighton Station as two councillors and a former local party executive committee member looked on.

The local party was suspended about 25 years ago when Steve Bassam was the leader of Brighton Borough Council. A number of people referred to as militants were purged, including six councillors.

Lord Bassam is now the party’s chief whip in the House of Lords although he is not currently attending shadow cabinet meetings in protest at the decision by Jeremy Corbyn not to resign after a vote of no confidence by MPs. He still lives locally.

Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) has also suspended all constituency party meetings until the end of September – after the leadership contest is over.

A number of constituency parties are reported to be calling unofficial meetings. The suspended local party may do something similar in Hove on Tuesday (19 July).

  1. Neil Cameron Reply

    Big Brother rules large in the Labour Party NEC. Iain McNicholl is acting like a dictator. It’s 1984 and the Thought Police are out in force

  2. Daniel Harris Reply

    Sad day indeed, I have now been kicked off the EC, I was only told last Night I was in, if this story is true I, then I recommend people join labour today, now is the time to have your voices heard. #SaveBrightonHoveLabour.

    I am living in Emergency Accommodation, I wanted to provide a voice for the vulnerable, LGBT, Housing Rights and Mental Health Awareness. That Voice has today been taken away.

  3. Goh Ahwei Reply

    This is an outrage. Clearly the right wing is on a wrecking rampage to destroy the Labour Party before they lose control of their well paid sinecures.

    Union members must start taking action to drive these agents of Whitehall and the General Staff out of the Labour movement entirely.

    • Workingman Reply

      “Agents of Whitehall and the General Staff”. What you talkin bout Willis?

  4. Meg Reply

    I am appalled. I joined Labour on 29th June. I received my membership number via email early evening yesterday and within a couple of hours I’ve been suspended. My ‘crime’? Taking part in the democratic process of my local labour party. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might think this has been a planned and orchestrated destruction of the Labour party from within. All that said I still want to stay with Labour. I found like minded people who share my hope for a fairer world and I am not going to give up that hope easily

    • Tim Sewell Reply

      You haven’t been suspended. The local branch has. You still have all your membership rights.

  5. Rod Reply

    You lot are arguing over the deckchairs on the Titanic. Labour is dead whoever is in charge – totally and utterly unelectable

  6. Corbyn is a dinosaur Reply

    Yay! Brighton Labour saved from the ravages of the Leftie smell bags ?

  7. Mazzie Reply

    Agree with 2nd Rob. Behind every official new LP member are an army of non Member labour Cornyn supporters who would vote in an election. if there is no Corbyn there is no labour. Simple

  8. Tim Sewell Reply

    Or you could, since so much about the Labour party and its structures is clearly out of step with your political beliefs, y’know, start your own party, sorry, ‘movement’.

  9. Stop Lying Reply

    Only there is no such rumour, you’re making it up.

  10. Sandra Reply

    Very upset that false reports are appearing in the national and local press about the Labour Party and in particular the reports that at the Brighton Hove and District Labour Party AGM there were unpleasant incidents. I was at that AGM and all I saw and heard were sincere and ordinary Labour Party members behaving respectfully. Yes, officers were chosen who support the elected leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn but what’s wrong with that in a democratic party? I saw NO intimidation. All I saw were orderly queues and polite behaviour. At no time did I fear for my safety. I attended the first sitting of three. There were good short speeches given by the candidates for officer posts about what they wanted to do for Brighton Hove and District. The voting was conducted fairly.As a grandmother and long-standing Labour supporter I object to being branded as some sort of “spitting” (yes that is what is being reported) extremist.
    Let us all respect each others’ views and act in a comradely manner. Totally NOT respectful to suspend Brighton Hove and District Labour Party and annul election of officers.

  11. Margaret Johnson Reply

    Thank goodness that someone has posted a good account of what actually happened at this election. All this will end in court I am sure.
    The NEC seems to think it is the Ruling body of the Party when actually the Constitution states clearly that Conference is.

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