Brighton Labour member accused of spitting at party meeting makes formal complaint

Posted On 18 Jul 2016 at 9:57 pm

A Brighton Labour Party member accused of spitting at a college caretaker at a packed meeting has made formal complaints as he attempts to clear his name.

Matt Tully, 36, said today (Monday 18 July) that he did not spit at anyone although a Labour Party staff member accused him of doing so in front of several party members.

The accusation was made at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party at City College, in Pelham Street, Brighton, on Saturday 9 July. It came after Mr Tully complained about fire doors being locked.

Mr Tully has complained to City College about the caretaker and to the Labour Party after the accusation was tweeted by, among others, council leader Warren Morgan.

He said that he had not ruled out legal action – such as a claim for defamation of character – adding: “It is my intention to pursue this and I will consider my options. I just want to do things in the correct way.”

He asked Councillor Morgan to retract the allegation on Twitter, identifying himself as the person accused of spitting. He said: “I identified myself (on Twitter) because I wanted the rumours and false allegations to stop.”

Matt Tully

Matt Tully

Councillor Emma Daniel said that she had spoken to the caretaker at the meeting. She said that he told her that when he went to shut the doors “one guy was pretty horrible and spat on the floor in front of me”.

Councillor Daniel said that she reported the claim to party staff and executive members and said that she had “no idea who the person was” until he identified himself on Twitter.

She added: “It’s best just to let people run an investigation properly.”

Since the AGM the local party has been suspended by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) after “many complaints and reports of concern”.

An email, reporting the suspension of the local party, said: “These allege abusive behaviour by some attendees as well as reports that the ballot results were not properly reached.”

The election of a new executive committee – predominantly supporters of Jeremy Corbyn – at the AGM has been declared void.

The old executive committee remains in office until a new AGM and election in the autumn after Mr Corbyn learns whether he will be replaced as Labour leader.

Baroness Maggie Jones

Baroness Maggie Jones

The local party was suspended on Thursday (14 July) and yesterday (Sunday 17 July) Baroness Maggie Jones, who lives in Hove, spoke out on the Sunday Politics South East on BBC One.

She said the AGM “was a badly organised meeting”, adding that she “did witness one of the officials being very upset because he had to deal with a spitting incident”.

She also said that there were “entryists” at the meeting, indicating that they included those elected to the executive committee at the AGM.

One of them, Mark Sandell, who was elected to chair the local party, denied the claim on the same edition of the Sunday Politics.

Another, Phil Clarke, said that he had stood against Labour in previous elections and that this was known when he joined the party.

Like all the candidates, he said, his name and candidacy was published eight days before the AGM, adding: “No complaints were raised and nobody took issue with me standing.”

He said that the real reason that the local party had been suspended was because the NEC “did not like Jeremy Corbyn supporters being elected at a fabulous and well-organised meeting attended by more than 600 members”.

Councillor Warren Morgan

Councillor Warren Morgan

Greg Hadfield, who was elected to the post of secretary, has put together a dossier about the meeting and the claims.

Councillor Daniel said: “I think Greg has compromised the investigation by getting involved.”

But Mr Tully, in his formal complaint to Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol, said that Councillor Morgan had subverted natural justice through his involvement.

He alleged that the council leader had “brought the party into disrepute” by alleging that staff at City College were spat on, adding: “These irresponsible allegations, which were quickly rebutted by others present, were nevertheless repeated without any concern for natural justice or the complaints procedures of the Labour Party.

“At least three other members of Councillor Morgan’s Labour group (of councillors) repeated the allegations, assumed them to be true and ignored my protestations of innocence.”

Sussex Police said that no complaint had been received of spitting at the meeting while City College has received a complaint – but from Mr Tully, not about him.

Having been identified while in the meeting and concerned to clear his name, Mr Tully added that Councillor Morgan’s allegations had “caused me immense distress”.

  1. Daniel Harris Reply

    This Is a disgrace, Matt Tully has been targeted by the right of Labour, obviously not my name, he has come out in defiance against those who are trying to deny democracy. I have today written an account of the events that happened and how this has affected us locally.

    We are now officially divided. Some Councillors are getting way too involved in this, and with close allegiances to Warren Morgan, from the Progress wing of Labour, who get huge donations from Lord Sainsbury’s.

    As a constituent in East Brighton, and Labour Member, I would like to state that Warren Morgan has completely lost my confidence to unite us locally. Please join Labour today and get a vote in the leadership contest.

  2. Lorna Dupre Reply

    I thought the whole point was that people joining the Labour Party now *cannot* have a vote in the leadership contest?

  3. The boss Reply

    ^ this is what the Labour Party has become now, with people like him trying to run the shots with conspiracy theories. Arm chair activists with nothing better to do than rule book bash and try to bully others out. Hadfield, Sandel, Clarke and all the others are a disgrace that seem hell bent on airing their dirty laundry in public. Their versions of reality and everyone else’s vary greatly.

    • Daniel Harris Reply

      Hardly! There were more people elected, what about those people? Clarke is a trades unionist as is Mark Sandell. Greg wants to see a more left wing Labour. The original press regarding #spittinggate were from the right of the party to stop the new members being elected.

      Thats undemocratic.

  4. The Boss Reply

    To be honest with you, it doesn’t surprise me that rapid foaming Corbyn supporters would be spitting on decent normal members of the “pleb” public. They look down on pretty much anyone working class. To think that they won’t be able to afford the £25 is insanity. They’re all Middle Class liberals!

    The problem here is that people like Dan, the man who commented above, are literally trapped in their own conspiracy theorist world. Arm chair activists who’ve been out to help the Labour Party maybe once, but much prefer to slate the DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADER Warren Morgan and lie about him all the time, rather than try to help the Labour Party.

    Would you expect Labour Councillors in the Labour Group who won under the Labour Leader Warren Morgan to be loyal to him? Absolutely. Why? Because have you seen the state that the City was left in after the Greens? It was a mess. Warren and his group are fixing that mess, only to be hampered by the same sort of extreme elements that helped bring poor Kitkat’s council down. Internal saboteurs.

    Basically, Sandell, Hadfield, Tully, Wadey and all of the other conspiracy theorists need to bugger off and let the Council get on with it. I’m almost tempted to join just to help try and stop these horrible and divisive elements… almost.

    • Daniel Harris Reply

      At least I put myself out there Boss. As it stands you are anonymous, you could well be one of the people involved in this undemocratic ruling, then agin you could not.

      At least I am putting myself out there. How can you call me an Armchair activist, I have been single handily responsible for campaigning for those in Emergency Accommodation, I am lobbying polititions and educating the public.

      Join then Boss, you have 24 hours. We welcome democracy, thats the great thing.

      • The Boss Reply

        Hi dan.

        I’ve got an idea for you buddy, go and ask Greg Hadfield if he will use some of his personal fortune to help you or put you up in his million pound house.

        £25 says he won’t.

        Champagne socialists.

        You’re being used by a bunch of muppets.

        • Daniel Harris Reply

          So he worked hard and made a living out of it, he’s a down to earth guy who treats people with respect. The point of being in emergency accommodation is about me being ready to live independently, not relying on others.

          • The Boss

            And the point about socialism, REAL socialism is that others help others who need the help.

            Dan, I have no doubt that you are a decent enough fellow. The other motley crew you hang with… well they are dubious. I’ve been following Brighton politics for 20 years and Hadfield is one of the most awful people i’ve come across. Self made millionaire who works hard right? That’s a line straight out of the Conservative handbook.

            Dont be played. Dont be a fool. Realise what’s going on. You are being used. Get out of the echo chamber before it swallows you whole.

            I’ve been following a bunch of you on twitter for a long time now, and to be honest, its conspiracy. And really bud, while you have friends like Greenstein and Hadfield, you don’t need enemies.

            For the sake of the City you love, don’t get played by bad people with more money than you. Support your council like the City is asking. Hence why they elected Labour last time. They did not elect Corbyn or his politics. You will lose seats and will lose the council under a far left set of policies. Listen to the public and be smart, don’t listen to the likes of Hadfield. You won’t. If you are a good man that it.

      • Jose Reply

        So you’re in emergency accommodation or you campaign for it;which is it?-sound like a bs merchant making it up as you go along to me

  5. pablo Reply

    The Boss. Claims that there are wild conspiracy theorists then goes on to claim that the Labour party is being brough down by internal saboteurs…

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