Stand up for Labour Party Democracy

An open letter to the Labour Party leadership from MPs, Lords, trade union leaders and NEC representatives calls for an end to "attacks on party democracy, legitimate discussion and the recent wave of suspensions."

We are proud that the Labour Party is a democratic socialist party and so we are deeply concerned by the Labour leadership undermining party democracy and its clampdown on legitimate party discussions in recent weeks.

The decision to deny Jeremy Corbyn the Labour Party whip despite the NEC readmitting him back into the Party; the attempts to silence the elected representatives of Young Labour for releasing a statement reflecting the views of their own executive members; instructions to CLPs about what they can and can’t discuss; and the suspension of CLP officers for reflecting the wishes of their local party members is part of a worrying pattern of behaviour.

Members are the lifeblood of our party. It is the volunteering of tens of thousands of members – their local campaigning, their door-knocking and their relationships with local voters – that roots us in every community.

Members must be treated with respect, including by upholding the basic democratic right that local party members can decide what they discuss and the positions our local parties take, as well as by ensuring that meetings are always open, inclusive and free from discrimination.

Attempts to prevent party members from discussing legitimate topics in a respectful way will demoralise and undermine the involvement of many ahead of what is a key period of elections in 2021 when grassroots members of our party will be needed to give up their spare time to help us win.

We call on the Labour leadership to reinstate the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, end the attacks on party democracy, legitimate discussion and recent wave of suspensions, and instead to focus on taking the fight to the Tories.

Signed,

Diane Abbott MP
Tahir Ali MP
Apsana Begum MP
Richard Burgon MP
Ian Byrne MP
Dan Carden MP
Mary Foy MP
Ian Lavery MP
Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
John McDonnell MP
Ian Mearns MP
Grahame Morris MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Kate Osborne MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Jon Trickett MP
Claudia Webbe MP
Mick Whitley MP
Nadia Whittome MP
Beth Winter MP

Christine Blower, member of the House of Lords
Pauline Bryan, member of the House of Lords
Katy Clark, member of the House of Lords
Bryn Davies, member of the House of Lords
John Hendy QC, member of the House of Lords
Prem Sikka, member of the House of Lords
Tony Woodley, member of the House of Lords

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA
Chris Kitchen, General Secretary, the National Union of Mineworkers
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union
Dave Ward, General Secretary, the Communication Workers Union
Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
Sarah Woolley, General Secretary, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union
Matt Wrack, General Secretary, the Fire Brigades Union

Gemma Bolton, member of the NEC (CLP Section)
Yasmine Dar, member of the NEC (CLP Section)
Nadia Jama, member of the NEC (CLP Section)
Laura Pidcock, member of the NEC (CLP Section)
Mish Rahman, member of the NEC (CLP Section)
Lara McNeill, NEC Youth Representative
Jess Barnard, Chair, Young Labour

Momentum
Campaign For Labour Party Democracy
Campaign For Socialism (Scotland)
Welsh Labour Grassroots
Arise: a Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas
Red Labour
Labour Representation Committee
Don’t Leave, Organise
Jewish Voice for Labour
Labour Assembly Against Austerity
Socialist Campaign Group of Labour Councillors