It’s not been a good week for Keir Starmer. From National Executive Committee (NEC) walk-outs to briefing the Sun, the Labour leader has been mired in controversy. But the situation just got a whole lot worse for him.
As The Canary previously reported, there have been some dodgy goings on in Bristol. The SKWAWKBOX wrote that the party machinery suspended prominent members of two of the city’s Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). It noted on 25 November that the party had suspended:
Then the other co-secretary… on the nebulous grounds of suspicion of breaking some unspecified rule. …
And now, the chair and secretary of Bristol North-West CLP have also been suspended – and again on suspicion of breaking some unspecified rule.
So, you’d think that CLPs might be erring on the side of caution when it comes to supporting Corbyn. Wrong.
The website Stats for Lefties has been compiling figures on CLPs that pass motions in favour of the former Labour leader. It noted that this includes motions or votes which have:
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called for… Corbyn… to be readmitted to the Parliamentary Labour Party, have expressed solidarity with Corbyn, or who have passed a motion of no confidence in Keir Starmer or David Evans [Labour’s general secretary].
So, as Stats for Lefties said on Saturday 28 November:
58 CLPs (9% of all CLPs) have now passed motions supportive of Corbyn, including 22 that nominated Starmer.
This is in addition to 4 trade unions, 28 MPs and 1 affiliate (Young Labour) who support Corbyn.https://t.co/9jMorLC1R4
— Stats for Lefties (@LeftieStats) November 28, 2020
9% of CLPs defying the Labour leadership may not seem like a lot. Yet with Bristol as a backdrop, 58 CLPs defying the party line about a former Labour MP isn’t bad going. And the Labour Party seems all too aware of the feeling in some CLPs. Because this week it clamped down further on support for Corbyn.
Shutting-down debate, the Starmer way
The SKWAWKBOX also noted on 25 November that the party has effectively banned motions that support Corbyn. It published an internal memo from Labour’s “governance department”. It stated that “all motions which touch on” the “issues” surrounding Corbyn “must be ruled out of order”. That is, CLPs must throw out any motions relating to the former Labour leader:
SKWAWKBOX said that:
Labour is officially equating any and all expressions of solidarity with Corbyn or criticism of its political decisions with racism.
Also, it noted that one Jewish Labour organisation has taken issue with the party’s attitude. SKWAWKBOX wrote that:
Jewish Voice for Labour… described it as ‘grossly insulting and inflammatory’ and ‘weaponising’ Jewish concerns for factional purposes
But despite all this, over 50 CLPs have spoken out anyway.
So, it’s perhaps testament to the grassroots support for Corbyn that CLPs are breaking rank. It maybe also shows these groups representing the feelings of many members. But moreover, the situation for CLPs shows the authoritarian nature of the party under Starmer’s leadership. A place where unless you’re a centrist, you seem to be becoming less and less welcome.
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