More headache for Keir Starmer as yet another Labour group is looking to boycott the local elections

Labour leader Keir Starmer at PMQs on 14 October
Support us and go ad-free

A group of Labour members is planning on not campaigning for the party in the upcoming local elections. But the problem for Keir Starmer is that this isn’t the first group saying it will ‘down tools’ for Labour. And it only adds to his woes.

There’s been an ongoing ‘purge‘ of left-wing members from the Labour Party. The party has been removing, among others, Constituency Labour Party (CLP) committee members. This is because of them allowing motions in support of Jeremy Corbyn. So, as The Canary previously reported, some members are taking action.

Labour members: ‘exiled’

Suspended chair of South Thanet CLP Norman Thomas helped co-found a new group. It’s called Labour in Exile Network (LIEN). As SKWAWKBOX reported, Thomas co-founded it in December 2020, along with several other suspended/expelled members. The group already had around 500 people in it as of 13 January. But the aim of the group is not to form a new political party. Thomas previously told The Canary:

Our new group will be a vital network for those who continue to fight for democracy and socialism in the Labour Party; for those who have been unfairly suspended or expelled in the last five years and those who have resigned from the Labour Party in desperation of the party direction of travel under Keir Starmer and his unendorsed General secretary, David Evans.

The group will be holding a launch conference on 27 February. You can register to attend this via Zoom, here. Previously, it put Starmer ‘on notice‘. LIEN had said it would ask its members and supporters not to cooperate with the party. But now, it’s taken the action one step further.

Boycotting local elections

In a press release, the group said it was planning “strike action”:

Under the plan members [of LIEN] will only campaign for Labour Party candidates prepared to condemn the suspensions.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

So, the group will debate and vote on this at its 27 February conference. If members pass the plan, it will issue a set of demands. These will be for all Labour election candidates. They are:

  • “Restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn”.
  • “Reinstate all Labour Party members wrongly suspended or expelled since the election of Keir Starmer”
  • “Commission an independent review of all previous suspensions and expulsions imposed during the previous leadership”.
  • “Radically reform the complaints and disciplinary processes of the party”.
  • “Immediately restore the right of constituency parties and members to freely discuss and pass motions on any political issues that they see fit”.

It’s also asking members to:

Put these policies to their local candidates and organise local hustings events. Campaign only for candidates who commit themselves to the above and to give no support to those who don’t.

“What could be more natural?”

Christine Tongue is the former secretary and disability officer of South Thanet CLP. The party suspended her in September 2020 for allegedly “wishing good luck” to former Labour MP Chris Williamson. She said of LIEN’s plans:

I know it seems extraordinary that we’re planning to effectively go on strike against our own party — but this is how bad things have got. What could be more natural than for members of the labour movement to take collective action?

She added:

I am one of three secretaries of our local party who have been sacked in succession. And hundreds of members across the country have been expelled since Starmer became leader. We cannot support any candidate who isn’t prepared to speak out against this outrageous purge.

And for Starmer, this could be a bit of a headache. Because LIEN’s plans also echo the activity of another Labour-supporting group.

Starmer’s headache

Grassroots Black Left (GBL) is a Labour-supporting campaign group that formed in 2017. GBL says it consists of “African, Caribbean and Asian socialist Labour Party supporters from all around Britain”. And it too is calling for a boycott of local election campaigning. The GBL says this is because the party’s leadership has “ignored” Black members and treated them “with contempt”. You can read more on GBL’s concerns here.

The disquiet in some areas of the Labour Party is growing louder, and it’s potentially problematic for Starmer. Not least because in the elections, local support will be important to canvass voters. But ultimately, if you make your bed in a way that pisses off countless members, you have to lie in it.

Featured image via the Telegraph – YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us