Labour attempts to rig internal election

Left-wing Labour councilor and Palestine solidarity activist Jo Bird. (Jo Bird 4 NEC/Facebook)

Update, 13 February: Jewish Voice for Labour says that Bird’s nominations have now reached 96. If reflected in the final vote, this would put her in a comfortable third place, and would have won her a seat on the NEC.

Original article

Bureaucrats in the UK’s Labour Party are trying to rig an important internal election against the left and Palestine solidarity activists.

Left-wing Liverpool area councilor Jo Bird – who is also a Jewish Palestine solidarity activist – has been suspended as a party member.

Before news of her suspension broke on Friday, Bird was a leading candidate for elections to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee in April.

But under party rules her suspension, unless quickly reversed, means she will be ineligible for the position.

The move is part of a wider purge of the left and the Palestine solidarity movement from the party after leader Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral defeat in December.

Critics have called it an attempt to rig the election against the left and the Palestine solidarity movement.

Bird’s run for the national executive is being supported by left-wing groups, including the Labour Left Alliance, Jewish Voice for Labour and the Labour Representation Committee.

Jewish Voice for Labour said that “the timing of this suspension is deeply suspicious and has the hallmarks of a deliberate attempt to undermine members’ wishes.”

The group is asking local constituency parties to continue nominating Bird.

Fix

Under the party’s draconian rules, suspended members are forbidden from talking about their suspensions, even when Labour bureaucrats leak the news – as happens habitually.

The news first leaked out on Friday, when the publication LabourList tweeted that Bird had been suspended.

The tweet showed that at the time, Bird was in joint first place in the site’s tally of local Labour Party constituency nominations. Both she and Johanna Baxter – the latter endorsed by the right-wing Labour First faction – had at the time reportedly received 61 nominations each.

Even after the suspension, as of now, Bird is still in a strong second place to Baxter. There are three seats on the national executive up for grabs.

The nominations have no direct impact on the election itself, but they are an indicator of where the membership’s votes are likely to go.

The National Executive Committee sets the party’s rules and has powers to discipline members, including doling out suspensions and expulsions.

Untrue

The election is being run at the same time as elections for leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party. The winners of those elections will be announced in April.

Keir Starmer, the most right-wing candidate, is currently leading in both opinion polls of members and in tallies of local party nominations.

Anti-Palestinian newspaper The Jewish Chronicle also reported on Bird’s suspension on Saturday.

The paper appears to have been briefed by Labour sources about Bird’s suspension.

But a well-placed source told The Electronic Intifada that the paper’s claim she was “led out” of a Labour Party meeting on the weekend was untrue. In any case, the meeting the paper reports on is a Local Government Association meeting, not a Labour meeting.

The Labour Party did not respond to a request for comment on Jo Bird.

The same Jewish Chronicle article also responded to my resignation from Labour, with further untrue claims.

The Electronic Intifada has written to the paper asking that it correct its false claim that “Winstanley said he had quit ahead of an expulsion hearing by the party.”

In fact no hearing was ever set or discussed by the party, and I certainly did not say there had been.

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Comments

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First, Jo Cox was brutally murdered in broad daylight by Thomas Mair, with his links to a US-based neo-Nazi group. Then Jeremy Corbyn was "slaughtered" by Joe Glasman on YouTube. But now the messianic right Labour party decided to "euthanize"Jo Bird behind doors. How very Zionist of them. Jo Cox has been lost, but never to be forgotten (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...).

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And look at what happened yesterday: the 4 stooges hwo have isgned up to the 10 vile B o D pledges grovelled before Labour Friends of Israel (why was there no Labour Friends of South Africa ?) and Mrs Hodge went in the offensive. The more you apologise to Zionists, the more they ask for. The more you concede to the Holocaust Industry, the more it manipulates. The only way is to stand up and tell the truth: Israel is implementing racist policies with the support of the U.S. which conspires in the racism. Israel has rejected over and over offers from the Palestinians (the PLO from the mid 1970s for example) to achieve a peaceful settlement which recognises both the Israeli State and a Palestinian State. Zionism is racist by definition. Zionism is not Judaism. To be Jewish is not to be a Zionist. These simple truths must be reiterated time and again.
What does Mrs Hodge want? Simple: that the Labour Party will endorse the Israeli State; that it will offer no criticism of any Israeli policy; that it will justify the imprisonment of one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; that it will accept the 500 hundred and more checkpoints in the West Bank; that it will not object to the Zionist ambition for an Israeli State in the whole of Palestine; that it will not raise its voice against suggestions of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians; and , of course, that no one who is critical of Israel or of Zionism shall be a member of the Party. Nothing could illustrate more clearly the arrogance and bullying of the Zionists, nothing less, in fact, than a take over of the Labour Party and the determination of its policies not by its members, its conference, but by a handful of Zionists in the B o D, Labour Friends of Israel and the CST. When will the Party find its courage? The Zionists must be faced down. They are the racists. The historical evidence is uncontroversial. Not only are they racist towards Palestinians but also to Jews who refuse their narrow views.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.