Joan Ryan lost the vote Thursday night, a local activist who was in the meeting told The Electronic Intifada. There were 95 votes recorded as no confidence, 92 votes confidence and four spoiled ballots.
Iranian satellite channel PressTV tweeted this video of the jubilant moment local activists voted to replace Ryan as their candidate for MP in the next election:
The final motion passed differed from the draft attached below, in that it removed mention of the Jean Fitzpatrick incident.
But it still cited Ryan’s smears against Corbyn and her false “allegations of anti-Semitism against the party.” It also still called for “an open selection process for our next parliamentary candidate.” The Skwawkbox has published the final motion in full.
The chair of Labour Friends of Israel is facing a no-confidence vote tonight, Thursday, The Electronic Intifada has been told by activists in North London.
Labour Friends of Israel is a lobby group which privately admits to working “really closely” and “behind the scenes” with the Israeli embassy.
The group’s chair, Joan Ryan, is facing removal for undermining her own Labour Party during last year’s general election, and for fabricating a charge of anti-Semitism against a Palestine solidarity activist in 2016.
A motion calls for the local party to express “no confidence in our MP Joan Ryan and seeks the removal of the party whip and an open selection process for our next parliamentary candidate.”
You can read it in full below.
The member of Parliament for Enfield North, Ryan has been one of Jeremy Corbyn’s bitterest opponents since he was elected leader of the Labour Party three years ago.
The motion cites this long-running campaign as the basis for removing Ryan, stating that she has written and contributed to many articles in a “press unjustly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. By doing so our MP has smeared his character.”
A constant theme in Ryan’s campaign has been baseless allegations of anti-Semitism against the party under Corbyn.
Most notoriously, at the party conference in 2016, Ryan falsely accused Labour member and Palestine solidarity activist Jean Fitzpatrick of attacking the Labour Friends of Israel stall using “anti-Semitic tropes.”
Ryan later reported Fitzpatrick to the party’s disciplinary structures.
“We believe our MP has acted against decency, fairness and natural justice,” the motion states in relation to Ryan’s false accusations against Fitzpatrick.
Ryan was caught out because the whole incident was captured on camera by an undercover reporter working for Al Jazeera, and broadcast in the film The Lobby last year. You can watch the footage in the video above.
The video proves that nothing Fitzpatrick said was anti-Semitic, and that Ryan had misrepresented her words.
Fitzpatrick herself has provided a statement to local members on what really happened, attached as an appendix to the motion.
In it she recounts being hauled into Labour Party headquarters for a disciplinary hearing.
She states that although she was never suspended, and that professional staff soon ruled she had done nothing wrong, “the strain of the whole case took its toll on me psychologically and emotionally.”
“It would be true to say that it is only in the last year I have begun to recover my health and equilibrium,” Fitzpatrick, who is 71, writes.
Bringing Labour into disrepute
“We see our MP behaving in a manner not befitting her status as an elected representative of the party and that does not reflect our Labour values,” the motion states. “This behavior has brought not only her office and our party but also us members who worked hard to get her elected into disrepute.”
The motion also cites Ryan’s campaign during last year’s general election, in which she was “all but abandoning Labour and sought to publicize herself as an independent in all but name.”
As The Electronic Intifada reported at the time, Ryan sent out letters during the campaign claiming that “many” local people had told her “they have more confidence in Theresa May as prime minister than they would have in Jeremy Corbyn.”
Despite “your misgivings about the Labour leadership,” Ryan wrote, “I hope that you will consider voting for me as your local MP.”
Even after Corbyn defied predictions and led the party to far better results than expected, Ryan continued her campaign of sabotage against Labour. She demanded that Corbyn cut ties with the UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign in order to supposedly prove Labour is a “credible party of government.”
Recently, Ryan wrote that she is “appalled” by Corbyn and accused her own party leader of failing “to tackle the scourge of anti-Semitism.”
Also in the Al Jazeera film, Labour Friends of Israel’s parliamentary officer Michael Rubin admits that the group is effectively a front for the Israeli embassy.
“We work really closely together,” Rubin told the undercover reporter. “But a lot of it is behind the scenes.” You can watch the footage in the video above.
At the time, Labour Friends of Israel was working covertly with the embassy to set up a “Young LFI” pro-Israel group within the Labour Party.
Rubin explained that it was necessary to “be careful” to make sure it did not look “like an embassy thing.”
He clarified the need for secrecy: “publicly we just try to keep the LFI as a separate identity to the embassy.”
But Rubin explained how his group could help extend Israeli political influence beyond where the embassy itself could go. “Being LFI allows us to reach out to people who wouldn’t want to get involved with the embassy,” Rubin said. “Keeping it as a separate thing is actually best for everyone.”
He also said that Ryan was in contact with an Israeli embassy agent almost daily.
Speaking about Shai Masot – an embassy spy booted out of the UK after Al Jazeera broadcast revelations he had been plotting to “take down” ministers and MPs sympathetic to Palestine – Rubin said that Ryan would “speak to Shai most days.”
It’s not the first time Ryan has faced local activists unhappy with her attempts to undermine Labour from within.
Her allies have attempted to cancel tonight’s vote, as reported by the left-wing Labour news site, The Skwawkbox.
But local activists have told The Electronic Intifada the vote is now back on. Ryan herself is sending out emails calling for her supporters to rally and vote, even “if you cannot stay at the rest of the meeting,” according to The Skwawkbox.
This post will be updated with results of tonight’s vote.
Joan Ryan has consistently failed to reply to The Electronic Intifada’s requests for comment in the past.