Labour’s NEC urged to auto-exclude members where irrefutable evidence of racism

Labour’s governing body has been urged to support a motion which would auto-exclude members where there is “irrefutable evidence” accusing them of racism and other forms of discrimination.

Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, was among five members of the National Executive Committee who submitted the motion to the chair of the NEC.

The proposed change, which will be debated at a meeting next Tuesday, calls on the NEC to bring forward forward rule changes to the annual conference.

Labour has been rocked by a Panorama programme which claimed that senior figures, including Jeremy Corbyn’s communications chief Seumas Milne and general secretary Jennie Formby, had interfered in anti-Semitism investigations.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson

The party has denied the claims and written a complaint to the BBC.

The motion states: “Members who express racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic views have no place in the Labour Party.

“We need radical change and fresh thinking in our disciplinary rules to swiftly and fairly root out the evils of racism in our party and restore confidence in our processes.”

It says the NEC resolves to “bring forward rules changes to this year’s conference that: automatically excludes a member from the party where there is irrefutable evidence of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia or transphobia”.

And it says the NEC resolves to establish an “independent process to deal with disciplinary matters involving all forms of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia or transphobia.

“This is to also include the process for overseeing auto exclusion of members and any subsequent member appeals.

“We will invite the Bar Council, or another appropriate body, to appoint a person wholly independent from the Labour Party to devise the detail of this scheme, consult with Jewish and other communities and report back to the NEC.”

Labour MP Sir George Howarth and councillors James Asser, Nick Forbes and Alice Perry also signed the motion.

Earlier on Tuesday, a senior Labour peer said Mr Corbyn is “not cut out” to be a party leader.

Lord Harris of Haringey, chairman of the Labour Peers Group, suggested the party leader could have “reined back” members of his inner circle who reportedly intervened in disciplinary cases and also acted to control his “more idiotic supporters” engaged in abuse and intimidation.

Labour peers have offered to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism in the party, as they warned Mr Corbyn that without full openness it is “a cancer that will continue to grow”.

Baroness Smith
Baroness Smith

Baroness Smith of Basildon, the shadow leader of the Lords, was among signatories to a letter to Mr Corbyn in which the Labour Peers Group offered to establish a small panel to review the substance of allegations made in last week’s Panorama programme.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lord Harris said: “There’s no question that in any organisation the moral tone that it sets, the style that it operates in is set from the top – that’s what leadership is all about.

“So obviously Jeremy Corbyn has got a huge responsibility in this. He could have reined back some of his more idiotic supporters and stopped them doing some of the things they are doing – the intimidation of members, the extraordinary discriminatory remark; he could have reined back the people in his office who have been apparently interfering in cases of discipline within the party.”

He added: “The concern that I have – and I have known Jeremy Corbyn for 47 years – is that he is not cut out to be a party leader.

“He is a brilliant campaigner and yet I suspect the details, the managerial responsibilities, the day-to-day management of the way in which the party operates are not necessarily his skills.”