A statement by Phil Clarke, elected an executive officer of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party on July 9; the results were annulled by the Labour Party NEC on July 14
This statement was prepared in the knowledge that senior figures in the City Party were trying to smear and/or undermine the new recently-elected leadership team of the City Party. In a fair report in The Argus today, these unfair smears will only harm the party as it fights to win the East Brighton by-election on August 4.
Phil Clarke said:
“I have been an active member of the Labour movement all my adult life. I believe I am widely respected for my work in the union movement as general secretary of the Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council.
“When last year it became clear the Labour Party had elected a leader putting forward policies that I could support — such as peace, public ownership, trade union rights and combating inequality — I made a decision to join.
“I have never hidden my political past. The executive committee of the Brighton, Hove and District Labour — many of whose members were defeated at the annual meeting — voted to allow me to join last year. It is they who have now been re-instated.
“I am a member of the Labour Party in good standing and I want to see the party be successful electorally — at the council by-election in East Brighton and at any general election. I am particularly keen to bring back more involvement from unions locally.
“Since joining last year, I have put forward successful motions at local level in the Labour Party opposing the Tories’ forced academicisation and wider plans for privatisation of education. Throughout, the local leadership team has been fully aware of my membership; relationships have been cordial, in every regard. I have been made to feel very welcome at meetings and out campaigning.
“Despite being aware of my candidacy since June 30, no complaints were raised and nobody contacted me to take issue with me standing.
“It is only since unfounded and wild allegations about “spitting” and abuse at the annual meeting — the original reasons for the suspension of the entire 6000-member City Party — were shown to be false that my candidacy has been raised as a problem.
“I understand I topped the poll in the elections for non-officer executive places, gaining about twice the vote of the next-placed candidate. This should be reflected upon by those who would seek to re-instate the defeated candidates.
“If anyone would like reassurance about my commitment to the Labour Party, they can contact me any time. Nobody with any concerns has so far had the courtesy to do so.
“The real reason the Disputes Panel of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party has suspend the 6,000-member party is because it did not like Jeremy Corbyn supporters being elected at a fabulous and well-organised meeting attended by more than 600 members.”