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by Conrad Landin
BAKERS’ union leader Ronnie Draper vowed to fight his suspension from the Labour Party yesterday, saying it “flies in the face of natural justice.”
The BFAWU general secretary said he was seeking legal advice but insisted he should not be given “any personal privilege based on my trade union position.”
Mr Draper issued a statement expressing concern with Labour’s wave of suspensions and expulsions as another party member said she had been targeted for excitably tweeting about Seattle post-grunge band the Foo Fighters.
Wiltshire resident Catherine Starr published a letter from Iain McNicol, which said she had been denied party membership because “you shared inappropriate content on Facebook on 5 March.”
She provided screenshots of posts on the relevant date, and said she had only posted a video with the comment: “I fucking love the Foo Fighters” along with innocuous posts about veganism.
She told the Daily Mail she thought she had been blocked due to an “over-zealous vetting procedure designed to stop supporters of Jeremy Corbyn voting for him.”
Mr Draper’s letter said he had been suspended due to comments on Twitter, though no specific tweets were referenced.
In his statement yesterday, he said: “The only explanation I have been given is that this is something to do with an unidentified tweet I have posted. I have not been given the opportunity to refute any allegations or a date for any hearing.
“I am extremely concerned that suspensions and bans are being imposed in an arbitrary or politically motivated way in this election, and I will be raising the issue with the [Labour] general secretary.”
Labour HQ said its “robust vetting process” is “carried out by panels of elected NEC members.” But party rules instead specify that “the general secretary may rule that the individual application for membership be rejected for any reasons that s/he see fit.”
Other targets of the process, labelled a “rigged purge” by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, have included retired miner John Dunn.
The party member of 45 years’ standing made headlines last month when he confronted Owen Smith and accused him of exploiting the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
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