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Chingford and Woodford Green CLP chairs suspended

TWO more senior Constituency Labour Party (CLP) officials have been suspended for making comments in support of Jeremy Corbyn and against the clampdown on freedom of speech within Labour.

Chingford and Woodford Green CLP chairman Gary Lefley and vice-chairwoman Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, who is also a member of the socialist Jewish Voice for Labour group, are the latest to be suspended pending investigation.

At least five CLP senior officials in total have been suspended in the last week after Labour general secretary David Evans issued a ban on tabling or passing motions in solidarity with Mr Corbyn.

Monday night’s meeting of Chingford and Woodford Green CLP had originally set on a motion calling for Mr Corbyn’s readmission to the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and the reinstatement of members suspended for supporting him. 

The motion was dropped because of the directive issued by Mr Evans.

Mr Corbyn had his membership suspended on October 30 for saying that the extent of anti-semitism in Labour had been “overstated for political reasons by our opponents.”

He was reinstated by a panel of the national executive committee, but current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer refused to readmit his predecessor to the PLP, leaving him to sit in the Commons as an independent.

JVL posted transcripts and recordings on its website of the speeches made at the Chingford and Woodford Green CLP meeting, which include Mr Lefley criticising the reduction in freedom of expression.

It was the late Michael Foot, former leader of the Labour Party, who asked: “Is the Labour Party to remain a democratic party in which the right of free criticism and free debate is not merely tolerated but encouraged? Or are the rank and file of the Party to be bludgeoned or cowed into an uncritical subservience towards the leadership?”

“Or are the rank and file of the party to be bludgeoned or cowed into an uncritical subservience towards the leadership?”

Ms Wimborne-Idrissi expressed her disappointment at CLP chairs being suspended over motions of solidarity with Mr Corbyn.

She also said: “The other thing is I’m just horrified to see people saying in the [CLP meeting] chat that they feel ‘uncomfortable.’

“I feel uncomfortable that people are saying they’re uncomfortable. What is this? We are in a political party. We have views, some of them very strongly held. And there are other people who hold equally vociferous views that counter our own.”

JVL sent a formal complaint to Labour over one of the 47 or so delegates at the CLP meeting making “clandestine recordings” of the speeches that were later leaked to the Jewish Chronicle.

Jewish socialist and mathematician Professor Moshe Machover has also been suspended from membership of Hampstead and Kilburn CLP, JVL confirmed.

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