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A NEW group has been formed to facilitate a fightback against scores of local party officers and chairs being suspended by Labour HQ.
Members of the new Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) are taking collective action against the string of suspensions in recent months.
The suspensions have mainly been over constituency Labour parties (CLPs) allowing the discussion of motions in support of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn after his suspension in October, and the subsequent withdrawal of the whip after his reinstatement.
The LIEN members said that they will pursue a policy of non-co-operation with the party’s bureaucracy until the CLP officers are reinstated.
Group member Norman Thomas was chairman of South Thanet Labour Party until last December.
He was suspended because his CLP passed a motion demanding Mr Corbyn be restored the party whip.
He said: “People are being punished for simply carrying out their duties as elected officers.
“We have to take action to fight these outrageous suspensions. This is a battle for justice, free speech and democracy in our party.”
In a notice addressed to Mr Corbyn’s successor Sir Keir Starmer and the party’s ruling national executive committee, LIEN demanded the restoration of the whip to Mr Corbyn, a review of suspensions, and a recognition of CLPs’ right to consider motions as they see fit.
About a third of CLPs have defied Labour general secretary David Evans’s directive banning the discussion of motions critical of Mr Corbyn’s treatment, and more suspensions are expected.
Mr Thomas added: “We are seeing a planned purge of left-wing members of the party.
“By suspending officers the Starmer leadership is hoping to demoralise people and get them to resign.
“Many are going. But I think we should stay and fight for the party we believe in. The battle has only just begun.”
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