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Labour purges: Nottingham East CLP chair suspended after allowing motion in solidarity with Corbyn

THE chairwoman of a constituency Labour party (CLP) was suspended over the weekend for allowing a motion in support of Jeremy Corbyn to be discussed.

Leading trade unionist Louise Regan, a former president of the National Education Union (NUT branch), was suspended as chairwoman of Nottingham East CLP.

Ms Regan is well known for her campaigning in solidarity with Palestine, and was personally thanked for her work in the field today by NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Local Labour MP Nadia Whittome said she had intervened against the “out of order” motion calling for Mr Corbyn to have the whip restored, but Ms Regan decided to go ahead after a big majority of those presented voted to hear the motion.

The motion, seen by the Morning Star, passed. Ms Whittome expressed support for a Jewish member of the CLP who withdrew from the meeting in protest and lashed out at members of the CLP, saying: “Our members need to get real … if they think making people feel unsafe or unwelcome in our meetings is a response to the EHRC report then they need to be out of our party immediately.”

Mr Corbyn had been suspended on October 30 for stating that “anyone claiming there is no anti-semitism in the Labour Party is wrong” but that the “scale of the problem was overstated for political reasons by our opponents.” He was restored to membership by a national executive committee panel, but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer then withdrew the whip.

Nottingham East CLP’s motion on Friday also condemned Labour general secretary David Evans’s directive issued the previous day that CLPs debating the EHRC report would be “out of order.”

Several CLPs have defied or circumvented the order. The blog Stats for Lefties said as of November 28 58 CLPs had “called for Jeremy Corbyn to be readmitted, expressed solidarity with Corbyn or passed a motion of no confidence in Keir Starmer or David Evans.”

Nottingham East CLP’s motion also called for the “removal” of Mr Evans, the lifting of actual and threatened disciplinary action from members discussing Mr Corbyn’s suspension, and for Ms Whittome — who has expressed support for Mr Corbyn’s reinstatement — to “defend the right of party members to engage in democratic discussion.”

At a one-day Jewish Labour Movement conference held today, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner commended Ms Whittome for her response to the CLP motion and said that Mr Corbyn should “absolutely” apologise for his comments “at the very least,” and that there was “no debating the EHRC report.”

Ms Rayner also said: “If [members] don’t see there is a problem, there’s no place for them in the party. If we have to suspend thousands, we will do.”

Jewish Socialists’ Group’s David Rosenberg tweeted in response to Ms Rayner’s comments: “I understand in the same speech threatened to ‘expel thousands and thousands of members.’ I have a better, more productive, idea: how about listening to members’ concerns on all sides, or is democracy an outmoded idea in the party these days?

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