On November 5, the Labour Party held their regional conference in the East Midlands. But despite the happy faces of many of the attendees this was no ordinary conference. This was made clear just a few days later when the East Midlands Region of the Fire Brigades Union released the following statement on social media (November 7):
“The East Midlands Region of the Fire Brigades Union have learned in recent days that the Labour Party have again sought to subvert the democratic decisions of the East Midlands Labour Party Conference.
Days prior to the regional conference, the Labour Party suspended 5 delegates that made up a left slate. Members were suspended on the most spurious grounds, but were therefore unable to stand for positions on the regional board.
We are aware that those suspended include trade unionists that have been organising striking workers campaigning for safer workplaces, pay and improved conditions. Yet again the Labour Party under Keir Starmer has sought to overshadow and divert from workers struggle.
The Fire Brigades Union will be raising internally the continued diktat, which is seeing socialists suspended and expelled from the Labour Party.
Those in the party that sit on their hands and allow injustice to pass them by are an equal to the oppressor and shall not receive continued support from the Fire Brigades Union in the East Midlands.”
Although it is yet to be confirmed, it seems extremely likely that one of the five individuals referred to by the FBU was a Leicester councillor named Ross Willmott, who, in the past few years had been a vocal supporter of the one-time Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. As reported in the Leicester Mercury (November 8), Willmott had “been suspended from his political party following an investigation into alleged links with forbidden organisation Labour Left Alliance (LLA).” But as he told the Mercury: “I am not and never have been a member of the LLA, so will be appealing against this decision.”
The witch hunt within Labour’s ranks now appears to be intensifying, and earlier today it was announced that Andrea Egan, who is the president of Unison, was expelled from the Labour Party. Her crime? Apparently, she…
“… shared two articles from Socialist Appeal – a Marxist group within the party – on social media.
On July 20 2021, the Labour Party NEC voted to proscribe Socialist Appeal. A Labour spokesperson said: “These organisations are not compatible with Labour’s rules or our aims and values.”
“The first occasion on which Egan shared a Socialist Appeal article was 16 July, prior to the organisation’s official ban by the Labour party . The article related to the Socialist Appeal’s potential proscription. Egan shared it with the comment, “who’s next.”
The second article shared by Egan related directly to Unison and to Egan’s election to the union’s NEC, titled: Unison: Left activists begin the struggle to transform the union.
… Egan’s membership termination comes amidst concerns around factionalism, after a string of prospective left-wing Labour candidates, including Maurice McLeod and Emma Dent Coad, have been blocked from standing for parliamentary selection by the party bureaucracy.”