CLP Abuses | Documenting Kieth's war on democracy

Any political party worth its salt, should pride itself on the way it promotes member democracy. Sadly, the Labour Party - especially since Kieth became leader - has not so much neglected this fundamental tenet of democracy, so much as he has waged war upon it.

When I first had the idea for this list, I thought that there might already be (maybe) a dozen to research, and I resolved myself to committing them to this page as an on-going project; which it still is [Tweet me with your tips]. However, after a quick poll of my Twittersphere, it rapidly became apparent to me that the original scope of top-down totalitarianism from an out of control Party hierarchy, was far broader than I had initially reckoned on.

Part of my original idea, was to list CLPs that had motions turned down by the Party (rather than at CLP) level, but as was pointed out to me, that would include every CLP in the country, as Labour General Secretary (GS), David Evans, sent down numerous diktats on what was and what wasn't 'proper business', as each embarrassing subject was raised. It was also intended to include mass resignations at Executive Committee (EC) level, because of one heinous act of antidemocratic interference or another. But even that would have proved too complex a task, as each mass resignation came with announcements covering all manner of reasons above and beyond what I am to document here. Clearly, I needed to narrow my focus.

And so it is, then, that this list is limited to the seven categories of Party impositions and suspensions of EC officers, delegates and candidates, and cancellations of AGMs. At the end of the page, I will also list mass EC resignations and mayoral selections.

Oh my! I've just been made aware of some counter-arguments; that the same abuses happened under Corbyn's leadership. It's only fair that I also evaluate these claims, I suppose, on the same basis as I evaluate the claims against abuses under Starmer's leadership.

Jaz Athwal was suspended for a sexual harassment complaint. He was later cleared, but not before the 2019 General Election happened.

I can't find anything to do with Erith and Thamesmead CLP that would make this list.

With respect to Ed Poole, he - like many potential and popular candidates across the country - were inexplicably left off of their respective longlists. On the face of things, that would, indeed merit mention on the list. However, in a remarkable example of prescience, the Party backed a plan to streamline the selection process ahead of the (at the time) as yet undeclared General Election. The NEC opposed a more member-led process backed by both Jeremy Corbyn and deputy leader Tom Watson. The election date was decided upon only three weeks later.

Notable complaints were raised by Poole's own Enfield North, but also City of Durham and Coventry South. This top-down process undoubtedly affected many more CLPs than those mentioned here, but given the circumstances around its implementation, it was a necessary one, even if it did prove to be a flawed and unpopular decision.


Bolton North East

Many members of the CLP executive committee (EC) resigned in protest at the party’s manoeuvre to block a local candidate from the constituency party’s parliamentary shortlist – and the Labour regional office has informed all four hundred members by email that it has ‘agreed’ with the party’s national ‘Governance and Legal’ department that ahead of the ‘reorganisation’ of the CLP, it will ‘appoint’ replacements instead of them being elected by local members as Labour’s rulebook mandates

Leigh Drennan – the chair of Labour North West, with endorsements from three unions and nine years as a Labour councillor under her belt – was blocked from standing in Bolton North East after a due diligence process, allegedly for signing a petition.

Open Democracy - 19th April 2023

Bolton North East, previously held by Labour for 22 years, is currently served by Conservative Mark Logan since 2019.

The Labour Party candidate for the next General Election will be Kirith Entwistle

Skwawkbox: 31st May 2023

Bristol West

The Labour Party has suspended the CLP’s chair and one of its co-secretaries for allowing a motion condemning Jeremy Corbyn's suspension to be debated.

Motions on Corbyn whip suspension “will be ruled out of order” - 26th November 2020
Skwawkbox - 13th November 2020

Labour suspends CLP's other co-secretary, leaving in doubt who will be running the CLP's upcoming AGM.

Skwawkbox - 23rd November 2020

Local party Bristol West Labour has complained of “overreach” by the South West regional office after its annual general meeting was cancelled this week allegedly without prior notice being given to the executive committee.

Labour List - 27th November 2020


Greg Marshall, who had previously stood as a parliamentary candidate for Boxtowe in 2017 and 2019, was blocked from standing again, despite being the only local candidate and receiving eight union endorsements. (Marshall told the Guardian he had not even been properly informed about the decision to block him, which prompted the entire executive committee of his local CLP to resign in protest, as well as earning the party a public rebuke from former shadow chancellor John McDonnell.)

Open Democracy - 19th April 2023 Grauniad - 2nd March 2023

Camberwell and Peckham

A popular anti-racism campaigner blocked by Labour from becoming an MP has slammed the ‘factional’ decision taken by officials behind the scenes.

Maurice Mcleod - who was backed by MPs Diane Abbott, Bell Riberio-Addy and John McDonnell – was kicked out of the selection contest in Camberwell and Peckham, a seat with the highest black population in Britain.

One of the reasons for Mcleod's passing over is thought to be liking a tweet by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas before he became a councillor. Activists highlighted that frontbench Labour MPs have shared a platform in the past with Lucas, including David Lammy and Keir Starmer when campaigning against Brexit.

Voice Online - 15th October 2022


Christchurch CLP delegate to the NEC was expelled for sharing links to banned groups.

Given Kieth is considered in some circles to be an esteemed barrister, it is curious that he would permit the introduction of a rule that is contrary to natural law, i.e., Legislation that operates on matters taking place before its enactment, e.g. by penalizing conduct that was lawful when it occurred.

Unless there be clear words to the contrary, statutes ‘do not apply to a past, but to a future, state or circumstance’. So why does Kieth think this represents a good rule, if it is considered non-applicable in law, in all but the rarest and most pressing of needs?

Skwawkbox - 22nd September 2022 - 14th June 2013


Copeland CLP officers quit en masse after councillor left off selection longlist

Skwawkbox - 22nd May 2023
Labour List - 23rd May 2023

Shortlisted candidate Gillian Troughton withdraws from MP contest amid claims of 'unfair' selection process.

“I don’t see how the Labour Party can consider this an inclusive process and I stand in solidarity with members across the country who feel the selection process is failing grassroots members.”

News & Star - 7th June 2023

Anger is growing among Workington men and women in the local Labour party that despite their town’s totemic electoral significance, many of them will be denied a vote on Workington’s next parliamentary candidate.

Proposed boundary changes would see several wards from the current Workington constituency combined with a larger proportion of Copeland constituency to create the new Whitehaven and Workington seat.

Labour List - 6th June 2023

Cynon Valley/Merthyr Tydfil

A major row has broken out within Welsh Labour after its ruling body voted to impose an accelerated timescale on a selection contest between two sitting MPs to see which of them will be the party’s general election candidate in a new merged constituency.

“I will be fighting to win Labour’s selection for the new Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon seat and expect to be the party’s candidate at the general election. But I regret that the Welsh Labour Executive has restricted the rights of party members. This is undemocratic.

“There will be no branch nominations, no affiliate nominations, no in-person hustings to attend, meet candidates and vote at, and the process must be completed within such a short time. The process agreed tramples on the rights of members in Merthyr and Cynon to take part in an inclusive and collective decision-making process.

“I have serious concerns about the legitimacy and fairness of this process and am therefore considering all options open to me at this stage. - 15th May 2023

UPDATE: 7th June 2023

@GeraldJonesLAB has been selected as Welsh Labour's parliamentary candidate for Merthyr Tydfil & Upper Cynon.

East Ham

East Ham chair Tahir Mirzi says that democratic rights and principles no longer have any value in either East or West Ham CLPs, both of which have been suspended since March 2021. The motive for this shutdown of party democracy is clearly to suppress free political rights, and to clear the way to allow candidates imposed by unaccountable party bureaucrats to be parachuted into office, rather than selected democratically by party members who have contributed their time, energies and financial donations into the party over many years.

Tahir Mirzi's resignation letter
Skwawkbox - 28th January 2022

Glasgow South West

SCOTTISH Labour has been accused of a “stitch up” to help secure a Westminster candidacy for a schoolmate and neighbour of leader Anas Sarwar.

Left-wing Glasgow City Councillor Matt Kerr, who was Labour’s candidate in the seat in 2017 and 2019, failed vetting, effectively leaving the way clear for the other main contender, privately-educated surgeon Dr Zubir Ahmed.

Deputy Scottish Labour leader Jackie Baillie is in charge of vetting candidates and chaired the four-person panel which refused to let Cllr Kerr go forward for shortlisting.

In 2020, Mr Kerr challenged Ms Baillie for the deputy leadership of Scottish Labour and got 42 per cent of the vote.

The panel unanimously agreed to fail him because he had defied the whip at the city council, including refusing to vote with his party on the budget because of cuts.

Senior Labour insiders claim Mr Kerr’s discipline record was the reason for him failing vetting, not his left-wing beliefs or challenging Ms Baillie for the deputy leadership.

The Herald (Scotland) - 13th February 2022

Hornsey and Wood Green

The chairs of both Labour’s two constituency parties (CLPs) in the London borough of Haringey have published an explosive statement – on the party’s official website for one of the CLPs – accusing Labour of breaking and ignoring its own rules and flip-flopping its excuses in a ‘factional and politically motivated’ manoeuvre to prevent them having a say at Starmer’s ‘Stepford’ event in Liverpool last month.

Hornsey And Wood Green Labour - 3rd October 2022
Skwawkbox - 4th October 2022

Islington North

Currently held by Labour's former leader for over four decades, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour's eight year smear campaign reached its nadir, after some outrageously extrajudicial decisions were taken at the highest level of the party to deselect him as a sitting MP; the second sitting MP to be deselected under Kieth's reign (Sam Tarry - Ilford South).

Labour List - 27th March 2023
Text of Starmer's motion

Leicester South

Labour suspends delegate for pointing out Ukraine has fascists and attacks workers’ rights

Skwawkbox - 4th October 2022

Milton Keynes North

Lauren Townsend, who was prevented from standing for parliamentary selection, has said her experience sends a “loud and clear” message that working-class women “aren’t welcome in politics”.

Townsend – who currently serves as the council’s cabinet member for the public realm – had received endorsements from several trade unions including ASLEF, the FBU, the CWU, UNISON and the TSSA. She noted in her statement that the support of affiliated trade unions “should have secured my place on the longlist”.

Townsend said the reasons behind her being blocked included an article she had written advocating for campaign group green new deal and having liked a tweet from Nicola Sturgeon saying she had tested negative for Covid.

Skwawkbox - 25th October 2022

North West Cambridgeshire

The chair and secretary of Labour’s North West Cambridgeshire local party have been suspended after planning and withdrawing a motion of no confidence in Keir Starmer and David Evans for debate at a meeting.

Labour List - 3rd February 2021

Southampton Test

Southampton councillor Barrie Margetts responds to not being permitted to stand for reselection by Labour Party

It is with a very heavy heart that I have written to the Labour Party today resigning with immediate effect. I believe the National Labour Party no longer promotes the principles and values I have lived by all my life. I will continue to stand up for striking workers and to support local community groups in their struggles.

To my knowledge, Labour have not commented on the reason why a sitting councillor is not being reselected

There are also suggestions that a Southampton Test delegate to the NEC was expelled, although I can find no further details on this. - 10th February 2023
Skwawkbox - 22nd September 2022


Doina Cornell, a councillor for twelve years and leader of Stroud District Council for four, had the backing of seven trade unions but a five-member national panel ruled, without providing evidence or any consultation with local party members, she failed to meet the “high bar” expected of candidates.

This "high bar" is reported as suggesting it had been down to social media posts.

The decision means local Labour Party members have been denied a chance to vote for her to be selected. A two-person shortlist has instead been imposed on local members. One of those on the shortlist, local GP Simon Opher, has signed the letter.

Stroud Times - 12th June 2022

Labour has lost its leadership of a council coalition in south-west England after a row over a ‘parachuted in’ parliamentary hopeful favoured by Keir Starmer saw three councillors quit the party.

Thursday’s resignations included the council’s Labour leader Doina Cornell, whose bar from the shortlist to be the party’s parliamentary candidate at the next election triggered the backlash.

Deputy Labour group leader Trevor Hall and a backbencher then announced their resignations from the party at an emotional meeting of the Labour group last night, multiple sources told openDemocracy today.

The move wipes out Labour’s status as the largest party in the ruling “rainbow coalition” and leaves the future of what is believed to be the longest standing cross-party alliance in the country uncertain. The Greens have now overtaken Labour as the largest party with 13 seats to 12.

Open Democracy - 1st July 2022


The chairs of both Labour’s two constituency parties (CLPs) in the London borough of Haringey have published an explosive statement – on the party’s official website for one of the CLPs – accusing Labour of breaking and ignoring its own rules and flip-flopping its excuses in a ‘factional and politically motivated’ manoeuvre to prevent them having a say at Starmer’s ‘Stepford’ event in Liverpool last month.

Skwawkbox - 4th October 2022

Uxbridge and South Ruislip

The selection of danny Beales, who is regarded as a Keir Starmer loyalist and once backed Liz Kendall as party leader, was criticised by some on the left as a stitch-up. The local selection panel was disbanded on a seemingly 'flimsy pretext' and the process passed to Labour London, the regional party that overwhelmingly backed Beales.

The local selection committee in Uxbridge and South Ruislip has been disbanded with “immediate effect” and the results of ward nomination meetings declared “null and void”.

A local member said: “I’m incredibly worried that a candidate with the overwhelming majority of ward nominations and a large amount of popularity locally will be blocked from the shortlist.

uxbridge selection shows eventual winner gaing only one nomination
Labour List - 2nd December 2022


The chairman of Wakefield Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Yorkshire has quit the party after a year of chaos which began when Labour’s executive vetoed local candidates in a by-election.

The CLP executive resigned on masse in May last year when a short list of two candidates was imposed for a by-election by the Yorkshire city’s parliamentary seat following the jailing of Wakefield Conservative MP Imrad Ahman Khan for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

CLP chairman Paul Jowitt stayed on temporarily to head a meeting to elect a new executive, but he said that the meeting had been banned by the party’s regional organiser and that the CLP had not met since then.

The by-election saw Labour retake the seat, with one of the leadership’s imposed candidates, Simon Lightwood, becoming the city’s new MP

Morning Star (may require subscription after free allowance used up - 12th May 2023

West Ham

West Ham chair Carel Buxton resigned - in part - due suspensions of CLPs as well as individuals has happened across the country. Hundreds have had their membership ‘terminated’ on the flimsiest of reasons and often with no reason given. This is not the actions of a democratic party. This week we saw the NEC vote against reinstatement of our former leader, while a Tory MP with an obscene voting record can cross the house and become a ‘Labour’ MP. This is not the Labour Party I signed up for and I believe it is now morally as well as politically bankrupt.

Carel Buxton's resignation letter
Skwawkbox - 28th January 2022


There are suggestions that a Windsor delegate to the NEC was expelled, although I can find no further details on this.

Skwawkbox - 22nd September 2022

Wirral West

In a complex state of affairs including an MP standing down at the next election, and border changes worrying the sheep at HQ, the Party in its infinite wisdom has decided to shut down the entire CLP.

Labour List - 26th May 2023

Mass Resignations

Berwick CLP - 11/13 CLP officers stood down from their roles and most left the party altogether

Sedgefield CLP - 13 members of the Sedgefield local Labour Party executive have resigned following the announcement of the longlist for the constituency’s next parliamentary candidate amid accusations of a “stitch-up” in the selection process.

Mayoral Selections

Word cloud

My ongoing notes

The image below was supplied to me by Angie on Twitter. So far, I haven't been able to make the case for the following:

Dover: I can't find anything

Ilford South: Sam Tarry's trigger ballot was legitimate, inasmuch as it wasn't a regional or Party imposition/suspension


If they aren't listed above, I haven't got around to them yet. This is a very time-consuming process, and each CLP seems to lead me off in different directions.

No Labour MPs were deselected during the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Keighley CLP picked former MP John Grogan