Welsh Labour Grassroots Chair, Ivan Monckton has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party, pending the investigation of allegations regarding his conduct in an online meeting. This is believed to refer to an incident at a meeting of Labour’s Welsh Executive Committee, on which Ivan represents party members in Mid and West Wales, where he was accused by one person of swearing at another member, despite no-one else hearing this, including the supposed ‘victim’.
Ivan strongly refutes the accusation but has been given no opportunity to defend himself, or even any detail as to the precise nature of the charge(s) against him.
Ivan has been a party member for more than forty years, is currently Chair both of Brecon and Radnorshire CLP and of the Unite Wales Political Committee and was previously a TGWU and Unite NEC member for many years. He is one of the best known and most highly regarded activists in the Welsh labour movement. His suspension, seemingly over an ‘offence’ that, even if it had actually happened, would normally earn no more than a verbal rebuke from the chair of the meeting, is entirely unjustified.
This incident must be seen in the context of a growing crackdown on free debate, on dissent and on the organised left in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party. Starmer and General Secretary, David Evans have overseen dozens – perhaps hundreds – of suspensions in the aftermath of the publication of the EHRC report and Jeremy Corbyn’s own suspension and the continuing removal from him of the parliamentary whip. The ‘crime’ committed by most of those involved was to propose, or allow to be discussed, motions expressing solidarity with Corbyn or opposing moves to stifle debate. The officers of several Welsh CLPs are among those penalised.
Welsh Labour Grassroots condemns this draconian assault on the rights of Labour party members, which is causing widespread demoralisation and disillusionment, little more than four months before a crucial set of elections, in which the party will be expected to pull together and get our vote out.
We call for the immediate termination of the suspension of Ivan Monckton and all those who have been suspended simply for seeking to discuss the situation in the party at their local CLP meetings. We call for the General Secretary to rescind his repressive instructions forbidding debate of such matters and to apologise to all those loyal Labour members who have been treated with such contempt by the party to which they have given so much time and energy.
It is vitally important that the threat of punitive action currently hanging over the heads of party members is lifted, if we are all to work together to secure victories for Labour in May here in Wales and across the UK.