In 2003 Cllr Tony Buckley was Labour Leader of Waltham Forest Council when he received a letter from the General Secretary telling him to “Stand down” The Labour Group were annoyed at this “Top Down” instruction and interference in local matters so they re-elected him once more. The Party then suspended him, two days after his mother died and barred him from holding public office. His local Party condemned the move and stated clearly that he had not broken any party rule and they praised his hard work and achievements. Days later with the deputy leader in hospital undergoing surgery junior cabinet member Clyde Loakes made himself available to the group as it’s saviour and new prospective leader. In fact a “special deal” was arranged so that his leadership election took place in full council chamber rather than waiting for the formality of a Party Group meeting where the full details could be discussed and other candidates could have stood or reaffirmed support for Buckley. Cllrs prior to the council meeting were “Persuaded” to vote him in. One source tells us
“The word persuade is perhaps a kind one. It involved the circulation of an entirely untrue rumour that the whole Labour group/party would be suspended if this was not done”
Although Cllr Buckley had broken no party rules the investigation that followed was able to benefit greatly from Clyde’s knowledge when he told the inquiry “It was clear that the majority of the group wanted him to challenge the request to stand down” and in conclusion “I believe that it would be in the groups best interest if Cllr Buckley is expelled from the Party. His re admittance into the party with whatever strings attached would be seen as a rallying point for his supporters” Only two councillors stood up against this bullying and refused to back Loakes coronation, both were subsequently blocked by the regional party from being on the “panel” for candidates at the 2006 local elections. One of them had the highest vote of any Labour Councillor in their constituency (naturally with his departure and all in the in fighting the seat was lost at the next election)
So do these “ambulance chasing” tactics sound familiar? And was it therefore no surprise when he appeared to fill the vacancy left by my departure from Labours ranks in 2007 after my enforced expulsion? In fact the details relayed to me from a friend in London are very similar to those continuing to trouble the Northampton South Party to this very day, dissenting voices kept off future panels of suitable candidates, dissent in the Labour Group, Regional involvement in local investigations, and Constituency Party’s passing resolutions which are ignored by the NEC.
History it seems is repeating itself.
My source told me “I hate to see a once proud party being taken over by careerists while democratic process is just shoved aside".
I couldn’t agree more, in fact I would broaden the concerns I hold to include all of the main three political parties, full of careerists and more at home selling accident mitigation and insurance than truly representing the electorates they should serve.