No democracy for Green Steet East

There’s a great blog over on forestgate.net on how our fellow members in Green Street East won’t even get a chance to go to a Trigger Ballot meeting. It’s copied and pasted it below. All we’ll do here is summarise:

  1. Other wards can hold the Trigger Ballot meeting outside their ward (Manor Park, East Ham, Forest Gate North)
  2. Other wards can meet without the Chair agreeing the date (Custom House and Canning Town South)

But for some reason Green Street East’s meeting is being cancelled for both reasons. Why is someone so desperate to stop Green Street East members having a trigger ballot meeting?.

Originally published at: https://forestgate.net/2016/11/30/sunday-bloody-sunday/

Labour members in Green Street East received a letter yesterday cancelling their Trigger Ballot meeting on Sunday:

 As chair of your branch I am writing to you personally on a matter of grave importance to our ward. 

Over the weekend you may have received a letter advising you of a labour Party Green Street East ward branch meeting, to be held at a Restaurant in Forest Gate, West Ham on Sunday 4th December 2016. This notice was sent without the agreement of our branch and was in fact kept concealed from the Chair until I received an email on Sunday night. Since then members have approached me personally for an explanation as to why a Ward meeting was planned on a Sunday afternoon, outside the Ward and outside the Constituency. After further investigation, and as your democratically elected chair I wish to inform you that this meeting is formally cancelled.

As Sunday is the last date for meetings and members need seven days notice that means members of Green Street East will have no say whatsoever in whether they want to re-select the sitting Mayor.

The letter goes on (at some length) to say that the meeting is being cancelled for two reasons:

  • Because the meeting was outside the ward and constituency (and is on a Sunday)
  • Because the Secretary sent out the email (allegedly without the Chair’s agreement)

This is patently nonsense.

Firstly, Manor Park’s (very well-attended) meeting wasn’t held in Manor Park, Forest Gate North’s was held in Forest Gate South, and Thursday’s East Ham Central meeting isn’t being held in East Ham Central. There is nothing in the rules about holding the meeting in the ward, so what is the problem in Green Street East?

Secondly, there are no rules about which day Labour party meetings are held. In fact in 2013 ward selection meetings for councillors were held over a whole weekend. I don’t recall anyone complaining about that at the time.

And finally, these trigger ballots are about the Mayor of Newham – the whole borough. Constituency boundaries are irrelevant.

The letter sent to all eligible members in Newham by Patrick Murphy, the procedures secretary, at the start of November stated clearly:

You will receive a letter from your ward secretary advising you of the arrangements. (My emphasis added)

In Canning Town South the chair and other members of the executive were surprised to receive a letter telling them the meeting was on a different date to the one they had all agreed. Presumably the secretary changed the time; there was a similar story in Custom House. In both cases the meetings went ahead and members voted.

But there is obviously something odd going on in Green Street East. Members were originally told the meeting was happening on Tuesday 24th, but the Chair sent out a text saying the meeting was being postponed and another date would be arranged. They were then told it was going to be on Sunday. Now they are now being told it isn’t and there’s no time left to organise a different date.

It appears that someone doesn’t want Green Street East to meet and is going to considerable lengths to make sure they don’t.

What on Earth is going on? Perhaps the chair, Ayub Darbar, could explain. I will be very happy to publish his response.

In the meantime, Green Street East members should keep their diaries free for Sunday. Maybe the meeting will get ‘uncancelled’ and they’ll get their shot at democracy.

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