I had not read, until today, in detail, the new rules on complaints within the Labour Party. The version published before Conference, well during conference, in the CAC reports were physically very hard to read. The rules are spread over Chapters 1, 2 and 6 and contain significant numbers of cross references, within the chapters and between the chapters. As far as I can tell, here is a flow chart of what I believe to be the process.
The new rules, in Chapter 2, introduced the concept of a prohibited act and codified the prior prohibition of supporting other parties in elections as a proscribed act. There was also an attempt to consolidate a growing body of text dealing with sexual harassment and racist acts. particularly made as an attempt to meet the findings and remediation plan of the EHRC report. I wrote in Dec 2021 that I don’t believe these rules comply with Article 6, the Right to a Fair Trial, of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and also noted the Forde Report’s concerns about ECHR compliance.
Complaints made nationally are assessed, supposedly by LGU, who now need certain levels of training and accreditation to determine if the allegation is about sexual harassment, abuse of a protected characteristic, or another complaint, usually a breach of rules. Complaints can be dismissed at this point for being incomplete or failing to meet the eligibility stated in the Complaints Policy. There seems to be no transparency or appeal against these decisions. The classification is also used to guide the investigation process.
The prohibited acts are in many cases pretty uncontroversial the problem beings with,
2.I.5.B.v) Possessing membership of, providing financial assistance to, sitting on the ruling body of or otherwise supporting (as may be defined by the NEC) any political organisation that the NEC in its absolute discretion shall declare to be inimical with the aims and values of the Party.
Labour’s Rule Book C2.I.5.B.v
The problem being with the incomplete definition of ‘otherwise supporting’. Article 7 of the ECHR guarantees no punishment without law. This is…