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Anti-Corbyn GMB Union to Labour CLP: “Complete disaffiliation from the party.”

The notoriously anti-Corbyn GMB Union has been observed mass-affiliating to Constituency Labour Parties (CLP’s), threatening to ‘disaffiliate’ from Labour in total, and acting like a trojan horse organisation; it can be revealed in a Left Bible exclusive.

This writer was contacted by concerned Labour Party elected officials who had received an affiliation request from the GMB unions Mr Gary Doolan, in the full expectation that they would affiliate automatically, without questioning the affiliation.

Excerpt from the GMB Union Website

Given the history of uninvited ‘society’ and ‘union’ affiliations to CLP’s across the country, especially in constituencies containing unpopular centrist Labour MP’s, this activity takes on a new meaning.

The below letter was sent to Ealing North CLP in late 2017, by the now tragically deceased GMB London Region Political Officer, Gary Doolan.

Mr Doolan recently lost his battle with cancer, and the Left Bible Team would like to offer our condolences to his family and friends.

The same letter was also sent to Ealing Southall CLP, with a view to affiliation.

Why are these letters significant?

Ealing North’s MP is GMB grandee Steve Pound MP. Long-standing enemy of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, and classic ‘hollow leftist‘, he is well protected by the GMB executive hierarchy.

Ealing Southall’s MP is right-winger Virendra Sharma MP, who is described by members of his constituency as being ‘unpopular’ and ‘divisive’. When you see the kind of content he promotes, it’s not hard to see why…

Sharma was also responsible for courting controversy over ill-advised remarks about the Muslim community, which resulted in the paragon of democracy Tom Watson MP coming to his aid to defend Sharma’s candidacy. (Kudos to Skwawkbox for the article.)

These two ‘players’ from the right of the Labour Party could be vulnerable to deselection under the new rules of ‘Open Selection‘ due to be debated at the Labour Party Conference soon.

The only way to protect them from being removed from their esteemed positions is to win the selection vote at their respective CLP’s. So what does a Union affiliation, or any other party affiliation for that matter, have to do with a selection vote at CLP?

It all comes down to the Labour Party Rule Book: (We’ve screen grabbed the various related parts for your benefit.)

In summary, the above rules mean the following:

 – Unions can send ‘delegates’ or ‘affiliated members’ to a CLP meeting, and VOTE on any issue put to that meeting requiring a VOTE. For example: A selection or deselection ballot.

– In order to have voting rights, delegates and members (from a union for example) need to have paid one years affiliation fee in full. With 60 days of affiliation under their belt, meeting attendance qualified more than 35 days in advance and all subs paid, a delegate or affiliated member then has full voting rights.

– In a delegate-based CLP, one delegate may be sent to a CLP meeting from an affiliated organisation, per every two hundred affiliated members based in that constituency, up to a maximum of five delegates, under normal circumstances.

So Unions can dramatically affect CLP votes?

In short, YES. It doesn’t matter whether or not the CLP is a delegate style or ‘all members vote’ style of CLP. Having five delegates turn up from every anti-Corbyn union, or all of the affiliated individual members under ‘one member one vote’ (OMOV), means that ordinary Labour Party members votes will be utterly swamped by Union and Society participants.
The above rules show why the GMB has tried to affiliate in November at the end of 2017 – that date matches with the end of the party conference and onset of the new rules in 2018, meaning Union & so-called ‘Socialist Society‘ (such as the Labour Party Irish Society) votes will count at CLP and deselection will become more difficult under the new rules.
In Ealing North, the £216 payment (£6 per branch) would mean 36 branches affiliating, with perhaps an average of ten branch members each. In delegate-system-favouring right-wing CLP’s that would probably be only one delegate – but to a Corbyn favouring OMOV CLP, that could in theory mean up to 360 votes swamping the party members at any meeting. The rule book is not clear on this part, which usually favours the right-wing.
In Ealing Southall CLP – which WAS affiliated to GMB by a previous CLP Secretary without a vote from the CLP – there are 27 branches, resulting in a similar scenario.
Remember, this is just ONE anti-Corbyn union…

So this perhaps explains why, when the application to affiliate to an Ealing CLP was rejected by one of the CLP executive committees and the monies returned to the GMB, a letter was sent on the 7th August 2018 to the CLP exec by Mr Doolan on behalf of GMB. It stunned everyone who saw it…

It’s difficult to comprehend how the GMB Union threatening a local Labour Party team can be considered sensible, but nonetheless, that appears to be what has happened here.

For the visually impaired, here is a transcript of the letter…

From Mr Gary Doolan, GMB London Region Political Officer:

Many thanks for your letter dated 30th July (2018).

It appears that the CLP are somewhat confused by the application of affiliations from Trade Unions, and returning the application with a cheque is a fundamental breach of the Labour Party Rulebook.

The deadline for our affiliations is the 31st of December each year, so as to qualify for the following year.

These are required for Branch Affiliations and not Regional Affiliations. Where a Branch has affiliated we always supply the delegates details, together with a separate cheque to that of a Regional Affiliation.

We therefore have a legitimate right to Regionally affiliate a Branch to any CLP where we have members who live in that CLP.

I note that the cheque was cashed and you have now issued a cheque to return the said affiliations. We are returning this cheque to you, as attached.

We are acting clearly within the rules of the Party, and refusing our legitimate affiliation could result in a complete disaffiliation from the Party.

I would ask you to seek the most serious advice before returning any further cheques or refusing the GMB the right to affiliate under rule.

This is a very serious matter and one which may have serious repercussions.

Yours Sincerely, Gary Doolan – GMB London Region Political Officer

What does this letter actually mean?

The letter claims that the CLP executive have broken the rules by refusing to affiliate to the GMB, or actively disaffiliating from the GMB. To the best knowledge of this writer, that is simply wrong. Threatening people with the connotations of being in breach of Labour Party rules – and the suspensions and expulsions that regularly appear alongside that – is not a nice thing to do.

The note about the deadline date is useful, as it shows Mr Doolan was well aware of when he wanted GMB members to be able to exercise voting rights – right around the time that deselection becomes a ‘real’ thing.

Scanning the Labour Party Rule Book, nowhere can any of our research team find the phrase ‘Regional Affiliation’. This appears to be a completely made-up term and practice. Mr Doolan was on shaky ground now, as it appears that the GMB are trying to avoid CLP scrutiny of their affiliations, by using the right-wing dominated Regional Offices around the country to hide their activity.

Then, the bombshell sentence:

refusing our legitimate affiliation could result in a complete disaffiliation from the party.

It would seem that for some reason Mr Doolan was bringing out the ‘heavy artillery’ on behalf of GMB. To threaten such a drastic course of action means two things:

1) The GMB royalty are considering disaffiliating from the UK Labour Party anyway – Mr Doolan couldn’t suggest this in writing, using legalese on letterheaded paper, without backup from the GMB ‘CEC’ or Executive Officers.

2) These so-called ‘Regional Affiliations’ are VERY important to the right-wing GMB executive body, even though it is clear they are without basis in the Labour Party rulebook, with only CLP’s being mentioned.

According to Ealing Labour sources, Steve Pound MP referred to these affiliations as an uncontroversial “…spat between Unite Union and GMB.”

The Left Bible can exclusively reveal that according to Ealing Labour sources, Mr Pound was actively involved in the notorious 2017 Labour Party Irish Society AGM, showing he has form for disingenuously purloining control of affiliated Unions and Societies for the Labour right.

Our sources tell us:

“Steve Pound MP told party members that the LPIS meeting had been cancelled… and then promptly went to the meeting himself to vote.”

Comment From The Left Bible:

It is clear that the right-wing of the Labour Party have been planning for a LONG time, to combat the Open Selection rule changes to be agreed very soon at conference.

It’s a shame that they have been forced to use every underhand dirty trick, and organisational / establishment perk to do it.

The dishonesty, the disrespect towards grassroots members, and the frankly bullying attitude of right-wing Unions like the GMB towards Labour Party members must not be tolerated any more.

Unions affiliated to the Labour Party must be representative of the wishes of their members – just like the party itself. Currently, that is a LONG way off.

Note: Follow this link for more information about GMB Union’s chequered history.

3 thoughts on “Anti-Corbyn GMB Union to Labour CLP: “Complete disaffiliation from the party.”

  1. It may not be vast sums of money, but shouldn’t rank-and-file members be asking questions of their GMB officials who have endorsed these cod union branch affiliations. I looks like a misuse of precious funds to me.

    That’s part from the unnatural effects on Labour Party democratic processes.

    If a union branch affiliates it should demonstrate two things to the CLP to prove bona fides: (1.) that it has members from that branch, in Labour, living in that constituency; (2.) that the union branch concerned has met, been quorate and *itself* agreed and minuted that it will affiliate to that CLP.


  2. Please forgive me if I have misunderstood the info above, I am a long standing member of the GMB and the Labour Party + Momentum, if what I have read is true my allegiance will be with the Labour Party, unions have no place in propping up right wing career politicians.

  3. As a GMB member and supporter of Jeremy Corbyn I would be extremely angry if my union undermined the changes that are taking olace in the Labour Party. I have sent a copy if the article to my branch secretary for clarification as I notice it is one of the branches mentioned.
    I should also point out however that the GMB does have a proud history. I am thinking of the role of Will Thorne and Eleanor Marx who have fought to build our labour movement and that the union was part of the founding of the Labour Party.

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