Letter No 5 by Mike Allott:  email I| back to directory

 


25 October 2003 Galloway's Expulsion

Sir,

Galloway's Expulsion

You report (News, Oct 23) that George Galloway accuses Labour of staging a "political show trial". It is not a show trial, but a hearing before the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, convened as a disciplinary case, and following a clear set of procedural guidelines and precedents evolved over 100 years. The procedures are published in and form part of the Labour Party rule book and are available for all members to see on the Labour Party website.

Mr Galloway is being accused of indiscipline under rule 2A.8, which says: "No member of the party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NCC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NCC is grossly detrimental to the party."

According to previous reports, Mr Galloway's defence will be to claim his fundamental right to freedom of speech. And we are told that he also seeks to rely on a separate reference in Labour Party rule 2A.8: "The National Constitution Committee shall not have regard to the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions."

The issue would seem to be whether the right to free speech, a right all citizens share and one regulated by the Human Rights Act, was intended to apply to all members of the Labour Party in connection with their obligations as members.

If the right to free expression should extend to all members of all political parties, and a political party has no right to determine for itself what is acceptable in terms of that expression, then the whole basis of effective political association is undermined.

From:

Mike Allott
Eastleigh
Hants
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see this letter online at:
www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/3598045/Political-expression.html