By Jamie Green
On 27th July, around 50 Vauxhall Labour members attended our monthly CLP meeting, around 42 of who were voting GC members. There was a packed agenda, including the headline motion of censure against our MP, Kate Hoey, which caught the attention of many across activists across the country.
By and large there was nothing too shocking about the debate. Hoey’s conduct has been discussed at many previous meetings and the general consensus tends to be that she’s an unrepresentative MP whose time to stand down has come. However, after much debate, there seemed to be a much higher level of consensus that the CLP now needs to push on and begin deselecting her.
I noticed several new or usually inactive members who had come to listen and debate the motion as I entered (many of whom didn’t understand the GC system and were asking others). It was also surprising that there were no speeches against the motion overall – Kate has few supporters, but often these motions have been opposed on the grounds of unity in the CLP, or apathy around whether such a motion will have any affect. Despite three people abstaining, there were no votes against in a meeting where any member could attend and speak.
There were a few attempts at amending the motion and the two that passed added more information on the MP’s record, whilst the other added that the GC had no confidence in her rather than simply just censuring. Other amendments sought to change the demands of the motion (ie that she should lose the whip and be ruled ineligible for selection) and aimed at prioritising getting a trigger ballot to happen rather than trying to get the whips involved. However, the mood of the GC was that her vote on the customs bill – which effectively propped up the government – was a step too far and the motion needed strong demands attached to it. These amendments fell.
Obviously the motion has no constitutional standing other than expressing the GC’s clear lack of confidence in our member of parliament. However, it’s hoped that the NEC and London regional board will listen to the CLP and allow us to finally decide who gets to be our next candidate.
Motion passed by Vauxhall CLP’s GC
This CLP notes that in June 2017 Kate Hoey was elected on a manifesto which explicitly rejected Theresa May’s approach to Brexit and that she pledged in a letter to constituents that she endorsed Labour’s plans.
This CLP censures Kate Hoey MP for repeatedly reneging on those commitments, and ignoring the clearly stated views of her constituents and the national and local Labour Party.
MPs must have the right to vote with their conscience and against the Party Whip on matters of principle. However, this right cannot extend to collaborating with the ERG and DUP by co-signing an amendment to the Trade Bill making it illegal for the UK government to make customs arrangements for Northern Ireland separate to Great Britain, thereby undermining the Good Friday Agreement and contravening Labour Party policy of trying to prevent a hard border; and to propping up a failing government by voting against an amendment to Clause 18 of the Trade Bill when Tory whips had made it clear that defeat could lead to an immediate general election, an election which Labour is widely expected to win.
This CLP recognises Kate’s hard work as a constituency MP and that there have been many issues on which she has taken a principled stand which have not necessarily been supported by all local Party activists. However, we believe that the accumulation of her actions and statements over the years, culminating in her supporting this reactionary Government and a Tory Brexit which will threaten jobs, peace in Northern Ireland and the future of the NHS, and undermine workers’ rights and environmental and other standards, cannot be deemed to be compatible with Labour’s core beliefs and values. Examples of this go far beyond her views on EU membership and include:
Working for Boris Johnson when he was London Mayor; chairing the Countryside Alliance and supporting fox hunting, despite representing an inner city constituency; supporting elitist grammar schools; attacking Labour’s ban on hand guns following the Dunblane massacre; colluding with Nigel Farage, UKIP and the leave.eu campaign during the referendum; failing to condemn the Breaking Point poster; acceptance of funds from Arron Banks (whose finances are currently under investigation); and her lack of endorsement or campaigning for official Labour candidates during the recent Council elections, instead openly praising Green Party candidates.
This CLP has no confidence in our MP and therefore requests
(a) That the Leader of the Labour Party and Chief Whip suspend Kate Hoey from the Parliamentary Labour Party and remove the Whip; and
(b) That the National Executive Committee declare Kate Hoey ineligible for re-selection or endorsement as a Labour Party parliamentary candidate.
Motion passed by Vauxhall Momentum
As Labour members who campaigned for Kate Hoey at the last General Election despite many of us disagreeing with her about Brexit, we are appalled at the way in which she is demonstrating that her personal views take priority over representing her constituents and our Party by voting to enable this rotten, inept Government to stay in office.
Vauxhall is an inner city constituency whose diverse, multi-cultural and multi-racial community have suffered eight years of Tory cuts and austerity, yet our MP is voting to prop up that Tory government and for a Tory Brexit which threatens job, peace in Northern Ireland and the future of the NHS. For this we condemn her.
We will be supporting the motion of censure being put to Vauxhall Labour Party’s General Committee on 26 July 2018, and its demands that
(a) the Leader of the Labour Party suspend Kate Hoey from the Parliamentary Labour Party and remove the Whip; and
(b) that the National Executive Committee declare Kate Hoey ineligible for re-selection as a parliamentary candidate.