Press release
22 JANUARY 2021
Labour Party members are taking collective action to fight a string of suspensions of local party officers.
Members are saying they will pursue a policy of non-cooperation with the party’s bureaucracy until the officers are reinstated.
The revolt has been launched by a new group called Labour In Exile Network (LIEN) on behalf of scores of party chairs and secretaries who have been suspended in recent months, mainly for allowing discussion of motions supportive of Jeremy Corbyn.
Norman Thomas of LIEN said: “People are being punished for simply carrying out their duties as elected officers. We have to take action to fight these outrageous suspensions. This is a battle for justice, free speech and democracy in our party.”
In a notice addressed to Keir Starmer and the party’s ruling National Executive Committee,
LIEN is also demanding the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, a review of previous suspensions and a recognition of the right of constituency parties to consider motions as they see fit.
Norman Thomas was chair of South Thanet Labour Party until December of last year. He was suspended because his party passed a motion demanding the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.
Thomas said: “Our former leader Jeremy Corbyn and many party officers have been the victims of a gross injustice — and we will not cooperate with our party bureaucrats until this injustice is righted.”
Around a third of local parties have now defied Labour’s general secretary to discuss motions critical of the new leadership’s conduct. More suspensions are expected.
Thomas added: “We are seeing a planned purge of left wing members of the party. By suspending officers the Starmer leadership is hoping to demoralise people and get them to resign. Many are going. But I think we should stay and fight for the party we believe in. “
LIEN’s notice can be found at:
The full text of the notice is as follows.
We the undersigned members of the Labour Party demand:
• the restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn;
• the reinstatement of all Labour Party members wrongly suspended or expelled since the appointment of the current general secretary;
• a review of all previous suspensions and expulsions imposed during the previous leadership;
• a root and branch reform of the deeply flawed complaints and disciplinary processes of the party;
• and an immediate restoration of the right of constituency parties to freely discuss and pass motions on political issues as they see fit.
Until these demands are met we will pursue a policy of non-cooperation with the party’s general secretary, regional officials and the governance and legal unit, and we will absolutely refuse to comply with any advice, guidance or instructions from any of the above which we consider unfair and discriminatory.
As members of the labour movement we are taking immediate, collective action in solidarity with our comrades who have been unfairly punished.
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Main aim 

The main aim of the Labour In Exile Network is to keep together all who those who were mobilised and enthused to support Jeremy Corbyn for leader: This includes those who continue to fight for democracy and socialism in the Labour Party; those who have been unfairly suspended or expelled in the last five years and those who have resigned from the Labour Party in despair of the party’s direction of travel under Keir Starmer and Dave Evans.

Plan for Change
Our Plan for Change is aimed at thoroughly democratising the Labour Party. We ask all members to sign up to the Plan.

1. Democratise the Labour Party!
We need a system of democratic, open selection of Labour’s representatives at all levels, including MPs. The Governance and Legal Unit should be scrapped and replaced with a democratically elected body. We will campaign for the democratisation and accountability of the NEC, including a review of the voting system, and a sovereign Labour Party conference. Conference should have the right to initiate a leadership contest and we will mobilise to vote against David Evans at the next LP conference. We call on branches and CLPs to vote for no confidence in Keir Starmer, who has waged an all-out war against the left.


2. For free speech!

The right to free speech is coming under increasing  attack in the world at large and can no longer be guaranteed. We will campaign for Labour Party members, branches and CLPs to have the right to discuss any issues they like, without the threat of censure or suspension. We urge branches and CLP to ignore instructions of issues being “not competent business” as unconstitutional. We campaign against the recommendations of the EHRC report, which demands that antisemitism cases are outsourced and which leads to a curtailing of free speech. We will campaign to overturn the party’s commitment to the so-called definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with antisemitism in a number of its examples. Instead, we need a culture of open and free debate on all matters. 


3. Stop the witch-hunt!

We will campaign for all cases of unwarranted suspension and expulsion since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader to be reviewed in an unbiased and democratic manner, with a view to possible reinstatement. We will campaign for the party’s complaints and disciplinary procedures to be radically overhauled so that they are transparent, carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice as set out in common law. This process should be time-limited: charges not resolved within three months should be automatically dropped and an accused member should be given all the evidence submitted against them and be regarded as innocent until proven guilty. 


LIEN Conference


On February 27, we are holding a virtual conference to which all Labour Party members, and excluded members, will be invited and all CLPs will be invited to send motions to.


The Plan for Change and other motions will be discussed and put to the vote. Our aim is to fight for a reformed, truly democratic Labour Party.


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