Christine Shawcroft, a long-standing left-wing member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, has been suspended from the party and faces disciplinary action in connection with the removal of Lutfur Rahman as Tower Hamlets mayor.
Shawcroft, who is a former leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour group, is accused of supporting Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First organisation against the Labour Party. She denies this.
In any case, the suspension is yet another example of the arbitrary and undemocratic nature of decision-making in the Labour Party. As Ken Livingstone, also an NEC member and also publicly sympathetic to Rahman, points out, he is facing no disciplinary action. The difference with Shawcroft is they think they can get away with it.
Moreover, there is a long history of Labour right-wingers supporting candidates standing against Labour left-wingers and remaining untouched.
Richard Mawrey, the election judge who removed Rahman from office, devoted a chunk of his report to pointing out how disgracefully the ex-mayor had been treated by the Labour Party machine when they removed him as the Labour candidate.
From the viewpoint not of Labour Party disciplinary procedure but class-struggle socialism, Shawcroft is an apologist for Rahman’s right-wing politics.
Like many on the left, she ludicrously talks up his record (in this case comparing him to Sylvia Pankhurst and George Lansbury), ignores the communalist nature of Tower Hamlets First and falsely presents the electoral judgement against him as a ruling-class, racist conspiracy.
Nonetheless in removing Shawcroft, the Labour leadership want to remove a prominent and popular left-winger from future NEC elections, as well as cracking down on sympathy for Rahman.
Shawcroft should be reinstated.