How should the left respond to the attack on the party’s broad church under the leadership of Keir Starmer? How can we defend Labour Party democracy? What kind of party do we want? Those are the questions under discussion at the ILP’s fringe meeting at this year’s Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Tuesday 10 October.
With Neal Lawson of Compass (left) among the speakers, the meeting will tackle one of the most vital debates in the Labour Party over recent months. Lawson attracted headlines in June when he revealed he had been threatened with expulsion for a two year-old tweet.
In its statement on the controversy, the ILP said: “The ILP was a leading part of the pluralist coalition of individuals and organisations that founded the Labour Party and we have long campaigned for Labour to uphold this claim to be a broad church, to value and welcome the diversity of views that are held within the party, and to create a political culture that allows a variety of views and ideas to be exchanged.
“We have supported the goal of pluralism and tolerance within Labour and criticised Labour leaderships of all political persuasions – from Tony Blair to Jeremy Corbyn – when they have acted in more factional ways.
“While attacks on some of Labour’s so-called hard left members have been common in recent years, the threatened expulsion of Lawson, as with the exclusion of Jamie Driscoll from the north east mayoral contest, goes further even than New Labour’s control freakery. Indeed, it has gone so far that even ‘moderate’ MPs such as John Cruddas are now speaking out, calling the party leadership a ‘right-wing illiberal faction’ hell-bent on a witch-hunt against the slightest expression of dissent.”
Lawson will speak alongside Amen Tesfay of Open Labour and the ILP’s Neil Rhodes, while Mary Stratford will be chair the discussion.
The meeting is at the Hilton Liverpool City Centre on Tuesday 10 October and starts at 7.30pm. Don’t miss it.