Due process for Jackie Walker!

Submitted by Matthew on 11 May, 2016 - 3:30

Momentum condemns the suspension of Jackie Walker, Vice Chair of our Steering Committee, from the Labour Party on 4 May.

Jackie, a black activist of Jewish heritage and lifelong anti-racist campaigner and trainer, was suspended by the party for alleged antisemitism following an article that appeared in the Jewish Chronicle, which quotes statements she made on Facebook discussing her family history.

We are extremely concerned by the lack of due process in this case, and the failure to apply the principles of natural justice. Journalists were briefed about Jackie's suspension by party staff before she had been informed. Indeed, she is still yet to receive any formal notification of either her suspension, the basis for it, or a timetable for her hearing.

As the suspension was not briefed to the press as without prejudice, it has been interpreted by some as a presumption of guilt before any process has taken place. Momentum calls for the immediate lifting of her suspension and for new rules to be put in place by the party to govern the handling and the press briefing of sensitive disciplinary matters, and for all suspensions to be agreed in advance by NEC members after the person concerned has the right to make representations.

Momentum unambiguously condemns antisemitism and welcomes Jeremy Corbyn's launch of an expert-led inquiry. We hope that this inquiry is the start of a process of investigating how all forms of racism and oppression that exist in society replicate themselves in any way within the Labour Party.

For the labour movement to fight racism and oppression effectively, we need comradely self-criticism, education, and awareness raising of these complex issues. We pledge that Momentum will play a productive role in this process.

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