Correspondence with Jennie Formby, and others regarding the outcome of my "Hearing". as is the usual practice no acknowledgment or reply was obtained. 

From: Peter Gates <peter.gates3@btopenworld.com>
Sent: 25 July 2018 10:54
To: Darren Williams <darren.s.williams@hotmail.co.uk>; jennie_formby@labour.org.uk; Claudia.webbe@gmail.com; chakrabartis@parliament.uk
Cc: Martin Lee <mlee@martin-lee.co.uk>; Keir Chewings <kchewings@me.com>; Cheryl Pidgeon <cheryl.pidgeon@gmail.com>; marcgibson@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Peter Gates - membership no. A751876

Comrades,

  • (Martin Lee is my solicitor;
  • Cllr Keir Chewings is Chair of Rushcliffe CLP;
  • Marc Gibson is Chair of West Bridgford Branch LP;
  • Cheryl Pidgeon is the PPC for Rushcliffe.
  • Cheryl is the person who will suffer most from the backlash)

I want to thank Darren for passing these communications (below) onto me. I am presuming the email from Jennie was written by Jane Shaw. I just point out she only appears concerned about finality rather than the breaking of Party rules by the NCC and arguably I suspect had this been held in a court of law the NEC Presenter and the NEC witnesses would now be guilty of perverting the course of justice and contempt of court.

I know you are all concerned about the disciplinary procedures in the Party. I believe however that we all appreciate the dysfunctionality of the NCC as currently configured, and its use in damaging Jeremy’s leadership of the party. I think that really goes without saying. When even Margaret Hodge complains and takes legal advice, something serious must be wrong. I guess though as just one single member of the party I am expendable as the mendacious and malcontented wreak their revenge for Jeremy’s two elections. 

My interest in pursuing this route was not in any way to accept the legitimacy of the NCC process, but rather to avoid exposing at this stage very difficult issues relating to the NCC and to offer a face-saving solution. Such matters are best dealt with quietly amongst comrades and avoiding damaging publicity.

However, there are deeply serious issues here in my case – for example:

  • The NEC Presenter relying on forged evidence;
  • The NCC upholding charges for which no supporting evidence was produced or sought;
  • The NCC choosing to ignore substantial documentary evidence rebutting all the NEC witness allegations ;
  • The NCC interfering with witnesses contrary to Labour Party rules;
  • The NCC ignoring demonstrable lies told by NEC witnesses;
  • The East Midlands Regional Office misleading (maybe even lying to) the Disputes Panel in January 2017;
  • The East Midlands Regional Office interfering in a legitimate disciplinary investigation by the CLP;
  • The East Midlands Regional Office breaching every aspect of the NEC Guidance on undertaking investigations;
  • The Party breaching the DPA in withholding information from a SAR;
  • The NCC Panel Chair intimidating witnesses;
  • The NCC discriminating against women witnesses.

All this points to a very clear case of subterfuge and conspiracy to me – and something that really needs to be looked in to. Yet as I am sure you are all aware, this is going on all over the country as the NCC gives the impression of striving to undermine the leadership and bring the Party into disrepute. To be fair to them, they are doing an excellent job in the background clearing out committed socialists. However: 

  • I am concerned that I have complained to the General Secretary three times in the past 16 months about the impropriety in my SAR and not even received an acknowledgment.
  • Two women members in Rushcliffe have complained to the General Secretary about gender discrimination by the NCC and have not even received an acknowledgement.
  • I complained to the Secretary of the NCC invoking stage 1 of the bullying and harassment procedure and been further harassed and not had my complaint treated with propriety.
  • I have raised these issues with the Chair of the Disputes Panel and not even received an acknowledgement.
  • I gather from Party members across the country that this is now standard procedure by the Party.

Comrades, this really is no way to run a professional political organisation. If the Party is willing to turn a blind eye to such corruption, it is questionable whether it deserves to be in government, and certainly whether it deserves my support – which I have given for 25 years. I have been unflinching in my support for the Party - especially over the past two years; my actions and behaviour have been totally beyond reproach. Yet I get treated by the NCC as something unpleasant on the sole of your shoe. I have tried and tried for two years to allow the Party to move on constructively and believe I have the moral right - and arguably a legal right  –  to be reinstated. I have been advised by a number of sources, including several lawyers, to pursue legal action against the Party. I will not do that – not only because I cannot afford to, but in the tradition of Groucho Marx, I would not want to be associated with a Party against which I was forced to take legal action.

I ought to point out I have the full support of my CLP and Branch, who want me immediately reinstated. 

I am requesting that we draw a line under this and the NEC reinstates me forthwith and we all move on. This seems to be the only way to avoid damaging repercussions for the Party once the extent of the subterfuge becomes more public. 

I look forward to a reply. With a possible critical election looming we can’t afford to allow the opposition to weaken and divide the Party. 

Solidarity, 

 Peter


Dear Jennie

I have been contacted by Dr Peter Gates, from Rushcliffe CLP, who had his NCC hearing on 18 June. The outcome of the hearing, as you may be aware, is that he has been excluded from the party for two years and he has been told that he cannot apply to rejoin the party until 11 June 2020. Dr Gates had, however, been subject to administrative suspension for more than two years before the hearing - i.e. from 11 March 2016.

I recall that, when Ken Livingstone had his own NCC hearing last year, the penalty was a two-year suspension but this was lifted after a year, on the basis that Ken had already been suspended for two years before the hearing. While I appreciate that Dr Gates' is penalty is technically 'exclusion' rather than 'suspension', the practical difference is surely minimal; while nominally a member, he has been prevented from playing any meaningful role in the party for more than two years.

Would you please therefore look into this case and consider whether Dr Gates' readmission to the party could be brought forward to take account of the penalty to which he has already, in effect, been subject? It seems unfair and inconsistent that 'time served' can count towards the agreed 'sentence' in one case but not in another.

As a more general point: I was glad to hear you confirm at the recent Organisation Committee meeting that the forthcoming review of the party's Disciplinary Procedures will include the operation of the NCC; this apparent variation in the application of penalties strikes me as an area that needs to be examined in this context.

I am copying in Jane Shaw, as Secretary to the NCC and Claudia Webbe, as Chair of the Disputes Panel.

Best wishes

Darren.


From: Jennie Formby <jennie_formby@labour.org.uk>
Sent: 18 July 2018 09:22
To: Darren Williams
Cc: Claudia Webbe ; Jane Shaw
Subject: Peter Gates - membership no. A751876

Dear Darren,

Thank you for your email regarding Peter Gates; following advice from Jane Shaw I would advise as follows:

Firstly, chapter ch1.IX.2.C of the Party’s Rule Book is clear that decisions of the NCC in determining such disciplinary matters brought before it and imposing such disciplinary measures as it sees fit, shall be final.  Therefore neither I nor the NEC can review a-its decisions.  I am assured though that the NCC makes every effort to decide sanctions which are proportional for the charge(s) found proved and takes into account the length of time that respondents have been suspended for prior to a hearing.

Secondly, the charges and evidence presented in the Gates case were of course completely different to those presented in the Livingstone case, the only similarity between the cases being that both respondents had been suspended for some time before the hearings took place. Also the difference in the sanctions applied in each case is more than minimal. Ken Livingstone remained a member of the Party until his recent resignation, but Peter Gates’ membership is now cancelled and while he can apply to re-join after  11 June 2020, his application will be subject to the usual considerations and right of rejection.

The sanction decided in the Gates case seems to indicate that the NCC panel that heard the case felt the charges proved sufficiently serious to not just apply a period of suspension limiting Peter Gates’ involvement in the party activities (as the NEC did in Livingstone) but that they warranted Peter Gates being removed from membership for two years.  It could also perhaps be speculated that because Peter Gates had been previously administratively suspended for 2 years the Panel felt that that he should only be removed for membership for a defined period, rather than expelled indefinitely.

Kind regards,

Jennie

Jennie Formby

General Secretary