The following letter has been sent to The Guardian following an article dated 10/08/16 (see link below).
In the penultimate paragraph it states “Of the Labour MPs who had been backed by Militant, Wall died in 1990, Fields was expelled from the party in 1991 and Nellist was deselected, eventually losing his seat in the 1992 election where he stood under the banner of Independent Labour.”
With increased interest in socialist ideas, we believe it is important that the events are reported correctly and factually.
An article on 10 August 2016 states that Dave Nellist former Coventry Labour MP was ‘deselected’
If you are to write a potted history of Militant, could you please get it right.
Dave Nellist was not deselected. He was expelled by Neil Kinnock and Labour’s national executive committee (NEC).
In fact, under the system of that time of re-selection of MP’s every parliamentary term, Dave was re-selected by his constituency Labour Party – Coventry South East – by a huge majority.
He was not removed by local Labour Party members, but by the national ‘machine’.
The NEC moved to expel Dave at the Labour conference of 1991, completed the job at a shoddy hearing in West Bromwich at the end of 1991, and sought to impose a candidate on us. We in Coventry South East Labour Party would not accept losing our popular MP who lived ‘on a workers wage’.
Such was Dave’s support that our Labour Party continued to support Dave even after he was expelled and as a consequence the constituency (that had built a record high membership) was undemocratically closed down by the Kinnock supporting NEC and was later to have over 125 members expelled for their resistance.
As a postscript, can I say that ourselves and Dave Nellist were very happy to accept the regular re-selection of MP’s. It was to ensure that they did not become a separate caste from the broader Party and more closely pursued the policies of the Labour Party, something few MP’s at the time did.
Given the outrageous behaviour of many Labour MP’s over recent months, that democratic accountability seems to me to be something that would have been, and will be, very helpful to Labour members.
Yours, David Griffiths, former member of Coventry South East Labour Party management committee