19 May 2009

Letter to the NEC

Dear NEC Chair,

We are writing to you to register our protest at the conduct of many Labour MPs, ministers and cabinet ministers in allowance and expense claims funded by hard working British taxpayers during the tenure of this Parliament. We are also gravely concerned that the Party Leadership has failed to take charge of a critical situation on an issue so fundamentally defining to the character and reputation of our Party, its supporters and activists.

We are particularly disappointed with a number of aspects of the leadership's response

* The continued reference by Labour spokespeople to the 'system' being wrong and
'needing reform'. Undoubtedly this is the case. But the 'system' does not force Labour
Ministers and MPs to make specific claims that abuse public trust and in some cases are
an abuse of public money. Making an expense claim is a matter of individual
responsibility. Our Party has been left looking incredibly insensitive and out of touch with
hard-working and fair minded citizens.

* The Prime Minister, and the collective leadership of the Labour Party, have been
negligent in protecting the reputation of the party by failing to speedily apologise for our
MPs, by failing to take immediate and clear disciplinary action, and by regularly appearing
to side with Ministers and MPs who have made excessive and exaggerated claims in the
face of justifiable public anger.

* Many of the claims are for things that, in all conscience, 99% of Labour Party members
outside of Parliament would never be able to bring themselves to claim, even if a 'system'
allowed them to.

Therefore, we ask that the NEC:

* Organise a thorough review of suspected excessive and abusive claims - regardless
of whether they were eventually signed off by an over-worked Fees Office.

* Support the immediate removal of the whip from individual MPs who have brought
the party into disrepute over this issue and allow CLPs to trigger reselection ballots
against them.

We write this in a spirit of solidarity and heartfelt concern for the reputation of the Party that
we will continue to work hard for. We are a group of leading loyal activists from across the
breadth of the Labour Party, who will not hesitate to defend the future of our Labour
movement, which should always stand for fairness, compassion and integrity, no matter how
inconvenient living by these values may be.

In solidarity,

Cllr. Richard Bingley
(Former Labour Party Press Officer)
Fred Grindrod
(National Policy Forum and Former Parliamentary Candidate)
Beryl Milnes
(Former Chair of Hemel Hempstead CLP)
Tom Flynn
(Labour Parliamentary Candidate)
Please note that all signatories are supportive in a personal capacity only
Cllr. Allan Davies
(Labour Parliamentary Candidate)
Ffinlo Costain
(Former Parliamentary Candidate)
Cllr. Sarah Bogle
(Councillor, Southampton City Council & Former Parliamentary Candidate)
Funda Pepperell
(Labour Parliamentary Candidate)
Malcolm Clark
(Branch Secretary, Streatham CLP)
Cllr. Brian Norgate
(Councillor, Eastleigh Borough Council)
Andy Wilson
(Former President, Southampton University Labour Students)
Gavin Shuker
(Executive Member, Luton South CLP)
Michelle Savage
(National Policy Forum and Vice Chair of East of England Regional Board )
Cllr. Shiria Khatun
(Former Labour Press Adviser and Tower Hamlets Councillor)
Peter Cooper
(Southampton Labour Party Activist)
Renu Marley
(Executive Committee - Birmingham Ladywood CLP)
Cllr Warwick Payne
(Councillor, Southampton City Council)
Omar Ismail
(East of England Regional Board)
John Noon
(Vice Chair, Southampton Itchen CLP)
Cllr Richard Rackham
(Councillor, Basildon District Council and former CLP chair)
Jane Edbrooke
(Labour Parliamentary Candidate)
Helal Uddin Abbas
(Former leader of Tower Hamlets Council)
Please note that all signatories are supportive in a personal capacity only
Heather Corless
(Former councillor and campaign co-ordinator, Southampton Labour Party)
Cllr Richard Williams
(Leader of Labour Group, Southampton City Council)
Stuart Webb
(Former Secretary and Treasurer, Southampton Labour Party)
Cllr Simon Letts
(Councillor, Southampton City Council)
Cllr Mike Le-Surf
(Councillor, Brentwood Borough Council)
Conor McGinn
(Vice Chair, Labour Party Irish Society & Labour Action Team Leader, Mildmay ward,
Jonathan Slater
(Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Aldershot)
Jonathan Cox
(Battersea Labour Party Activist)
Zeev Portner
(Parliamentary Staff)
Alex Hilton
(Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Chelsea & Fulham)

Please note that all signatories are supportive in a personal capacity only

If you wish to sign it then simply send indicate your support to necletter@hotmail.co.uk 

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