Why I have made the decision to leave the Labour Party on International Women's Day 2022
Up until today, I was a Labour Party Councillor and an elected member of the party’s new National Women’s Committee. I decided to choose today to resign from the party.
I have been prevented from speaking about Women’s Rights, from raising concerns about serial abuse of the still quite new women's democratic processes within the party, from reporting at the national level the patterns of bullying that women members have asked for my help with and as if that wasn’t all bad enough, I have actually been subjected to bullying by the party itself as a result of trying to speak out and to fulfil my role.
The solutions to the conflicts that exist within some areas of Women’s and Trans Rights won’t be resolved by the closing down of one side of that discussion. However, right across the Labour Party, women are being forced into silence and forced to give way - only one viewpoint is allowed and it isn’t the viewpoint of women who are fighting to retain our rights. Any woman who tries to push back against that or to argue for a space for respectful debate is attacked with impunity.
We live within a political system where only one of two main parties can ever realistically win a General Election. That makes the successful political erasure of women who have legitimate concerns within one of those two political parties even more sobering. If it can be done to women - and the experiences of women all over the world now show that it can - it can be done to any group at any time. It is dangerous.
That is why I am choosing to leave the party today, on International Women's Day and to speak out publicly. I have gone as far as the repressive regime within the party will allow me to. I might have got further if others who share my concerns, who are fully aware of the bullying women routinely face within the party, had felt able to speak up a bit louder alongside me within national level meetings, but they are successfully intimidated into silence or near-silence within that context.
I have also experienced sabotage and mistreatment at the local level as a Councillor within my role as Leader’s Champion for Poverty and Inequality. I am a socialist who actively pushes against the grain, so that is par for the course and expected but what is happening to women within the Labour Party is a national scandal. There is an urgent need for a grown up conversation about how to facilitate respectful, evidence-based, balanced debate and that should be coming from the party leadership team, who also should in my view give their new Women’s Committee some actual oversight and decision-making power and start funding it properly.
I have written to David Evans and Anneliese Dodds MP about the bullying women are experiencing, about the inadequacy of the complaints system in protecting women and about the weaponisation of the disciplinary system, in some cases by men, against women who speak out. Anything considered too much trouble simply doesn't get answered and women who refuse to be silenced are considered far too much trouble.
As an Independent Councillor I support the Resist Movement’s Manifesto https://resistmovement.org.uk which is fantastic. I will continue to fight for women and as a socialist in whatever ways I can.