South Shields Labour Party suspended until July

South Shields Constituency Labour Party is to have its suspension from operating under the party banner extended.

Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 7:52 am
Labour Party HQ, Ede House Westoe Road

The South Shields branch has been in limbo and under investigation since March, after allegations of a bullying culture within the group were made.

The suspension had been due to be lifted this month but a inquiry by the Labour Party found there had been a deep separation within the local party, which had contributed to a culture of bullying.

A report says this was still a problem and the suspension is to be extended until July.

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A letter shown to the Gazette, says the review of the local party had received 47 written submissions, as well as additional evidence while 18 members were invited to interview or phone interview.

It went on to say the Regional Officer had invested “significant time and effort” into supporting the CLP and “have done their best” to implement a list of actions agreed by the National Executive Committee.

Despite this, it says, the circumstances which led to the CLP’s suspension “have not significantly improved.”

The letter also said the review had received evidence of “important CLP business being conducted by stakeholders, without the knowledge of Regional Office, or the rest of the Stakeholder Group.”

The review into the branch also found more serious allegations of misconduct and it is expected further individual investigations will be carried out.

One Labour source, who wished not to be named, said: “This whole suspension is ridiculous and it is hampering our role as councillors.

“The South Shields Labour party has never had an issue like this before. This needs to be sorted and quickly before it really starts to have an impact on the local party.”

A Labour North spokesperson said: “South Shields CLP remains under an administrative suspension. We will not be providing a running commentary during this period of suspension.”

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck was unavailable for comment on the matter.