Louise Regan, CLP Chair for Nottingham East was recently suspended from the Labour Party because of a complaint by one Jewish member who attended a recent Zoom meeting where members debated a motion calling for Jeremy Corbyn’s reinstatement and the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party. It would appear that the complainant objected to the motion being put forward, or even debated, at all.
Reporting to the Jewish Chronicle immediately after leaving the meeting, the complainant, Steve Lapsley, claimed that it was “horrific” and that there was a “hostile” atmosphere at the meeting. He claimed that he tried to raise concerns but that the chair, Louise Regan, did not intervene. He added he had “just left my CLP meeting after a man who abused me in front of witnesses was allowed to say without censure that he had never seen antisemitism in the party.” The Jewish Chronicle further reports that they have had other CLP members contact them to express their distress and then goes on to try and slander Louise by pointing out that both she and her husband support the “pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice For Labour group”, therefore implying bias. They also claim there were allegations that another member of JVL, who was in the Zoom meeting, had blamed Lapsley for the way the meeting had progressed.
The BBC also reported that Lapsley had alleged that about 6 months earlier, another Labour member had told him “we do not want Jews in the party” and that he had felt very triggered at the meeting.
Members of the Nottingham East CLP have subsequently produced a detailed statement, outlining what actually took place at the meeting and have provided a copy of that statement to Spotlight news. The statement includes a note explaining that Lapsley has since changed his story on Twitter saying that a CLP member whom he had accused of anti-Semitic abuse towards him had actually only ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than attacked him personally….
“We are members and delegates of Nottingham East CLP who were present at the meeting on Friday 27th November, held on Zoom. We wish to express our solidarity with our Chair, Louise Regan, who was suspended from the Labour Party within 15 minutes of the end of the meeting. We also wish to correct some misleading statements about the meeting currently circulating on social media – including that of our MP Nadia Whittome.
There were different – strongly held – views expressed on whether we should hear the motion that called for Corbyn’s reinstatement, the lifting of disciplinary measures from others for discussing the issues as well as for the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party. Nevertheless, the meeting was conducted throughout with respect for all speakers – with one notable exception, described below.
All who wished to speak in the debate, both for and against, were given the opportunity to do so – and many did – such that our invited speaker volunteered to return at a future meeting. Several Jewish members gave their perspectives including many in favour. The leader of Nottingham City Council spoke against the motion being heard. Speakers also included our MP – who spoke twice against hearing the motion – despite not being a member of our CLP. At one point there were 58 participants, not all of whom were delegates able to vote. It is a credit to the Chair that the meeting was conducted fairly and respectfully with such a contentious issue. Members were asked to keep themselves muted unless they were called on to speak so that there was no sound interference when people were speaking. It should be noted that all the functions of the Zoom meeting, such as muting, were under the control of the Secretary and not the Chair. There was only one interruption during the meeting. This arose when one member stated that in his personal experience he had never witnessed any anti-Semitism in any of our meetings. As he continued with his personal view, another member shouted out – in a manner that some found to be aggressive – that he himself had suffered personal, anti-Semitic abuse from the person speaking, who was taken aback and stated that this wasn’t true; the Chair intervened and tried to calm things down. At this point the member who had interrupted declared that he no longer felt safe at the meeting and left.
Members were stunned by this exchange, and the ensuing statement from the member saying he did not feel safe, followed by his exit. The atmosphere of the meeting immediately became tense and uncomfortable and many were very upset by it. It should be noted that there had been no anti-Semitic behaviour or language at the meeting. Several members then spoke of their concern for the member who had left and the Chair stated that she had reached out to him to check that he was ok.
When all who wanted to speak had done so, a vote was proposed and seconded and the delegates voted on whether to hear the motion. This was carried overwhelmingly by 22 votes for to 9 against. The meeting then proceeded as per the agenda and on the suspension of standing orders to allow more time. The motion was presented to the meeting, with delegates voting that it should be under the condition of one person being allowed to speak in favour of the motion and one person against. The motion went to a vote and was carried by 23 votes in favour to 10 against.
Additional concerns have arisen by the discovery that someone present was sending out live information – including members’ names – to a journalist known to be hostile to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, who was live tweeting this information.
It has also been noted that the member who left has changed his narrative on social media to stating that the member he accused had ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than had attacked him personally.
All Labour Party meetings should be conducted in a safe environment where all members’ views can be expressed without fear of attack, either within or without the meeting. Louise Regan chaired our meeting in exemplary fashion throughout and we call for her reinstatement, along with all those who are facing disciplinary action for merely discussing issues of democracy and due process within the Party, as expressly affirmed in the EHRC report and in accordance with the Human Rights Act.
Nadia joined others in saying thanks to Matt and Louise for the way they had conducted the meeting.”
There also appears to be more at play here than what the Labour right and their allies in the right wing media would have us all believe. Spotlight has taken the liberty of doing a little independent background research and discovered some rather interesting information about Louise that suggests she might have actually been targeted by the Labour right. Whether Lapsley and his allies within the CLP are willing or unwitting participants in the over eager Labour Party witchhunt campaign that has now been launched against Louise might never be revealed.
So, who is Louise Regan? Louise is a true socialist and has openly declared her support for Jeremy Corbyn. Last August, Louise announced she would be campaigning to stand as the Labour Party candidate for Nottingham East in the upcoming election. In this short campaign video (below) Louise explains that she’s a socialist, an activist and a trade unionist and has campaigned for the party for many years but that it wasn’t until Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party that she “felt a real change in the party”. Louise goes on to explain that she was “absolutely committed to that agenda” and felt inspired enough to want to stand as a candidate because she shared the same values and principles and wanted to support Jeremy and his team. Incidentally, she even takes a quick swipe at Chris Leslie, the former Labour MP for Nottingham East who, along with six other MPs (Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey) quit the party in Feb 2019 in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and in order to set up a new party – ‘The Independent Group’ (later known as Change UK).
Despite the fact that Louise’s campaign had significant local support and was also backed by Unite, ASLEF, Nottingham & District CWU, Nottingham NUM and the BFAWU, Louise was actually blocked from standing as a candidate for Nottingham East. In fact, Skwawkbox reported in October 2019 that the police had been called to a Nottingham East CLP selection meeting as members became angry over Louise being blocked from standing as a candidate despite the fact that she was the local favourite and had been successfully nominated. They add that there were queues of people waiting to get into the meeting and that some members were even being denied access. They explain that NEC member Yasmine Dar, who was chairing the meeting, decided to exclude Louise Regan from the shortlist over an anti-Semitism “smear campaign by local Alliance for Workers’ Liberty members”. The Labour Party Marxists group later reported in an article in January 2020 that local Alliance for Workers’ Liberty members were backing another candidate, Nadia Whittome, who was later elected MP for Nottingham East. They explain that Whittome had served as a national committee member of their pro-‘remain’ front group ‘Another Europe is Possible’ and that she was on the leadership of the their new front organisation, ‘Labour for a Socialist Europe’. Of course the allegations against Regan were never proven and Whittome was selected as candidate for Nottingham East.
As well as supporting Jewish Voice for Labour, another reason why she has been repeatedly smeared and targeted by the right and why, it’s fair to assume that she would be a target for the pro-Israel Zionist lobby might be because Louise Regan is also Vice Chair of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. She’s a very vocal advocate for Palestinian rights and frequently hosts webinars. Here’s a recent webinar hosted by Louise discussing widespread abuse and detention of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, including being dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night, punched, kicked, hit with a helmet or the butt of a rifle and also being psychologically abused during ‘interrogation’. In fact, the webinar describes the process in fairly shocking detail….
In a normal court of law, when you’re accused of something, the defense team gets to challenge the accusations, question witnesses, interrogate the credibility of those witness as well as the integrity of any evidence presented. In a normal court of law, a case based purely on allegations without any supporting evidence is considered hearsay and typically dismissed. It seems the Labour Party don’t care for facts, evidence, credibility of witnesses, motives, agendas or due process (unless of course, they’re the one’s under investigation). In fact, they seem to be more than prepared to go to almost any length to disenfranchise and remove members who refuse to be cowed or conform to their right wing political agenda or who might dare to scrutinise the calibre of who the party chooses to seek out as their political allies.
UPDATE: Statement from Louise Regan, issued 30th November; Evening…