It seems an age ago now – so much has happened in the interim – that, at the end of May, Alastair Campbell was expelled from the Labour Party for voting Lib Dem in the EU elections. On 30 May, as there was no mention of this in her May Newsletter, I wrote to our local MP Catherine West asking if she agreed with this decision. I received an acknowledgement of receipt but no reply. So, on 4th June, I wrote again.
The next day she replied: “I certainly heard from a lot of longstanding Labour supporters who, like Alistair, were very unhappy with Labour’s position on Brexit and felt they couldn’t support it.” No mention of whether she agreed with her party’s decision to expel Alastair Campbell.
I replied thanking her but pointed out that she had not answered my question and continued: "I wonder if you could let me know if you agree with Jeremy Corbyn’s expelling of Alastair Campbell from the Labour Party. I appreciate that you are busy and so a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will be fine. Looking forward to clarification.”
By way of reply I received the following: -
"Thanks for your email. I covered this issue extensively on the Westminster Hour last Sunday which can be accessed on the BBC radio 4 website."
I listened to the programme. The presenter asked our MP if the Labour leadership should reconsider its decision to have Alistair Campbell 'kicked out.' Catherine West made reference to his writing articles for the Guardian. (?) When pressed by the presenter (who, like me, obviously did not see the relevance of this to her question) with: "Do you think it was the right decision?” she said:
"I think being that public and having people round to your house and lots of journalists it’s a bit me, me, me. That’s how it feels as somebody who works elections really hard.”
I have no idea what this means. (If you do, please explain.) This reply obviously requires the skill of a codebreaker at Bletchley Park to divine its meaning. Still unclear on her position I wrote to her on 12 June explaining that I had no idea what her reply meant and politely asked, given that her time was tight, for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.
I did not receive an acknowledgement of receipt on this occasion. This suggested to me that my email had been blocked. I wrote from another email address on 17 June and received an automated acknowledgement of receipt. But no reply.
I wrote again but did not receive an acknowledgement of receipt which suggested that this email address had also been blocked.
Now, given that Catherine West is our local Labour MP and Alastair Campbell was the press secretary of the longest running Labour administration in living memory I don't think it unreasonable to seek an opinion on the decision to expel him.
This is not the first time that Catherine West has failed to respond in a clearcut manner to the expulsion of a member of the Labour Party. Gideon Bull, a Haringey Councillor, was suspended from the Labour Party after he opposed cuts to vulnerable adult services in 2016. At that time I wrote to her to ask if she agreed with the suspension. Failing to get a meaningful response after six (!) emails I gave up.
Had I asked about her views on overturning the results of the Referendum I think the reply I received would have been unequivocal. I suppose there are some questions that are just too difficult to answer. I wonder if any other local residents have had the same experience as me?
Joys of Electorate voting for Parties and Not someone that may have more interest in the Borough they are well paid to represent
From my Dealing with Councillors. I believe there is same issue
As Party Meeting are more important than Party Meetings