Marxist Bulletin Home Page

Letter to the NEC from expelled members of the Vauxhall CSLP

12 April 1997

Dear NEC comrades,

This letter is from the comrades in Vauxhall who have been expelled from the SLP for defending Barry Biddulph’s membership at the farcical ‘reconstitution’ of the Vauxhall CSLP which took place on Monday 7th April.

The Vauxhall comrades received a letter from NEC member Terry Dunn saying that we were all no longer members of the SLP and that the Vauxhall CSLP would be ‘reconstituted’ with only those comrades who agreed to the following three questions:

  1. Do you agree to abide by the Constitution of the SLP?
  2. Do you agree to abide by the aims and objectives of the SLP?
  3. Do you agree to abide by the decisions made on behalf of the Party and its Constitution by the NEC which was elected by conference on the 1st May 96?

We have no problem with agreeing to questions 1 and 2. Indeed our CSLP has always acted in accordance with the constitution and policies of the SLP.

However we are not prepared to agree to the NEC's demand for a blanket agreement with question 3. We agree that in the general course of events we abide by the decisions of the NEC however we reserve the right to oppose, and argue within the SLP against, any decisions of the NEC which violate the norms of working class democracy – such as the undemocratic ‘voiding’ of members and branches with no right of appeal or even any evidence being presented.

Comrades at the Monday 7th April meeting refused to accept Barry Biddulph’s ‘voiding’ and were informed by Terry Dunn that we were no longer members. This is a disgraceful violation of members’ democratic rights in the party. The Vauxhall branch will continue to meet and support the candidate selected by the branch, Ian Driver .

The Vauxhall CSLP has yet to receive a reply to any of the letters sent by the branch and Barry Biddulph to the NEC (including the requested personal letter to Scargill). We have never received even the slightest piece of evidence regarding the NEC’s claims against comrade Biddulph and the supposed breaches of the constitution by the CSLP.

At the meeting, in response to a question about the undemocratic procedure used to void comrade Barry Biddulph, Terry Dunn said that any member who was expelled or otherwise removed from membership would have the right of appeal. The members of the Vauxhall CSLP who have had their membership terminated therefore request that right to an appeal be applied to our cases and we await instruction by the NEC regarding the details of the procedure for our appeals.

We note that Terry Dunn argued that this right of appeal did not extend to any member, such as comrade Biddulph, who the NEC claim has falsified their membership form. Comrades have the right to appeal against the NEC's decision and be able to put their side of the case. We therefore demand that the NEC provide comrade Biddulph, and all other comrades similarly ‘voided’, with access to the appeals procedure.

We also note that the only comrades out of the over 40 strong Vauxhall CSLP who were prepared to accept the NEC's demand for the political equivalent of a blank cheque are Adrian and Rod. These two comrades openly support the journal Economic and Philosophical Scientific Review which among other things is rabidly homophobic and counterposed to the programme and policies of the SLP. These two comrades have done virtually no work for the SLP and were excluded from the branch as a result of their constant disruptions of meetings.

The Vauxhall CSLP is one of the biggest and more active CSLPs in London and we are standing the only candidate in South West London, which has a population of more than 1.5 million. We are trying to build the party in some of the biggest Afro-Caribbean and Latino communities. We want to be able to continue this work and we ask you to reverse all the undemocratic measures taken against us.


The expelled members of the Vauxhall CSLP