3 Nov

More shenanigans in Sir Robin’s personal fiefdom – East Ham constituency Labour party. And another email to Stephen Timms from unhappy members.

We are writing to you in relation to the recent election of the Chair of East Ham CLP … in our capacities as GC delegates, local branch chairs and Councillors. We are concerned that through a combination of undue influence from our local Mayor Sir Robin Wales, illegitimate nominations and a lack of transparency by some members managing and organising the AGM election i.e. Newham Campaign Organiser Carl Morris and Cllr Forhad Hussain from West Ham CLP, an unfair election process for the position of Chair has taken place.

The story starts back in August, when Boleyn councillor Obaid Khan applied to join the Fabian Society. He received an email back from Giles Wright, the national membership secretary, telling him

The Newham Fabian branch is no longer active but there is a flourishing branch based in Tower Hamlets.

So it was a surprise to find only a month later, at the East Ham AGM, that the defunct Newham branch of  the Fabian Society had nominated someone for chair. The lucky man was Femi Alese, chair of Newham’s Local Campaign Forum. Mr Alese was not a member of East Ham’s general committee and this was his only nomination. Unlike the other two candidates, not a single local ward party had put him forward. 

But a lack of member support wasn’t going to get in the way of Sir Robin having his place man elected. The outgoing chair, former councillor Paul Brickell, ruled the nomination valid and voting went ahead.

As the email to Stephen Timms continues: 

the AGM was … attended by a very large number of (unconfirmed) GC delegates, totalling 60 people who voted in the CLP election. Many of these people were unfamiliar to the active local membership. Many of whom clearly (and some of whom informally told us) that they were there at the behest of Sir Robin who was in attendance and very present with his associates Cllr Unmesh Desai, Cllr Ken Clark, Cllr Richard Crawford, Cllr Lester Hudson at the front door of the meeting. Given the context and his reputation, some could consider this ‘badgering’ voters.

Femi Alese … appears to have been ‘parachuted’ into the role by Sir Robin et al. Carl Morris and Cllr Forhad Hussain distributed the voting slips amongst GC and non-GC members. Sir Robin’s associates planned it in such a way that they sat close to the GC members to … see who they were voting for and then tell them who to vote for. This conduct, in the context gives the impression to many members that Sir Robin unduly influenced the meeting and it was not in effect a secret ballot. 

Angry members have also written individually to the CLP secretary, Mariam Dawood, asking for minutes of the meeting and a list of those who attended, with details of who they were representing. Unsurprisingly, these requests have so far been rebuffed.

There are calls for an investigation and for the election to be re-run. I doubt these will meet with any greater success.


3 Responses to “Parachutes”

  1. terry ball November 3, 2015 at 19:47 #

    must be a trigger ballot on its way, co op next then .

  2. Felix Stowe December 1, 2015 at 02:49 #

    Femi Alese has since gone on to show that sometimes good things can come from a dark source. He is very, very talented – ask Mr Khan.

  3. Mick Sullivan February 10, 2016 at 13:49 #

    All very curious.

    The Fabian Society’s own rules state that:

    “8. Local affiliation to the Labour Partyi. A new local society must obtain the agreement of the executive committee on the Constituency Labour Party/Parties to which it may wish to affiliate.

    ii. No local society may affiliate to any Constituency Labour Party for a period of six months from the date of its recognition”.…/Rules-of-the-Fabian-Society-Nov-2015.pdf

    The local contact for Newham Fabians is given as: Details from Unmesh Desai,

    I’m sure he can ‘explain’ how Obaid Khan was told in August that “The Newham Fabian branch is no longer active” but less than six months later it sends a number of delegates to the East Ham CLP AGM?

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