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Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt
LABOUR’S left has declared a fightback against factional attacks from the party’s right in a series of rallies as the annual conference kicks off in Brighton today.
At Labour’s Grassroots “breakkie on the beach” event, Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett urged delegates to reject David Evans as party secretary with a chant of “Evans Evans Evans, Out Out Out!”
Mr Evans, a key ally of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, have been accused of leading a “McCarthite purge” of socialists from the party.
Mr Beckett told the Morning Star that the current leadership are just “objectionalists to the left, which is coming forward with a consistent vision” to rebuild public services and tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
The former Unite leadership candidate, who helped launch the Labour Left 4 Socialism campaign group last weekend, urged left-wingers to be optimistic and fight for their place in their party.
At the same event, former Labour MP Laura Pidcock said it is the left that is outward-looking and taking the fight to the Tories, while Sir Keir team is trying to force through rules changes at conference which would take power away from ordinary members.
“I know conditions for left members in the party have been incredibly hostile, [but] please stay strong, get organised [and] let’s reject these rules.”
Speaking to the Star ahead of the meeting, organiser Crispin Flintoff said this year’s conference is the important in his lifetime, warning the grassroots will “wither and die” if it does not stand its ground.
At Defend the Left’s rally, where speakers said they wanted no place in a “Starmerite party,” attendees heard of many party members who been suspended without notice in the run-up to conference this week.
South Thanet Labour Party chairman Graham Bash, who is also under threat of expulsion, said many more would be forced out if “we are silent and there is no visible resistance.”
Addressing Labour for a Green New Deal’s demo, Labour’s Leeds East MP Richard Burgon congratulated the campaign group for getting its motion to conference, after it was initially ruled “out of order” by the party’s bureacracy.
On top of a fire engine, supplied by the Fire Brigades’ Union which is backing the motion, Mr Burgon said climate change is the “biggest failure of free market capitalism,” and only socialist solutions could keep humanity safe.
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