Scores of local members challenge Hastings selection ruling

Last month, Labour Hub reported that Deputy Leader of Hastings Council Maya Evans had been omitted from the longlist for the parliamentary selection of Hastings & Rye constituency. Below we publish an open letter to Labour’s National Executive questioning this decision, signed by over 80 members of the local party.

Dear Labour Party NEC,

We are writing to you to raise concerns about the exclusion of multiple strong candidates, including Councillor Maya Evans, from the longlist for the Hastings & Rye Labour Parliamentary selection. We are Labour councillors, cabinet members, activists, trade unionists and ordinary Party members in Hastings and Rye. Some of us support Maya’s candidacy, and some have backed other candidates – but we are united in the belief that the local Labour Party should be afforded its right to make a free and fair judgement on Maya and other candidates, in line with the Labour Party rules on Parliamentary selections.

Maya is a well-liked member of the community, as a councillor and Deputy Leader on Hastings Borough council. A graduate of Labour’s Bernie Grant Leadership programme, she was the first BAME woman to take a senior leadership role on the Hastings council. A former Hastings Armed Forces Champion, she has been a longtime campaigner for veterans’ rights and is well-known for her pro-peace activism, having peacefully campaigned for the rights of victims of war, in the UK and abroad. In 2007, she was awarded the Peter Duffy Award by the human rights group Liberty. This sits in a long Labour tradition of standing up for human rights.

A popular figure locally, holding a senior Council position for Labour, and with a track record of community activism for good causes, Maya fully deserves a chance to compete alongside other excellent candidates in a democratic selection process locally.

It is deeply concerning, therefore, that Maya has apparently been prevented from standing, without any grounds being given or rule breaches cited. Indeed, we note that other strong candidates have been omitted from the longlist. This is a matter of basic party democracy – CLPs should have the right to choose candidates, on the basis of Party rules.

In that regard, we note that the commitment in the procedures that candidates supported by trade union affiliates be automatically longlisted has been disregarded, despite Maya’s backing from Unite and others. Yet no reason has been given for this course of action, nor any evidence presented. Additionally, the local CLP has been entirely cut out of the process, without even having received notification from the NEC.

We therefore ask that Maya Evans be reinstated as a candidate for the longlisting stage, so that Party members may make a democratic decision on our candidate to beat the Tories and represent Hastings & Rye in Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Chowney – West Branch, Former councillor and council leader, Parliamentary candidate 2017 &2019

James Cakebread, Rye Branch, CLP Secretary, Rye Branch Secretary, GC Delegate

Patricia Hartley – West Branch & CLP Membership Secretary, GC Delegate

Alan Mathison – North Branch & Chair of Hastings & Rye CLP, GC Delegate

Rossana Leal – West Branch & BAME Branch, Education Officer, EC & GC Delegate

Professor Jeremy Hicks – Central Branch, CLP Assistant Secretary, GC Delegate

Cllr Judy Rogers – West Branch, Councillor, Election Agent & Cabinet Member

Cllr Simon Willis – West Branch, Councillor for Ore & Cabinet member (Finance & Equalities)

Cllr Andrew Scott Batsford – Central Branch, Cabinet Member on Hastings Council, GC Delegate

Cllr Nicholas Warren – Rye Branch, Chair of Rye Branch & Parish Councillor

Cllr Nigel Sinden, North Branch, Councillor Silverhill,Chair of North Branch, EC & GC Delegate

Cllr Margarita Tracy O’Callaghan, Central Branch, Braybrooke Cllr, Deputy Mayor, Labour Group Secretary

Cllr John Cannan- West Branch, Councillor Wishing Tree Ward

Margaret Scott – West Branch, Chair BAME Branch, GC Delegate

John Wynne -West Branch, Chair West Branch, EC & GC Delegate

Robert Ball – Rye Branch, Rye Branch Secretary, GC Delegate

Jonathan Lee – Rye Branch & UNISON GC and TULO, GC Delegate

Rona Drennan – West Branch, UNISON CLP GC Delegate

John Halstead – East Branch, Unite the Union Branch Secretary, GC Delegate

Paul Jones – North Branch, Group Liaison Officer & UNISON Branch Chair, GC Delegate

Dean Battell – East Branch, RMT Rep Hastings & Tonbridge

Annette Angell – West Branch, West Branch Secretary, GC Delegate

William Doherty – Rye Branch, GC Delegate

Terri Dowling – West Branch, ex- Councillor

Andrew Battley – West Branch, ex- Hastings councillor and group secretary

Antonia Berelson – North Branch, ex- Councillor

Rick Dillon – West Branch, ex- Communications officer, GC Delegate

Holly Wright – North Branch, ex-CLP Secretary

Natasha Scott – West Branch, ex LGBTQ officer

Louise Carlyle – West Branch, none at present but many in my past 50 year membership.

Shiva Serati-Khiabani – Castle Ward & BAME Branch

Omowonuola Opanike – Central Branch & BAME Branch

Pal Luthra – Rye Branch & BAME Branch

Kenan Hakko – North Branch & BAME Branch

Dr Michael Huggett – Central Branch

Dr Rebecca Marshall – Central Branch

Sandie Macdermott – Central Branch

Lee Stephen Ray – West Branch

Wendy Billingsley – Central Branch

Rosanna Lowe – West Branch

Joseph Kelly – North Branch

Andrew Grainger – West Branch

Christopher Hogan – North Branch

Helen Suret – Rye Branch

Peter Suret – Rye Branch

Mr P Fairless – North Branch

Joseph Packer – West Branch

Dr Josh Brem-Wilson – West Branch

Veronica Prebble – Central Branch

Sean Sawyer – West Branch

Peter Oldfield – West Branch

Sarah Harris – West Branch

Ian Stewart – Central Branch

Mike Southon – Central Branch

Evelyne Joubert – Central Branch

Josie Demuth – Central Branch

Leon Mende – North Branch

Colin Booth – West Branch

Gary John Brooks – North Branch

Rachel Holtom – West Branch

Elise Heywood – Central Branch

Dr Judith Clark – Central Branch

Penny Precious – Central Branch

Judith Dewsbery – Central Branch

Tara Reddy – West Branch

John Paul Franczak – West Branch

Gabriel Pepper – West Branch

Anna Sabin – West Branch

Marion Nicholson – North Branch

Dr Hugh Nicholson BM FIBMS FBMA – North Branch

Aran MacDermott – Central Branch

Jane Caley – West Branch

Gill Knight – Central Branch

Robin Holtom – West Branch

Edward Samson Bacon – West Branch

Pauline Bacon – West Branch

Julian Jarlett – North Branch

Ian Sier – East Branch

Marylyn Edwards – Central Branch

Emma Pegg – West Branch

Sandra Francis – West branch

This is an open letter from Hastings & Rye CLP members. Currently 82 people have signed: more are signing every day.

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