Belfast Telegraph

Labour Party NI rejects allegations from senior resigning members

Members of Labour Party NI have hit back at allegations levelled at them by departing members.

On Monday eight members of the Northern Irish Labour Party - including its chair, vice chair and secretary of committee - quit after alleging that there were members within the party who held affiliation with other political groups.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, former chair Karen Johnston said that there was a "dysfunctional element" within the party and that administrators of the People Before Profit Facebook page were also Labour Party NI members, something barred under its rules.

The incoming interim party chair Boyd Black has said that the newly elected executive committee of the party reject the allegations, and claimed that "grassroots party activists" had taken issue with some of the activities of the previous Executive Committee.

Mr Black was elected to his position on a temporary basis at the same meeting last night in which the former committee members resigned.

In a statement, he referred to the meeting as "harmonious and productive" and said that the Northern Irish branch of the Labour Party "aims to provide a much needed cross-community socialist alternative to the dead-end politics of sectarian conflict".

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme, Mr Black said: "That’s the thing about the Labour Party of Northern Ireland, we’ve now got 3,000 members from all backgrounds, all religions, all political tendencies.

"And yes we have people who over the past 40 years, given that the Labour Party doesn’t allow them to be normal Labour Party members and fight as the Labour Party in elections, people have been driven into all sorts of hard-left groups and single-issue groups." 

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