Bitter infighting in the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI) has taken a new twist as it emerged senior party figures are not allowed to meet — even informally — during a national probe into the row.
An investigation into alleged misconduct is under way after eight members of the executive committee quit amid claims of “irreconcilable differences”.
Those who stood down included chairperson Anna McAleavy, vice chair Damien Harris and secretary Kathryn Johnston after clashes with a small minority of members who they say have joined the party since the election of leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Ms Johnston said yesterday: “We can’t have any meetings and as far as I’m aware that includes informal get-togethers.”
She added: “I’m hopeful that this can and will be resolved in the best interests of Labour Party NI, but I do feel that there must be an investigation into recent events.”
However, party member Gerard Gallagher criticised Ms Johnston for airing grievances to the media.
“The problem is rather than deal with the issue within the party, or informing members and the central party, you opted to go to the Press first,” he wrote on Facebook.
Ms Johnston replied: “I can understand your concerns... what we need to do for the time being is to keep the interests of LPNI paramount, act with dignity and with the interests of our members at the front of our minds.”
Labour’s head of internal governance Claire-Frances Fuller has written to members announcing a probe into “all allegations and complaints made”.
She said several members who resigned “made serious allegations of breaches to Labour Party rules”.