OULC to disaffiliate from Labour Students


Oxford University Labour Club has voted to disaffiliate from Labour Students, the body which formally links student clubs to the national party.

The decision comes as controversial elections begin, with many university Labour clubs, including Oxford Brookes, unable to vote.

Speaking to Cherwell, OULC co-chairs Owen Winter and Rosie Sourbut blamed the disaffiliation of Labour clubs across the country on incompetence by Labour Students’ national committee.

The speaker in favour of disaffiliation pointed to the disenfranchisement of all but one student Labour club in the North. Only one Scottish club will be represented at this weekend’s national conference.

The speaker described Labour Students as “irredeemable” and called for members to “burn it to the ground and salt the earth on which it stood”. She concluded her speech with the statement: “Nah, fuck this.”

No-one spoke against the motion, and the club voted unanimously not to renew affiliation after this year’s membership lapses in January.

OULC’s decision to disaffiliate takes place just days before elections are due to begin. Student Labour clubs in Dundee and Glasgow have called for the Labour Party to declare the results invalid.

Labour Students’ national committee have been accused of gerrymandering elections by using arcane rules to disaffiliate rival clubs. One-third of university Labour clubs have been disaffiliated since last year.

Zainab Mohammed, who is running for National Chair on the left-wing slate, told Cherwell: “Guidelines sent to clubs have been vague, confusing, and infrequent.

“The deadlines for affiliation, standing for election and delegation to conference were not made clear, so many longstanding clubs find themselves without a vote in these elections.

“A lot of these clubs messaged national committee about these issues, but they chose not to respond to the messages. The national committee were also sent out reminders before the deadline – that didn’t happen either.

“There is a clear pattern here – clubs voting for the left slate have been systematically barred. Many would be forgiven for thinking this is not a coincidence.

“Labour Students’ reputation has never been worse in the labour movement.”

A statement by Glasgow University Labour Club states: “We do not beleive it is a coincidence that while the [national committee] chased up the affiliation of some members, only clubs who supported the Labour Students Left slate in Scotland were uncontacted.”

OULC’s co-chairs told Cherwell: “We would like to extend our solidarity to Labour clubs – especially those in the North of England and Scotland, as well as Oxford Brookes Labour – which were disaffiliated this year after a lack of communication from the National Organisation of Labour Students.

“We hope that in future we will re-affiliate to Labour Students and we will have the opportunity to review tonight’s decision in Trinity term. This will not affect our participation in this year’s Labour Students elections or conference. We remain fully committed to the Labour Party as a whole as well as the Oxford and District Labour Party.”

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