Mick Coats calls for Labour Party investigation

Date published: 22 October 2015

It is over six years since Rochdale Labour Party suspended two and expelled five of its members. In the light of the recent actions, comments and newspaper articles by Rochdale's MP Simon Danczuk, we feel that it is the appropriate time to speak out on events then and now.

In September 2009 seven members of Rochdale Labour Party (RLP) were brought before the Labour Party National Constitutional Committee (NCC) to be disciplined for breaking party rules. The seven longstanding active members were asked to attend a hearing at the Broadfield Hotel.

The main charge against all but one member was that they wrote a letter to the Rochdale Observer asking for the Party to investigate a domestic incident in Spain between Simon Danczuk and his then girlfriend Karen Burke. The matter was exposed in two angry emails sent by Karen Burke's brother, Steven.

The North West Region of the Labour Party presented the case even though Simon Danczuk was the subject of the incident, which members asked to be properly investigated. At the time Simon Danczuk was on the ruling body of the North West Regional Labour Party.

The investigation was reported on by Rochdale Online, who had access to the emails and other information from the hearing.

A national newspaper (Mail on Sunday) has since published details of the holiday incident.

The NCC concluded that one member, Maureen Nicholl, with over 60 years membership of the party (joining at the age of 16), should be suspended for two years. The offence under rule 2A.8 was:

No member of the party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NCC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NCC is grossly detrimental to the party.

Charge No. 1
That she signed a letter sent to The Rochdale Observer and subsequently printed on 17 January 2009, which undermines both the Rochdale candidate and the campaign.

Charge No. 2
Actions from charge 1 have damaged the CLP (Rochdale Constituency Labour Party) and the campaign work for the next general election.

These were also the main charges brought against the other members.

The letter was a calm response to an attack on Rochdale Labour Party made by Mr Danczuk in a newspaper article printed in the Rochdale Observer on 3 January 2009.

The last sentence of the letter sent by the members who were suspended or expelled reads:

"It is only fair to all parties, the public, Rochdale Labour Party and Mr Danczuk, that these allegations are cleared up."

Is the Labour Party now going to investigate these events, particularly with respect to the recent actions of the current Labour MP, Simon Danczuk?

Mick Coats

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