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Wallasey Labour Party group suspended over bullying complaints

Angela Eagle Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Wallasey MP Angela Eagle welcomed the investigation into bullying and intimidation

The Wallasey Constituency Labour Party group (CLP) has been suspended following complaints of bullying and intimidation.

The Labour Party has launched an investigation into the allegations in former Labour leadership contender Angela Eagle's constituency.

The Wallasey MP said "bullying, intimidation, misogyny and homophobia have no place in the Labour Party".

Kathy Runswick, chair of the CLP, said she was "astonished" at the suspension.

A North West Labour spokesman said: "Any complaints of bullying or intimidation and allegations of misconduct are always taken very seriously."

Wallasey CLP's vice chair, Paul Davies, who denies any intimidation took place, said no allegations had been put to the local party.

'Not surprised'

All Labour Party constituency and branch meetings across the country are currently suspended while the leadership contest takes place but other CLPs are still able to meet in certain exempt situations.

In the case of Wallasey, however, the group cannot meet under any circumstances until the internal investigation into bullying is finished.

Image caption Wallasey CLP's vice chair, Paul Davies, denies any intimidation took place at the meeting last month

Ms Eagle, who pulled out of Labour's leadership race on Tuesday, said "it is right" that the party investigates.

"I hope that the issues can be resolved, and that we can have an active, inclusive and effective local Labour Party that can tackle the real problems faced in our local community", she said.

It is believed that complaints about an annual general meeting last month were what prompted the suspension.

Mr Davies said he was "not surprised" at the suspension because "I think that Labour at the moment, or some of the officials, are trying to shut down all democracy in the party."

"We had the temerity to say that we did not really favour a challenge to [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn so they shut us down."

'Unprecedented'

He said the only indication the CLP had been suspended was the secretary finding she was unable to log into her Labour account on Wednesday morning.

Ms Eagle has faced unrest among some of the Wallasey CLP since she indicated that she might challenge Mr Corbyn.

A window was smashed at the constituency office building last week after she announced her intention to run.

Three other CLPs have been suspended from meeting in all circumstances, in Gorton, Brighton and Hove and South Shields.

The head of politics at the University of Liverpool, Stuart Wilks-Heeg, said the situation was highly unusual.

"It really is exceptionally rare that a political party has to suspend local parties.

"To have four local parties completely suspended simultaneously, and also to have a generalised suspension in CLPs meeting, really is unprecedented and unheard of."

The decision to suspend the party will not affect the rights of individual members to vote in the leadership election.

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