A constituency Labour party (CLP) delegate has been refused entry to the Labour conference today, but was denied a reason on grounds of “national security”.
Jody Scott, the delegate from Hull North, arrived at the conference services desk with his birth certificate, but was told his identity could not be verified because he did not have photo ID, despite having uploaded his photograph during registration.
Scott told Novara Media that having waited in the foyer for over ten minutes, he returned to the desk to be told by a Labour staff member that he was being refused entry. When Scott questioned the decision, he was taken to a back room by an officer from Greater Manchester police, who told him his application was only received two days ago. Scott says he sent in his information over a month ago.
The officer then told Scott he had failed a background check. When he asked why, Scott alleges the officer replied: “I can’t reveal that because of national security.”
“If I [had] any criminal convictions I’d admit to it, but I don’t,” Scott told Novara. “What have I done to warrant not being allowed into the Labour party conference?”
When asked how he thinks his CLP will react, Scott said: “I’m bewildered and I think they’ll be bewildered. It’s all strange, really strange.”
Scott, who works for the minimum wage and has voted for Jeremy Corbyn twice, told Novara Media he has had to “bend over backwards” to get to his first Labour party conference by borrowing money to travel to the conference venue in Liverpool.
Hull has been at the centre of a dramatic left shift in the Labour grassroots, despite all three Hull MPs opposing Corbyn’s leadership. Earlier this summer, when the Hull North MP Diane Johnson resigned as shadow foreign and commonwealth minister to join Corbyn’s critics in the parliamentary Labour party, some CLP activists were said to be “furious” and weighing up whether to take a vote of no confidence in her.
Pat Smith, secretary of Hull North CLP for the last six years, told Novara Media he had approved Scott’s delegate registration. “The thing about national security is nonsense,” he said. “This is to stop left-wing delegates from voting at conference.”
Smith said he is of the opinion someone in the Labour party could have told security not to let Scott in. “I’ve spoken to everyone at every level,” he said, adding “the fact no one is willing to do anything about it” is suspicious.
Scott said his first reaction to being barred from the conference was to head back to Hull, but he will now stay in Liverpool in the hope of attending some fringe events despite being “very disappointed” that his constituency will now be unrepresented.
The Labour conference services team was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.