Statement by Matt Tully, written on Sunday, July 10, after he made himself known to Councillor Warren Morgan, the leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council who alleged there had been “spitting” and “abusive behaviour” at the annual meeting of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party. These allegations partly contributed to the City Party being suspended and the results annulled
To mark the fifth anniversary of the events of July 9 2016, join some of the leading protagonists to discuss the future of the left in Brighton and Hove: 7.30pm on Thursday, July 29, at The Rialto, 11 Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 3FE. Get your tickets now.
Matt Tully — who has made a formal complaint alleging Cllr Morgan has brought the party into disrepute — states:
“I left the Brighthelm Centre, after the ‘Keep Corbyn’ rally, at 3.30pm and walked alone to City College.
“I arrived at City College at about 3.40pm. The caretaker was outside the college building informing dozens of people they could not come in and that the building was at capacity.
“Someone in the street told us to ignore the caretaker and to go in.
“I asked the caretaker how I was going to hear the AGM and how I was going to vote?
“His response was ‘You can’t’; I then said to him I had a right to hear and a right to vote.
“Again, he said I couldn’t. I then walked past him and joined the queue in the foyer.
“As I walked past him, he told me I was breaking the law. To which I replied: ‘Call the police’.
“I was in the building by 3.44pm and probably by 3.42pm. I can confirm this by photos I took on my mobile phone shortly after entering the building.
“I waited in the queue for about 10 minutes. And then I noticed the main doors — which provide the main entrance and/or exit to the building — had been locked.
“I approached the doors from the inside at about 3.50pm. The caretaker was outside the building; both sets of doors were locked to prevent people entering the building. Which obviously prevents people leaving too.
“From the inside, I told the caretaker that it was dangerous to lock the doors and that it was a health and safety risk. He shouted back, through a small gap in the doors — which could not be moved — that now I was in I had to stay in and could not come back out.) He was communicating with someone before this exchange via a communications device.)
“Quite quickly, a security guard appeared — within a minute, I estimate.
“He asked me what the problem was and I explained that locking the main doors to the building was far more dangerous than letting more people in.
“The foyer area wasn’t overcrowded and the queue was more than orderly. He agreed and told the caretaker to open the doors.
“At this point, he also apologised on behalf of the caretaker and said: ‘He gets a bit excitable at times like this’.
“I gave thanks and told the security guard he seemed much more reasonable and suggested it would be a good idea to talk to the event organisers about how to manage the much-bigger-than-anticipated turnout.
“Again, he agreed. At which point, the caretaker shouted: ‘We need to turn the power off and evacuate the building’. To which the security guard again responded to the caretaker: ‘Calm down’.
“I re-joined the queue and people observing said to me: ‘I think you made your point, well done. At this point, there was no mention — or accusation — of spitting.
“I then waited in the queue and was on the stairs — at the bottom of the stairs on the ground floor — shortly afterwards.
“I received a telephone call at 4.09pm and, by this time, I was off the stairs and at the back of the queue on the first floor.
“From now on, I do not have such an accurate record of times.
“I believe the first round of the AGM had started by now. I was in the queue for another 20 minutes.
“As I got near to the front, I saw the security guard and said to him: ‘Sorry about earlier’. I did this because he seemed reasonable and agreed with what I was saying. He ignored me. Which I found odd.
“I then signed in and walked into the hall. Shortly after the chair started talking for the second round of the AGM, the security guard and the caretaker and someone with a Labour Party staff t-shirt on — he later told me his name was Jack — approached me and asked me to leave the room so he could talk to me.
“I refused, because I wanted to listen to the AGM and also because I did not know the reason. The security guard said: ‘You’re going to find out’. And the caretaker just pointed at me and said: ‘That’s him’.
“I asked the caretaker who he worked for and he told me: ‘I work directly for the college’.
“At this point, the Labour Party staff member said I had spat in the face of the caretaker and that they had it on CCTV.
“Both the caretaker and the security guard were still present to witness this accusation.
“I said that was impossible. They again asked me to leave the hall; again, I said I would not. And added if they wanted to discuss, it I would do it quietly in the hall.
“After my second refusal to leave the hall, the two security guards looked at each other — and without saying anything — left the hall and I never saw either of them again.
“The Labour Party staff member then again told me — he did not say they had accused me — that I had spat in the face of the caretaker and it was on CCTV.
“I again told the Labour Party staff member that this was impossible and there would be no CCYV.
“He asked for my name. Which I gave him. He then told me he was going to report me to ‘Harriet’ and I would be kicked out of the Labour Party.
“I asked him why. To which he told me again I had spat in the face of the caretaker.
“From the first moment I spoke to the Labour Party staff member, he was physically shaking uncontrollably and sweating profusely. I found this odd, but I did not say anything — as it might have been natural for him and, if I had said something, it might not have been very nice for him.
“We then did leave the hall for two to three minutes, because people near to us could not hear the speakers very well with us talking.
“Neither the caretaker nor the security guard were outside the hall. I then asked him if he’d seen the CCTV and he said he hadn’t.
“I asked him how he knew I had spat in the face of the caretaker. To which he replied, he didn’t.
“I reminded him that he said I had and that he was going to get me kicked out of the party.
“Very quickly and anxiously, the Labour Party staff member backed down and told me he never said I had done it nor that I was guilty. I agreed that he never said I was guilty. But, when he approached me originally, he did present it as fact — rather than accusation.
“He said sorry and said he didn’t mean it to come across that way. A Labour Party woman now appeared and said she needed the party staff member. I did not recognise her. I re-entered the hall.
“I then listened to all the speakers, during which time the Labour Party staff member did come back into the hall.
“When all the speakers had finished, I started talking to the staff member again.
“He didn’t seem as anxious; he wasn’t shaking so much and it appeared he wasn’t sweating as much.
“I explained what had happened in my two exchanges with the caretaker.
“The Labour Party staff member said he agreed with the caretaker’s claim that the power should have been shut off and that the AGM should have been cancelled.
“I said to him that it seemed safe and everyone seemed calm. I again repeated that the biggest safety issue was when the caretaker locked the main doors — which prevented anyone exiting the building in an emergency.
“He declined to comment on this. He then told me: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if the results of the votes are null and void’.
“I remarked that I knew little about this, but it would seem strange if that happened.
“The staff member repeated: ‘That’s what I think should happen’.
“Then the chair approached us both and asked what we were talking about. I explained what had happened and that I had given all my details to the staff member, but that I myself would be pursuing this and making a complaint about the caretaker.
“Everyone was now voting, but I didn’t have a pen. By the time I found one, the third and final round of the AGM had started and the ballot boxes had been withdrawn.
“I had no choice but to stay for the third round. I was stood on the other side of the hall for this set of speeches — opposite to the door I came in, and never seeing the caretaker or the security guard again.
“But the party staff member did appear again, near to where we had our first interaction or accusation; he acknowledged me with a nod.
“I handed in my ballot papers at the end of the speakers. I left the building by 5.59pm, which is when I called my parents. I was walking down to London Road, but still parallel with City College.”
Statement by Matt Tully, written on Sunday, July 10, after he made himself known to Councillor Warren Morgan, the leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council who alleged there had been “spitting” and “abusive behaviour” at the annual meeting of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party. These allegations partly contributed to the City Party being suspended and the results annulled;
Complaint submitted to Iain McNicol, Labour Party general secretary, by Matt Tully on July 15, alleging Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party has brought the party into disrepute by repeatedly alleging there had been “spitting” and “abusive behaviour” of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party. These allegations partly contributed to the City Party being suspended and the results annulled;
[A reminder of Cllr Morgan’s secret email to “friends”, sent a week before the annual meeting]
Selection of tweets: Nicky Easton, a member of the outgoing executive committee (vice-chair, campaigns) who was defeated at the AGM; she was subsequently re-instated after the results were annulled and the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party suspended by the party’s NEC;
Selection of tweets: Councillor Caroline Penn responded to tweets by her friend Cllr Emma Daniel. Like other councillors who exchanged tweets within 24 hours of the AGM, Cllr Penn did not make a complaint to the newly-elected executive committee;