The Co-chair of LGBT+ Labour has taken a step back from his duties, citing a “toxic culture” on the group’s committee. In a letter outlining his decision, Matthew Lloyd tilts at a “small group” on the executive committee, naming Parliamentary Liaison Officer Joe Vinson, who “frustrate and sabotage” LGBT+ Labour’s work. Matthew makes a number of allegations against the clique, including a “violent threat” sent by text and a “drunken abusive intimidating incident that happened at conference 2022”. He also accuses this nefarious cohort of playing a game of “truth or dare… as a form of bullying”. Shocking.
Of course, co-conspirators won’t be surprised to see handbags, nor allegations of abuse, emerging from Labour’s resident drama queens – especially considering what we already know about the group. In 2021 they argued for Rosie Duffield to have the Labour whip withdrawn, whilst the MP herself has accused them of peddling “absolute rubbish” about her. The confused group can’t even seem to pick a side to self-identify with – they’ve also singled out Suzy Eddie Izzard.
Co-conspirators can read Matthew’s letter in full below:
“I am going to be taking a step back from some of my duties as co-chair of LGBT+ Labour until the national executive decides what to do going forward. My job has become impossible as a small group of people on the national executive have attempted to frustrate and sabotage all the work we have been doing this year.
Joe Vinson has also sent the core officers emails informing us that as per the job description that he drafted as national secretary last year, no one in LGBT+ Labour is allowed to speak to, have meetings with or accept calls from any elected politicians without him present as the parliamentary liaison officer even though he is not a core officer who are constitutionally bound to run everyday activities for the society.
The parliamentary liaison officer is a new post and the way it has been framed means it now clashes with the constitutional duties of other officers. Therefore there is no way that our work can continue working with LGBT+ PLP, local leaders and councillors among others.
The same small clique on committee has also fostered and contributed to a bullying and abusive culture developed against core officers, other national executive members and volunteers. It has been reported to us from Labour Party staffers that the small clique has been leaking to Labour Party staff and have said ‘‘they need the national executive to fail this year’. I am no longer prepared to attempt to continue all the good work we have been doing under these circumstances until the national executive has taken action.
Separately, I will submit several complaints with evidence of these incidents including one of the clique texting me a violent threat, others playing truth or dare during the pride parade as a form of bullying those leading the parade for Labour at Manchester pride and a drunken abusive intimidating incident that happened at conference 2022, which the party has said it is unable to take action on. The national executive needs to take action on this and not allow the small clique responsible to simply derail any attempts to hold them to account and to ensure we have a thriving and safe environment for all volunteers in LGBT+ Labour.
Sadly none of this is new. It has happened a lot over the last two years before this committee with most national officers who are trans resigning as a result and has led to a dysfunction at the heart of LGBT+ Labour that has been hard to stabilise since.
It has been one of the hardest years for LGBT+ Labour. At times we have come close to the association tearing itself apart as we have attempted to walk a fine line between the majority of the membership who believes we should be more forthright in our campaigning for trans rights and those who believe that even a campaign for a transphobia definition goes too far.
Yet we have achieved many wins despite this. LGBT+ Labour has never been this active, has never had such a large and engaged membership as it does today, has never had the infrastructure we have built in parliament, with external stakeholders, internal stakeholders, the three priority campaigns, the NPF canvassing campaign, national campaign sessions and a volunteer base with the next generation of people who had been disengaged before this year. Incidentally, all these things were fought tooth and nail against by the small clique on committee who swore that it would not be possible and it would lead to the ruin of LGBT+ Labour.
We have been in crisis mode for a lot of the start of 2023. The plan was to have a committee meeting in March 2023. We didn’t manage to hold this as we were hit by waves of attacks by both anti-lgbt+ groups, pro-lgbt+ groups and the efforts to sabotage everything we did by a small clique on the national executive. As a result, a number of core officers, volunteers and other officers were off due to mental health difficulties contributed directly by the actions of a small clique on committee.
Amongst this a couple of things were missed. We should have prioritised a national committee meeting sooner. At that meeting we should have had a clear vote on the NPF document and the strategy. Although, I note that I have served a long time on LGBT+ Labour alongside others on the committee and submitting an NPF document based on previous years AGM motions and handling communications amongst the core officers as the constitution sets out is entirely within precedent.
It is clear that a rewriting of history is now happening from the small clique. The fact is the national executive were not consulted on the decision to trigger Apsana Begum and did not endorse a local poll of members on the subject. There was a fallout with some of our patrons as a result of this decision, which the new core officers had to clear up after taking post in July 2022. Our job has been made so much harder with both dealing with these legacy issues and the attempts by the clique to frustrate any positive work carried out.
We have not been perfect. We have made decisions under crippling pressure and whilst being the target of toxic bullying, intimidation and violent threats. None of the core officers want to be MPs. None of us are doing this so we can be MPs. We only stepped forward to defend LGBTQ+ rights in the party and create an active society again where all were welcomed rather than a small clique.
I take responsibility for the decisions made and defend them, but I am unable to fulfil all my duties at the moment whilst this continues. No one should have to.