Labour’s Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt is planning to take her case to the High Court after being deselected as South Thanet’s parliamentary candidate by the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
Dr Gordon-Nesbitt was selected by party members in April but in December the NEC refused to endorse the former art curator saying she could potentially have brought the party into disrepute based on tweets made from a Centre for Cultural Change Twitter account.
Accusations were made by ‘political’ blog Guido Fawkes that tweets from the account, used by Dr Gordon-Nesbitt as well as other academics, were anti-Semitic.
Dr Gordon-Nesbitt says she occasionally contributed to the account, which was closed after the accusations last year, but had endorsements to say neither she or the tweets were antisemitic.
Yesterday (January 22) the Organisation Committee of the NEC refused to revisit the decision, saying it is final.
The decision has caused disruption in the party with members in South Thanet and East Kent demanding the NEC review the case.
The decision not to do so could now mean the Thanet member taking court action against a section of her own political party.
Dr Gordon-Nesbitt said: “I was all set to walk away before Christmas, but I’ve been amazed and inspired by the response of Labour Party members and supporters in South Thanet and beyond. After eight months of great teamwork, the verdict of the local party seems to be that they still want me as their candidate.”
“This seems to be an example of the party’s executive ignoring the will of the members and denying one of its democratically elected parliamentary candidates the right to a fair hearing.”
The case may now be taken to a High Court with lawyer Michael Mansfield QC representing the South Thanet hopeful.
Mr Mansfield was previously involved in the cases for the Birmingham Six, Bloody Sunday, Hillsborough, McLibel and Grenfell.
Dr Gordon Nesbitt: “The last thing I want to do is go to court, but we have to make the Labour Party more accountable to its members and this seems to be the only way of doing it.”
She added that the action is not an attack on the Party’s leadership.
A funding campaign to cover the cost of preparing the legal case beat its target of £3,800 and now stands at £4,299.
The appeal will now be extended.