Penarth Woodcraft Folk Hustings organiser John Rogan (left) confers with Labour candidate Stephen Doughty before the start of the organisation’s April General Election Hustings public meeting in Penarth . Doughty’s party has banned Mr Rogan from voting in the Labour leadership election
A leading Penarth public figure – and Labour Party supporter – has been denied the right to vote in the forthcoming Labour Leadership Election despite supporting the party and having correctly gone through the registration formalities.
He’s John Rogan who runs Penarth Woodcraft Folk – a stringently non-political educational movement for children and young people, which aims to develop “self-confidence and activity in society, with the aim of building a world based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation”.( It was Mr Rogan and his team who organised the impartial, successful and innovative General Election Hustings public meeting in All Saints Church Hall in April .)
The four Labour leadership contenders. Labour is trying to prevent “£3 registrants ” who support Jeremy Corbyn (2nd from left) from voting in the election. Mr Rogan has not stated his preferences.
At the beginning of this month Mr Rogan had applied to become a “Registered Supporter” of Labour and paid the £3 fee to register for the right to vote in the leadership election. He says he had thought it was “a good way to start in possibly getting more involved the Party and seemed quick and easy to do”
Reports then emerged on social media that Mr Rogan had received an email from the Labour Party banning him from voting.
Mr Rogan has now confirmed that this is indeed the case The Labour Party email told him that he was being excluded from voting because he did “not support the aims and values of the Labour Party” or he was was a “supporter of an organisation opposed to the Labour Party” – this despite the fact that Mr Rogan had refused a request from Green Party General Election candidate Anthony Slaughter to put up a placard to support him in the May General Election Campaign – explaining that he thought it was important for Labour to get as many votes and seats as possible.
Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman has said 3,000 “cheats” have been barred from voting – including 1,900 alleged Green party sympathisers. She says it’s not funny or clever “for people from other parties to cheat their way into our system”
Mr Rogan says “ The Labour Party have, effectively, called me a liar. Not only that, they have not given me any reason(s) for this accusation. If they had offered any “evidence” then, at least, they should have put to me so that I could answer it. Instead, someone, somewhere has pronounced me “guilty” of being a “cheat” and an “infiltrator”. … And they’ve kept my £3″
Stephen Doughty at the election hustings
In the wake of his rejection Mr Rogan has been trying to think of any reason why the Labour Party would turn him down.
He wonders whether it might have anything to do with a question he asked Labour candidate Stephen Doughty in the hustings about the apparent contradiction between some Welsh Labour councils’ employing people on zero-hours contracts – and Labour’s commitment to outlawing them in its manifesto.
Mr Rogan has now formally written to the Labour Party lodging a Subject Access Request (SAR) under the Data Protection Act asking for full details of whatever information the party has on him – particularly regarding his “political opinions”.
Mr Rogan says “There is an incipient civil war going on in Labour at the moment where concepts such as “innocent until proven guilty” and “natural justice” have been forgotten while the leadership carry out their “purge”. I still think that there are people within Labour who could provide a good, competent alternative to the present government. – Unfortunately, it’s difficult for me to see who they are at the moment.”
Although nominally Penarth Woodcraft Folk is part of the Co-operative Movement it is totally non-political.