Solidarity with Gypsy, Roma Traveller Communities

Camden Momentum Motion passed unanimously on 19th April 2021


Proposer: Paul Renny


Camden Momentum stands in solidarity with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. We oppose the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the draconian measures targeting GRT communities within it.

Camden Momentum condemns the racist Labour campaign leaflet produced and distributed by Warrington North Labour Party earlier this month.

We call on those responsible for authorising production and distribution of the leaflet to be suspended.

We demand that

  • Labour MP for Warrington North and Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Charlotte Nicholls should stand down
  • Sir Keir Starmer should
    • make a full, public apology to the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Community,
    • take appropriate disciplinary action against all involved and
    • offer to meet GRT representatives urgently to address this.
  • Camden Momentum demands that the Labour Party takes all forms of racism seriously, including racism towards GRT communities. We must take steps to challenge and actively root out anti-Gypsy Roma Traveller racism.

Actions: Send the motion to

  • the Leader Of The Opposition office
  • Keir Starmer, MP of Holborn & St Pancras
  • Tulip Siddique, MP of Hamstead & Kilburn
  • Momentum HQ
  • Labour Black Socialists (LBS)
  • GRT Socialists (formally GRT Labour)

We demand that the Labour Party takes all forms of racism seriously, including racism towards Gypsy Roma Traveller communities. We must take steps to challenge and actively root out anti-Gypsy Roma Traveller racism.

Camden Momentum

Background to the motion

Labour Party Leaflet with promise of "dealing with Traveller incursions".
Labour Party Leaflet: “dealing with Traveller incursions”.

This Labour Party campaign leaflet, with anti-traveller messaging, was being delivered to Warrington residents by the MP Charlotte Nicholls (Shadow Women and Equalities Minister) along with Labour party members. ‘GRT Labour’ has since changed its name to ‘GRT Socialists’ and rebranded. The MP involved and photographed with the racist leaflets, Charlotte Nicholls sent out an apology with an accompanying explanation that she did not know the meaning of the word “incursion“. To date Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party has not made a statement of apology for this and has sanctioned neither the MP photographed distributing the racist leaflet nor the people responsible for approving its distribution.


In the press …

Cheshire Labour MP apologises for ‘hurt caused’ by language in campaign leaflet

The campaign leaflet was being delivered to Warrington residents by the MP along with Labour party members

By Olivia Williams, 2 APR 2021

Ms Nichols posted a number of photos on Twitter last night including one of the campaign leaflet titled ‘Delivering for you in tough times’ in which it mentions that the Labour party was ‘dealing with Traveller incursions’.

The leaflet sparked outrage on social media, with hundreds condemning the language.

Writer, Beth McColl tweeted: “This is so grim and I hope you read people’s distress and exhaustion in the replies and reconsider your glee.

“Travellers need your sensitivity and support now more than ever. A group of people are not a nuisance to be eradicated.”

Natalie Alana Ashton added: “I’ve got some issues and concerns with the way you’re talking about Traveller communities!”

Elvis Parsley tweeted: “Cannot tell you how upset I am to see ‘Traveller incursions’ on this leaflet when the government is ramping up plans for violent discriminatory police actions against Travellers.

“Travellers are not invaders and this kind of language cosigns discrimination and violence against them.

“It really hurts to see this. Cannot imagine how f* terrified it makes Travellers living there feel. You should be ashamed.”

After receiving hundreds of responses, the shadow women and equalities minister said she had not been aware of the ‘problematic’ definition of the term ‘incursion’, which means a sudden invasion or attack.

Posting a statement on Twitter, Ms Nichols said: “Hey, thanks for your message- I genuinely wasn’t aware of the meaning of ‘incursion’ or its negative connotation until this morning.

“I’ve flagged it with the Labour Group so we can sort new materials, and sincerely apologise for the hurt caused.”

Source: CheshireLive Cheshire & Cheshire News
2 April 2021
Read article in full here: Cheshire Labour MP apologises for 'hurt caused' by language in campaign leaflet

Calls for Labour expulsions over anti-Traveller election leaflets

12 April 2021

Councillor admits designing leaflets but denies approving racist messaging

Prominent GRT Labour members are demanding the expulsion of those responsible for a racist leaflet distributed in Warrington before Easter.

The leaflet outlined nine campaign pledges, which placed “dealing with traveller incursions” alongside “tackling anti-social behaviour” and “continued action on fly-tipping”.

It was designed by a Warrington councillor, whose marketing business has contributed to Labour election campaigns across the country for years.

Jennings’ business has previously made campaign videos for Luke Akehurst’s 2018 NEC election bid, Charlotte Nichols MP’s 2019 re-election bid, and it has received endorsements from the likes of Labour First’s national organiser Matt Pound.

At present there is no evidence to suggest leaflets containing the offensive anti-Traveller pledge were distributed in any other ward. That being the case, Jennings’ statement will cast a shadow over Labour’s three candidates for Orford, and their implied role in deciding the leaflet’s messaging.

One of the letter’s recipients was Luke Smith, a prominent Romany Labour activist and the founder of @LabourGRT, which spotted the leaflet on 1 April. The following day, the group changed its name on Twitter to @GRTSocialists.

Regarding the change, Smith reflected: “How can I look people from my community in the eye and tell them to vote Labour whilst they are handing out leaflets like this?”

“We need these people expelled immediately. They have to be expelled now”

Luke Smith, referring to these findings.
Source: Paddy Elliot
12 April 2021
Read article in full here

By camdenmomentum

Camden Momentum covers two CLPs - Holborn & St Pancras and Hampstead & Kilburn

3 comments

  1. Racism of any kind to anyone individually or collectively is unacceptable in the United kingdom society that prides itself of champion of the Human rights convention and on a mission to civilize other nations!

    Like

    1. Racism of any kind to anyone individually or collectively is unacceptable in the United kingdom society that prides itself of champion of the Human rights convention and on a mission to civilize other nations!

      Like

    2. Racism of any kind to anyone individually or collectively is unacceptable in the United kingdom society that prides itself of champion of the Human rights convention and on a mission to civilize other nations!

      Like

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