What they are not telling you as members of LPUK

On the 19th May 2011, an ‘emergency’ meeting was called to appoint new members of the NCC and it was to be conducted in a clear open and transparent manner. It was also to be supervised by ‘impartial’ members of the Party acting as observers. Sounds great.

Except it was anything of the sort, this was a fairly unsophisticated attempt to put a thin veneer of respectability on a crude coup based on smears.

One of the officers being proposed was not actually a member of the Libertarian Party, and neither was one of the impartial observers. Yet gamely they ploughed on proposing each other as officers of the party without a shred of legitimacy or even pretending that any of the proceedings were in line with the constitution.

Everything had the blessing of the Electoral Commission it was stated. One member of the NCC actually asked direct questions as to the legitimacy of the observers and of the proceedings only to be fobbed off .

Ken Ferguson who was still under a motion to remove him as Communications Director for breaches of the Data Protection Act was acting as ringmaster and allowed to vote. Ferguson rushed the ‘good news’ of the new appointments online, before the minutes were even drafted, congratulations all round (despite nobody being willing to accept the poisoned chalice of being treasurer)

Except just one fly in the ointment, a call from the Electoral Commission allegedly saying that due to poor Parliamentary dafting (??) the registered officers remained the same, and unless the transfer of officers was in line with the procedures of PPERA, the Act that governs registered political parties, the ‘new NCC‘ would be rejected by the Electoral Commission. And they were.

The small group around Ferguson, who now sees himself as leader in waiting, have been a little shy of announcing this gaffe that they discovered for themselves after having been repeatedly told that they were acting unconstitutionally on the 20th May. So currently the LPUK is a ghost ship, with various proposals to rip up the constitution and turn it into everything from an internet party to a committee led workers collective that will certainly ensure its rapid demise.

Various requests to turn the donation button back on and put moderation on the site to prevent further defamation and harassment were met by a blank refusal by the ‘communications’ director.

The truth is that the NCC announced by Ferguson had no validity has been known since the 20th May.  The open and transparent ‘new leadership’ has decided not to make this public.

With no income and memberships flowing into the new unauthorised account, which is not declared as an accounting unit to the Electoral Commission, the insolvency situation has become even worse.

Faced with a blank refusal by Ferguson to stay within the constitution, together with electoral and civil law, and in line with Ferguson’s proposed ‘new constitution’ that suggests that registered officers will have no power, but are simply there to carry the can personally for breaches of of those laws, coupled with the suggestion that the party does not need more than £200 a year just to run his website, the Nominations Officer yesterday decided to call it a day and do the decent thing, and publish a public apology.

Except of course there was no way that this was ever going to be published on the LPUK website whilst under the control of the ‘Communications Director’, whose sole aim appears to be only to communicate what is acceptable to him and censor the rest.

The membership lists were handed over yesterday to the remaining registered officers and the following apology was made by Simon Fawthrop.

An Apology To Andrew Withers, the NCC, Membership and Supporters.

I want to make an apology to Andrew Withers, he is and always has been Party Leader as recognised by the EC and relevant legislation and the Party Constitution and I had no right to try to elect a new Leader and Treasurer.  I also wish to apologise to the NCC and the wider membership and supporters for misleading you all about the position of Party Leader and Treasurer, I was wrong and it was not in my power to seek to fill those positions that I thought were vacant.

It was my misunderstanding that Andrew had resigned as Party Leader and that we needed to appoint a new Leader and Treasurer to be compliant with the relevant legislation. I now know that Andrew had not resigned and, furthermore, cannot resign. This means that Andrew is and always has been Party Leader and, with the resignation of John Watson, Treasurer.

As such the NCC meeting that I convened to find replacements for Treasurer and Leader was against the letter of the Constitution and means those NCC elections are not and have never been valid.

Obviously having been so wrong I cannot continue in any capacity within the Party and I have informed Andrew that I am resigning with immediate effect as Data Officer and Membership Secretary. Furthermore, I will step down as Nominations Officer as soon as a replacement is found. I am sure there are many members willing to take on those vital roles.

Once again, I apologise to Andrew and those I have misled and I wish you all well for the future.

Regards,
Simon

This is great shame as Simon has been a consistent and effective membership secretary for over two years, yet again another officer forced out by a small cabal who maintain that they are for openness, transparency and the continuance of the Libertarian Party, but act in exactly the opposite manner.  This situation has been known to them for nearly two weeks.

The South West Branch has organised a meeting of its members on the 18th June to try an map out a proposed future for the party, the Scottish branch are doing the same in July.

Clearly things cannot go on as they are, the insolvency caused by the deliberate cutting off of funds needs to be urgently addressed or the party de registered. If it is to continue it may need to be restructured into a federal model. Clearly the ‘internet party’ has to cease.

What is  certain is that the SGM to change the constitution called for 18th June 2011 has no validity constitutionally and would not be recognised by the Electoral Commission.

As the existing registered officers have only a short term intention to stay in office to either attend to funeral arrangements or to seek a more viable model for the lpuk to exist, within its constitution and comply with electoral law, the future of LPUK still remains uncertain.

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About IanPJ

Ian Parker-Joseph, former Leader of the Libertarian Party UK, who currently heads PDPS Internet Hosting and the Personal Deed Poll Services company, has been an IT industry professional for over 20 years, providing Business Consulting, Programme and Project Management, specialising in the recovery of Projects that have failed in a process driven world. Ian’s experience is not limited to the UK, and he has successfully delivered projects in the Middle East, Africa, US, Russia, Poland, France and Germany. Working within different cultures, Ian has occupied high profile roles within multi-nationals such as Nortel and Cable & Wireless. These experiences have given Ian an excellent insight into world events, and the way that they can shape our own national future. His extensive overseas experiences have made him all too aware of how the UK interacts with its near neighbours, its place in the Commonwealth, and how our nation fits into the wider world. He is determined to rebuild many of the friendships and commercial relationships with other nations that have been sadly neglected over the years, and would like to see greater energy and food security in these countries, for the benefit of all. Ian is a vocal advocate of small government, individual freedom, low taxation and a minimum of regulation. Ian believes deeply and passionately in freedom and independence in all areas of life, and is now bringing his professional experiences to bear in the world of politics.
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5 Responses to What they are not telling you as members of LPUK

  1. Henry North says:

    I see there is still trouble down t’mill

  2. Lord T says:

    People without authority moving funds to a different bank account and bringing about a bankruptsy. Must be something illegal there. At least enough to get a few dabs anyway.

  3. Tim Carpenter says:

    Ian,

    I am going to address the specific content of your post but also use this opportunity to clarify a few things and intentions in this area.

    The Emergency NCC meeting of 19th May 2011, as called by Simon Fawthrop.

    Section 8.6 of the Constitution states that the NCC shall appoint new officers if vacancies occur and 8.7 states that the NCC shall meet as determined by the actions of the Committee. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that only the Leader or Chairman can call an NCC.

    Readers need to know that previously Andrew Withers, Nic Coome and John Watson had not only resigned from the Party, not only filed their resignation papers – incorrectly [1] – to the Electoral Commission, but had tried to dissolve the Party without seeking the consent of either the NCC or, more importantly, the Membership [2]. The Party had no Leader, no Chairman and no Treasurer. Those three mentioned would not have been recognised as remaining in their posts in the eyes of the Electoral Commission either had the Electoral Commission not upheld their own procedures in requiring a replacement be signed over to them [3].

    One has to ask the question what else could or should the NCC do in such a situation? It had a duty to the Membership to keep the Party afloat as best it could until the Membership are consulted. To expect it to lie dormant, not to meet, not to keep functioning, not to focus on reverting to the Membership, but await the Party registration to lapse is unreasonable and, in fact absurd.

    I had been approached in the past by individuals to stand as Leader. I had refused. Only when Simon Fawthrop contacted me with the above situation and the pressing need to have the Emergency Meeting, did I consent to stand. I did so only on the strictest provisos that it was temporary, only to comply with any Legislation or Party Constitutional needs and that a Special General Meeting be called immediately. At that meeting all posts filled at that Emergency Meeting shall be subject to an election by the Membership, with postal voting arranged to enable as many as possible to participate.
    This was duly agreed at the Emergency Meeting, which was quorate, btw.

    Human error resulted in far too many members not receiving the email invite to the SGM, so once I knew of this, my view is that the SGM needs to be rescheduled to comply with the Constitution.

    If there have been ambitions to rewrite the Constitution at the SGM, then it is not in the agenda and I would not support it being there simply for the basic logical reason that that is not the purpose of the SGM and regardless, not enough time exists nor discussion could have taken place by that time.

    FYI I contacted the Electoral Commission myself and asked their advice, which was to hold the SGM, gain a mandate from the membership for new officers and then present this back to the Commission in light of outgoing officers refusing to sign and their attempt to dissolve.

    There has been some intermittent conflation of EC and NCC in your post, also, Ian. While some individuals are nominally registered as holding a post, they have resigned from the Party. That inconsistency needs to be addressed.

    The assertion that Simon Fawthrop had stepped back from this due to some plot of Ken Ferguson is unfounded, as is the, frankly, hyperbolic language about plots, ringmasters, coups and cabals.

    The implication that Simon Fawthrop had somehow frozen bank accounts is also untrue. There is only one person who is able to do that and that is Andrew Withers. IIRC Andrew himself suggested to Simon he open a new account to enable funds to keep flowing. It is grossly inaccurate and most unfair to try and paint the actions of Simon Fawthrop in a negative light in regards to this. His actions have been conducted in the most scrupulous sincerity.

    Therefore, Ian, you appear to have been grossly misinformed and it upsets me to think that someone I have worked with for a number of years has been so taken advantage of in this way. I do not hold you responsible for that.

    If the LPUK is a ghost ship it is not by the actions of myself, Simon Fawthrop or others working to keep the Party functioning and to open up debate on how to fix things.

    There are no done deals as far as I am concerned. If someone wants to be Leader they have to damn well stand for the role and fight for the members’ votes.

    I, like many, have been thinking about how to improve things and have been talking with others I know and trust about ways forward. Those ideas will be published shortly and discussed alongside the other ideas presented. I prefer an evolutionary approach and only taking steps when we are fit to do so, but to not hide what those future steps should be. We are not Fabians, after all.

    So, we have had way too much speculation, accusation, presumption, threats, obstruction, harsh language and other guff, to be honest and, boys and girls it has to end.

    What we need to do now is move forward, allow the full membership to vote for new officers, whoever they may be, rebuild our Party reputation, refactor our operations and look outward at the true enemies we face.

    Tim Carpenter
    Policy Director
    Libertarian Party

    [1] in that it was not compliant with legislation, which required the signing over to a replacement. The term “illegally” is being bandied about rather too much in this state of affairs, IMHO.

    [2] If there was a need to inform the membership directly, I am sure Simon Fawthrop would have been happy to arrange for all those members with an email address to be sent the message.

    [3] Clearly the EC rules presume that parties are either one-personality vehicles or one of the long established parties where leaders who are ousted or step down do so graciously. The EC are aware and seek to resolve this gap in their operations.

    • IanPJ says:

      Tim,

      Thank you for your clarification.

      EDIT:
      from the lpuk.org site.

      Simon Fawthrop
      June 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

      A quick clarification on Tim’s post – I do not recollect nor can I find any evidence of Andrew suggesting we open a new bank account, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t imply as much to Tim.

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