The Conservative Party is far from being a club, since it exercises powers that affect the rights of individuals and society.
Not only that, the Conservative Party has a role in choosing who becomes a member of the Legislature (ie Members of Parliament) and the Executive (ie Prime Minister) and these have the power to start wars as well as change the meaning of marriage.
Saying that a political party is like a club is to totally misunderstand the nature of both.
A club exists solely for the benefit of its members and of course members of a club should be able to remove any of its members if they decide for any reason at all that they don't want him any more.
A political party has the purpose of promoting a political ideology. What then is the political ideology of the Conservative Party?
There is actually a shocking Australian case of a sitting Premier of Victoria, who was expelled from his own party.
He sued them in 1934 but received no satisfaction.
The Tory Party does indeed exercise the functions of a public body and Datafin supports this.
“No one could have been in the least surprised if the Panel has been instituted and operated under the direct authority of statute law, since it operates in the public domain. Its jurisdiction extends throughout the United Kingdom. Its codes and rulings apply equally to all who wish to make take-over bids or promote mergers, whether they are members of bodies represented on the panel. Its lack of a statutory base is a complete anomaly."
"It is helpful to look not just to look at the source but the nature of the power. If the body in question is exercising public law functions, or if the exercise of its powers have public consequences, then that may be sufficient to bring the body within the reach of judicial review. The essential distinction is between a domestic or private tribunal on the one hand, and a body of persons who are under some public duty on the other."
Part IV 17.7 of the constitution.
17 The Board shall have power to do anything which in its opinion relates to the management and administration of the Party. It shall oversee all activities within the Party and in particular be
responsible for –
17.7 the cancellation or refusal of membership, in its absolute discretion, of any Party Member or prospective Party Member;
Yet on page 28 of the constitution, it states:
28 Any removal of rights of membership of, or removal of office or other position from, any Association or other body within the Party will only be made after due consideration of natural justice.
To say that any member can be expelled without warning or explanation can only mean that that provision excludes the exercise of the rules of natural justice.
It is clearly a very confused and capricious piece of drafting. Perhaps it just means that only certain members will get a hearing that adheres to the rules of natural justice, but only if it feels like it, and it is a blue moon.
Below is what they said when they dismissed my appeal:
Decision of the Conservative Party Disciplinary Committee in the matter of the appeal by Ms Claire Khaw against her expulsion from the Conservative Party by the Board
The Committee met at Conservative Campaign Headquarters, 30 Millbank on Wednesday 27th March 2013 to consider an appeal by Ms Claire Khaw against the decision by the Board to expel her from membership of the Conservative Party.
Members of the Disciplinary Committee who heard the Appeal on the papers were:
Simon Mort (Chairman)
In attendance: Marcus Booth
The Committee DISMISSED the appeal.
Based on the evidence provided (including by Ms Khaw), the Committee concluded that Ms Khaw's publicly stated views and values, together with her conduct (that the Committee were in a position to appraise) are such that they are not compatible with membership of the Conservative Party, which is not an absolute right.
The aims, objectives and ******policies************* of the Conservative Party are freely available to read and Ms Khaw should have reasonably appraised herself of these before applying to join the Party.
The Defendant is referring to its POLICIES when what is at issue is its PRINCIPLES.
The Defendant is being misleading or is genuinely ignorant of the difference between a policy and a principle.
A policy is what you say to others you do, and your policies should conform to your principles, if you are a political party.
To persistently conflate their principles with policies found in their manifesto, which are but mere promises which they may not even keep, and which would change every 5 years, made for the purpose of inducing voters to vote to them, is evidence of a fundamental philosophical error as to the nature of what a principle is and what principles are for.
Such a party is a fraud its members as well as a fraud on the voting public.
That is bad enough, but there is worse to come. It gives its members NO RIGHTS AT ALL.
In theory, even the Prime Minister himself could be expelled from the Conservative Party!
This was what in fact happened to the Premier of Victoria, Edmond Hogan in 1932.
Who are the members of the Board of the Conservative Party?
It seems they have the power to topple the Prime Minister!
The Conservative Party Board is the party's ultimate decision making body, responsible for all operational matters (including fundraising, membership and candidates) and is made up of representatives from each (voluntary, political and professional) section of the Party. The Party Board meets about once a month and works closely with CCHQ, elected representatives and the voluntary membership mainly through a number of management sub-committees (such as membership, candidates and conferences).
I did go on about Lord Rennard a bit to the bemusement of the court, saying that how he was being treated is in fact typical of how activists are routinely abused by the leadership.
3 important legal principles were being set aside in the case of Lord Rennard:
1. The retrospective nature of his punishment. Retrospective legislation is against the rules of natural justice because it punishes someone for a crime that was not a crime when it was committed. It has already been admitted by Lord Greaves that half the members of the House of Lords have pinched the bottom of a woman. When they did they had no idea that they would be taken to court and their names dragged through the mud for so doing.
2. The principle of double jeopardy. How many investigations and hearings are they going to have in order to find him guilty of something or other?
3. The principle of being treated as innocent until found guilty, after a fair trial.
The other point I raised was that the legal fiction of a political party not being a public body and therefore subject to judicial review should now be finally done away with.
The Conservative Party constitution allows any member to be expelled without warning or explanation. This means the PM himself could in theory be expelled if the Board of the Conservative Party decide to get rid of him.
This did indeed happen in Cameron v Hogan when a sitting Australian Premier of the State of Victoria - Edmond Hogan - was expelled from his own party in 1934.
I pointed out that if that happened it would provoke a constitutional crisis, and this cannot be denied.
After lunch, all he could come up with was that if the every member of the Conservative Party left the party, it would be no more.
I still have no idea what point he was making.
Of course he went on about the Tory Party being a voluntary association and how precedent has always treated it as such, blah blah.
But nothing substantive.
He said he was refusing it on the ground of legal precedent. I believe, reading between the lines, he was hinting that he was minded to accept my arguments but felt tied down by about a century or so of precedent.
He asked me if I would appeal if it went against me and I said yes. Knowing that the Conservative Party certainly would appeal it if it went against them, and their advocate had hardly prepared for the hearing, and would have sought an adjournment if compelled to argue it properly, he thought the best way forward was to refuse my application, leaving it to me to appeal. I agreed that this would be the best way forward.
I tried to persuade him to grant me my application and leave it to the Tories to appeal, but he was having none of it.
|Judge Blackett's Order|
|Request for Reconsideration|
|Justice Ouseley's Order|