Statement from the Constitutional Committee

The decision to end the membership of longstanding member and Libertarian Party office – holder Stephen McNamara was made by The Constitutional Committee on April 1st – but was no joke.

Controversy has arisen over this, in fact just the latest in a series of controversies, and – understandably – we have been asked to release details of the reason for his termination. The purpose of this statement is to give sufficient details of what transpired to show that our decision was reasonable and not taken in haste. The Constitutional Committee is in a difficult position here as it needs to maintain reasonable privacy of the concerned parties – including those charged with misbehaviour; at the same time there is an understandable demand for transparency, which we hope to satisfy, in line with the principles of a libertarian party.

The decision to remove Mr. McNamara was a last resort, and many said it was an action that should have been taken sooner. We were in negotiations with Mr. McNamara for weeks, trying to preserve his membership while also getting him to agree to stop a cascade of what we’ve considered erratic and even bizarre behaviours that were undermining the credibility of the party and distracting our efforts to focus on the up-and-coming election. This was visible to many rank-and-file party members who observed his obnoxious social media posts aimed at baiting the party leader and sowing the seeds of division in the party in the run up to a council election (a house that is divided surely will not stand – if you pardon the pun,) and culminated in Mr. McNamara running as an independent candidate in the same ward as the leader of the party, something no serious political party would accept. But Complaints were made about Mr. McNamara’s behaviour, for example on social media, both publicly and privately by other members, long before this event.

Thus, it would be inaccurate to say there was any one specific reason why Mr. McNamara was removed, but this was simply the tipping point in a relationship that had long since turned sour despite our best efforts to repair it. One by one, McNamara turned each of his most ardent supporters and apologists against him with his own actions!

An old adage runs “don’t give anyone any extra rope to hang you with” – and so the following partial disclosure of only some of the things Stephen did that led to his expulsion will likely not cease the wheels of the rumour mill from spinning. It is more than likely that anything said will merely be picked apart by those who want to believe it was us, the Constitutional Committee, who were the ones deficient during this episode.

However, even if supposing we were in the wrong, the fact that we can’t work with Mr. McNamara – despite our best efforts – and neither can the party leader would in itself be enough to justify our decision to remove him because the squabble itself has taken up so much time and energy that it is undermining the credibility of the party (especially in light of Mr. McNamara’s ceaseless social media sh*tposting about the party’s officeholders). You can’t sail a ship in two directions no matter how hard you try, so it would be better for the sake of everyone involved if the majority faction were allowed to continue to their jobs without these distractions – however imperfectly we may be doing them!

 

Here are only some of the reasons why the decision to end the membership of Stephen McNamara were taken:

– sabotage of the work of another party member: deleting the work of someone volunteering for the SLP (January 12)

– misusing his temporarily granted privilege to the party website to exclude anyone else from making changes to it (January 20)

– repeatedly going back on his own word (promised support with website on Jan 16, withdrew support Jan 19; promised to hand over website Jan 26 but hasn’t done so)

– bringing party into disrepute in the public by numerous statements online

– making serious allegations about misbehaviour and potentially breaking laws by other party officials; also alleging that a police investigation is taking place (February 17)

– however, failing to provide any evidence for these misdeeds or the supposed investigation taking place, even months later

– sabotaging the work of the Nominating Officer and potential candidates (evidence provided by the Deputy Leader on March 29)

– running against another member (the party leader nonetheless) in the same ward to sabotage his election run (revealed March 31)

 

In total there were three votes taken by the Constitutional Committee about the problematic behaviour of Stephen McNamara:

  1. January 22: despite some questionable actions, Stephen was to be kept in the role of the Nominating Officer but should return control of party assets related to the website.
  2. February 6: Stephen was to continue as N.O. until a replacement was found. While the timing of the leadership challenge was not appreciated, the Committee was supportive of it going forward.
  3. April 1: The Committee decided Stephen’s reckless behaviour was damaging to the party and given his behaviour that led to our other meetings the benefit of the doubt no longer applied and his membership would be terminated

 

While the Committee had some hope that the entire affair could be resolved amicably and without too much scandal, it has clearly miscalculated in this regard. Thus the blame for any poor communication falls on us.

In order to move forward, this year’s AGM has been moved forward as well, to September, giving us all three months to consider the matter and campaign for any suitable changes, if desired. We will discuss this affair extensively at the AGM; and, like at every AGM, the Constitutional Committee will be up for reelection. Leadership challenges are of course allowed, if any member wishes to do so, although we would request that they wait until after our local election campaign.

 

Thank you for your understanding,
Constitutional Committee

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2 Comments on "Statement from the Constitutional Committee"

  • Jonathan Rainey says

    Will any other party policy matters be discussed at the AGM too?

    • Admin says

      Fair question: aside from the usual goings on, at the AGM will be discussed any policy proposals that are submitted by our members.

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