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Eight key figures in the British Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI) have quit their committee roles amid suggestions of hard-left entryism.
On Monday the individuals, including the chair and vice chair, decided to step down over concerns about “a vocal and troublesome element”, they claim support other political groups but are “secretly organising” within Labour.
A statement said they will remain as active members.
“We do not resign lightly,” the statement said. “Instead, it is a heavy decision which has weighed on us for several months.
“It became evident from a very early stage that there are diverse and inimical political parties secretly organising within the LPNI contrary to Chapter 2 of Labour Party Rulebook 2017.
“Although these are a small minority among our committed and hardworking activists, members and supporters, they are a vocal and troublesome element. This has presented us with irreconcilable difficulties.”
Labour Party rules indicate if a member is found to be supportive or be a member of another political party, they then face automatic exclusion.
The statement did not directly allege entryism but left-wing sources have suggested members of the Socialist Party and other smaller political parties have recently joined Labour in the North.
Boyd Black has since been elected as chair of LPNI and Chamindra Weerawardhana as secretary.
A statement on Tuesday morning said the Executive Committee “is fully committed to re-invigorating the development of a grassroots-driven Labour Party in Northern Ireland”.
“LPNI aims to provide a much needed cross-community socialist alternative to the dead-end politics of sectarian conflict.”
The British Labour Party does not run election candidates in the North because of an affiliation with the SDLP. This is being challenged through the courts.