Labour MPs Call on Labour Leader Not to Reverse Decision on G4S

Ahead of tomorrow’s (Tuesday 26 January 2016) meeting of Labour party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) Grahame Morris MP, Chair of LFPME has written to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn supporting the decision taken at the last meeting of the NEC not to renew the party’s contract with G4S because of that companies activities in the UK and around the globe.

The letter signed by 34 Labour MPs, including signatories from the shadow cabinet, wider frontbench team and backbenchers, calls on Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC not to overturn the previous decision. A small campaign organised by ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ and ‘We Believe in Israel’ culminated last month with a letter from the Chair of LFI to Jeremy Corbyn, equating the NEC decision as part of the international BDS campaign targeted at Israel because of its 50 years occupation of Palestinian land.

The full letter and list of signatories below.

Jeremy Corbyn

Leader of the Labour Party

Dear Jeremy,

At a recent meeting the NEC voted not to renew its contract with G4S as the security provider for annual conference.

As Chair of LFPME I, and the other signatories of this letter would like to warmly welcome this decision as one which upholds the long tradition of our party to act ethically with regards to our procurement of goods and services, and our tradition of upholding human rights at home and abroad.

LFPME has been advocating for this decision for some time, not as part of any larger campaign regarding boycotts and sanctions, but as good practice for our party when deciding procurement policy.

As with the NEC decision in 2013 to exclude Carillion from its exhibition space at the Labour Party Conference, this shows the Labour Party standing for social justice, fairness and decency, this decision shows we will stand up and act ethically and responsibly when working with businesses.

G4S has faced criticism regarding its activities in the South African prison system, overcharging the UK government for tagging prisoners that didn’t exist, (last year G4S were forced to pay a refund of £109 million to the government) and acting unethically in Israel/Palestine.

The Labour party joins the Gates Foundation and the US United Methodist Church, (the largest protestant church in the US) in not working with G4S on ethical grounds.

Recently Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) registered a complaint to the UK government against G4S that the company was not following OECD guidelines in its business activities in Israel/Palestine.

In a recent statement LPHR commented:

“G4S singularly fails to acknowledge the UK NCP’s adverse findings that G4S is in breach of three human rights obligations under the OECD Guidelines, two of which actually relate to overarching obligations to respect human rights’”

LHPR points out that the report found:

‘Para 76: Until G4S publicly communicates the actions it is taking to address the impacts it is linked to by the contracts referred to in the complaint, the UK NCP considers that its actions are not consistent with its obligation under Chapter IV, Paragraph 3 of the OECD Guidelines to address impacts it is linked to by a business relationship.’

‘Para 77: The obligation to address impacts is part of the overall obligation to respect human rights in Chapter IV, Paragraph 1 and Chapter II, Paragraph 2. Because of this, the inconsistency with Chapter IV Paragraph 3 makes the company’s actions technically inconsistent with these provisions also.’

LPHR further commented

“The report found that the company is failing to address human rights violations with which they are involved through their business relationship with Israeli state agencies.”

There have been some comments that this decision is purely an attempt to Boycott Israel as part of the international Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaign. I, the undersigned and many, many party members and trade unionists have campaigned for this decision for a long time because of the actions of this company at home and abroad, we have campaigned for this decision because it puts the values of social justice, fairness and equality at the very heart of the labour movement and we applaud the decision as a beacon of good practice.

Very best wishes

Grahame Morris MP

Chair Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East

Co-signatories:

  • Richard Burden MP (VC LFPME)
  • Louise Haigh MP (VC LFPME)
  • Andy Slaughter MP (VC LFPME)
  • Dawn Butler MP (VC LFPME)
  • Lisa Nandy MP (VC LFPME)
  • Diane Abbott MP
  • Debbie Abrahams MP
  • Dave Anderson MP
  • Rushnara Ali MP
  • Richard Burgon MP
  • Ruth Cadbury MP
  • Ronnie Campbell MP
  • Sara Champion MP
  • Jo Cox MP
  • Alex Cunningham MP
  • Roger Godsiff MP
  • Kate Hollern MP
  • Kelvin Hopkins MP
  • Imran Hussain MP
  • Stephen Kinnock MP
  • Ian Lavery MP
  • Clive Lewis MP
  • Holly Lynch MP
  • Rachael Maskell MP
  • Ian Mearns MP
  • Andy McDonald MP
  • Kate Osamor MP
  • Chi Onwurah MP
  • Yasmin Qureshi MP
  • Marie Rimmer MP
  • Naz Shah MP
  • Paula Sheriff MP
  • Cat Smith MP