Branch supports member banned from Labour Conference
London Freelance Branch passed the following motion at its September meeting:
This Branch resolves to ask the NUJ urgently to contact the Labour Party to ensure that Asa Winstanly is able to report its Conference on 22-25 September in Brighton.
This followed the Labour Party granting and then withdrawing accreditation to Asa, who has covered the Party's annual conference for The Electronic Intifada for many years. The Party eventually told the NUJ this was because Asa's Party membership being suspended meant he could not attend any Party event.
The NUJ had already issued a statement defending his right to report the event. In this Assistant Freelance Organiser David Ayrton said:
It is wholly unacceptable for a journalist to be refused access in this way. An individual journalist's political affiliation or party membership has no bearing on their work. The conflation of internal Labour party disciplinary processes and what should be the transparent organisation of journalistic access to a major political conference is wrong and a disturbing breach of press freedom. We call on the Labour Party to urgently resolve this matter sensibly and reinstate our member's access.
Asa was still not able to report.
Meanwhile Sam Knights, a journalist who has also been active with Extinction Rebellion, was told that his accreditation had been refused because police had failed his security check. Because a police force - a public authority - was explicitly involved, he was able to apply for a judicial review. The police then conceded that his refusal should be overturned.