NUJ statement on the Labour Party's refusal to accredit a member for conference
3 September 2019
The NUJ has condemned the withdrawal of press accreditation from an NUJ member by the Labour Party and called for the decision to be overturned.
After being granted press accreditation on 22 July, freelance journalist Asa Winstanley subsequently received a short email from the Labour press team three weeks later informing him that his credentials had been cancelled. This came after the journalist’s personal membership of the Labour party had been suspended.
Despite repeated requests to the Labour Party for an explanation as to why a journalist had been banned from covering the party’s forthcoming conference, it has taken 13 days for the party to respond to the NUJ, citing the fact that “Asa Winstanley is currently suspended as a member of the Labour Party and the terms of that suspension prevent him from attending Labour Party meetings”. It is explicitly apparent that those in the Labour Party responsible for this action believe that suspension from membership of the Labour Party gives them a blanket reason to refuse access to conference, even in a journalistic capacity.
David Ayrton, NUJ organiser, 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.”