Response from Forest of Dean Labour Party to the complaint lodged by Lydney Town Council | Cllr Bernie O’Neill

In a letter to Lydney Town Council regarding the complaint, later released by Lydney Town Council, Cllr Bernie O’Neill (Forest of Dean Constituency Labour Party Chairman) responds:

“I note your correspondence dated 15 January regarding your complaint against Mr. Zac Arnold. Having taken advice from the National Labour Party I have to inform you that no action will be taken by the Local or National Party as your complaint is concerning a resident of Lydney in his private capacity, and not with the Labour Party. Certain assumptions appear to have been made because Mr Arnold is a member of the Party, but this does not preclude him from voicing his opinions in a person capacity.

“Regarding issues raised in the attached emails about a meeting in November 2018, there are some insinuations which cause concerns and the comment about the tragic murder of Jo Cox is particularly galling and beyond belief.

“The events of 14 January at your Council meeting are your concern and not one for us to be involved in, but I do have to say that there are witnesses who are prepared to give a different opinion of the proceedings of that meeting and I trust that you will reflect on the matter.”

Final decision from Labour Party HQ on the complaint lodged by Lydney Town Council | Tim Dexter

In an email to, then Executive Officer of Lydney Town Council and later Assistant Clerk, Carol Wheeler, Labour Party Complaints Officer Tim Dexter said:

“Thank you for providing the additional information.

“If Mr Arnold is attending these meetings as a private individuall and resident then this would not be a matter that the Labour Party would be able to take any action on. We are unable to arbitrate on members’ conduct outside of their participation with the Party, and matters such as this would therefore be irrespective of their membership.

“I would advise that any concerns over safety or potential behaviour should be reported to the Police.”

Lydney Town Council supply Labour Party HQ with additional information regarding their complaint | Carol Wheeler

In response to a request for more information from Tim Dexter, Complaints Officer for the National Labour Party at Southside, Carol Wheeler wrote to him as Lydney Town Council’s Executive Officer saying:

“Mr Arnold openly publicises the fact the he is a Labour activist, the news article relating to this recent incident and indeed Mr Arnold’s own FB page promotes his status as CLP Campaign coordinator for The Labour Party.

“As Mr Arnold has in the past been publicly vocal in his views concerning the closures of local hospitals in both Lydney and Cinderford, he is therefore well known to many people; likewise when he attended a previous Lydney Recreation Trust Meeting at the Council Chambers he later placed a Press Statement on his FB page with the banner saying he was Youth Officer FOD Labour Party.

“At Monday’s meeting Mr Arnold, in line with Standing Orders (the Council’s Meeting protocol) was asked to state his name and address; as well as being known to all present, he gave the same home address as shown on his banner. Furthermore during/following the incident he has continued to post to his FB page which associates him with the Labour Party and the news article attached also advises of the fact that he intends to cause further disruption.”

Lydney Town Council lodge formal complaint to the Labour Party | Cllrs Bob Berryman & Brian Pearman

“Dear Sir or Madam

“We would like to make an official complaint against Mr Zac Arnold regarding his behaviour towards our Council/Council Members and Employees.

“At our Full Council meeting last night Mr Arnold, under the Public Forum agenda item, asked three questions of our Council. Under our Council’s Standing Orders questions raised under the Forum must relate to items on the agenda. However, our Council had previously provided Mr Arnold with answers to two of his questions a number of months prior.

“Under the first question, raised under Lydney Town Council’s budget for 2019/2020 (Agenda Item 9b), Mr Arnold sought to challenge/berate our Council for resolving not to participate in providing a District-wide Youth Worker as he felt that the Council held sufficient finance as it has elected to purchase a Town Flag/one of it’s Charitable Trusts had chosen to invest in sculpturing a tree trunk in Bathurst Park into a tourism feature. Mr Arnold was also derogatory towards our CEO and Proper Officer of our Council, and requested that his questions be answered by an Elected Official rather than unelected Bureaucrat. Mr Arnold had previously been informed by our Council that it had resolved to invest in youth provision locally, rather than contribute to a District-wide initiative and Mr Arnold was advised that the CEO was appointed to respond to matters on behalf of our Council. Furthermore, that the initiative referred to by Mr Arnold would likely result in an expense of £25,000.00 to our Council. Mr Arnold was also informed by a fellow Councillor that his question did not relate to the agenda item he had referenced as Mr Arnold had not had sight of the Council’s budget at that time.

“The second question raised concerned a complaint which had been made against our Council by Mr Arnold which Mr Arnold raised under Agenda Item 14 (Committee and Other Reports). Whilst the matter had been considered and resolved and duly minuted (publicly accessible) , with Mr Arnold being informed of the outcome of his complaint in writing mid-November, Mr Arnold did not accept the Council’s decision and requested that he receive a formal apology. Mr Arnold was advised that he had already received the Council’s response regarding his complaint, by this time Mr Arnold had become increasingly agitated.

“The third question Mr Arnold raised under Agenda Item 19 – Press Release/Statement which he referenced an article in Gloucestershire Live, in which the Mayor was interviewed regarding the submission of a planning application from retailer B&M to utilise a vacant, vandalised retail premises in our Town as their new store. Mr Arnold then sought to berate the Mayor for welcoming the news that the retailer was seeking to open a store in our Town, and he launched into a tirade against the management practices of B&M and their facilities provided to their employees. During this tirade Mr Arnold was warned by the Mayor that if he continued with his speech/argumentative manner the meeting would be suspended. Mr Arnold refused to pay any attention to the warnings given, our meeting was duly suspended and Mr Arnold was asked several times to leave the meeting by our CEO/Proper Officer. However, Mr Arnold refused to leave the meeting which resulted in the Police being called to our office to escort Mr Arnold from the building. Mr Arnold then refused to leave the site, despite the Police making a number of requests for him to do so, and we believe he was then arrested for Breach of the Peace and taken to Gloucester (Incident Number 366 of 14 January 2019 refers).

“We would advise that this is not the first time our Council has had cause for concern over Mr Arnold’s intimidatory manner and we would refer you to the enclosed e-mail which has been sent to the Police. Whilst we appreciate Mr Arnold is passionate in his political beliefs, we feel his actions have overstepped the mark of acceptability.

“We trust that you will take action regarding our complaint and we look forward to hearing from you.

“Yours Faithfully (for and on behalf of Lydney Town Council)

“Cllr Bob Berryman (Mayor) and Cllr Brian Pearman (Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Personnel Committee”

Regional Liaison sends submission of CLP to Labour Party HQ regarding All Women Shortlist | Sonia Wright

“The Forest of Dean CLP held their consultation meeting on Tuesday 18th December. The meeting was attended by approximately 24 members. Before the meeting branches in the CLP had the opportunity to discuss their views on whether the CLP should be an AWS or open selection- this was fed back to the meeting Lydney Branch overwhelmingly supported AWS whilst the others supported Open selections. The GC discussed the benefits of having an AWS, and in the event of not having an AWS what actions could be undertaken to ensure women candidates come forward. There was a general agreement that having an AWS would increase female participation in the CLP by supporting and empowering women and it could encourage more electors to participate in elections. It was also noted that much more needs to be done to engage women to run for MP and get equal representation. There was a counter view, the Forest struggles to engage women to run for local elections so finding local women for an AWS could be hard and the view that an open selection process would allow a broad panel of candidates – concern was also raised that if a snap election happened, someone external to the CLP might not have the chance to build a profile in the constituency. The CLP acknowledged that representation of women locally is poor and more work needs to be done to identify and encourage women to stand for positions. More needs to be done to make meetings welcoming to women and that parliament itself can do more to encourage women by being more aware of the issues that prevent women from running for parliament. The CLP was fairly split, an indicative vote was narrowly in favour of AWS.”

Mindful of the Jo Cox case we do feel that this behaviour warrants noting ‘on file’ | Jayne Smailes

This email was not in the public domain and had not been seen by myself prior to Lydney Town Council publishing it in their press pack on 21 February 2019, not even the rest of the Councillors had seen it prior to 20 February 2019.

In an email to Gloucestershire Constabulary; namely Sergeant Andrew Doyle, and Lydney Town Council Personnel Committee members Cllrs Alan Preest, Bob Berryman, Brian Pearman, Carol Harris and Harry Ives, Jayne Smailes (Chief Executive Officer) states:


“Dear Personnel Committee/Sgt Doyle

“We write in order to make you aware that following last night’s Meetings three individuals (Trustee Holmes, visitors Zac and Louis Arnold) remained outside the building when everyone was leaving.

“As Carol and I were about to exit/set the building alarm Louis Arnold came back into the office the use the toilet so we had to wait for him before locking up; had Bob/Brian not remained in the Car Park talking we would have had to walk past the three of them for they remained at the planter at the top of the entrance ramp by the door to the building for no apparent reason.

“We do not propose any action be taken however, given recent Facebook posts in which the Council have been heavily criticised of late and mindful of the Jo Cox case we do feel that this behaviour warrants noting ‘on file’ by members of the Personnel Committee and the Police.”

Legal, public and political efforts and positive, joint working in NHS campaigning | Zac Arnold with Aneira Thomas & Dr Tony O’Sullivan

First NHS baby slams government handling of health service | Swindon  Advertiser
Zac Arnold speaks on a panel at an NHS campaigning conference organised by Swindon Trades Council, photographed with the events organiser and Aneira Thomas, the first baby born into the NHS (Photo: Swindon Advertiser, 2018)

Zac speaks about the “three-pronged” legal, public and political approach that HOLD was taking towards the campaign and how positivity and joint working across divides is the only way to succeed, on a panel alongside Aneira Thomas the first baby born into the NHS and Dr Tony O’Sullivan. The event was reported in the Swindon Advertiser.

Zac suspended from membership of the Labour Party for alleged uncomradely behaviour | Nareser Osei

In a letter to myself, Nareser Osei as Acting Head of Disputes at Labour Party Headquarters, said:

Notice of administrative suspension from holding office or representing the Labour Party

Allegations that you may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules have been brought to the attention of national officers of the Party. These allegations relate to social media posts posts and uncomradely behaviour towards another member of the local party. It is important that these allegations are investigated and the NEC will be asked to authorise a full report to be drawn up with recommendations for disciplinary action if appropriate.

I write to give you formal notice that it has been determined that the powers given to the NEC
under Chapter 6 Clause I.1.A of the Party’s rules should be invoked to suspend you from office or representation of the Party, pending the outcome of an internal Party investigation. Because of the nature of the allegations received your presence at branch meetings and all party activity which includes campaigning, may be detrimental to the Party, while subject to this administrative suspension, you cannot attend any campaign activity or party meetings including those of your own branch or CLP, or Annual Conference, and you cannot seek office within the Party or be considered for selection as a candidate to represent the Labour Party at an election at any level*

In view of the urgency to protect the Party’s reputation in the present situation the General
Secretary has determined to use powers delegated to him under Chapter 1 Clause VIII.5 of the rules to impose this suspension forthwith, subject to the approval of the next meeting of the NEC. The General Secretary has appointed Phil Gaskin, Regional Director, to arrange conduct of the Party’s own investigation. You will be contacted in due course with details as to how the
investigation will proceed. Please quote case number DCN-0363 on all correspondence. It is hoped you will offer your full co-operation to the Party in resolving this matter.

*In relation to any alleged breach of the constitution, rules or standing orders of the party by an
individual member or members of the party, the NEC may, pending the final outcome of any
investigation and charges (if any), suspend that individual or individuals from office or
representation of the party notwithstanding the fact that the individual concerned has been or may be eligible to be selected as a candidate in any election or by-election. (Disciplinary Rules, Chapter 6 Clause I.1.A)

**A ‘suspension’ of a member whether by the NEC in pursuance of 1 above or by the NCC in
imposing a disciplinary penalty, unless otherwise defined by that decision, shall require the
membership rights of the individual member concerned to be confined to participation in their own branch meetings, unless the reason for the suspension in part or in full is their conduct in party meetings or there are concerns that their presence at branch meetings may be detrimental to the Party, and activities as an ordinary member only and in ballots of all individual members where applicable. A suspended member shall not be eligible to seek any office in the party, nor shall s/he be eligible for nomination to any panel of prospective candidates nor to represent the party in any position at any level. The member concerned will not be eligible to attend any CLP meeting other than to fulfil the requirement to participate in ballots. (Disciplinary rules, Clause 6.I.3)

Cinderford Council members grilled live by protestors as Chair threatens to close meeting in face of criticism | Zac Arnold

Gloucester Labour back HOLD as day of protest unfolds amid consultation outcome | Fran Boait

Fran Boait, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Gloucester said on Facebook:

“Today, HOLD – Hands Off Lydney and Dilke hospitals have been in Gloucester to protest against the Commissioning groups plans to close their hospitals. Their Protest continues this evening in Cinderford and Fran wanted to offer our support from Gloucester CLP and talk a little about why we need a Labour Government running our NHS #forthemany