Zoe Hatch

Zoe Hatch – https://grahamlinehan.substack.com/p/why-im-resigning-from-the-green-party

  • Green Party Women Co-Chair & Co-Chair of Chiltern Green Party
  • GPEx Internal Communications Coordinator 2021-22
  • General Election Candidate, Beaconsfield 2019
  • Currently suspended from GPEW, since Oct 2023
Transcript from webinar of 04/12/23

Zoe Hatch Testimonial 04-12-2023

 

Thanks, Pallavi, and thanks to the two previous speakers. It’s such an honour to be sharing this platform with all of the women that are speaking this evening. It’s quite sobering really to hear all these testimonies.

I was elected on the 25th of January this year, with a majority vote from Green Party women. I stood on the basis of defending sex based rights. And as I say, I got the majority vote.

I’ve been a Green Party supporter and an environmental and women’s rights campaigner since I was old enough to vote. I did serve for a while as a Labour Party parliamentary researcher around the time of the 1997 landslide victory. So I’ve got form when working in the political field. However, I became a fully fledged member of the Green Party in 2015 and I was quickly appointed as party agent and a local candidate.

I ran the Green Party general election campaign in 2017 and became a local party coordinator/char. I was also a speaker for a short time for Extinction Rebellion in 2019. I stood in for people, like Rupert Reed, speaking at various different events.

In the local unitary authority elections in 2021, I was the local party target to win candidate, and we fell short of the win by just 100 votes. Prior to that, when we first stood previously, in 2015, we had only had 60 votes in that ward. We were very close to taking a seat on a unitary authority in what has always been a conservative stronghold.  I’ve been involved in the local party for at least a decade of campaigning, slowly and carefully building Green Party Support. Local people know me and share my support for the environment. Now, I think we’re going to turn things around in the next election and win the seat if I stand… but of course, I won’t now be allowed to be a target candidate, because I have been put on this no full suspension.

The reason I’m trying to give you my CV is not just to sort of like just tell you a little bit about my life story. But to say that when these no fault suspensions happen, they don’t  just impact the central party. They don’t just impact the women’s group, although I was you know, co chair of Green Party Women so that group is also severely impacted…. I was co-chair of my local party with my colleague who, who I was actually sort of mentoring to take over the reigns there. All the knowledge that I’ve acquired over the last decade has been lost because I’ve been put on a no fault suspension. The rules mean that I’m not allowed to collaborate with the local party and the local party is not allowed to collaborate or talk to me. Similarly for the National Party.

I have to say that I am so grateful that actually, when it comes to it, local friends, local green friends and colleagues are believing in me and they support me. And I know that’s true of the women within the party who support me as well. I’m very, very grateful to the Green Women’s Declaration too, for giving me a safe haven to collaborate with other women on these important issues.

I just want to give you a quick overview of what has been the most illuminating experience, being a Green Party woman co-chair for this last year. We took up the position in February after the election had finished. As things went, there was a willingness to collaborate at the beginning from the six members of the committee who had been elected on the basis of defending sex based rights. And there were three members who ascribed to gender identity theory, and were very, very clearly giving the impression they wanted to defend that particular perspective. So there was already some imbalance and difficulties in the way that the committee was structured.

In April, we put forward a tweet talking about wanting to respect the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s call for a well informed and respectful discourse on the subject of sex and gender. It was of great surprise to me that this tweet resulted in a complete volley, an avalanche of complaints against us, formal and informal.


Complaints came from the highest level of the party, they came from the Green Party Regional Council having three emergency meetings in order to try to get rid of all of the gender critical members of Green Party Women. It resulted in them trying to shut down the whole group. And it also resulted in my first complaint against me, which came against me from my co-chair, the woman who had also stood on a platform of wanting to raise up gender identity theory. I got a couple of other complaints at that time, I also got interrogated by the two GPRC co-chairs. And there was a kind of ongoing harassment from that point forward, I would say throughout the whole year my role as Green Party Women co-chair was scrutinised. There would be moments where I was trying to pull together an agenda for a meeting, and it resulted in a 46, email, exchange or more, because people were trying to obstruct, just deciding what the points for the agenda for a meeting would be.

I was also told I couldn’t chair my own EGM. But nonetheless, we did proceed with an extraordinary general meeting where we decided in August to hear testimony from women in the party and men in the party with gender critical beliefs, who had been discriminated against.

The aim of that meeting was to talk to those members to collate evidence of discrimination, and then refer that in a dossier to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which we did.

Emma and I went to meet with the Equality and Human Rights Commission CEO in September, earlier this year, and we submitted that dossier.

In addition, there was an AGM that occurred in that month, and at that point, I was publicly humiliated and accused of bullying. And it became very apparent that what was happening in the party, is that a narrative of the transphobia smear campaign, which I believe Emma has been subjected to, has now transferred into a narrative of a bullying smear campaign. So my character is being smeared and I’m being called a bully.

The reasons that are cited for me now being on a no fault suspension is because I wrote to all of the Green Party women members, and I talked about the discrimination that we’re experiencing. I talked about the campaign and intention to close down the Green Party Women group. I’d written about that, and I’d named individuals who had been involved in that campaign. And I do think that there is evidence to suggest that is the case. There was an alternative report, that was distributed by the Green Party women co-chair, which actually calls for the Green Party women group to be shut down. So I wrote to members about that. 

We’ve got about three and a half thousand Green Party Women members. It was as a result of writing that email that I was put on my no fault suspension. And it was because I was told that I was being a bully.

I’d just like to bring something up now, which is just a reminder really of the Green Party’s own legal advice. It says that victimisation is “treating someone badly because they’ve done a protected act or because you believe that a person has done or is going to do a protected act”. 

A protected act in this case is making a claim or complaint of discrimination under the Equality Act. So what I had done, essentially, by gathering evidence about discrimination, by raising this, bringing this information to the attention of the equality and human rights… the EHRC. And by writing to members about this discrimination, I have performed protected acts. And I am now being subjected to victimisation and harassment even by definition of the Green Party’s own legal advice.

Rather than reading out all of these emails, and all of this paperwork, it’s quite difficult sometimes to try to weave a narrative without giving too much detail but I will refer you to the GC Greens website which has got all of the letters and all of the documentation that we’re talking about here. Go away and have a look at that and you can decide for yourself whether what I’ve written actually should warrant a no fault suspension. https://gcgreens.uk/green-party-women/

Remember the ‘no fault suspension’ is a sanction. Although we call it a ‘no fault suspension’, I would actually say it is a suspension without investigation, because that is what happens. So now I’m out in the cold, I can’t interact or collaborate with any of the other members of the party and I can’t continue my ongoing work within the party now to highlight this discrimination.

You’ll see there I’ve also made reference to the fact that I’ve written whistleblowing complaints as early as January this year about this situation and to my knowledge the party have done nothing, or at least nothing of any substance in order to prevent this happening to me. 

And the last point I’m making, as I probably have to finish, but I just want to highlight the other point, which is that this is a pattern of behaviour. I’m now the third Green Party women co-chair with gender critical beliefs to be sanctioned in this way, there is a pattern of behaviour and discrimination. It’s not about me, when I’m punished I believe that all women in the party are being punished because now there is no representation of women within the party. Because now, since being removed from post, the whole of the Green Party women group has been shut down.

Thanks.