SEVERE disciplinary action against Mr. Herbert Howarth, the Communist who was defeated by ,Mr. Ted Law in the recent A.E.U. elections for the post of Sheffield District president, has been demanded by five local branches of the A.E.U. in resolutions sent to the national executive of the union, according to reports from Sheffield.
This follows the circulation to the 47 local branches of the union of a summary of the speech Mr. Howarth made after he had been defeated. In this speech, he declared that it was the dirtiest election he had ever been involved in, and he warned members that A.E.U. elections were being taken over by the Press, employers, and the Church.
Mr.,-Howarth said he foresaw elections where candidates were the delegates of the Press and the Church, and where ballot boxes were trimmed with cuttings from newspapers and decorated with candles to indicate " to the dupes and the faithful, who visit the branches only when ordered, where to put the ballot paper, having voted when they were told."
Asking members to recognise the "dangerous combination" of the Press, employers, and the Church, he warned them to beware of the next line of attack in the removal of active militant shop stewards. •
The resolutions, said to be backed by about 3,000 Sheffield members of the union, call for severe disciplinary action against Mr. Howarth and against the union's Sheffield District secretary, Mr. Harold Ullyatt, who is criticized on the grounds that, as a full-time paid official of the union, he should not have allowed the propaganda contained in the summary to be circulated to the local branches.
Anti-Communists complain that the speech was a destructive blow against unity in the union, and likely to cause religious " warfare " among members.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Ted Law, the new president. closed a meeting of the Sheffield district committee after it had lasted only 25 minutes. This followed the repeated refusal of Mr. Howarth to leave the meeting when ordered to do so.
Meanwhile, in London, Mr. J. O'Hagan appeared before the Communist-led North London district committee of the union, following his appearance on I.T.V. a month ago.