The annual NEC away day took place on 27 November. This meeting considers the party’s aims, values and priorities for the year ahead.
General Secretary’s Report
Jennie Formby gave the General Secretary’s Report. She spoke about preparations for a snap general election and work building campaigns in the various key target seats across the country.
She talked about the Local Government Review, which Nick Forbes and I will be a part of as the NEC Local Government reps. This review will consider the relationship between Labour Group’s, LCFs and CLPs and how to engage people with the work of Councils. The Review will also consider ways to increase diversity in local government and the plan to phase out all male Council wards as quickly as possible.
Jennie spoke about the party’s fundraising activities and plans to grow participation. She spoke about moving away from large, expensive Gala Dinners to more inclusive fundraising events.
Jennie also talked about plans to centralises and streamline Labour’s complaints procedure. Handling complaints centrally in a consistent, professional manner will free up CLP and Regional Office time to focus on campaigning.
Labour has around d 530,000 members. Membership has been stable since the huge increase in members a few years ago. Continue reading →
The Labour NEC sub-committees met on 20th November. This was the first round of NEC meetings since September’s Labour Party conference. It was also a busy day for the MPs on the NEC, who had to leave or send their apologies. The government looks increasing fragile amid the Brexit chaos and Tory infighting. This makes general election preparation an important priority.
Increasing BAME representation
The BAME Labour conference is taking place on 1st December at Brent Civic Centre. Brent Council’s leader Muhammed Butt is one of a small but growing number of BAME council leaders. The NEC is committed to growing BAME representation at all levels of the party and increasing the number of BAME people in leadership roles in local and national government.
The NEC is aware that more needs to be done in terms of BAME representation in the ongoing parliamentary selections. The national leadership training scheme, the Bernie Grant Initiative, will open to applicants in the new year. It’s hoped that this will build of the success of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and support more BAME members to be selected as MPs and Councillors. Continue reading →
The Labour NEC meeting on 18 September discussed matters relating to the 2018 Labour Party Conference, the Democracy Review and including rule changes to be voted on by delegates.
2018 Labour Party Conference (and lessons from last year)
The 2018 Labour Party Conference will be one of the biggest ever, with over 1600 delegates registered to attend and over 5,000 party members attending in other capacities. In total over 13,000 people have registered to attend. This year’s conference has exceeded all financial targets. Money generated can be invested in fighting elections and community organising.
I had the honour of being one of last year’s conference chairs. It was an amazing experience chairing such a well attended, enthusiastic conference. The record number of delegates did create some logistical issues. Continue reading →
A special NEC meeting took place on 4 September to discuss tackling antisemitism and the democracy review.
Confidentiality of Meetings
Over the last few years, there has been increased media interest in Labour NEC meetings. This has led to a rise in (often inaccurate) “leaks” during the meetings. The meeting on 4th September saw some particularly ridiculous and untrue rumours circulating on social media. In order to try to limit this sort of thing, the NEC unanimously agreed to a number of measures. NEC members will hand over electronic devices during meetings. This is standard practice for meetings like the Clause V manifesto meeting and meetings like the selection of a new general secretary. Extending this to other NEC meetings was seen as a positive step. There are also plans to limit non-NEC member attendance at meetings and plans to review the format and timings of meetings. Personally I would like to see meetings take place on weekends, which would be easier for us NEC members who work full time.
A special disputes committee meeting took place on 4th September, which cleared the backlog of outstanding cases. Where necessary, cases have been referred to the NCC for hearings. Plans are being considered to improve the disciplinary process once cases reach the NCC.
The NEC reconfirmed its support for the IHRA definition of antisemitism, as originally agreed at Jeremy Corbyn’s request at a meeting in December 2016. The NEC clarified that Labour are adopting the IHRA definition in full including all 11 examples. Continue reading →
The following report covers July’s full NEC and sub-committee meetings:
Jeremy Corbyn gave the Leader’s Report to the full NEC. Jeremy talked about Labour’s approach to Brexit and the work to hold the government to account. Labour’s priorities include protecting jobs, living standards, worker’s rights, consumer rights, the environment and future opportunities for young people. Labour opposed a hard border in Northern Ireland and wants to continue to have a strong relationship with Europe and be welcoming to European citizens. The MPs had to leave the full NEC meeting early for several key parliamentary votes. Jeremy made the point that the government could collapse at any time and Labour would be ready to fight the next election whenever it takes place. Jon Trickett is leading work within the Shadow Cabinet on preparing policies for government, based on the popular 2017 manifesto. Jeremy also spoke about his recent activity campaigning around the country, attending trade union conferences and other key political events. He also spoke about recent moving trips to refugee camps and his international trips, where he emphasized the importance of fighting austerity, warning that when the left fails to challenge austerity it created a void, which can be filled by the far right. Continue reading →
Jeremy Corbyn was unable to attend the May NEC meeting as he was in Manchester for the events to commemorate the tragic Manchester Arena bombing. The NEC observed a minutes silence for the victims of the attack and sent our solidarity to the people of Manchester.
Deputy Leader’s Report
Tom Watson gave the Deputy Leader’s Report. He described May’s council elections as his recent top priority. Tom, Jeremy and members of the shadow cabinet have been campaigning around the country. Tom praised the positive spirit of unity showed by activists and councillors campaigning in the elections. New and longstanding members worked together for a Labour victory in the local elections and the next general election (whenever that will take place). Tom also praised the role trade unions played in mobilising voters, particularly in London.
Tom touched on recent events in parliament, including the betrayal of victims of phone hacking and data theft, plus the victory for the campaign against fixed-odds betting terminals. Tom Watson praised Diane Abbott’s response to the Windrush scandal. He talked about recent visits to Brussels to discuss Brexit, including its impact on food security and the UK’s creative industries.
Tom then took questions on a range of topics including antisemitism, parliamentary discipline, Brexit, immigration, the proposed Sainsbury’s-Asda merger, the parliamentary enquiry into sexual harassment, the Lewisham by-election, increasing diversity in national and local government, the local elections, engaging young members and the UCU pension’s dispute.