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.
For the first time in Islington’s history, over 50 per cent of our councillors are women. This landmark achievement was the result of long-term measures and commitment to increasing diversity. This included significantly increasing the number of candidates selected by all-women shortlists (AWS), as well as a lot of hard work by our local campaign forum (LCF) and CLP women’s forums to identify, train and support talented people interested in local government.
Somewhat predictably, when we celebrated this achievement online we received a barrage of negative comments suggesting this was sexist to men, that identity politics is stupid and what really matters is selecting/electing the best person for the job.
A strong commitment to AWS is something that unites every Labour NEC member. Continue reading →
The last 12 months have been very busy for Labour’s National Executive Committee. The sudden general election meant the years of work that usually go into selecting candidates and writing a manifesto had to be completed in weeks. We were proud of our role in drafting the 2017 manifesto, which showcased some popular policies pioneered by local Councils and presenting the country with Labour’s positive vision for Britain to counter Tory negativity and gloom.
The NEC also oversaw a leadership election in Scotland and a Deputy Leader election in Wales. We said goodbye to General Secretary Iain McNicol, who has always been a good friend to local government, and welcomed new GS Jennie Formby. We voted for Jennie and look forward to working with her to deliver the key priorities for the year ahead.
Priorities for the NEC following the snap general election last June have been: Continue reading →