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 →
build at least 550 new council homes, as we deliver 1,900 new genuinely affordable homes by 2022, and crack down on rogue private landlords.
support another 4,000 local people into good quality jobs, guarantee support for young people to get apprenticeships and pay all Council staff at least the real London Living Wage.
give all young people in Islington the best start in life, guarantee 100 hours of work-related experience by 16 and invest in targeted support for those at risk of turning to crime.
save people money on the cost of living through Council-run energy provider Angelic Energy, protect free school meals for all primary and nursery school pupils and keep Council Tax below the London average.
still make a difference with less – despite massive cuts by the Tory Government to the Council, we will protect essential services like weekly bin collections, keep all libraries open and maintain support services for older residents.
The Labour NEC met on 20 March. The main item of business was to elect a new General Secretary. There were also updates about the 2018 local elections and the usual reports and agenda items.
Thanking Iain McNicol
Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC sincerely thanked Iain McNicol for his work, friendship and service to the Labour Party. Everyone also thanked the outgoing members of staff. NEC members shared their warm memories of working together over the years. Jeremy made the point that we never really say goodbye to former members of staff as they remain important and active members of the Labour family and we will continue to work together for our shared values and goals. Iain reflected on his time as General Secretary, an eventful period that included two General Elections, two Referendums, two Labour Leadership elections and many important local elections. Key achievements included paying off all of Labour’s historic debt and the rapid growth in membership. Iain and the outgoing members of staff received a standing ovation from the NEC and the very best wishes for the future. Continue reading →
Labour will shortly be launching the Bernie Grant Initiative, a leadership and candidate training programme for BAME members similar to the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme. There will also be “Be a Councillor” events to encourage trade unionists, women, BAME members, disabled members, LGBT and young people to stand to be Councillors. I recently attended one of these events for GMB shop stewards in Liverpool – it was inspiring and exciting to meet so many excellent future candidates and Councillors.
The NEC Equalities Committee discussed the latest draft of the statement about trans inclusion in the Labour Party. Continue reading →
For many years, the Labour Party has been working hard to ensure our elected representatives reflect the diversity of the communities we represent. Recent initiatives have focused on increasing the number of Labour MPs and Councillors that are female, BAME, LGBT, disabled and/or from working-class backgrounds.
Discussing Labour’s democracy review at the local government conference
A recent 2017 report by the Fawcett Society and the Local Government Information Unit looked at a number of issues facing women in local government. Following on from this work, a cross-party group from local and national government is considering the changes that could be made to improve diversity and encourage more people from traditionally under-represented groups to stand to be councillors.
The Labour Party’s asks to government include:
Introduce maternity, paternity and carers’ leave for all councillors.
Restore councillors’ access to pensions and consider a fair system for allowances so people from all backgrounds can afford to stand to be councillors.
Remove councillors’ home addresses from ballot papers, replacing them with “address in xx ward”.
Increase resources and funding for security at councillors’ surgeries. No one should be threatened or attacked while carrying out their duties.
Tough action to tackle online abuse, which puts off many people from getting involved in politics or public life. This includes making social media companies take responsibility for some of the appalling abuse that takes place on their sites.
Amend the all-women shortlist legislation to allow for AWS selections for directly elected mayoral posts. Labour is also considering whether it should also amend this legislation to allow for all-BAME shortlists.
Increase awareness of the role of a councillor, the positive difference councillors make to our communities, how you can successfully balance it with other commitments and how to get involved and stand.