Increasing diversity in local government through extending the use of AWS

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

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Local Government Reps 2018 Annual NEC Report

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

Making Islington a Fairer Place for All – 2018 Manifesto

Islington is a wonderful place, but we know that too many people struggle to have decent housing, are out of work and do not have the same chances in life as others.

We are committed to making our borough a fairer place for all by tackling these issues.

Our ‘Making Islington a Fairer Place for All’ manifesto for the 2018 local elections, which will take place on 3rd May 2018, sets out a radical agenda for the borough’s future.

Between 2018 and 2022, we will –

  • 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.

Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – 20 March 2018

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 NEC Report – 6 March 2018

The NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committees met on 6 March 2018 to discuss a range of topics:

Increasing Diversity in local and national government

I recently blogged about ideas Labour are discussing to increase diversity in local government. This continues to be an important area of work for the NEC. We want our elected representatives to reflect our diverse communities and want to encourage more women, BAME, disabled, LGBT and working class people to stand for election at all levels of the party.

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.

Trans inclusion

The NEC Equalities Committee discussed the latest draft of the statement about trans inclusion in the Labour Party. Continue reading

Ideas to improve diversity in local government

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.

Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – 23 January 2018

Leader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn began his report by wishing Margaret Beckett a happy 75th birthday. He spoke about the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People’s Act. He paid tribute to inspirational campaigners and activists who fought for universal suffrage. He noted that he spoke about his personal admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft in a recent BBC programme celebrating the centenary. Jeremy also noted that the NEC was over 50% female with a record number of BAME representatives. He spoke of Labour’s clear commitment to increasing diversity of our political representatives at both local and national levels.

Jeremy also talked about the NHS crisis, the subject of a recent party political broadcast. Jeremy also spoke about Carillion and how the subsequent collapse highlights the deep flaws in the Tory’s privatisation agenda. Jeremy described the scandal as a watershed moment in the relationship between public services and privatisation. Jeremy talked about Labour’s work preparing for government and setting out Labour’s positive vision for Britain. He talked about Brexit and the EU, as well as the damaging impact the roll out of universal credit has had on many communities.

Finally, Jeremy spoked about international human rights, refugees and forced migrants around the world. There are 66 million UN recognised refugees escaping conflict, environmental disasters and climate change. Jeremy said that Britain ought to be leading the world in supporting refugees and challenging the causes of the global migrant crisis such as inequality, poverty and climate change. Continue reading