Labour NEC Report – March 2019

Alice Perry Jeremy CorbynThe March NEC meeting discussed a range of issues including elections, selections, improving processes and Brexit.

Increasing Diveristy in Local Government

March’s Organisational Committee agreed a range of measures to improve diversity at all levels in local government. Labour will undertake equality monitoring of Councillors and candidates standing for election. Labour will invest in training and will offer more programmes aimed at recruiting candidates, as well as leadership training like the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and the new Bernie Grant Leadership Programme. BAME members are encouraged to apply for the Bernie Grant Programme at https://labour.org.uk/members/take-part/bernie-grant-leadership-programme/. Labour will also ensure existing Equalities rules, including those relating to selections, are enforced.

Baby Leave

Councils and Labour Groups around the country are passing baby Leave motions. Thank you to Southampton, Sunderland, Islington, Lambeth, Blackpool, Corby, Calderdale, Lincoln, Gloucester, Stevenage, Newcastle, Bristol, Bridgend, Staffordshire, Erewash, North Warwickshire, Lewisham, Basildon, Haringey and Bolsover. More Councils are planning to introduce Baby Leave after May’s elections. You can encourage your local group to pass the LGA model motion at https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-labour/about-us/parental-leave-policy-councillors.

Brexit

EPLP Leader Richard Corbett might have attended his last Labour NEC meeting if Britain leaves the EU before the next meeting in May. Richard presented a written report, which he joked was written 9 days ago so is completely out of date.

Jeremy Corbyn introduced the Brexit discussion, updating the NEC about his recent trip to Brussels. Jeremy condemned Theresa May’s failure to build consensus around her deal. Labour will continue to draft amendments and put forward our own vision for Brexit. Jeremy stressed the importance of preventing a chaotic no deal Brexit. The NEC is very aware that the government could collapse at any time resulting in a General Election. Labour would then need to move quickly to produce a manifesto that reflected Labour’s position on Brexit, incorporating last year’s conference motion.

I asked about candidate selections if European Parliamentary Elections take place late this year. NEC Officers will consider options and produce a plan.

Leader and Deputy Leader Reports

As well as a lengthy and thoughtful Brexit update, Jeremy gave his report covering items including countering the rise of the far-right across the world, the Christchurch terror attack, the local elections and the impact of reckless Tory austerity, as well as the importance of a Labour government to restore funding to valued public services.

Tom Watson gave a report covering recent activities, including work relating to his Shadow Cabinet brief, his meetings with JLM ahead of their vote on Labour affiliation, and the formation of the Future Britain Group in response to TIG. A lively Q&A followed.

Labour’s Finances

Labour’s finances are healthy, with millions of pounds ring-fenced to fight a General Election should one take place.

Local Elections

Best of luck to everyone standing for election in May. The NEC asked for CLPs to be made aware of target seats so they can join campaigning. You can find local campaign events at https://events.labour.org.uk.

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Labour NEC Report – January 2019

Brexit

Richard Corbett gave the EPLP Report, with a detailed update on Brexit and the mood in the European Parliament. The NEC considered practical issues that might arise if the deadline for leaving the EU is extended, including possible European Parliamentary elections and candidate selections. Jeremy Corbyn gave a further update in his Leader’s Report. There was a discussion about Brexit and various scenarios that could arise (the most preferable being a General Election). The MPs on the NEC had to leave the meeting early to take part in important Brexit votes. Jeremy pointed out how the Labour amendments reflect the position as agreed by Conference.

Membership

Labour membership continues to be over 500,000. Membership has being stable for several years. Continuing to engage all members, retain members and reach out to new members of members that have lapsed, is a key priority.

Preparing for a snap General Election

Labour has stepped up preparations for a snap General Election should one take place. It was agreed that all the selections should be completed as soon as possible in every seat in the country (and not just the key marginal seats). The NEC also discussed the importance of our parliamentary candidates reflecting the diversity of the UK.

In his Report Tom Watson asked about the process for trigger ballots for current MPs. He encouraged the NEC to consider and agree the process and timetable.

Police and Crime Commissioners, Metro Mayors and the London Assembly

The NEC agreed the process for selections and reselections of Police and Crime Commissioners, Metro Mayors and the London Assembly. There was consensus that the NEC would like Labour to stand candidates that reflect the UK population, including more women and BAME candidates standing for be Mayors and PCCs. I also raised the importance of realistic spending limits for the selections so a wide variety of candidates can afford to stand.

Baby Leave

An impressive number of Councils are passing motions to give Councillors parental leave. The LGA Labour Women’s Leadership Taskforce has developed a model baby Leave motion – if your Council does not have any parental leave provisions please encourage your Councillors to bring this to their Labour Group and Full Council. Further information is available at https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-labour/about-us/parental-leave-policy-councillors.

Local Election Campaign

Important local government elections are taking place this May. This includes 33 Metropolitan districts, 168 District authorities and 47 unitaries. There are Mayoral elections in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesborough, as well as the North of Tyne Metro Mayor Election. Labour is also using the local elections to build support in key parliamentary seats.

Labour NEC Report – 27 November

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.

Membership

Labour has around d 530,000 members. Membership has been stable since the huge increase in members a few years ago. Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – 20 November 2018

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

Labour NEC Report – 18 September

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

Labour NEC Report – 4 September 2018

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.

Tackling antisemitism

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

Labour NEC Report – July 2018

The following report covers July’s full NEC and sub-committee meetings:

Leader’s Report

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