elections, the recent election campaign and reports from the Acting-Leader and General Secretary. Our NEC report focuses on the topics and discussions most relevant/of interest to local government.
Reflecting on the election results
There was a wide ranging discussion about the disappointing General Election results across the UK. The NEC thanked all the parliamentary candidates, Councillors, members and supporters who had campaigned so hard in the elections. The NEC agreed the terms of reference for a special Task Force to understand why the campaign was unsuccessful and to learn the lessons from the defeat. This Task Force will take in views of candidates, members, Councillors and the wider public from across the country.
There were some bright spots to the bleak results, including the election of over 50 new MPs from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds. Labour had mixed results in the local government elections in England:
158 total councils taken, +30 change in councils
5,266 total seats taken, +505 change in councillors
73 total councils taken, -3 change in councils
2,202 total seats taken, -187 change in councillors
4 total councils taken, -4 change in councils
624 total seats taken, -373 change in councillors
1 total council taken, +1 change in councils
199 total seats taken, +175 change in councillors
0 total councils taken, -1 change in councils
84 total seats taken, +9 change in councillors
The Task Force will reflect on May’s local election results and what lessons can be learned for the future. A big thank you once again to everyone who took part in the local elections and congratulations to our new and re-elected Councillors.
Fighting Local Government cuts
Since May 2010 local government has had its funding dramatically cut. Many Councils have had their funding cut by 50% or more. This majority Conservative Government seeks to continue to cut Councils even further and puts vital public services at risk. These cuts are unsustainable and threaten services across the board, including in education, health, social care, fostering and adoption and community safety. We called on colleagues across the Labour movement to work together with Local Government to defend the vital public services our communities rely on. We look forward to working closely with Trade Unions, MPs and others to fight for a fairer deal for local government.
Electing a new Leader
The timetable and processes for electing a new Leader and Deputy Leader were addressed at the Special meeting of the NEC on Wednesday 13 May. Further information on this process is available at http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/how-to-vote-for-our-next-leader-and-deputy-leader.
There will be hustings events throughout the UK and it is hoped that the public, members and Councillors will be part of the debate. The Leadership candidates will be tested on how well they reach out and engage with the public. The NEC agreed with the Acting Leader that it is important for all the Leadership candidates and Labour’s front bench to work together to hold the Conservative Government to account. It is healthy as a party that we engage in mature discussions about our future and recent past, but this should not prevent us from fulfilling our role in Opposition. The NEC is reviewing the processes for electing a new Leader of the Scottish Labour party. This will probably follow a similar process and timetable to the other internal elections.
Other Internal Party Elections
A number of internal elections will take place alongside the Leader and Deputy Leader elections, including the election for Labour’s candidate for London Mayor and other Mayoral elections. There are elections for the members of the National Policy Forum elections, where members can vote for regional representatives. Nominations are also now open for the Association of Labour Councillors representatives and local government representatives on the National Policy Forum.
2020 Parliamentary Selections
The NEC also discussed parliamentary selections for the 2020 General Election. This process will be informed by the findings of the Task Force. The NEC recognised the tremendous effort and personal sacrifice made by Labour PPCs across the country. It is not yet clear whether selecting candidates early made a significant difference to their election prospects. With the parliamentary boundaries likely to change, the general mood was not to rush into selecting candidates for 2020. There was also wide support for deciding on which constituencies would have All Women Shortlists at the same time, rather than on an ad hoc basis.
Labour Party Membership
Over 37,000 have joined the Labour Party since the General Election. It is fantastic to see tens of thousands of people signing up to join the party and be part of our renewal. People can sign-up up https://join.labour.org.uk/. The fight back starts here!