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. The statement welcomes trans women standing in All Women Shortlists. The statement will be finalised at a future NEC meeting. The NEC is aware that for some this is a sensitive and emotive issue. We want members to feel they can debate and discuss sensitive and/or potentially controversial issues respectfully. Personal abuse of any kind, whether online or in person, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Sexual Harassment 

The NEC noted the report from Labour Too, which contained harrowing allegations of sexism and abuse. Labour takes this extremely seriously and is conducting an internal review. There is a new, confidential reporting system for allegations of sexual abuse. The reports are fully anonymous and details of the allegations are not shared with the wider Disputes Committee. Labour has dramatically improved the way it responds to allegations of sexual harassment but there is still more to do for all political parties to ensure that this behaviour has no place in politics or public life.

Democracy Review

Katy Clarke gave a presentation about the ongoing work on the Labour Party democracy review. She and her team have attended over 60 meetings across the country. Members are encourage to invite Katy and her colleagues to attend local CLP or Labour Group meetings. It is particularly important to hear from members and Councillors across the UK. Further information about the democracy review is available at  https://labour.org.uk/about/democracy-review-2017/.

Disciplinary procedures

The Disputes Committee agreed to a review of Labour’s Complaints and Disciplinary procedures. A working group will be established to take this forward.

Parliamentary Selections

As of 6 March, 43 prospective parliamentary candidates had been selected in key marginal seats. The NEC reviewed the selection process so far and reviewed the code of conduct for candidates. The NEC discussed spending limits and the importance of having a process that was as accessible as possible to people from all backgrounds. A Bursary scheme will also be available to help support candidates on low-incomes.

The NEC is aware that members are keen to select candidates in non-key seats and we would like to begin this process as soon as is realistic. The NEC is aware that the next general election could take place anytime from this year to 2022. If the general election does take place in 2022 this will place additional pressure on candidates.

2018 Local Elections

I attended a meeting with Councillors, staff and Andrew Gwynne and Ian Lavery to discuss May’s crucial Council elections. The meeting discussed the national campaign strategy, key messages, voter and member mobilisation, differential turnout, key themes and training and support for volunteers. Key themes include local government funding and Tory cuts to Council budgets, housing, education, community safety and damaging Tory police cuts, health and the NHS and living standards. Jeremy Corbyn has stressed that every Labour Councillor elected brings us a step closer to a Labour government and ending austerity.

General Secretary Election

The NEC will elect Labour’s next General Secretary at the NEC meeting on 20 March. Whoever is elected, the NEC and Labour family will continue to work together to win elections and articulate Labour’s positive vision for our communities across the UK.

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