Report from April’s Emergency NEC meeting

The Labour NEC met that day after the General Election was announced to discuss candidate selection, campaign strategy, the manifesto and party finances.

Jeremy Corbyn and NEC Chair Glenis Willmott began the meeting with a positive message of hope and unity. The General Election is a chance for Labour to frame the debate on the kind of society people want to live in. The NEC noted that Labour policies are popular with the public and supported by people across the Labour movement. Jeremy said that he wanted everyone to be involved in the election, showcasing “team Labour” throughout the media. Jeremy also spoke about the importance of mobilising voters, particularly younger people who are traditionally less likely to vote and who could decide the election. The election is a chance for Labour to reach out to the whole country and demonstrate that we are listening to voters and addressing their concerns.

No progressive alliances or coalitions Continue reading

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Labour NEC Report- March 2017

Labour’s NEC met on 21 March. Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson and the NEC agreed that party unity and the upcoming elections are the key priorities for all of us. The NEC endorsed Jeremy and Tom’s joint statement on party unity. We are committed to moving forward together, focusing on addressing the issues that matter most to the public and achieving the best possible results for Labour in May’s elections.

Leader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn reported on Labour’s reaction to the budget and his meeting with the Federation of small businesses in Torquay. He also spoke about Brexit and the triggering of article 50, the importance of retaining tariff free access and membership of the customs union and preparations for forthcoming elections. Jeremy thanked the many, many members from across the party who campaigned in Copeland and Stoke Central. There followed a discussion on a number of topics including reaction to the Stoke and Copeland by-election results, the role of social media in campaigning, taking on UKIP, the Conservatives and SNP, possible visits to South Asia and/or the Caribbean, Brexit and the role that local government and devolved governments in Scotland and Wales should play in the negotiations, as well as Labour’s own vision for the UK outside the EU.

Labour’s reaction to a second Independence Referendum in Scotland

Jeremy Corbyn was clear that Labour does not support a second independence referendum in Scotland and is committed to defending the union and Scotland’s important place within the UK. Jeremy said it was clear there is no credible case for a second independence referendum and that the case for Scottish independence is not economically credible, particularly given the fall in oil prices. Jeremy reminded the NEC that the SNP “talk left in Westminster” but their own record in government does not match their rhetoric.

Deputy Leader’s Report

Tom Watson gave an update on the Scottish Labour Conference and the local government conference. He talked about the important role Councillors play demonstrating the positive difference voting Labour makes. Tom also talked about the Future of Work Commission. Tom is working with Usdaw to survey their members about the impact of automation and wearable technology in their workplaces. Tom is meeting with Matthew Taylor to discuss his review into the Gig economy. Both Jeremy and Tom look forward to campaigning together across the country in the run-up to important local government elections in May. Continue reading

Labour NEC: Report from the JPC, Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committees

This report includes updates from the March NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisation Committee meetings, as well as the National Policy Forum Joint Policy Committee meeting.

Policy Consultation

The Joint Policy Committee is the body which has strategic oversight for Labour’s policy development and acts as the steering group for the National Policy Forum. March’s JPC meeting agreed the policy consultation documents that will be sent to members and local parties shortly. Consultations will run in the coming months and will contribute to the policy documents prepared for the Labour Party Conference in September. The full National Policy Forum will be meet on 1 and 2 July somewhere in the North of England (I suggested Blackpool). The GMB’s Cath Speight was elected Chair of the JPC. I have written a guide to how the National Policy Forum works and how members can get involved.

New Powers for Labour Women’s Conference

The 2017 Labour Party Women’s Conference will play a formal role in the policy-making process for the first time in decades. The NEC is working through the details of how this will work. An interim Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee was approved. Members of this committee are:

  • Ann Black, NEC Equalities Vice-Chair Women and NEC CLP representative
  • Cath Speight and Diana Holland, NEC Trade Union Representatives
  • Alice Perry, NEC Local Government Representative
  • Jasmin Beckett, NEC Youth Representative
  • Shabana Mahmood, NEC Rep and NPF Vice Chair

Continue reading

Do you want to be a Councillor?

The Fabian Women’s Network have launched an excellent new booklet full of practical tips and information for people wanting to stand to be Councillors. This is part of a drive to encourage more women to stand for election, but the information is useful to anyone interesting in knowing more about what is involved in being a Councillor.

Download the Fabian Women’s Network Be a Councillor publication

The Local Government Association have a wealth of useful information on their website and regularly run “Be a Councillor” training courses. Being a Councillor is a lot of work but is also very rewarding and a great way to serve your community.

Labour NEC Report – January 2017

Leader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn’s NEC report included updates on Labour’s response to Brexit, opposing a second Independence Referendum in Scotland, reaction to the election of Donald Trump, the rise of fake news and how this is changing politics, post-liberalism, the women’s marches around the world, engaging people with politics, Melanie Onn and Keir Starmer’s private members bill protecting workers rights, investing in infrastructure to grow the economy and the cynicism and hypocrisy of the Liberal Democrats.

Labour’s response to Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn discussed the recent Supreme Court judgment, saying “The Government has today been forced by the Supreme Court to accept the sovereignty of Parliament. Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50.

“However, Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe. Labour is demanding a plan from the Government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given Parliamentary approval.”

Protecting the NHS

img_7204The NEC welcomed back Jon Ashworth, who gave an update about the NHS crisis in England and Scotland. He noted that this winter has seen the worst NHS crisis for 20 years. The NHS in England has run out of beds on 108 occasions and is regularly failing to meet the four hour A&E waiting time target. Tory and SNP government decisions have led to huge pressures on the NHS in England and Scotland, made worst by their cuts to social care. Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Labour have been working closely Jon and Jeremy to expose the SNP’s poor record on health.

Jon highlighted the enormous contributions workers from the EU make to the NHS and the care sector. Jon and Jeremy thanked the thousands of Labour members across the country who have taken part in NHS campaign action days. Last Saturday’s #CarefortheNHS day reached over 10 million people on Twitter.

The NEC were also reminded of comments made Stoke-on-Trent Central UKIP by-election candidate Paul Nuttall about his desire to privatise the NHS.

Policy

Ann Cryer, Chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum, gave an update on policy making. I have written a guide to how the NPF works and how members can get involved. Policy Commission meetings are taking place in January and February to agree first drafts of the policy documents that will eventually be put before Labour Party Conference in September. Labour members and voters will be asked to feed in to this process and take part in consultations. I will be Chairing meetings of the Home Affairs and Justice Policy Commission, which will look at issues like policing, community safety, prisons, domestic and gender based violence, historic justice campaigns, national security, immigration and constitutional matters. You can read more about the work of the NPF, and make policy submissions online at http://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/.

Progressive Alliances and electoral pacts

Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC confirmed opposition to so called “progressive alliances”, with Jeremy and others agreeing that parties like the SNP and the Liberal Democrats are not progressive. Continue reading

Labour NEC: Report from January’s Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committee meetings

Labour NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committee meetings took place on Tuesday 17th January. The NEC discussed the following:

Women’s Conference

Labour Party Conference in September agreed to give policy-making powers to Women’s Conference. Members and affiliates will be able to send delegates to Women’s Conference to discuss and debate policy. Women’s Conference will still be open to everyone interested in attending with the hope that it will retain its lively, informal and welcoming atmosphere. In 2017 Women’s Conference will take place immediately before the national conference in September. The NEC Women’s Conference Working Group, chaired by Ann Black, is considering whether Women’s Conference should be moved to the Spring in future years to be a standalone conference. We will be consulting members to see which option will be preferable.

Increasing Women’s representation in politics

Jess Philips presented the Women and Equalities Committee report on Women in the House of Commons after the 2020 report to the NEC Equalities Committee. This cross-party report calls on all political parties to committee to having at least 45% of female candidates for Parliament and local government elections by 2030. The Equalities Committee noted the recent NEC commitment to expand the use of All Women Shortlists in local government selections and consider ways to make parliament and local government more family friendly. The Jo Cox Foundation will support some of this important work. The NEC also discussed the importance of maintaining the proportion of female and BAME MPs following possible Boundary changes.

Improving political representation of disabled people

The NEC Equalities Committee discussed the ongoing work to improve political representation of disabled people at all levels. A consultation on LGBT and disabled issues has been circulated to CLP Secretaries and relevant CLP officers. Please do get in touch if with staff you have any questions about this or want to make a submission.

Report from the Women’s PLP and Shadow Equalities team

Jess Philips talked about the forthcoming Women’s PLP campaigns, which will include campaigns around childcare, maternity and paternity rights, women in the economy, the impact of Brexit and austerity of women and protecting our rights at work. Continue reading

Tackling anti-Semitism: Report from special Labour NEC Equalities Committee meeting

anti-semitism-report-330x440A special meeting of the NEC equalities committee took place on Monday to discuss tackling anti-Semitism and other abusive behaviour. Labour has a proud tradition of fighting racism and standing up for equality. The NEC and Labour leadership is committed to tackling all forms of bullying and harassment and improving our own internal complaints and disciplinary processes.

The growth in social media has also sadly lead to a rise in abusive behaviour online. Jeremy Corbyn told the meeting that online abuse is as unacceptable as abuse in any other forum, and possibly worse because the abuse is often very public. Labour has devised a new social media code of conduct for members to help address this.

Labour is reviewing our complaints and disciplinary processes to make things as clear, quick, fair, transparent and accessible as possible. Labour also welcomed and agreed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which Theresa May announced the UK government will sign up to: Continue reading