Tag Archives: Councillors

Labour NEC Report – 19 May

Labour’s national executive committee met via Zoom today. The NEC thanked outgoing general secretary Jennie Formby for her service.

Leader’s report

Keir Starmer talked about his work holding the government to account during the Covid-19 pandemic. He talked about Labour’s work challenging the government on a range of key issues, including selective use of statistics, the furlough and self-employment scheme and lack of personal protective equipment for key workers. Keir talked about 40% of Covid deaths being in care homes, where the crisis has been absolutely shocking. Keir talked about how Labour is pressing the government hard on safety in the work place, transport and schools. Labour is doing a wide consultation with trade union and local government to ensure the experiences of the pandemic across the UK are reflected and raised.

Keir has been holding virtual meetings around the country with local communities. These have included a number of open meetings with local people, including current and former Labour voters, to listen and rebuild trust. The first meetings took place in Bury and Tees valley.

The NEC then asked questions on a range of issues, including: uniting party, Kashmir, the urgent need for financial support for local government, Covid-19, deaths in care homes, support for renters, reopening schools, surveillance testing and contact tracing, the impact of the pandemic on mental health, party discipline, safety of bus workers and other transport workers, the impact of Covid on BAME communities, funding for TFL, the economy, the importance of resisting future austerity and digital inclusion.

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Care about your community and want to make a difference? Stand to be a Councillor

Labour may be out of government in Westminster, but we are in power in Wales, and in hundreds of towns and cities throughout the UK. Every day, our councillors in both Labour run authorities and in opposition, fly the flag for Labour values and make a meaningful difference to our local communities.

Being a councillor is a lot of work, but is extremely rewarding. It is an honour to be elected to stand up for your community. And it is important that our elected representatives mirror the diversity and experiences of the communities we come from.

There is lots we have been doing as a party, and more we can do, to encourage more people to get involved and stand to be councillors. This includes supporting more women, BAME candidates, people from working class backgrounds, LGBT and disabled people to stand for election.

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NEC Away-day Report – January 2020

Reflecting on the General Election defeat

The 2019 General Election was a disaster. The result was devastating on many levels. Labour gained the lowest number of Parliamentary sears since 1945, losing many seats that had been Labour held for generations.

The Labour NEC began conversations about why Labour lost and where we go from here. In order to do this we need to be open and honest with ourselves and each other. We need to resist temptation to try to select facts that support our world view, ignoring other fact that inconveniently do not. It can be hard to do this in a highly politicised climate and particularly during a leadership election. Nevertheless, it was a good start to discussions. A special NEC meeting will be scheduled to allowed more detailed conversions and will include the new Leadership team.

NEC member contributions included questions and comments on strategy, seat targeting, resource allocation, candidate selection, messaging and communications, policy, the relationship between community organising and traditional door step canvassing, Brexit, leadership, the role of the media, demographic of members compared to demographic of voters, the future of the UK as a union, the echo chamber of social media and more. Continue reading

“Two of our Councillors has their cars set on fire…”

“Two of our Councillors had their cars set on fire, totally burned out” one Councillor leader told the LGA Labour Group, as we discussed the rise in abuse faced by elected representatives.

Dramatic as it seems, everyone had a story from their patch. Threats of violence, rape threats, death threats, bricks through windows, stalking, sexual harassment, Councillors attacked at their ward surgeries and more. This kind of abuse can have a damaging impact on people’s mental and physical health and can also have a negative impact on people’s families and personal relationships. While it certainly isn’t the day to day experience for most of the UKs thousands of Councillors, it is a very worrying trend. Any instances of violence and intimidation are completely unacceptable and too many Councillors had experienced this first hand.

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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

Maternity and Paternity leave for Councillors

A number of Councils have formal or informal arrangements to allow Councillors to take maternity and paternity leave. I was involved in drafting my Council’s policy.

You can view our policy here.

You can view the Manchester Labour Group policy here.

You can also view  Camden’s policy online at http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/documents/s51723/PART%206%20Members%20Allowance%20Scheme.pdf.

If your Council has a maternity/paternity policy please do get in touch and share it with me. It would be great to collect and share best practice in this area.

NEC Report – Labour Party Conference 2016

Congratulations to Jeremey Corbyn

The NEC congratulated Jeremy Corbyn on his re-election as Labour Leader. Leadership elections are resource intensive and tiring for everyone. While there are always lessons to be learned on how any process like this is administered, we look forward to moving on, uniting behind Jeremy and campaigning on the issues that matter most to our communities. Preparing for a possible snap General Election is now also a top priority.

Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 policy pledges

The NEC unanimously agreed Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 policy pledges on topics like health, housing, education, protecting the environment and building a stronger economy and fairer society. You can read the full text online. Labour’s National Policy Forum will now consider how these pledges can be delivered, costed and form a General Election manifesto.

NEC Rule Changes

The NEC meeting on 20 September agreed a package of rule changes that were put to the 2016 Labour Party Conference. All but one rule change was unanimously agreed. There was a disagreement about the implementation of the one aspect of a rule changes in the devolution section. Everyone on the NEC supported giving Scottish and Welsh Labour more power, influence and autonomy. Currently the Leader of the Scottish and Welsh Labour Parties are able to attend NEC meetings but do not have full voting rights.img_4406

The new plans grant the Leaders (or someone they appoint from their front bench) full NEC membership and voting rights. This is a longstanding issue that for many years Scottish and Welsh Labour have campaigned for. In Scotland and Wales it is not viewed as a left/right issue. While Labour is in government Wales, we face enormous challenges in Scotland rebuilding the party and winning back trust. These new powers should help this important work and demonstrate how seriously we take winning back Scotland and supporting our government in Wales.

We also agreed to give more powers to Labour Women’s Conference, a change lead by Ann Black, Chair of the Gender Representation Party Reform work. This was welcomed across the party as an important step forward.

Party Reform: Support for Councillors

Last November, Labour started a process to reform our structures so we better reflect and represent our local communities. Continue reading

Thank you for re-electing me to the NEC

Thank you so much to everyone who voted, nominated and supported me. I am so honoured to be re-elected to the Labour NEC. Whatever the future holds for us, I will always stand up for Councillors and Labour in local government.

I am delighted that the LGA Labour Group Leader Nick Forbes has also been elected. We will always do our best for you.

The full results are given below:

Labour NEC Report – July 2016

This report covers the NEC meetings on 12 and 19 July. An enormous amount has already been written about last week’s emergency NEC meeting. (I recommend reading Ann Black’s NEC report, which accurately cover the meeting on 12 July.)

Ambiguity about the rules

As everyone knows, there was unhelpful ambiguity regarding the rules determining whether an incumbent Labour Leader would atomically be able to stand in a leadership election or whether they would need the nominations of MPs and MEPs. It is worth pointing out that the NEC were not voting on whether or not to block Jeremy Corbyn, or whether they supported his leadership. I made the point that while I expected the NEC to vote to include him automatically, if we didn’t, it was likely that he would receive the necessary number of nominations in order to allow him to stand. I felt that the drama around the meeting was unnecessary and unhelpful. It was a tense and difficult day for everyone (and much of this would have been avoided if the rules have been written more clearly in the first place).

Bullying, threats and intimidation

The NEC uses secret ballots for its most important decisions, such as voting on who should be General Secretary of the Labour Party. In local government we regularly use secret ballots for our AGMs and other significant internal votes. Secret ballots help guard against the politics of patronage. During the debate on whether to use secret ballots on 12 July, a number of people, including me, raised concerns about bullying, threats and intimidation, both within the Labour Party and the country as a whole.

I have written about the existential threat posed by these growing cases of intimidation, abuse and vitriol – if we want to be taken seriously as a political party we must take action to end this now.

I am pleased to have had several positive conversations with other NEC members, including Jeremy Corbyn, about how we can deal with this problem. The sad fact is some MPs, Councillors and activists have had to call the police about numerous deeply troubling incidents, which left people fearing for their personal safety. Dealing with this must be a priority for us. The recommendations by Shami Chakrarbti on 19th July should also help address this. I look forward to working with everyone on the NEC to make sure the Labour Party is a welcoming place, where people can debate and discuss different views in a constructive, open environment. I will report back on how this work progresses.

Keeping things in perspective

A media frenzy followed the meeting on 12 July. Some reports of our confidential meeting were surprisingly accurate, while others were complete fabrications. While I won’t address all of these stories, I feel the need to address the accusation about Owen Jones intimidating NEC members. I exchanged a friendly series of text messages with Owen during the meeting. I found his text messages to be helpful, kind and not remotely intimidated. We all received many texts, emails and telephone calls prior to the meeting on 12 July from people with a variety of opinions. People across the party were concerned for the future and had views they wanted to discuss. I welcomed this. This is not the kind of intimidating behaviour I was referring to earlier. It goes without saying that there is a big difference between healthy, passionate debate, and throwing a brick through someone’s window, or threatening to rape them, because you don’t agree with their point of view.

Leadership election process

A lot has been written about this already. I hope it is helpful to point out the following: Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – May 2016

Vote LabourLeader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn spoke about the EU Referendum and the importance of securing membership of the EU to protect jobs, the economy and our rights at work.

Jeremy spoke about May’s election results. He praised the various election successes, including the Mayoral election results in London and Bristol. In London hope trumped fear with voters rejecting racist, Tory smears to make history by electing Sadiq Khan. Jeremy highlighted the historical significance of the result in Bristol, with voters elected the descendent of a slave in a city that was once a centre for the global slave-trade. Jeremy also congratulated our other Labour Mayors in Salford and Liverpool and talked about how he intends to work closely with Labour Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners and Councillors to formulate policy and listen to the advice and experience of local government. Jeremy discussed the varying results in England, Wales and Scotland. Jeremy suggested that at a future meeting the NEC have a full, in-depth discussion about the results in Scotland, what the issues are and how we can address them.

Jeremy the answered questions and discussed a range of issues including on the election results, the refugee crisis, the Education White Paper and plans to force schools to become academies, the Trade Union Bill, the Housing and Planning Bill, the economy, the steel crisis, the EU Referendum, engaging young people in politics, the Tooting by-election, improving rights at work, the living wage, tackling various forms of prejudice on the left, including sexism and antisemitism, Chile, party unity, increasing female representation in politics, the danger of taking voters for granted, improving pay and conditions for care workers, cleaners and teaching support staff, the posting of workers directive and addressing the rise of UKIP in England and Wales.

Zero tolerance of antisemitism

The NEC are appalled by recent cases of antisemitic abuse. Antisemitism has no place in the Labour Party and is contrary to everything we stand for. Jeremy introduced a new code of conduct for the party, which states:

“The Labour Party is an anti-racist party, committed to combating and campaigning against all forms of racism….Labour will not tolerate racism in any form inside or outside the party….Any behaviour or use of language which targets or intimidates members of ethnic or religious communities or incites racism, including antisemitism…or undermines Labour’s ability to campaign against any form oF racism, is unacceptable”.

Antisemitism Inquiry

Jeremy Corbyn then introduced Baroness Jan Royall, who has conducted two recent investigations into specific allegations of antisemitism, and Shami Chakrabarti, who will be Chairing a wider ranging Inquiry looking at antisemitism within the Labour Party. The entire NEC recognises the seriousness of this issue and is committed to addressing all the issues raised by these inquiries. You can read the Executive Summaries and Recommendations of Baroness Royal’s reports online. Continue reading