Tag Archives: equality

AWS alone can’t solve women’s representation – we need to train and support candidates

This week’s Labourlist poll asked if all women shortlists should be used more in local government selections. Numerous recent reports have highlighted the urgent need to increase female representation in local government overall and in leadership positions.

Jeremy Corbyn committed to a gender balanced parliamentary Labour Party and supported plans to increase women’s representation at all levels of the party, including local government. To this end, the 2016 Labour Party Conference agreed a a number of important changes to rules and procedures. One was the phase out all male wards and the other was to extend the use of all women shortlists in Council selections.

According to Labour Party rules, if members are selecting candidates three positions to represent a Council ward, at least one of these candidates should be female. For various reasons, in a minority of cases this rule hasn’t always been strictly enforced. The result has been a small number Council wards where all of the Labour candidates are male. Last year’s conference and this year’s NEC Equalities Committee agreed that this practice should end. It was particularly noted that the NEC did not want to see any all male wards standing for election in the 2018 London council elections.

Last year’s conference also clarified rules about extending the use of AWS for council selections. While a least one of three Council candidates in a ward of three must be female, local parties can also chose to increase this to help them reach a gender balanced Council.  Continue reading

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How Labour Party women’s forums can encourage the next generation of female activists

The 2017 general election sees the highest number of female candidates contesting parliamentary seats. This is an important achievement.

While Labour is committed to having at least 45 per cent of candidates standing local and national elections to be women by 2030, women remain under-represented in politics at all levels.

At a national level, Labour is increasing training and support for women through initiatives like the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and by extending the use of all-women shortlists. At a local level, constituency Labour parties are working hard to engage female members. 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

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

Labour NEC Report – October 2016

This report covers NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committee meetings in October 2016:

Improving diversity of political representation

The Equalities Committee and Organisational Committee discussed various proposals to increase diversity of elected representatives. This including discussions on extending the use of All Women Shortlists in local government selections to help Labour Councillors reach a 50-50 gender balance. Jeremy Corbyn voiced his support for gender balance in both national and local government.

It is not currently possible to use AWS for Metro Mayor selections as this isn’t including in the current legislation, but Labour will continue to campaign to amend and strengthen this legislation and look at other methods of encouraging more woman, BAME, disabled, working class, LBGT and disabled candidates to stand for elections. With this in mind Labour has launched the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme to help train women for leadership roles and a Bursary Scheme to encourage more working class candidates.

Metro Mayor selections

Elections for Metro Mayors will take place across the country in May 2017. Negotiations

andy-burnham-nick-forbes-alice-perry

Greater Manchester Metro Mayor candidate Andy Burnham with Judith Blake, Alice Perry and Nick Forbes

continue in various regions to agree new devolution deals. Possible Combined Authorities due to elect Metro Mayors include Solent, Norfolk and Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, West of England, Sheffield City Region, Greater Lincolnshire Combined Authority and Tees Valley. The NEC agreed the timetable and process for these elections. Applications for candidates opens on 19 October and closes on 2 November. In line with the NEC work on gender representation and increasing diversity, the selections panels want to give consideration to the widest range of possible applications. We strongly encourage qualified candidates to apply, particularly if they are female or from under-represented groups.

Having run Metro Mayor selections for the first time this summer, we have adjusted the process based on feedback from members in the North West and West Midlands. Thank you to everyone who passed on their feedback. I proposed an amendment to allow Council Labour Groups to make supporting nominations, which the NEC agreed to trial. 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

Islington Council declares “No Confidence” in Atos

town hall

Islington Council has moved a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Atos at a Council Executive meeting. The Council has condemned their ‘demeaning and demoralising’ tests to determine if disabled people are fit to work.

An Islington Council scrutiny investigation into Atos, the Government contractor running Work Capability Assessments for local residents on disability benefits, raised serious concerns about their performance.

Across London 45 per cent of all appeals against Atos ESA ‘fit for work’ decisions are successful.  Within Islington, almost 90 per cent of the 108 ESA appeals made by local residents and assisted by the council were successful. Continue reading