2017 General Election
Jeremy Corbyn thanked everyone who contributed to June’s amazing election result. Jeremy thanked Iain McNicol and Labour Party staff so turning everything round so quickly. Labour delivered a million leaflets in the four days after the election was called. Labour HQ distributed 80 million printed items, while activists around the country held three million conversations with votes.
Labour undertook a major voter registration drive. Over 2 million people registered to vote in the run-up to June’s election. Social media played a key role in driving this. One of Labour’s Snapchat filers was seen by over 7million people on polling day and viewed over 36m times..
During the last election campaign Jeremy Corbyn spoke to thousands of people at large open air rallies. 8,000 people came to hear Jeremy speak in Gateshead. One memorable rally on West Kirby beach was only stopped when the tide started to come in.
Labour won 40% of the vote, recording the best vote share in recent memory. Sadly this was not enough to win Continue reading
Reflecting on the General Election
Campaign selfie with Councillors Alice Perry and Martin Klute during the General Election
The full NEC met for the first time since 8th June. Jeremy Corbyn praised everyone who contributed to the result and participated in campaigns around the country. Jeremy talked about the amazing response Labour received as the General Election date drew nearer. People of all ages and backgrounds were inspired by Labour’s message of hope. Jeremy told the NEC that if the election had taken place one week later Labour would have won.
No one knows when the next General Election will take place. It could be as early as September or as late as 2022. Labour will keep up the pressure on the Conservatives by continuing to campaign hard around the country. Jeremy will continue to campaign in key marginal and hold rallies to mobilise and engage members and the public. Labour will be ready for the next General Election, whenever it takes place.
Selecting candidates for the next General Election
July’s Full NEC meeting will begin reviewing the process for selecting candidates in key marginal in England for the next General Election. The Scottish and Welsh Executive Committees are responsible deciding the process for candidate selection in Scotland and Wales.
The discussions are in early days but like many other NEC members, I am keen that local parties are able to hold selection with members able to vote for their preferred candidates. I would also like to see local parties able to make nominations to ensure people are fully engaged and popular local candidates aren’t overlooked.
The NEC will also need to decide how many of the marginal seats are All Women Shortlists. In order to achieved a gender balanced PLP it has been suggested that at the very least 50% of the marginal seats should be AWS. Continue reading
The Labour Party General Election Manifesto is agreed at a special meeting, known as the Clause Five Meeting. This meeting is attended by representatives from across the Labour movement including the trade unions, local government, Scotland, Wales, Parliament, the European Parliament, the socialist societies and ordinary members.
The Clause Five meeting to agree the 2017 General Election Manifesto took place on 11 May. There was intense media interest in the event, particularly as earlier drafts of the manifesto appeared to have been leaked to various news outlets. While this was certainly unusual, particularly as most of the Clause Five meeting attendees were not shown the Manifesto before 10am on the day of the meeting, it did mean that there was widespread discussion and debate about the content, and numerous polls have shown that Labour policy is very popular with the general public.
I arrived just after 10am so I would have as much time as possible to read the Manifesto. Ideally it would have been good to have more than two hours to read and reflect on the document, especially as it is easy to get distracted. (I hadn’t seen Ann Black for a few weeks and it was tempting to just drink tea and chat as things have been fairly eventful lately.) Continue reading
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
Jeremy Corbyn reported on recent activities and preparations for 2017, including a possible General Election. Jeremy said he had enjoyed the 2016 Labour Leadership campaign and had enjoyed meeting members around the country and debating with Owen Smith. He said that it is now time to move on, unite, stop looking inwards and focus outwards on the challenges and opportunities that Labour and the country face. He identified the economy, Brexit and 2017 elections as the three biggest issues for Labour to focus our energy on. Jeremy talked about his recent speech to the CBI and the need for the UK to invest in infrastructure, training and house building. Jeremy Corbyn repeated that Labour will accept the result of the EU Referendum and will work to secure worker’s rights, consumer rights and environmental protections. He talked about forthcoming campaign days and the tour of rural communities he is planning with Rachael Maskell. Jeremy is keen for Labour to reach out to rural Britain and respond to the concerns of voters living in these communities. Jeremy talked about the importance of the 2017 local elections, praising Labour Councillors and condemning the unfair Tory cuts to Council budgets.
General Secretary’s Report
Iain McNicol reported on past activity and plans for the future. In the past year Labour has contested and campaigned in parliamentary by-elections, Mayoral elections in Bristol, London, Hackney, Salford and Liverpool, local government elections and the EU referendum. Other activities have included the Leadership election, Conference, the Party Reform working groups and National Policy Forum meetings. Labour has launched a number of bursaries and training programmes to encourage candidates from underrepresented Groups to stand for election. Activities for the year ahead include preparing for elections, ensuring the Party remains financially stable, improving campaigning capacity, expanding the use of community organising, responding to the Parliamentary Boundary Review, developing policy and engaging members. The NEC joined Iain in praising and thanking staff for their continued hard work and dedication.
National Policy Forum and Policy Making
The National Policy Forum met in Loughborough for a policy conference the weekend before the NEC Awayday. The meeting was extremely positive and focused on Brexit and the work of the eight policy commissions Continue reading
In May 2015 Labour suffered the worst general election defeat in a generation. Interim Leader Harriet Harman MP established a Taskforce, Chaired by Dame Margaret Beckett MP, to look into what went wrong and what lessons we can learn for the future. The final report was published yesterday:
Beckett Report: Learning the Lessons from Labour’s Election Defeat
As the Local Government representative on the Taskforce I would like to say a massive thank you to the thousands of Councillors and local representatives who contributed.
Just two months ago Labour suffered the worst general election defeat in a generation. While Labour did very well in large cities, particularly in London, the North West and Yorkshire, it was a very different story in other parts of England, Wales and, of course, Scotland.
So what went wrong? Why were the results so varied across the country? Why did Labour fail to win seats from the Tories? Why did Labour voters switch support to UKIP and the SNP in such large numbers?
To answer these questions and more the Labour Party established a Taskforce to consider the lessons we can learn for the future. As an NEC Local Government representative on the Taskforce, I have been collecting the feedback and views from local Councillors.
There are almost 7,000 Labour Councillors and they have a wide range of different local experiences and political views. Over 1,000 Councillors have responded so far and a number of common themes have come up frequently. I’ve summarised them below: Continue reading