Tag Archives: labour party conference

What is the Labour NEC and what does it do?

As well as electing a new Labour leader and deputy leader, members have elected two new constituency reps to the national executive committee. BAME members and trade unionists also elected a new BAME rep to the NEC.

Labour’s NEC is made up of representatives from different stakeholder groups – including members, trade unions, the shadow cabinet, backbench MPs, local government, socialist societies, Scotland and Wales, as well as the leader, deputy leader and treasurer of the Labour Party. The NEC is the governing body of the Labour Party. So, what does it do?

Governance

NEC members hold an important role in holding the general secretary and party leadership to account. This can lead to uncomfortable and difficult conversations in meetings that can be tense (and long!). Recently the mood on the NEC has been constructive and collaborative, with the scrutiny function remaining important. Typical areas of discussion include strategy, campaigning, messaging and resource allocation.

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Labour NEC Report – 14 January 2020

Sub-committees of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) met on January 14th to discuss a range of issues including the leadership election, preparation for conference, policy making and improving the disciplinary and complaints process.

Leadership election

The procedures for administering the leadership and deputy leader elections are decided by the procedures committee – a sub-committee of the NEC. There was a discussion about access to and use of membership data, to ensure that all the candidates have a level playing field.

The committee has agreed hustings in every region of the country. It recognised that members across the UK are keen to attend hustings. If people are not able to attend in person, they can hopefully watch via live stream. There will also be a special hustings event for councillors at the local government conference in Nottingham in February. Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – 17 September

The NEC meeting before Labour Party Conference is an important (and long!) meeting, covering plans for conference and proposed rule changes, as well as the usual business.

Jeremy Corbyn gave the Leader Report and updated the NEC on the strategy for dealing with Brexit and the suspension of parliament. Jeremy has led constructive cross-party discussions of the opppsition parties to prevent a damaging no deal Brexit. Jeremy talked about the importance of getting no deal off the table, followed swiftly by a General Election.

Jeremy pointed out the government has been defeated 44 times since the election – a record number of defeats. If Johnson’s Queen’s Speech is defeated in October it will be clear that parliament has lost confidence in him.

Jeremy has been in touch with members around the country to ask their views on Brexit and Labour’s response. He stressed the importance of trying to unite the country, including leavers and remainers, based on our values of social justice. He also spoke about the amazon fire and the importance of a Green New Deal and a new green industrial revolution. With an election around the corner it is important for Labour to be a positive, united voice behind a transformative labour manifesto. We must win the election and not let Brexit devide us.

International report

The international report included updates on the Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the situation in Kashmir, the scandal of Saudi arms sales, human rights abuses in India, China and Russia and the rise of the far-right in Brazil, causing growing inequality and environmental damage. The NEC and Jeremy talk about the importance of supporting democracy, human rights and free speech around the world.

Preparing for a General Election

The NEC discussed preparations for a likely General Election in November or December, the target seats strategy and the importance of community organising and mobilising members. There has been an increase in new members over the last few weeks. Labour Party Conference can be a showcase for Labour and our policies ahead of an election.

12,000 people submitted applications to be labour candidates in the remaining seats where parliamentary candidates have not yet been selected. Trigger ballots of sitting MPs are taking place and are resource heavy. The NEC asked for a timetable and process to be produced for the remaining selections so members can select their candidates as soon as possible. People talked about the importance of selecting candidates quickly in the seats of retiring MPs or Labour MPs who have defected to give labour the best possible chance of winning.

Conference Arrangements Committee Report

Motions to Conference come from over 50 subject area. In previous years eight areas were debated but this year for the first time 20 areas will be debated. This means that speaking times have been reduced for delegates so more delegates can have their say.

Standing candidates in Northern Ireland

The NEC agreed that Labour will not stand candidates in Northern Ireland. The current political situation with Brexit complicates things further and it would not be responsible for Labour to stand candidates in forthcoming elections.

Local government working group

The NEC passed the recommendation from the Local government working group. This included lots of positive measures to increase diversity in local government and support women and BAME Councillors into leadership positions. There will also be a pilot for members to directly elect council leaders.

There will be a new rule to allow labour group members to take part in meetings electronically to make it easier for people with caring responsibilities to stand to be Councillors and play an active role in Labour Group meetings while on maternity leave. This is based on a 2017 Fawcett society recommendation for council committee meetings. This is a welcome and important change. There is also a rule that Local Government Committees will need to be gender balanced, with gender balanced Executives.

LGCs and Labour Groups will work closely in partnership to agree their local manifestos. The working group reviewed lots of examples of good practice where this is already happening.

Longest meeting ever?

The meeting lasted nine and a half hours. NEC members are volunteers from around the UK. Many of us have full time jobs outside politics and caring commitments. While NEC members are extremely dedicated it was not possible for all of us to stay for the full nine and half hours. The NEC meets again on Friday, which gives us time to address urgent or unresolved business.

Labour NEC Report – 18 September

The Labour NEC meeting on 18 September discussed matters relating to the 2018 Labour Party Conference, the Democracy Review and including rule changes to be voted on by delegates.

2018 Labour Party Conference (and lessons from last year)

The 2018 Labour Party Conference will be one of the biggest ever, with over 1600 delegates registered to attend and over 5,000 party members attending in other capacities. In total over 13,000 people have registered to attend. This year’s conference has exceeded all financial targets. Money generated can be invested in fighting elections and community organising.

I had the honour of being one of last year’s conference chairs. It was an amazing experience chairing such a well attended, enthusiastic conference. The record number of delegates did create some logistical issues. Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – 23 January 2018

Leader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn began his report by wishing Margaret Beckett a happy 75th birthday. He spoke about the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People’s Act. He paid tribute to inspirational campaigners and activists who fought for universal suffrage. He noted that he spoke about his personal admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft in a recent BBC programme celebrating the centenary. Jeremy also noted that the NEC was over 50% female with a record number of BAME representatives. He spoke of Labour’s clear commitment to increasing diversity of our political representatives at both local and national levels.

Jeremy also talked about the NHS crisis, the subject of a recent party political broadcast. Jeremy also spoke about Carillion and how the subsequent collapse highlights the deep flaws in the Tory’s privatisation agenda. Jeremy described the scandal as a watershed moment in the relationship between public services and privatisation. Jeremy talked about Labour’s work preparing for government and setting out Labour’s positive vision for Britain. He talked about Brexit and the EU, as well as the damaging impact the roll out of universal credit has had on many communities.

Finally, Jeremy spoked about international human rights, refugees and forced migrants around the world. There are 66 million UN recognised refugees escaping conflict, environmental disasters and climate change. Jeremy said that Britain ought to be leading the world in supporting refugees and challenging the causes of the global migrant crisis such as inequality, poverty and climate change. Continue reading

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

Making Labour’s Selections Fairer And More Transparent

lab-conference-2016Each year Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee, can propose changes to the party’s rules to be voted on at Labour Party Conference. Recently there has been increased interest in what any potential rule changes might be. People have speculated about whether these changes will be used to pursue various factional agendas or “settle scores”.

In reality, the rule changes we have spent the past year working on are designed to improve campaigning, communications and engagement through digital technology and Party Reform. Key areas identified for improvement have been increasing support for Councillors, responding to devolution and doing more to ensure our MPs, Councillors, PPC and Mayors reflect the diversity of the communities they represent.

Labour’s local government representatives play a huge part in our party, and the introduction of directly-elected mayors of Combined Authorities represent an exciting, new opportunity for us.

If elected, Labour’s new Metro Mayors will make a huge positive difference to their communities, building more housing, improving transport, education and more.

So far though, our high profile Mayoral candidates have been male. It is clear we need to do more to increase diversity in local government, including increasing the number of Labour’s female Councillors and women in leadership roles within local government. This involves identifying the barriers that prevent more women (and candidates from other under-represented groups) from standing for election and fulfilling their leadership potential, and working to remove these barriers.

Equally, we need to do much more to encourage more BAME, working class, LGBT and disabled people to stand for elected office.

New measures currently being discussed by the NEC include:

  • Expand the use of all women shortlists in local government selections.
  • Increase the training and targeting currently done for underrepresented groups in local government.
  • To support new Councillors, there will be more dedicated local government materials including a pack for new councillors.
  • Council and Group executives should reflect the gender makeup of their Groups and should reflect the wider community. If an executive does not reflect the makeup of their group, this could lead to disciplinary action.
  • Work to phase out all male member Council wards.

We are also discussing how local government should be better represented within the Party. Continue reading