Tag Archives: labour party

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.

Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – 6 January 2020

Labour’s national executive committee met on Monday, January 6th, to discuss the process for electing a new leader and deputy leader, as well as by-elections for vacant NEC places. Jennie Formby and Jeremy Corbyn gave brief reports but questions and discussions on the general election and future plans are being saved for the NEC away day at the end of January. NEC members asked that this meeting also discuss tackling antisemitism and any plans for organisational restructure. Continue reading

How registered supporters shape Labour’s leadership elections

In early January the Labour national executive committee (NEC) will meet to discuss and agree the process for selection Labour’s Leader and Deputy Leader.

I joined the NEC in September 2014. Since then, we have already had two general elections, the EU referendum, the Scottish independence referendum, two leadership elections, a deputy leader ship election, two Scottish leadership elections and a welsh leadership referendum, as well as annual local government elections.

The process for electing a leader has varied. A new system was introduced under Ed Miliband giving votes to Registered and Affiliated supports. The idea behind this change was to give ordinary Labour voters a chance to have a say in who our leader should be.

Registered supporters made a huge impact on the outcome of both the 2015 and 2016 leadership elections. This impact was unexpected by some of the NEC members who drafted the original rules.

When the NEC agreed the fee of £3 in 2015, only around 10,000 people had signed-up to be a registered supporter. It was agreed that members of the NEC should be part of an NEC oversight panel to check all these supporters met Labour’s aims and values.

It’s fair to say we had no idea how many people would register and some of the logistical challenges this would bring. For example, all members and supporters need to be on the electoral roll. When tens of thousands of people started registering, it put a huge drain on staff resources. A low point for me was when someone successfully registered their per cat.

The oversight panels were controversial, with new members and supporters claiming they had been “purged”. The complaints made about the process in the press and on social media often differed to the reality. People would claim they were banned for something minor but once you dug into it there was often a more serious complaint behind their ban. Sadly some complaints did warrant looking into again and at the time there was no appeal process, which caused a lot of anger and frustration. There still does need to be a mechanism for ensuring people joining or registering support meet the eligibility requirements. It will be interesting to see what process is recommended for doing this for the 2020 leadership election.

Back in 2015 members and supporters of other political parties were bragging about how they had successfully signed up as registered supporters with the intention of subverting the process. Right-wing blogs were publishing guides online about how to do this. While it was easy to spot high profile case, it was hard to prevent this from taking place.

This was part of the rationale behind the increase of fees for registered supporters in 2016. We agreed that registered supporters should pay £25. This didn’t seem to deter genuine supporters from registering (almost twice as many people registered compared to the previous year). It also raised millions of pounds for future election campaigns.

Some felt the £25 fee for registered supporters was a bit steep. In the Scottish Leadership election the fee was reduced to £12. I would expect the fee for registered supporters in the 2020 leadership election to be somewhere in the range between £12 and £25.

It will be interesting to see if any of the leadership candidates will have a mass appeal beyond the current party membership to inspire tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) to join/sign-up to vote.

Registered supporters have made a big impact in recent elections but many have argued in favour of abolishing they altogether. Abolishing registered supporters would require a rule change at conference. The debate about registered supporters will continue within the party, but as we try to build as mass movement it is good to see new supporters get involved and previous supporters rejoin. (And Labour would certainly benefit with the membership and supporter fees as we prepare for crucial council elections next year!)

What is Labour’s Clause V meeting and how does it work?

In a few weeks Labour will meet to agree the 2019 General Election Manifesto. The meeting that signs this off is called the Clause 5 meeting, taking its name from Clause 5 of the Labour Party rule book. So what is the Clause 5 meeting and how does it work? Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – July 2019

Leader’s Report

Jeremy Corbyn gave the Leader’s Report. Jeremy talked about the importance of campaigning against a no-deal Tory Brexit. Labour believes that the public should vote on any no deal/Tory Brexit and have the final say. Jeremy spoke about the importance of preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland. He also praised the work of Labour MPs in securing rights to abortions and gay marriage in Northern Ireland.

Labour will table a confidence vote in the government when the time is right to ensure a vote will have the greatest chance of success. The NEC is very aware an election could come at any time so we all need to be ready with candidates in place and active local campaigns.

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.

Continue reading

Labour NEC Report – January 2019

Brexit

Richard Corbett gave the EPLP Report, with a detailed update on Brexit and the mood in the European Parliament. The NEC considered practical issues that might arise if the deadline for leaving the EU is extended, including possible European Parliamentary elections and candidate selections. Jeremy Corbyn gave a further update in his Leader’s Report. There was a discussion about Brexit and various scenarios that could arise (the most preferable being a General Election). The MPs on the NEC had to leave the meeting early to take part in important Brexit votes. Jeremy pointed out how the Labour amendments reflect the position as agreed by Conference.

Membership

Labour membership continues to be over 500,000. Membership has being stable for several years. Continuing to engage all members, retain members and reach out to new members of members that have lapsed, is a key priority.

Preparing for a snap General Election

Labour has stepped up preparations for a snap General Election should one take place. It was agreed that all the selections should be completed as soon as possible in every seat in the country (and not just the key marginal seats). The NEC also discussed the importance of our parliamentary candidates reflecting the diversity of the UK.

In his Report Tom Watson asked about the process for trigger ballots for current MPs. He encouraged the NEC to consider and agree the process and timetable.

Police and Crime Commissioners, Metro Mayors and the London Assembly

The NEC agreed the process for selections and reselections of Police and Crime Commissioners, Metro Mayors and the London Assembly. There was consensus that the NEC would like Labour to stand candidates that reflect the UK population, including more women and BAME candidates standing for be Mayors and PCCs. I also raised the importance of realistic spending limits for the selections so a wide variety of candidates can afford to stand.

Baby Leave

An impressive number of Councils are passing motions to give Councillors parental leave. The LGA Labour Women’s Leadership Taskforce has developed a model baby Leave motion – if your Council does not have any parental leave provisions please encourage your Councillors to bring this to their Labour Group and Full Council. Further information is available at https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-labour/about-us/parental-leave-policy-councillors.

Local Election Campaign

Important local government elections are taking place this May. This includes 33 Metropolitan districts, 168 District authorities and 47 unitaries. There are Mayoral elections in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesborough, as well as the North of Tyne Metro Mayor Election. Labour is also using the local elections to build support in key parliamentary seats.