Tag Archives: local government

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

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.

“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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Labour NEC Report – March 2019

Alice Perry Jeremy CorbynThe March NEC meeting discussed a range of issues including elections, selections, improving processes and Brexit.

Increasing Diveristy in Local Government

March’s Organisational Committee agreed a range of measures to improve diversity at all levels in local government. Labour will undertake equality monitoring of Councillors and candidates standing for election. Labour will invest in training and will offer more programmes aimed at recruiting candidates, as well as leadership training like the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and the new Bernie Grant Leadership Programme. BAME members are encouraged to apply for the Bernie Grant Programme at https://labour.org.uk/members/take-part/bernie-grant-leadership-programme/. Labour will also ensure existing Equalities rules, including those relating to selections, are enforced.

Baby Leave

Councils and Labour Groups around the country are passing baby Leave motions. Thank you to Southampton, Sunderland, Islington, Lambeth, Blackpool, Corby, Calderdale, Lincoln, Gloucester, Stevenage, Newcastle, Bristol, Bridgend, Staffordshire, Erewash, North Warwickshire, Lewisham, Basildon, Haringey and Bolsover. More Councils are planning to introduce Baby Leave after May’s elections. You can encourage your local group to pass the LGA model motion at https://www.local.gov.uk/lga-labour/about-us/parental-leave-policy-councillors.

Brexit

EPLP Leader Richard Corbett might have attended his last Labour NEC meeting if Britain leaves the EU before the next meeting in May. Richard presented a written report, which he joked was written 9 days ago so is completely out of date.

Jeremy Corbyn introduced the Brexit discussion, updating the NEC about his recent trip to Brussels. Jeremy condemned Theresa May’s failure to build consensus around her deal. Labour will continue to draft amendments and put forward our own vision for Brexit. Jeremy stressed the importance of preventing a chaotic no deal Brexit. The NEC is very aware that the government could collapse at any time resulting in a General Election. Labour would then need to move quickly to produce a manifesto that reflected Labour’s position on Brexit, incorporating last year’s conference motion.

I asked about candidate selections if European Parliamentary Elections take place late this year. NEC Officers will consider options and produce a plan.

Leader and Deputy Leader Reports

As well as a lengthy and thoughtful Brexit update, Jeremy gave his report covering items including countering the rise of the far-right across the world, the Christchurch terror attack, the local elections and the impact of reckless Tory austerity, as well as the importance of a Labour government to restore funding to valued public services.

Tom Watson gave a report covering recent activities, including work relating to his Shadow Cabinet brief, his meetings with JLM ahead of their vote on Labour affiliation, and the formation of the Future Britain Group in response to TIG. A lively Q&A followed.

Labour’s Finances

Labour’s finances are healthy, with millions of pounds ring-fenced to fight a General Election should one take place.

Local Elections

Best of luck to everyone standing for election in May. The NEC asked for CLPs to be made aware of target seats so they can join campaigning. You can find local campaign events at https://events.labour.org.uk.

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