The NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committees met on 6 March 2018 to discuss a range of topics:
Increasing Diversity in local and national government
I recently blogged about ideas Labour are discussing to increase diversity in local government. This continues to be an important area of work for the NEC. We want our elected representatives to reflect our diverse communities and want to encourage more women, BAME, disabled, LGBT and working class people to stand for election at all levels of the party.
Labour will shortly be launching the Bernie Grant Initiative, a leadership and candidate training programme for BAME members similar to the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme. There will also be “Be a Councillor” events to encourage trade unionists, women, BAME members, disabled members, LGBT and young people to stand to be Councillors. I recently attended one of these events for GMB shop stewards in Liverpool – it was inspiring and exciting to meet so many excellent future candidates and Councillors.
The NEC Equalities Committee discussed the latest draft of the statement about trans inclusion in the Labour Party. Continue reading
For many years, the Labour Party has been working hard to ensure our elected representatives reflect the diversity of the communities we represent. Recent initiatives have focused on increasing the number of Labour MPs and Councillors that are female, BAME, LGBT, disabled and/or from working-class backgrounds.
Discussing Labour’s democracy review at the local government conference
A recent 2017 report by the Fawcett Society and the Local Government Information Unit looked at a number of issues facing women in local government. Following on from this work, a cross-party group from local and national government is considering the changes that could be made to improve diversity and encourage more people from traditionally under-represented groups to stand to be councillors.
The Labour Party’s asks to government include:
- Introduce maternity, paternity and carers’ leave for all councillors.
- Restore councillors’ access to pensions and consider a fair system for allowances so people from all backgrounds can afford to stand to be councillors.
- Remove councillors’ home addresses from ballot papers, replacing them with “address in xx ward”.
- Increase resources and funding for security at councillors’ surgeries. No one should be threatened or attacked while carrying out their duties.
- Tough action to tackle online abuse, which puts off many people from getting involved in politics or public life. This includes making social media companies take responsibility for some of the appalling abuse that takes place on their sites.
- Amend the all-women shortlist legislation to allow for AWS selections for directly elected mayoral posts. Labour is also considering whether it should also amend this legislation to allow for all-BAME shortlists.
- Increase awareness of the role of a councillor, the positive difference councillors make to our communities, how you can successfully balance it with other commitments and how to get involved and stand.
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
Jeremy Corbyn updated the NEC on his work in parliament, praising the PLP for working together to defeat the government on NHS pay and student fees. He talked about Brexit and the importance of transitional arrangements and maintaining strong relationships with European countries when we leave the EU. Jeremy condemned the terrible abuse female like Luciana Berger and Diane Abbott MPs have received. Jeremy made it clear this abuse has no place in public life.
Jeremy has had a very busy summer, visiting 50 marginal seats across the country, laying the foundations for a future electoral victory. Jeremy talked about a rally on the beach in Southport attended by 5,000 people. Labour’s vote has quadrupled in Southport in the last seven years. Jeremy said this was a good example of why Labour rejects so-called progressive alliances, and instead will fight to win every seat. Jeremy has enjoyed meeting members, speaking with the public and holding Q&As. Jeremy told the NEC that he didn’t want to talk at people, he wanted to really listen to their concerns.
Jeremy then took questions on a range of issues including human rights in Myanmar and Yemen, climate change Continue reading
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
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
Labour’s NEC met on 21 March. Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson and the NEC agreed that party unity and the upcoming elections are the key priorities for all of us. The NEC endorsed Jeremy and Tom’s joint statement on party unity. We are committed to moving forward together, focusing on addressing the issues that matter most to the public and achieving the best possible results for Labour in May’s elections.
Jeremy Corbyn reported on Labour’s reaction to the budget and his meeting with the Federation of small businesses in Torquay. He also spoke about Brexit and the triggering of article 50, the importance of retaining tariff free access and membership of the customs union and preparations for forthcoming elections. Jeremy thanked the many, many members from across the party who campaigned in Copeland and Stoke Central. There followed a discussion on a number of topics including reaction to the Stoke and Copeland by-election results, the role of social media in campaigning, taking on UKIP, the Conservatives and SNP, possible visits to South Asia and/or the Caribbean, Brexit and the role that local government and devolved governments in Scotland and Wales should play in the negotiations, as well as Labour’s own vision for the UK outside the EU.
Labour’s reaction to a second Independence Referendum in Scotland
Jeremy Corbyn was clear that Labour does not support a second independence referendum in Scotland and is committed to defending the union and Scotland’s important place within the UK. Jeremy said it was clear there is no credible case for a second independence referendum and that the case for Scottish independence is not economically credible, particularly given the fall in oil prices. Jeremy reminded the NEC that the SNP “talk left in Westminster” but their own record in government does not match their rhetoric.
Deputy Leader’s Report
Tom Watson gave an update on the Scottish Labour Conference and the local government conference. He talked about the important role Councillors play demonstrating the positive difference voting Labour makes. Tom also talked about the Future of Work Commission. Tom is working with Usdaw to survey their members about the impact of automation and wearable technology in their workplaces. Tom is meeting with Matthew Taylor to discuss his review into the Gig economy. Both Jeremy and Tom look forward to campaigning together across the country in the run-up to important local government elections in May. Continue reading