Tag Archives: NEC

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.

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Emergency NEC Report – April 2020

An emergency meeting of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) was held on April 23rd to agree the terms of reference into an investigation about a leaked internal Labour Party report, which contained serious allegations about behaviour and culture.

The meeting took place via Zoom. The NEC welcomed eight new members, including a new leader and deputy leader, two new local party reps, a new BAME rep and three new frontbench appointments. The NEC congratulated Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner on their victories. It was a shame that their first meeting took place in such circumstances.

Jennie Formby gave a brief report. It was agreed that the meeting would not discuss the report itself, and instead focus on agreeing the terms of reference for the external, independent investigation.

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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 – Tuesday 24 March

In his final report, Jeremy spoke about Covid-19 and how we are living through unprecedented times unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes. He spoke about the need for strong action to slow the spread of the virus and support the country, and about how the impact will be particularly felt by those with the least resources.

Jeremy has been in lengthy discussions with the Prime Minister. The government has seemed behind the curve in responding to the outbreak, which has also highlighted issues of poor quality housing, overcrowding and low-paid and insecure work. Jeremy also reflected on his time as leader of the Labour Party and the changes that have occurred during his leadership. National executive committee (NEC) members thank Jeremy, with some members paying emotional tributes to him and his leadership.

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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

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!)

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.