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 →
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 →
Jeremy Corbyn was unable to attend the May NEC meeting as he was in Manchester for the events to commemorate the tragic Manchester Arena bombing. The NEC observed a minutes silence for the victims of the attack and sent our solidarity to the people of Manchester.
Deputy Leader’s Report
Tom Watson gave the Deputy Leader’s Report. He described May’s council elections as his recent top priority. Tom, Jeremy and members of the shadow cabinet have been campaigning around the country. Tom praised the positive spirit of unity showed by activists and councillors campaigning in the elections. New and longstanding members worked together for a Labour victory in the local elections and the next general election (whenever that will take place). Tom also praised the role trade unions played in mobilising voters, particularly in London.
Tom touched on recent events in parliament, including the betrayal of victims of phone hacking and data theft, plus the victory for the campaign against fixed-odds betting terminals. Tom Watson praised Diane Abbott’s response to the Windrush scandal. He talked about recent visits to Brussels to discuss Brexit, including its impact on food security and the UK’s creative industries.
Tom then took questions on a range of topics including antisemitism, parliamentary discipline, Brexit, immigration, the proposed Sainsbury’s-Asda merger, the parliamentary enquiry into sexual harassment, the Lewisham by-election, increasing diversity in national and local government, the local elections, engaging young members and the UCU pension’s dispute.
The Labour NEC met on 20 March. The main item of business was to elect a new General Secretary. There were also updates about the 2018 local elections and the usual reports and agenda items.
Thanking Iain McNicol
Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC sincerely thanked Iain McNicol for his work, friendship and service to the Labour Party. Everyone also thanked the outgoing members of staff. NEC members shared their warm memories of working together over the years. Jeremy made the point that we never really say goodbye to former members of staff as they remain important and active members of the Labour family and we will continue to work together for our shared values and goals. Iain reflected on his time as General Secretary, an eventful period that included two General Elections, two Referendums, two Labour Leadership elections and many important local elections. Key achievements included paying off all of Labour’s historic debt and the rapid growth in membership. Iain and the outgoing members of staff received a standing ovation from the NEC and the very best wishes for the future. Continue reading →
The next General Election could be months away. It could be in May 2022. With this in mind, Labour’s National Policy Forum is working to build on the popular 2017 Manifesto and help prepare for a possible incoming Labour government.
The NPF Policy Commissions are meeting this month to finalise the consultation documents that will be sent to members for discussion and debate. A full NPF meeting will take place on 17 and 18 February, where the various representatives will meet to consider policies for a future Labour government. The consultation topics include:
TOWARDS A NATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE (Early Years, Education & Skills Policy Commission Co-Chaired by Angela Rayner and Christine Shawcroft)
A FAIR DEAL AT WORK: The future of work (Economy, Business & Trade Commission Co-Chaired by John McDonnell and Jennie Formby)
LEADING RICHER LIVES: A Greener Britain (Environment, Energy and Culture Commission Co-Chaired by Sue Hayman and Margaret Beckett)
HEALTHCARE FOR ALL: Tackling health inequalities (Health & Social Care Commission Co-Chaired by Jonathan Ashworth and Keith Birch)
LEADING RICHER LIVES: Giving people the power to shape their local communities (Housing, Local Government & Transport Commission Co-Chaired by Andrew Gwynne and Jim Kennedy)
A GLOBAL BRITAIN: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (International Policy Commission Co-Chaired by Emily Thornberry and Cath Speight)
SAFER COMMUNITIES: Protecting our communities and turning lives around (Justice and Home Affairs Commission Co-Chaired by Diane Abbott and Alice Perry)
EQUALITY FOR ALL: Addressing in-work poverty and working age inequalities (Work, Pensions and Equality Co-Chaired by Debbie Abrahams and Diana Holland)
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 report includes updates from the March NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisation Committee meetings, as well as the National Policy Forum Joint Policy Committee meeting.
The Joint Policy Committee is the body which has strategic oversight for Labour’s policy development and acts as the steering group for the National Policy Forum. March’s JPC meeting agreed the policy consultation documents that will be sent to members and local parties shortly. Consultations will run in the coming months and will contribute to the policy documents prepared for the Labour Party Conference in September. The full National Policy Forum will be meet on 1 and 2 July somewhere in the North of England (I suggested Blackpool). The GMB’s Cath Speight was elected Chair of the JPC. I have written a guide to how the National Policy Forum works and how members can get involved.
New Powers for Labour Women’s Conference
The 2017 Labour Party Women’s Conference will play a formal role in the policy-making process for the first time in decades. The NEC is working through the details of how this will work. An interim Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee was approved. Members of this committee are:
Ann Black, NEC Equalities Vice-Chair Women and NEC CLP representative
Cath Speight and Diana Holland, NEC Trade Union Representatives