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
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
Labour’s NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisation Committees met on Tuesday 16th January ahead of the full NEC meeting next week. We discussed the following:
Trans women standing in All Women Shortlists
Labour supports and values our trans community. Trans women are welcome to stand in All Women Shortlists and to take part in schemes like the Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme. The NEC will discuss this further next week and will put out a statement following the meeting clarifying the position. In the meantime, the Equalities Committee endorsed the recent LGBT Labour statement.
Sexual Harassment Policy
You can view the Labour Party Sexual Harassment Policy online at https://labour.org.uk/about/sexual-harassment-policy/. Labour have an independent reporting hotline managed by Rape Crisis. This hotline covers all forms of sexual harassment and sexual violence. A panel of NEC members who have received specialist training will hear complaints. I received my training this week, which covered the law, Labour’s policy and generally responding to sexual violence and the awareness of border issues like rape culture and barriers people overcome in order to make a complaint. Members of staff and members of the NCC are also undertaking this training.
Party Democracy Review
Katy Clark gave an update about the Party Democracy Review. Thousands of members have made submissions online and events have taken place across the country. The initial focus has been on topics related to engage young people, BAME communities and disabled people. 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
Reflecting on the General Election
Campaign selfie with Councillors Alice Perry and Martin Klute during the General Election
The full NEC met for the first time since 8th June. Jeremy Corbyn praised everyone who contributed to the result and participated in campaigns around the country. Jeremy talked about the amazing response Labour received as the General Election date drew nearer. People of all ages and backgrounds were inspired by Labour’s message of hope. Jeremy told the NEC that if the election had taken place one week later Labour would have won.
No one knows when the next General Election will take place. It could be as early as September or as late as 2022. Labour will keep up the pressure on the Conservatives by continuing to campaign hard around the country. Jeremy will continue to campaign in key marginal and hold rallies to mobilise and engage members and the public. Labour will be ready for the next General Election, whenever it takes place.
Selecting candidates for the next General Election
July’s Full NEC meeting will begin reviewing the process for selecting candidates in key marginal in England for the next General Election. The Scottish and Welsh Executive Committees are responsible deciding the process for candidate selection in Scotland and Wales.
The discussions are in early days but like many other NEC members, I am keen that local parties are able to hold selection with members able to vote for their preferred candidates. I would also like to see local parties able to make nominations to ensure people are fully engaged and popular local candidates aren’t overlooked.
The NEC will also need to decide how many of the marginal seats are All Women Shortlists. In order to achieved a gender balanced PLP it has been suggested that at the very least 50% of the marginal seats should be AWS. Continue reading
The 2017 general election sees the highest number of female candidates contesting parliamentary seats. This is an important achievement.
While Labour is committed to having at least 45 per cent of candidates standing local and national elections to be women by 2030, women remain under-represented in politics at all levels.
At a national level, Labour is increasing training and support for women through initiatives like the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and by extending the use of all-women shortlists. At a local level, constituency Labour parties are working hard to engage female members. Continue reading
The Labour Party General Election Manifesto is agreed at a special meeting, known as the Clause Five Meeting. This meeting is attended by representatives from across the Labour movement including the trade unions, local government, Scotland, Wales, Parliament, the European Parliament, the socialist societies and ordinary members.
The Clause Five meeting to agree the 2017 General Election Manifesto took place on 11 May. There was intense media interest in the event, particularly as earlier drafts of the manifesto appeared to have been leaked to various news outlets. While this was certainly unusual, particularly as most of the Clause Five meeting attendees were not shown the Manifesto before 10am on the day of the meeting, it did mean that there was widespread discussion and debate about the content, and numerous polls have shown that Labour policy is very popular with the general public.
I arrived just after 10am so I would have as much time as possible to read the Manifesto. Ideally it would have been good to have more than two hours to read and reflect on the document, especially as it is easy to get distracted. (I hadn’t seen Ann Black for a few weeks and it was tempting to just drink tea and chat as things have been fairly eventful lately.) Continue reading