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
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
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
- Alice Perry, NEC Local Government Representative
- Jasmin Beckett, NEC Youth Representative
- Shabana Mahmood, NEC Rep and NPF Vice Chair
Labour NEC Equalities, Disputes and Organisational Committee meetings took place on Tuesday 17th January. The NEC discussed the following:
Labour Party Conference in September agreed to give policy-making powers to Women’s Conference. Members and affiliates will be able to send delegates to Women’s Conference to discuss and debate policy. Women’s Conference will still be open to everyone interested in attending with the hope that it will retain its lively, informal and welcoming atmosphere. In 2017 Women’s Conference will take place immediately before the national conference in September. The NEC Women’s Conference Working Group, chaired by Ann Black, is considering whether Women’s Conference should be moved to the Spring in future years to be a standalone conference. We will be consulting members to see which option will be preferable.
Increasing Women’s representation in politics
Jess Philips presented the Women and Equalities Committee report on Women in the House of Commons after the 2020 report to the NEC Equalities Committee. This cross-party report calls on all political parties to committee to having at least 45% of female candidates for Parliament and local government elections by 2030. The Equalities Committee noted the recent NEC commitment to expand the use of All Women Shortlists in local government selections and consider ways to make parliament and local government more family friendly. The Jo Cox Foundation will support some of this important work. The NEC also discussed the importance of maintaining the proportion of female and BAME MPs following possible Boundary changes.
Improving political representation of disabled people
The NEC Equalities Committee discussed the ongoing work to improve political representation of disabled people at all levels. A consultation on LGBT and disabled issues has been circulated to CLP Secretaries and relevant CLP officers. Please do get in touch if with staff you have any questions about this or want to make a submission.
Report from the Women’s PLP and Shadow Equalities team
Jess Philips talked about the forthcoming Women’s PLP campaigns, which will include campaigns around childcare, maternity and paternity rights, women in the economy, the impact of Brexit and austerity of women and protecting our rights at work. Continue reading