What the Labour Party does best, argue about rules! The purpose of meeting standing orders is to allow the meeting to express its will. It’s not a sailing race, they should not be weapons. This little note talks about how to vote and win votes in a Labour Party meeting, based on Chapter 15 of its rules.

Voting on business is by show of hands unless otherwise prescribed by the rules or requested by three members; the alternative is a written secret ballot. Elections & Selections must be by secret ballot. Oh! I didn’t know a secret ballot could be requisitioned by three members, I wonder if this rule can be applied to conference. This is covered in Rule C15.I.L.i, which does not explicitly state that motions are carried by simple majority but what it says about the circumstances of an equality of votes and casting votes strongly implies that the default position is that motions are carried if they receive more votes “for” than “against”.

Procedural motions are carried by a simple majority.  See rule 15.I.J.i. The rule lists procedural motions, “next business”, “that the vote be taken”, “adjournment” and “no confidence in the chair”. Additionally, votes to confirm motions as emergency motions are carried on a simple majority 15.I.H.i. Speakers can ask for an extension of their speech time limit, 15.I.I.ii this is granted on a simple majority.

Votes requiring a qualified majority.  Votes to extend the meeting require a ⅔ majority (of those present). Votes to challenge/overturn a Chair’s ruling require a ⅔ majority (of those present). Individual’s can be expelled from a meeting on the proposal of the chair requiring a ⅔ majority (of those present).

The exam question today is, can the agenda be re-ordered on a simple majority? The rules would seem to be silent if you consider the procedural motions to be an exclusive list.

Otherwise, motions are carried on a simple majority, I move that agenda item 6a be taken now.

Ayes to the left
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