This is a note/polemic on Labour’s Affiliation process. I welcome CLP affiliations from Trade Unions where it is based on a genuine co-campaigning commitment.

The Labour Party without Unions would be just a bunch of Oxbridge PPEs looking for [parliamentary] seats!

Dianne Abbott MP

I note that only branches of Unions or their national committee may affiliate to a CLP although these affiliations are usually funded from regionally managed political funds. The NEC must agree with the affiliated Unions that they will not subvert the purpose of the branch affiliation rule by exercising decisions given by rule to the affiliating entity i.e. the branch, at another level within the union.

Union branches should be prohibited from affiliating to CLPs unless they conform to the rules and provide the contact details of the branch secretary and nominate 1 or more delegates. (My own union branch has adopted such a policy.)

The discount for Union members joining the LP should be maintained.

TULOs should be executive officers in All Member Managed CLPs. (Affiliate Unions have delegates that vote at branch & delegate CLPs and so the requirement is not so acute.).

I welcome Socialist Societies as affiliates, at their best, they provide sources of expertise, experience and energy. They also allow in some cases non-members to participate in Labour’s policy development and campaigning.

I do not believe that those socialist societies that mirror forum party structures should remain as affiliates (e.g. Labour women’s network, BAME labour, LGBT Labour, Disability Labour), these members should be organised and represented through the Labour Party’s forum structures; this is particularly so for Labour Women’s network as the Party has now established a Woman’s Conference.

[I did not say that maybe we should consider requiring Socialist Societies to be open to all members of the Labour Party, even when their focus may be sectional, obviously not for the forums (or their mirrors).]

Socialist societies and unions should respect and follow all Labour Party rules and processes. The story about some Socialist Societies is worrying, where they allegedly planned to affiliate to multiple CLPs without proving the existence of branches. Only Socialist Society branches may affiliate to CLPs. Socialist Societies should be subject to a democratic audit by the Labour Party; the case of BAME Labour, which would seem to be in breach of both the Party’s rules on size,[1], and the rules on female representation is a case in point, as is the case of the alleged phantom Fabian Society branch in Newham during the Mayoral trigger ballots.

The current socialist societies should be audited to ensure they exist and still meet the terms of the original affiliation agreement, i.e. size and governance.  [ I didn’t say in my submission that this audit should test if the organisation genuinely exists beyond its national committee, is open to membership, keeps to its rules of governance (i.e. regular elections to its national committee), has a minimum level membership activity and that critically branches genuinely exist].

Having two classes of Socialist Society, one with conference representation rights and one with both conference representation rights and CLP affiliation rights might be sensible. The latter would require a branch structure and need to be of sufficient size to realistically have them. Such a scheme might encourage the affiliation of organisations like the Labour Campaign for Human Rights which would allow Labour Conference the benefit of its expertise.


[1] BAME Labour only get NEC representation rights when above a certain size; it would seem that partly due to its arcane membership application process, which may have been the inspiration for the Home Office’s citizenship/settled status process, and partly due to its invisibility, it does not have sufficient members to qualify. Why Keith Vaz is still allowed to sit on the NEC, I have no idea? It should also be noted that Labour Party party units if only sending one delegate to a body must send a woman at least every other term of office.

Labour Party, Affiliates
Tagged on:     

One thought on “Labour Party, Affiliates

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: