planet necblogs

July 22, 2021

Luke Akehurst's Blog

NEC Report – 21 July 2021

 

The July NEC has a reputation for having a heavy agenda every year, and this was no exception, lasting nine and a quarter hours on one of the hottest days of the year.

 

The most important items in my view were the reports from the General Secretary and Executive Director of Finance about Labour’s financial situation and the restructuring this necessitates.

 

David Evans said that since his appointment he had been preparing a restructuring called Organise to Win, aimed at getting the Labour Party into shape to fight the next General Election but also putting in on a sustainable financial footing. This is the first full scale review of Labour’s professional machine since 2006, so long overdue. The party was traumatised by four General Election defeats and by 2019 it had lost its reputation for campaigning innovation and faced a far more modern Tory machine, particularly in digital campaigning. Structural problems had been laid bare by the May local elections. The antisemitism crisis and legal challenges associated with it meant we are spending more on legal action than on campaigning, and ten times more than we used to. Much of the review was informed by pro bono work by Lord (Bob) Kerslake and other financial and organisational structure experts. The new structure will have a simplified hub and spoke model with support services in the centre and at three regional resource hubs, and as much campaigning resource as possible put out into the regions and nations. It will foster collaborative working and enable staff to develop specialisms and become experts. Resources will be focussed on communications, digital campaigning and field operations. To make it financially sustainable it will be lean, with sadly 90 redundancies needed, but strong enough to be built back from as we approach the General Election. Cultural change internally away from factionalism will be driven by rewarding good behaviour and a focus on diversity and inclusion. Sign off processes will be streamlined to try to reduce the risk averse culture that has developed. A flatter management structure is more appropriate for any political campaign organisation. All operations will be guided by the electoral strategy.

 

The Executive Director Finance provided more detail on the financial situation. As well as the vastly increased legal costs budget, staffing had remained at General Election levels ever since 2015 due to the three elections in quick succession and the unique circumstances of the pandemic. Historically all political parties have lower donations, lower membership and fewer staff in the mid years of the electoral cycle, and Labour needs to get back to a sustainable number of core staff in the midterm. The legal spend will gradually reduce as the backlog of disciplinary cases is dealt with. The party had lost 22% of the “Short Money” that funds the policy function of HM Opposition because this is based on a formula relating to electoral performance so it was cut due to the seats lost in 2019. The cancellation of the 2020 Annual Conference had removed the main source of commercial income for that year. Membership always spikes at a General Election or Leadership Election then drifts down between such events. Even so, membership income in 2021 was the same as in 2019, it was only lower than the record 2020 level. Plans were in place for growing both high value one off donations, smaller regular donations and membership. Treasurer, Diana Holland, noted that whilst the party has a deficit it needs to reduce by making savings, its long-term financial position is far stronger than before 2010 as it has no debt anymore.

 

David also reported on the boundary review process, the byelections in Chesham & Amersham and Batley & Spen, and the successful Women’s Conference. On the long-awaited Forde Report he said he was pushing Martin Forde QC to complete and publish by early autumn the two sections of the report which don’t potentially prejudice the ICO’s investigation. The sections on the truth or not of the content of the leaked report last year, and on the culture and practices of the party, could be published if they are ready, but the section on the circumstances of the leak need to wait until the ICO has reported.

 

Bespoke unconscious bias training was being rolled out to staff and the NEC. The NEC would continue to meet online until its meetings at conference. CLP meetings could now either be held in person or online, with guidance on Covid safety being issued.

 

As at previous meetings there were questions from his supporters about Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the PLP. David emphasised that the Chief Whip has put the letter to Jeremy with its three criteria for the whip being restored into the public domain. Those criteria have not been met yet.

 

We also heard reports from the Leader and Deputy Leader.

 

Keir explained that the three days he had spent on the ground in Blackpool listening to voters was part of a pattern that would continue around the country through the summer. Each visit would show the leadership getting outside Westminster and would involve interaction with local media and community groups. Keir said that Labour was on the attack on every level against the Tories on Covid as the Delta variant was “the Johnson variant”, spreading rapidly due to Boris’ failure to take effective action, and the Tories were causing the country a summer of chaos and confusion.

 

It was disappointing that some colleagues again chose to waste their unique opportunity to engage constructively with Keir with rude and relentlessly negative questions, including asking the same ones about Jeremy Corbyn that David Evans had already answered.

 

Angela Rayner’s report focussed on the campaigning Labour would be doing over the summer to expose the Tories and set out our contrasting vision.

 

We agreed a report on Liverpool from a panel led by Sir David Hanson, which dealt with the Labour Party aspects of the fallout from the arrest of the former Mayor and subsequent Caller Report into the City Council. Having interviewed 60 of the key figures in the local party, it was clear that there was a bullying and toxic culture, a lack of scrutiny of the council, failure to declare interests etc. The panel’s 32 recommendations include dedicated party staff support for Liverpool, the NEC to run the panel process for council candidates, vetting, a code of practice and declarations of interest, antisemitism training for candidates and party officers, fast-tracking of all complaints about Liverpool members, refocusing the Local Campaign Forum on local issues, and reconstitution of the city’s CLPs so they all have a branch and GC model and scrutiny of councillors will be the same across the city.

 

I raised the related issues around Liverpool Jewish women MPs Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger being driven out of the party by antisemitism and said we would not have fully dealt with antisemitism until they felt able to re-join.

 

We then moved on to consider a general paper on how we assess the proscription of groups that are not compatible with Labour’s values, and four specific cases. I spoke in favour of the proscriptions. I was disappointed that some NEC members argued against proscription. I do not understand why more mainstream parts of the Hard Left cannot see the damage being done to their own reputation, let alone the party’s, by tolerating groups that minimise or deny the existence of antisemitism, or that are rival revolutionary communist parties seeking to infiltrate Labour. It was clear to me that Socialist Appeal is an entryist group, one of two lineal successors to the Militant Tendency, that Resist is already part of the steering committee of TUSC, a rival political party, and that Resist, Labour in Exile Network and Labour Against the Witch-hunt all oppose the party’s efforts to deal with antisemitism. None of these organisations belong anywhere near the Labour Party.

 

The main paper was approved by 22 votes to 11.

 

The proscription of Labour in Exile Network was approved by 22 votes to 10.

 

The proscription of Labour Against the Witch-hunt was approved by 22 votes to 10.

 

The proscription of Socialist Appeal was approved by 20 votes to 12.

 

The proscription of Resist was approved by 23 votes to 9.

 

We noted that membership of the party was now 466,000.

 

On Annual Conference we heard that the “Plan A” was a normal physical conference. If Covid necessitated, it then we could have a socially distant main hall with delegates only. Delegates who need to self-isolate could be replaced. Further fallback plans were for a hybrid online and physical conference or even a fully online one. Reference Backs on parts of National Policy Forum reports will now need to be sent in in advance of conference rather than from the floor. Replacement movers and seconders for composite motions will be allowed if the delegates from the initial organisations are pinged and have to self-isolate.

 

We agreed the outlines of the new Independent Complaints Process required by the EHRC as part of our action to stamp out antisemitism. It was noted that every action in the party’s EHRC Action Plan has been completed or is ongoing except this. The new process will apply to all disciplinary cases relating to the legally protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation), not just to antisemitism cases. Contrary to one NEC member’s question on an earlier item, Marxism is not a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act! The process requires further refinement and consultation with affected stakeholders before rule changes are agreed at Conference. Currently the NEC’s Disputes Panels, with an independent lawyer giving advice, hear cases where all the evidence is in writing. The National Constitutional Committee hears cases that need an oral hearing and appeals. Its rulings are final.

 

Under the new system the NEC Disputes Panels will still meet but where there are cases involving protected characteristics a lawyer from an Independent Review Panel (IRP) will be able to veto their judgements and refer them to an Independent Appeal Board (IAB) if they do not comply with the rules, the law, and new principles of independence. The IAB will consist of 4 lawyers, 4 lay members and 4 HR or regulatory experts, one person from each of these categories will serve on each decision-making panel. An IAB panel will also hear cases that would previously have gone to the NCC but involve a protected characteristic. The IRP will also have the power to undertake audits of the disciplinary process. IAB members will be appointed by a Recruitment Panel established by the General Secretary or their nominee.

 

Because of case law about the right to freedom of assembly and association under Article 11 of the Human Rights Act it isn’t legally possible to make the process totally independent from the Labour Party. The proposal is financially practicable and legally watertight and meets the EHRC’s requirements.

 

We were informed that it will take a further six months to clear the backlog of disciplinary cases.

 

We ended the meeting by agreeing a new Code of Conduct on Confidentiality by 19 votes to 10, and then there was a high note of unanimity where we agreed the very important Code of Conduct on Islamophobia, which incorporates the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims Definition of Islamophobia, unanimously.

 

Since the previous NEC meeting on 25 May, I have also participated in the following other meetings. It is not my intention usually to report in detail on sub-committee meetings because when I was on the NEC before we were under instruction that reports should only be on full meetings not committees, and in the case of Disputes Panels the proceedings are confidential:

 

·         Equalities Committee – 1 June

·         Organisation Committee – 8 June

·         Disputes Panel – 8 June

·         Health and Social Care Policy Commission – 26 May, 22 June

·         National Policy Forum – 6 July

·         Working Group on student structures – 8 July

·         Disabled Members Structures Working Group – 15 July

·         Boundary Review Working Group – 6 meetings and 3 regional consultation events

·         And a Disputes Panel hearing

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at July 22, 2021 04:09 PM

July 21, 2021

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

Gemma Bolton’s Update from Labour’s NEC – 20th July

Labour’s National Executive Committee met yesterday 20th July 2021 and ran late into the evening. Below is a report from the NEC and the key decisions made. 

Leader’s Report

Keir Starmer reported on his work as leader of the party, including the Batley & Spen by-election. I asked Keir Starmer about a Survation poll published on 13th July which put the Tory Party at 43% and Labour at 32% and whether he believed his strategy of attacking the left of the Labour party more passionately than he attacked the Tory party would lead to electoral success for Labour. He replied that he was in fact offering a robust opposition to the Tories. He also fielded questions on a number of other issues such as returning the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, his apparent failure to challenge a reactionary comment from a voter on the laziness of young people and the party being outflanked to its left by the Tory Party on NHS pay. 

Forde Inquiry

The NEC received a very brief update on the Forde Inquiry into the ‘Labour Leaks’ document, which suggested internal sabotage of the party’s disciplinary process and 2017 general election campaign. The report is now over 12 months late and CLP reps urged the General Secretary in the strongest possible terms to find a way for Martin Forde QC to publish it. My NEC colleague Nadia Jama asked that Forde be invited to the next NEC meeting so that we can receive an update, which David Evans agreed to look into. If this does not materialise, myself and other CLP reps will attempt to arrange a meeting with Forde. Autumn is the timeframe in which NEC members were told to expect publication of the most important aspects of the report, with only the aspects related to the leaking of the document delayed due to an ongoing investigation from the Information Commissioner’s Office.  

Membership, Staffing and Finance

The NEC were informed of a stark drop in party membership, and were given an update on the party’s current financial situation, which I regret to report is in an extremely concerning state. We were therefore informed that a significant number of staff would have to be fired and a restructuring of the staffing operation would be carried out. My solidarity is with party staff who work so hard to deliver a Labour government and who are facing unemployment in the middle of a pandemic. I note the party is currently hiring temp staff to investigate cases. The party denies that this leaves us open to attacks of engaging in fire and rehire practices. 

In general, the party’s financial strategy currently seems to be to alienate members and trade unions, drive them out of the party, and deal with the financial and staffing consequences later. An urgent change of direction needs to occur, in which party members and trade unions are valued, in order to reverse this worrying trajectory. 

Proscriptions

As widely reported, a paper was presented to the NEC that proposed a new process for proscribing organisations from the Labour Party, and recommended that four organisations be proscribed from the party. As detailed in a collective statement prior to the NEC, I and the other Grassroots Voice 5 CLP representatives voted against the proscriptions. We are anti-racists and are committed to tackling racism and specifically anti-Semitism wherever it may arise in our party. We are also steadfast against people supporting candidates that stand against the Labour Party in elections. We believe, however, that the party already has processes in place for dealing with members that fall foul of these rules and expectations. Instead, what this looks like is a signal from the Labour leadership to the public that the priority in the middle of a pandemic is to attack their own party. I reminded colleagues at the NEC that this strategy of attacking one’s own party more than the Tories didn’t win Kinnock a General Election and it won’t win us one this time. 

Annual Conference 

Labour Party Annual Conference is due to go ahead this year, and will be held from the 25th-29th September in Brighton. The current working plan is for the conference to be held in person, although the party is aware that this may change due to government Covid restrictions. The NEC also discussed plans for a hybrid conference (some delegates attending in person and some online) and a fully online conference, if necessary. Below is an outline of the different scenarios we discussed: 

Plan A – fully in-person conference 

Plan B – hybrid conference, in person and online

Plan C – online conference

I’m really looking forward to this year’s conference, which should be an opportunity for members and trade unions to assert a socialist policy agenda that opposes the Tory attacks on our jobs and living standards, and not an opportunity for people to cosplay Kinnock’s 1980s left-bashing, which convinced the public that Labour were too divided to govern the country. 

Independent Complaints Process 

A paper was brought to the NEC which outlined a proposal for an independent complaints process. It was proposed that an Independent Review Panel of external lawyers be established that would oversee and have a power of veto over decisions made by NEC disciplinary panels regarding complaints related to protected characteristics. An Independent Appeal Board (made up of 4 lawyers, 4 lay members and four HR or regulatory experts) would also be established to hear any appeals against these decisions, or any complaints that an NEC panel feels it should hear. 

I accept the EHRC recommendations outlined in its report on the party and am committed to the Labour Party rebuilding its relationship with Jewish voters and members. I did not support this paper, however, because in my view it does not present an independent process for dealing with complaints, something the EHRC report mandated the party to create.  

The paper proposed that the Independent Review Panel and the Independent Appeal Board outlined above would, in effect, be recruited by the General Secretary. In my view this does not represent an independent complaints process. As the chief officer of the Labour Party, the General Secretary would form part of the prosecution process. For the General Secretary to recruit these panels, in my view, is tantamount to the prosecutor recruiting the jury / judge. It undermines the independence of the panels and goes against principles of natural justice. 

The NEC will be presented with rule changes to establish this complaints process in September, which will then be voted on by delegates at party conference. 

Codes of Conduct on Islamophobia 

A Code of Conduct was passed by the NEC on instances of Islamophobia, following consultations with Muslim stakeholders. It is a code of conduct the party can be proud of and I hope that it will go some way towards tackling Islamophobic prejudice in our party. This positive step was somewhat undermined, however, by the recent reports that Trevor Phillips – who has repeatedly expressed vile Islamophobic beliefs – has been re-admitted to party membership before completion of the disciplinary process. 

Muslim NEC colleagues Mish Rahman and Yasmine Dar also pointed out that the meeting yesterday was held on Eid Al-Adha, meaning that Muslim NEC members were not able to celebrate this important religious festival with their families. This was extremely disappointing and shows that the NEC needs to improve its commitment to equality and inclusion. May I wish Eid Mubarak to all Labour Party members celebrating. 

 

Gemma Bolton 

NEC CLP Representative 

Co-Chair / Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

by Jake Rubin at July 21, 2021 06:48 PM

May 27, 2021

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 25 May

Leader’s report

Keir Starmer spoke about the significance of the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd and Labour’s response to the global movement addressing structural racism. Keir talked about the shadow cabinet reshuffle and welcomed the new national executive committee (NEC) members. He thanked the outgoing members for their work.

Keir thanked Labour members and supporters for all their hard work on May’s election. He talked about the mixed results. Keir noted that Labour achieved its joint best ever result in Wales and praised the leadership of Mark Drakeford and Welsh Labour. He talked about Labour’s improving performance in Scotland and, while there is a lot still to do to rebuild, the progress is positive.

The Labour leader talked about how Joanne Anderson became the first ever Black women to be elected mayor of Liverpool City and how Tracy Brabin was elected as the first female metro mayor. Keir highlighted some of Labour’s positive mayoral elections and talked about the bitter disappointment of our result in Hartlepool and other parts of England.

Keir talked about the changes necessary to win back public trust and support. He spoke about the need to move to a longer-term vision for the UK, which challenges inequality and insecurity in our economy. Keir told the NEC that Labour needs to be much more outward-facing and less concerned with internal party issues. Keir talked about how Labour also need to be focused on the future and the challenges of the future, rather than focusing on the past. Keir noted that the general election may be sooner than we think and we should plan for it taking place in 2023.

Keir took questions on the election results, international free-trade deals, national identity, the Forde Inquiry, the Batley and Spen by-election, the shadow cabinet reshuffle, social care, climate change, Labour’s disciplinary process, the policy review, community wealth building, community organising, Israel-Palestine and campaign strategy.

Deputy leader’s report

Angela Rayner thanked everyone for everything they did across the labour movement to support the elections. Angela talked about the consolidation of the right-wing vote and how Labour responds to the long-term trends that have been presenting electoral challenges.

She talked about her new work setting out Labour’s vision for Britain post-Covid, and about her work with the trade unions to focus on the changing world of work. Angela talked about her priority that all workers should be entitled to fair pay, job security and dignity of work. She highlighted issues around ‘fire and rehire’, sick pay and insecure contracts and contrasted Labour’s Welsh government with the priorities of the Tory Party in England. Angela reminded the NEC that where we are in power, we are making a real difference, and we should talk about this more.

Angela made the point that it isn’t just about the policies we have, but our tone that matters; we need to speak with people rather than talking down to them. She described how Labour should set out our policy agenda to show people we are on their side.

The deputy Labour leader quoted Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Marsha de Cordova talking about how Black Lives Matter must be more than a slogan. She praised the work of Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy exposing structural racial equality. Angela told the NEC that a Labour government would implement the Lammy Review in full.

I thanked Angela for all her work as chair of the party, and particularly her tireless work to increase diversity in local government. This resulted in more diverse candidates standing to be mayors, councillors and police and crime commissioners. A lot of work often goes on behind the scenes to encourage people from under-represented groups to put themselves forward. While there is a lot more to do, we made important progress in May and wouldn’t have had some of our success stories without the hard work of Angela and others.

Election review

The NEC were presented with a summary of May’s election results. The Conservatives gained 14 councils with Labour losing eight. The Conservatives won 305 seats and the Greens won 74 seats, while Labour lost over 300. Labour won 11 of the 13 mayoral elections. We gained the West of England metro mayoralty and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayoralty, where we came third in 2017. We won the new West Yorkshire metro mayor and held Greater ManchesterLiverpool City Region, North Tyneside, Salford, Doncaster, Bristol and London. Andy Burnham won every ward in Greater Manchester.

The NEC considered what lessons can be learned from Wales, where we recorder our best ever result. The NEC noted the 16% swing from Labour to the Conservatives in Hartlepool, and the positive swing towards Labour in Airdrie and Shotts in Scotland. We considered the regional swings around the country and the impact of the consolidation of the right-wing vote, with previous UKIP and Brexit Party voters switching to the Conservatives.

I gave the local government report on behalf of Labour group leader on the Local Government Association Nick Forbes. Nick had to leave the meeting to address urgent issues surrounding the government’s imposition of new Covid restrictions on a number of local authorities. We noted the loss of many excellent local councils and council leaders, including inspirational leaders like Sean Fielding and Alan Rhodes. Nick noted that many of the places Labour lost council seats were places where we lost MPs in 2019. In contrast, we often performed well in areas where we used incumbency in other tiers.

Despite being in government for over a decade, and imposing devastating cuts on local government, the Conservatives successfully positioned themselves as the party for change. In future, Labour must offer a messaging of local hope and positive vision for shaping our communities. Nick also highlighted the threat of the Greens and how important our work on climate change and the environment is to help counter this.

Membership

Labour has around 490,000 members. It remains one of the biggest political parties in Europe.

Sexual harassment

I raised the Labour Women’s Network campaign to improve the way Labour deals with sexual harassment and related complaints. I asked the Labour Party to publish the recommendations of the 2018 report by Karon Monaghan QC. David Evans agreed to do this in principle.

Meeting in-person

A full, in-person Labour Party conference is planned for September. It will take place in Brighton. Assuming the public health restrictions continue to ease, in-person meetings can start again soon. Meetings should remain online until July 31st. It will be possible that in-person meetings can begin from August.

NEC members raised the demand to keep meetings accessible and allow members to continue to attend either online or by telephone. I highlighted the Labour Party rule that states: “All group members may have the opportunity of participating in meetings and voting remotely using electronic means of communication where appropriate.” Many members of local parties and/or Labour groups have appreciated the flexibility of being able to participate in meetings remotely. Remote meetings have made politics more accessible to many. It is important that this can continue post-pandemic.

Policy making

New NEC member Anneliese Dodds gave an update on policy-making. She talked about how the pandemic has showed Labour values in action: solidarity, the value of trade unions and the importance of public service. Anneliese told the NEC that her policy review would work with the national policy forum (NPF), focusing on a smaller number of key strategic priority areas. Anneliese plans an interim report next spring/summer, preparing the work for a manifesto in 2023. The NPF will meet in July. NPF elections will take place in 2022.

by aliceperryuk at May 27, 2021 06:54 PM

May 26, 2021

Luke Akehurst's Blog

NEC Report - 25 May 2021

The NEC met in sombre and serious mood on 25 May, with an obvious priority of reflecting on the 6 May election results and considering the dramatic improvements and changes that will need to be made to respond to the message the electorate has sent us.

 

You can read my own analysis and response to the election results here https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/starmer-has-one-shot-to-save-labour-from-national-irrelevance-qqltzcj3f and here https://labourlist.org/2021/05/how-successful-was-labour-in-the-may-2021-elections/

 

Keir Starmer’s report opened with a pledge, on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, that a Labour Government would bring in a Race Equality Act to address structural racism.

 

Keir welcomed Anneliese Dodds (new frontbench rep) and Angela Eagle (new PLP rep) to the NEC.

 

He provided a candid, balanced and sobering summary of the election results and how serious a setback they had been, before setting out five policy themes that Labour will now be promoting:

 

1)    Restructuring a broken economy towards long-term investment rather than short-term shareholder return.

2)    Transforming the way we deliver public services so they are more integrated and less silo-ised.

3)    World class education and skills.

4)    Radical devolution.

5)    Modernisation of Britain.

 

He said the party needs a complete change of culture, so it is facing the voters at all times and less internally focused. We need to transform and modernise our campaigning structure in order to be able to transform and modernise the country.

 

Keir warned the General Election could be as early as May 2023 and we face the immediate challenge of a byelection in Batley & Spen.

 

During the Q&A I responded to claims by Momentum-supporting members of the NEC that members had been demoralised and therefore not campaigned by saying that this was not borne out by my personal experience as a council candidate or, in a different ward, as a ward organiser, in both cases I had seen increased levels of volunteering. Nor was it borne out by the data collected nationally about the number of canvassing contacts made, which Keir confirmed was higher than in the previous set of local elections, even with Covid affecting the way we could campaign. I asked Keir to make sure the policy review developed policies that would appeal to segments of the electorate who have moved away from us, particularly older voters, who we can’t win a General Election without winning back, as they are an increasing share of the population and have high propensity to turnout.

 

Answering a total of 16 questions, some of them disappointingly couched in less than comradely tones, Keir emphasised that policies from past manifestoes are never ruled out, but after several defeats you can’t just pick up the old manifesto you lost on as the starting point. We needed a simplified and focussed policy offer as there had just been too much for voters to believe was deliverable in 2019.

 

He emphasised the need to reach out to both rural voters and older voters, where an existing trend towards Labour voting falling off by age had become profoundly worse in 2019. He said we needed policies for older voters that would guarantee security and dignity in old age and wanted a discussion in detail about this at a future NEC meeting.

 

Asked about the Gaza conflict he reiterated Labour’s support for a two-state solution and referred the NEC to Lisa Nandy’s balanced statements which strongly condemned breaches of international law and human rights by either side (https://labour.org.uk/category/lisa-nandy/).

 

Following Keir, Angela Rayner also gave her report, talking about how we reconnect with voters we have lost and about her policy priority of addressing fire and rehire and insecure work in her new role as Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work.

 

Executive Director of Elections Anna Hutchinson took us through a detailed statistical analysis of the 6 May results.

 

General Secretary David Evans covered the byelections in Batley & Spen and Chesham & Amersham in his report, and the possibility of one in Delyn as the Conservative MP has been suspended for six weeks.

 

He reported on the work of the party’s internal Diversity and Inclusion Board, including the rollout of unconscious bias training.

 

He said publication of the Forde Report was still postponed, to avoid even partial disclosure prejudicing an ICO investigation. He was doing everything he could to get it published.

 

Membership is now 489,000, which remains very high by historic standards. A membership retention strategy is being developed.

 

The party was concerned about the risk of potential loss of income if Covid leads to restrictions on the format of Annual Conference.

 

Both David and Keir were repeatedly and tediously asked the same question about restoration of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and David advised those NEC members who repeatedly raise this to write to the Chief Whip.

 

After David’s report we supported an amendment from Ellen Morrison to the paper about future arrangements for CLP and branch meetings to keep open hybrid online and offline options as online meetings are more accessible for many people. All meetings remain online until the end of July when the situation will be reviewed.

 

Anneliese Dodds spoke about the policy review she is now leading. This will produce a clear offer in time for a 2023 early General Election. It will show our core values of equality, security and ambition for our country. The review will work in step with and not duplicate the work of the National Policy Forum (NPF) and its commissions. The NPF tries to be encyclopaedic and develop policy on everything, whereas the review will only look at a small number of key areas. It will be future looking, trying to generate a Labour vision of the UK in 2030 and counterpoise that with a vision of what the UK will look like by 2030 if the Tories stay in charge. We want to create a country that is more equal, more secure and more ambitious about what it can achieve.

 

We were then given an update on the NPF’s processes. Equalities issues had been better integrated into the work of each Policy Commission. There will be a full NPF meeting on 6 July. The Policy Commissions were proving consensual and constructive. NPF Chair Ann Black said she wanted to harness the positive energy around policy making to give the NPF a more campaigning role.

 

Just to confuse things there is also an ongoing review of policy development. The deadline for CLPs and affiliates to make submissions is 24 June, then the NEC will agree proposals for a new way of making policy and put these to conference.

 

We signed off standing orders and a code of conduct for the National Women’s Conference.

 

We also signed off procedures for the trigger ballots and selections for Mayoral elections. Mish Rahman from Momentum proposed the trigger threshold should be 1/3 of branches or affiliates rather than ½ (i.e. that it should be easier to force a full reselection ballot). This was defeated by 19 votes to 10. He proposed that the Organisation Committee should have to sign off any decision by the General Secretary to rescind endorsement of a candidate if something damaging to the party emerges about them, This was defeated by 16 votes to 14.

 

Nadia Jama from Momentum tabled a motion calling for the Leader of Sheffield City Council Labour Group to be elected in an OMOV pilot by party members rather than by the Labour councillors. This was defeated by 20 votes to 11.

 

The meeting ended on a forward-looking note with agreement of a paper on an impressive Future Candidates Programme of training for up to 350 potential parliamentary candidates.

 

Since the previous NEC meeting on 11 February, I have also participated in the following other meetings. It is not my intention usually to report in detail on sub-committee meetings because when I was on the NEC before we were under instruction that reports should only be on full meetings not committees, and in the case of Disputes Panels the proceedings are confidential:

 

Equalities Committee – 4 March – dealing with EHRC Action Plan, All Women Shortlists, Women’s Conference, GRT working group, candidate diversity

Boundary Review Working Group – 9 March

Disputes Panel – 11 March

Organisation Committee – 11 March – dealing with EHRC Action Plan, new codes of conduct, BAME Structures, GRT working group, regional rules and standing orders

Working Group on student structures – 12 March

Health and Social Care Policy Commission – 15 March and 27 April

Full day training on Decision Making – 9 April

Training on antisemitism – 15 April

4 Disputes Panels hearings

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at May 26, 2021 05:30 PM

May 25, 2021

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

Gemma Bolton’s Update from Labour’s NEC – 25th May 2021 (Key Items & Decisions)

Gemma Bolton’s Update from Labour’s NEC – 25th May 2021 (Key Items & Decisions)

Please find below a short update on the key decisions from today’s Labour Party NEC meeting, by NEC member and CLPD co-Chair Gemma Bolton. 

A full collective report on the meeting from the Grassroots Voice 5 (Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock, Mish Rahman) will be circulated in due course. 

To sign-up for regular reports from the NEC and updates from CLPD, click here.


Update from NEC Meeting – 25 May 2021

The full NEC met 25th May 2021 and below are some of the key items discussed and decisions made. A more detailed collective report from the Grassroots Five will be circulated shortly. 

Elections Update, Leader and Deputy’s Leader Report

We had an elections update following the disastrous Hartlepool by-election, and a report from the leader and deputy leader on their work since the last NEC. We discussed where Labour was successful and what we need to change to win a future General Election. Questions were asked on a range of issues: from Keir’s commitment to his Ten Pledges, community organising, our council defeats (asked by Laura Pidcock), Palestine (asked by Yasmine Dar), the Whip being restored to Jeremy Corbyn and more.

General Secretary’s Report

The General Secretary reported on a number of issues, including the Forde Inquiry on the #LabourLeaks document. There is currently an investigation from the Information Commissioners Office which Forde believes publishing his report would prejudice. We were assured that once the ICO investigation is finished, the Forde Inquiry will be published.  We will keep pushing on this until the Inquiry is published and will ask for the Forde Inquiry to be on the NEC agenda for every meeting until it is. I have sent a set of questions to the General Secretary regarding a letter sent to the Party by Forde. Members deserve justice. 

Online Meetings

The NEC agreed that meetings will remain online only until July 31st at the earliest. 

Annual Conference

Labour Party Annual Conference is still due to go ahead *in person* from 25th-29th September in Brighton, unless the pandemic forces it to be moved online or delayed. 

National Women’s Conference

National Women’s Conference will be held online from 25th-26th June. Standing Orders and a Code of Conduct for the conference were discussed at today’s NEC meeting. I worked with Trade Union colleagues to secure some amendments to the Standing Orders and and the Code of Conduct. I loved the last Labour Women’s Conference in Telford, so am really looking forward to this one despite it not taking place in person! 

Single Authority Mayors – Selection Processes

A paper on the selection of Single Authority Mayors (e.g. Liverpool, Lewisham, Newham) was discussed. The paper proposed that where there was a sitting Labour Mayor, 50% of party branches or affiliated branches would have to indicate a desire to move to an open selection contest. My colleague Mish Rahman moved an amendment to ensure that this was reduced to 1/3rd of party branches / affiliated branches, which is in line with parliamentary selections introduced by Labour’s Democracy Review in 2018. Unfortunately this amendment fell. This looks like a step back for party democracy. Parliamentary trigger ballots were set at 1/3rd, why should this be any different? 

Motion on Members Electing the Leader of Sheffield Labour Group

My NEC colleague Nadia Jama presented a motion to the NEC calling for members in Sheffield to elect the leader of the Sheffield Labour Group, following an open letter to the NEC from Sheffield party members. There is provision in the rulebook for the NEC to pilot this so I was very happy to support this motion but it unfortunately did not pass. This could have been a fantastic opportunity to open up the election of the leadership of Labour in local government to grassroots members. 

Gemma Bolton 

Labour NEC CLP Representative 

Co-Chair / the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy 

 

by Jake Rubin at May 25, 2021 08:23 PM

April 30, 2021

Luke Akehurst's Blog

In memory of my mum

 A few words about my mum, Nan Akehurst (nee Davies), who passed away suddenly today.

 

Mum was quite a character. She was fun, caring, thoughtful, arty, creative, wacky, and could be incredibly stubborn, illogical (she said logic came from maths, and she hated maths), and hot-tempered.

 

She was a baby boomer, whose mum and dad had put off starting a family for five years because they were busy doing their bit in WW2 as a casualty clearing station nurse and a Lance Bombardier in the 11th Survey Regiment. Back in civilian life her dad, George, returned to his teaching career, while her mum, Molly, cared for the family. Baby Nan was born in Northfleet, Kent, in June 1946. She owed her unusual first name to Scottish ancestry on her mum’s side, her maternal grandfather William McKenzie was born in Dumbarton but had travelled to Kent to find work and ended up as the Labour Mayor of Gravesend.

 

Mum’s childhood was marred by a series of painful operations and long stays in Great Ormond Street hospital for reconstructive surgery because she and her brother were born with a rare genetic anomaly that meant they only had one ear, and this obviously meant in later life her hearing was affected. Tragically her younger brother Billy died in a road accident when he was 11 and mum was 13. She became a rebellious teenager – school reports she kept cannot have been comfortable reading for her parents, nowadays we would say she had PTSD. Her dad’s promotions in his teaching career saw the family move first to Coventry, where my mum liked her short time at the gleaming new Whitley Abbey Comprehensive School, where her dad was a housemaster, and remembered crossing acres of still bombed out streets to get there (this would have been around 1957). Her dad’s promotion to be a secondary head teacher saw the family move back to Kent and settle in Canterbury. Mum didn’t enjoy her new school, Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar, and the loss of her brother a year later clearly had a big effect on her for a long time. She only really opened up to me about how traumatic it was a few years ago.

 

Mum left the Langton after a rather mixed bag of O Levels and spent a couple of years at Canterbury College of Art. It sounds like incredibly good fun, and she kept in touch for decades afterwards with her favourite teachers, but there were no jobs at the end of it. A highlight was that she designed a tie for Mick Jagger which she says he wore on stage.

 

After art college there was a brief period living away from home in Kingston-upon-Thames and commuting into a very dull civil service job in a tax office near The Strand.

 

London life didn’t appeal so mum ended up back in Canterbury and eventually found a role that really suited her as a fashion buyer in the boutique section – the clothes for younger women – at Martin’s, the main women’s wear shop in town. She also worked at Riceman's and Lenleys, department stores that were features of Canterbury shopping. The fashion job was in the late ‘60s.

 

1960s mum was described by her younger cousins to me today as “cool and groovy”.

 

By this time my mum had developed a very clear set of ideas about what she liked and what she didn’t like. She liked the Stones and despised the Beatles. She liked to be stylish, and this was achieved whether through careful saving for certain key outfits, or an incredible eye for bargains at sales and jumble sales. She liked music in a minor key and with soul to it – Motown, Ella Fitzgerald, Georgie Fame, blues, heavy Russian classical composers like Prokofiev and Rachmaninov. She liked equally soulful art: Van Gogh (who she identified with because of his missing ear), Hieronymous Bosch (thanks for the nightmares when you showed me his pictures of hell as little kid mum!), Fra Filippo Lippi. This meant on a later trip to Italy when we took her to Florence we got stuck for nearly an hour analysing one picture in the Uffizi. She liked cooking and eating spectacular meals, often waking at the crack of dawn to start preparing them, with a range from traditional roasts to French style sauces and often a choice of several hand made deserts. The Christmas parties she hosted were legendary. The final year of her life seemed to involve a lot of confit de canard. To go with the food, she liked wine – it had to be red, or if white, of a dryness akin to gargling pebbles. No fruit flavours were allowed to get in the way. Gin was also on the list of household essentials. She liked interior decoration, the house seemed to get a makeover several times a decade. She loved to read, particularly historical novels.

 

She did not like TV (until relatively recently – she didn’t allow one in the house until the late ‘80s), or sport, or technology, pizza, or pasta.

 

At the start of the 1970s she met my dad, Tony Akehurst, at the Bridge Country Club at a jazz gig, mum was working behind the bar there. They were together for the rest of her life, marrying in 1971. They would have had their 50th wedding anniversary this October. Dad was 8 years older than mum, and a farm boy from Barham in East Kent. I think he was blown away by mum’s sophisticated and fiery persona, and he provided the perfect foil for her – calm, laid back, practical. They made a brilliant team as parents to me (born 1972) and my younger siblings Sam (1974) and Ella (1976) and their loyalty and affection for each other and us has been just incredible.

 

Financially the 1970s were very tough for mum and dad, with mum at home with three little kids and dad in not very well-paid jobs, particularly after he returned to the family farm. They lived with my grandparents until I was two, and then in a draughty 1919 bungalow built of asbestos near the farm. This was a mile or more to the nearest bus stop, quite a hike with three children, so my mum felt very isolated.

 

Things looked up in 1979, though money was still short, when they were allocated a housing association house on a new estate in Chartham, a large village just outside Canterbury. Mum was delighted to be somewhere where there were people rather than just fields, and became a fixture of the village community for the rest of her life, later moving to the first and only house they bought, Swanhaven, in the heart of the village.

 

Mum was the Chartham village columnist for the Kentish Gazette for decades, paid 7p a line to report everything down to who got 3rd place for potatoes at the cottage gardeners’ society exhibition. She played a leading role in the Friends of Chartham Primary School, helping organise a succession of Christmas and summer fetes. She ran summer holiday play sessions for local kids, sometimes in liaison with the librarians from Canterbury children’s library. Whilst not as involved in political life as me or her grandparents, she was a member of the Labour Party from about 1980 onwards, standing once for the parish council (she didn’t enjoy being a candidate) and for many years leafletting the entire village at election times. Her politics were ferociously left-wing – she was burning with anger about her own experience of coping on Family Credit top-ups in the Thatcher years, but also about poverty, injustice and racism wherever she saw it.

 

Mum’s biggest contribution to village life was to be part of the upbringing not just of her own three children but of two entire generations of Chartham children. This started with helping organise the Chartham Preschool Playgroup, in the days before areas like that had any LEA provided nursery provision. This eventually folded into a proper nursery class at the local primary school, and my mum worked as a classroom assistant from the 1990s until well into her 70s. She was adored by small children and loved working with them. She stayed at the school so long that eventually children she had looked after in the 1990s came back as parents with their own children twenty years later. She spread happiness and love to hundreds of children.

 

Mum was delighted to become a mother-in-law to my wife Linda and Sam’s wife Catherine. She welcomed them into her family and hosted some of the most glorious, deliciously catered and wine saturated dinners you can imagine. She was even more delighted when over the last 15 years, between her three children a total of five grandsons joined the tribe.

 

She adored them all and loved spending time with them, and they with her. She particularly played a crucial role in the upbringing of my sister’s son Casper. My sister and her son have been living with my mum and dad as my sister has a number of health problems, and mum has sacrificed more than we will ever know to provide them with care, support and love.

 

Mum was a loyal friend to dozens of people. She would handwrite letters – definitely not emails, which she refused to engage with – in her extremely distinctive italicised handwriting (a graphologist would have had a field day) to contacts she had kept since school and art college days. Her art college friend Denise, who she adored, would come to stay. Every minutiae of people’s lives in the village and beyond appeared to be a matter of passionate concern. If you were alone, bereaved or having a bad time, there was a place at the dinner table. No matter her own family stresses and tribulations, and there were many, she was always there for other people.

 

My mum wasn’t a person who found consolation in any faith, but she lived her life by very firm values about serving and caring for others, friendship, selflessness and love.

 

She hated the idea of getting old, and never conceded an inch to the aging process. In going suddenly, we’ve missed a couple of decades we thought we had left of her excellent company, but she will be forever remembered as about as youthful a 74 year-old as it is possible to be.

 

Thank you mum for everything you have done for us. We will always be in debt to you for your love, support and care. We love you and miss you already.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at April 30, 2021 07:52 PM

March 26, 2021

Mish Rahman's Blog

NEC Report – FEbruary – march 2021

Our NEC update from the Grassroots five for January 2021

Report authored by Gemma Bolton, Mish Rahman, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock and Yasmine Dar


FULL NEC MEETING – 11th february 2021

Leader’s Report

The NEC received a report from the Labour leader, which covered: universal credit, cladding, airports relating to job losses and plans for the local election campaign.

Keir was questioned on his lack of support for the National Education Union and how often he has seemingly supported the government rather than calling out their gross cruelty. Keir reminded us that the party has been using opposition motion days to work on action over cladding and Universal Credit cuts. We welcome action on these deeply important issues. However, in the context of 120,000 people dead from Covid-19, and the attacks on people’s jobs and living standards through renewed and harsher austerity imposed by the Tories, we are asking for much bolder opposition from the Labour front bench.

We raised concerns about the consistent addition of the Union Jack flag to all of the party’s branding. Black GV5 member Nadia Jama recalled racist abuse around the flag such as being told “there’s no black in the Union Jack” when younger. For many of the communities Labour hopes to represent, and which we often rely on for a large percentage of our vote share, the flag has negative connotations that the party is neither considering nor doing anything to address.

Keir was asked why the PLP had been whipped to abstain on the Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill, which would enshrine into law the ability of undercover agents to break the law without proper limitations and safeguards. We feel this is deeply dangerous and undermines a fundamental principle that the law must apply to everyone equally. We feel strongly that the Labour Party should have opposed this bill robustly. Keir Starmer defended his actions, saying it was the right decision to abstain on the bill as national security would have been weakened had this bill not passed.

Finally, Keir was reminded that the NEC meeting took place 3 months after the decision not to restore the whip to former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, despite his being re-admitted to party membership by a democratic sub-panel of Labour’s NEC. When the decision to not restore the whip was taken, Keir said the matter would be kept under review. NEC members received (and continue to receive) thousands of emails from members calling for the whip to be restored. In the name of democracy, respect for the party’s processes and party unity, and in the context of us embarking on a local election campaign with a starkly-split party and disgruntled membership, it is time this sorry business was put behind us. Jeremy is a Labour member and a member of parliament; he should also be a Labour Member of Parliament.

Deputy Leader’s Report

Angela gave the NEC an update on her work as deputy leader and Party chair. She reported back on her work to ensuring diverse candidates, specifically mentioning successes in bringing about greater diversity among the Police and Crime Commissioner candidates. Questions were asked with regard to ensuring those diverse candidates were also standing in winnable seats.

Angela further talked about her commitment to community organising despite multiple staff members of Labour’s Community Organising Unit losing their jobs in the middle of a pandemic due to the unit being entirely scrapped. David Evans later argued this was lack of finances but this doesn’t seem to hold true given that the party is hiring for a number of new roles. Biden’s victory in the United States, particularly in places such as the Georgia, shows how political parties can win by deep organising in the communities it wishes to represent. For Labour to win back areas we have tragically lost in recent years, community organising is essential. In light of this, it is of deep regret that the Community Organising Unit is being abolished. The whole situation smacks of an attempt to remove a unit that is simply deemed to be an imposition from the previous leadership. We also believe it was the most diverse unit in the party.

General Secretary’s Report

i) Forde Inquiry Update

The NEC was supposed to receive an update on the Forde Inquiry into the ‘Labour Leaks’ report, which alleged: factional mis-handling of antisemitism cases; abuse and harassment of party members and Black MPs by party staff, as well as internal sabotage of the party’s 2017 General Election campaign through the misappropriation of funds.

We were disappointed to be told by the Forde Inquiry that they had taken the decision to further delay the publication of the report as a result of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigating a potential data breach related to the leaking of the report. Forde argues that such publication of the report could prejudice the ICO investigation.

The publication of the report has already been extensively delayed – we echo this statement from 9 black MPs on the subject. Party members deserve the truth and justice for what went on.

ii) EHRC Implementation 

The EHRC action plan was approved by the EHRC in December. Setting out a framework for required stakeholder engagement, an advisory board and engagement group to sit below the advisory board. The education and training programme is also underway.

iii) Membership

The NEC received an update on Party membership. We were greatly concerned to hear of a swift decline in party members, especially amongst those who are young, Disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. Labour members are our party’s greatest asset, and are a campaigning army to deliver seats and wins for Labour. We will pursue the party to regularly update the NEC on the work it is doing to win back members.

iv) Suspensions

The NEC received an update on suspensions from the party. We stated that suspensions should never be used as a form of punishment. This is an abuse of our procedures. We were told that the cases are now being processed but we are concerned that this is happening so slowly. We are keeping this under review and are asking questions at every opportunity.

v) Staffing

Alongside explanations as to why the Community Organising Unit was being removed, General Secretary David Evans reported that we now have equalities staff networks for women, disability, and more. There has also been the implementation of a prayer room and quiet space. There are now also free sanitary products at the offices and a menopause policy. The party is about to appoint an ‘Executive Director for People and Talent’. Clarity is yet to be obtained on what this role actually entails! There will also be ACAS inclusive training and training on Trans Rights from Gendered Intelligence.

Policy Development Review Update 

In line with the democracy review, Labour has undertaken a review of the way in which the party develops its policy. It looks at the relationship between the National Policy Forum, Party Conference and the formulation of the manifesto. We believe that if the review goes ahead as planned, more power will be handed to members over the way in which labour develops policy.

Sandwell Update

Due to a variety of longstanding issues in the Labour-controlled borough of Sandwell, the NEC agreed to send two representatives to work alongside West Midlands Regional Executive Committee members in selecting candidates for the upcoming May elections.

Sandwell is an area with a large Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population and NEC CLP reps Yasmine Dar and Mish Rahman were suggested to form part of the panel. Two white NEC members were also put forward to be on the panel. Grassroots Voice reps and left Trade Union colleagues argued that in the interests of ensuring gender balance and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation in this diverse area, Yasmine and Mish should be appointed by the NEC on this occasion. It went to a vote that we lost, meaning that the NEC voted to send two white men as our representatives on this panel. This was an extremely disappointing outcome.

Labour Students

At an NEC meeting prior to Labour Party Conference 2019, the organisation formerly known as Labour Students was disaffiliated from the Labour Party, following a vote from the NEC. This was due to years of anti-democratic decisions and disenfranchisement of its own members.

The NEC was asked to agree a paper establishing a Labour Students Working Group to bring a proposal for the new structure to the NEC for agreement, the proposed makeup of the working group was:

NEC Chair

NEC Vice-Chair

NEC Treasurer

NEC Youth Representative

Young Labour Student Representatives

NEC CLP Representative

NEC Trade Union Representative

NEC Socialist Societies representative

Deputy Leader and Party Chair

It was agreed that Gemma Bolton and Luke Akehurst would jointly represent the CLPs and Michael Wheeler would represent the Trade Unions. An amendment was also moved that the 3 student reps on the Young Labour National Committee should be added as the only representatives in the party with a mandate explicitly from Student members of the party. This passed and was a win for party democracy.

The initial meeting of the working group took place on 12th March and there was broad consensus on the majority of issues. The group will meet again to formalise the agreements into a proposal and discuss the issues that did not reach consensus.

Letter to David Evans 

On December 11th, an unprecedented letter from 284 Party Chairs and Secretaries from over 180 Constituency Parties was sent to David Evans, expressing their concern over the guidance issued to Party Units restricting certain matters of political discussion, including expressions of solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn over his suspension and the restoration of the whip. A huge number of CLP Officers have been suspended following non-compliance with this guidance. CLP reps are working hard to rectify this situation. The Grassroots Voice candidates, along with our colleagues on the NEC, wrote to David Evans asking that his guidance be withdrawn and that he responds to these hard working volunteers. David has now responded and you can read his response, as well as the views of some of the CLP secretaries to his response here. You can read the original letter from the 284 Chairs and Secretaries here.


Organisation Subcommittee – 11th March 2021

EHRC Action Plan

In response to the EHRC report, Labour has drawn up an action plan, which has been accepted by the EHRC, in order to deal with the findings of the report. This includes making changes to the Social Media Policy code of conduct, the Confidentiality and Privacy Code of Conduct as well as creating Codes of Conduct on Anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.

Code of Conduct: Social Media Policy

In order to carry out the EHRC action plan, the Social Media Policy has been changed and we urge members to take a read of the document, which is available here. A key item of note is the addition that liking or sharing content deemed to be at odds with party rules and codes of conduct on fighting discrimination will now lead to disciplinary action.

We proposed multiple amendments in order to make sure all forms of discrimination were adequately and equally opposed within the party. All amendments passed.

We also sought assurances that after completion of the codes of conduct that are being drawn up on anti-black racism and Islamophobia, which are part of the implementation of the EHRC report, we would begin drawing up codes of conduct on all other forms of discrimination named within the rulebook and current codes of conduct in order to adequately define what constitutes a rule breach. This should mean codes of conduct are forthcoming on forms of discrimination such as Ableism, Transphobia and Homophobia.

Code of Conduct: Confidentiality and Privacy

A paper on Confidentiality and Privacy was presented for consideration. A number of concerns were raised, including the importance of elected representatives reporting back to members and those they are accountable to about NEC meetings. The paper was referred to a future meeting of the Organisation Sub-Committee so that more time could be given for consideration of its proposals.

Development of an Islamophobia Code of Conduct and an Anti-Black Racism Code of Conduct

Both papers were agreed with slight amendments and work is swiftly underway to put the codes of conduct in place. Nadia Jama and Carol Sewell are to be included in the group undertaking the anti-Black racism work together with other stakeholders and Black MPs.

In light of the EHRC and Labour Muslim Network reports, drawing up these Codes of Conduct are an important step in dealing with these forms of discrimination within the party.

NEC Aims and Objectives

Paper agreed. The need for greater policy from the party was stressed. It is important that the NEC and its elected committees and officers play an important role in the leadership of our party on governance and policy.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Structures working group outcomes

The long awaited new Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic structures and how a national committee would be composed and elected were finalised in this meeting.

The  Black Asian and Minority Ethnic committee structures will have CLP representation, Trade Union representation and reps from the PLP, ALC, NEC etc.

We managed to increase the number of CLP reps to gain parity with TU reps (11 each), something that the working group had failed to get consensus on.

We argued and voted for both the Chair of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Committee and the CLP places to be voted by OMOV (One Member, One Vote).

We argued this because we felt it was  important that EVERY Black, Asian and  Minority Ethnic Labour member gets a vote and not just the few who are able to go to a conference.

Unfortunately this was unsuccessful in a vote. We voted for OMOV on both occasions, which is what our members wanted as per the Democracy Review, while other CLP reps and even the NEC BAME rep voted against it. This is not good for member democracy in our view as it is our role as CLP representatives to speak up for rank and file members so we would have expected other CLP representatives to do the same.

Our major area of concern was allowing two voting positions to BAME Labour.

To sum them up: BAME Labour is a near defunct pocket organisation that represents almost no one in the Party.

We raised our concerns and asked for clarification on whether this moribund organisation is an official affiliate, whether it pays its affiliation fees to the Party and how many members they have.

These were important points that required clarification to give any legitimacy to BAME Labour as an organisation supposedly representing members. Our questions were not answered. We do not feel that this was good practice and we also lost that vote too.

Composition of GRT Working Group

The group has been set up to develop a definition of anti-Gypsy, Roma and Traveller racism and discrimination. GV5 and Trade Union colleagues had stressed the importance of making sure this group is overwhelmingly made up of community stakeholders. We were happy with the outcomes on this. It was agreed to send Laura Pidcock to the group to represent the CLP representatives and Andi Fox to represent the trade unions.

Elections Update

We tried to raise the Liverpool Mayoral selection contest and get an update on this extremely concerning situation. Unfortunately this was denied, it was argued that the matter was too confidential even for NEC members!

We raised concerns from the CLPs that they are struggling with activist engagement, noting the multiple reasons and issues members  had contacted us regarding. This included how many members feel attacked after the dictats and numerous suspensions and also the continued suspension of Jeremy Corbyn’s whip, which is affecting party unity and cohesion.

We also raised concerns about safely campaigning given the pandemic, from risk of infection to fear of attack and harassment for being out and about. Many members, especially younger activists, won’t yet be vaccinated and the party has a duty to make every effort to ensure we keep people safe. It will be included in communications to members and regional directors that those who do not feel safe should not feel any pressure to be out and that phone-banking and online campaigning is just as valued.

These are a hugely important set of elections, so we urge you to sign up for a postal ballot and vote early in order to ensure the best turn out for Labour.

CLPs in Special Measures

We were informed that the party was investigating serious incidents in the London borough of Newham constituencies of West Ham and East Ham.  There was no paper provided, just a verbal report. We were told this could lead to special measures.

We insisted that it is important a roadmap is urgently put together and that member-led selections are not impacted. We await the paper and a report into Newham.

NOTE – Both East Ham CLP and West Ham CLP’s were suspended the following day. We will be keeping an eye on the situation there and working towards the return of full democracy to the CLPs as soon as possible.

CLP motions + Recall Conference Motion

We considered the motions passed by CLPs. Members raised the ‘recall conference’ motion that had been passed in multiple CLPs and moved that we take a vote on it. The Chair did not allow for a vote on this, citing that it is not permissible for the NEC to take a vote on motions passed by CLPs.

As such, this means that, currently, the motions you as members take the time to pass in your CLPs are seen briefly by NEC members at the end of a long Organisation Sub Committee meeting, are noted, and then go no further and cannot actually be passed or agreed by the NEC. We have asked for CLP motions to be moved up the agenda and will be looking at ways to ensure members’ motions are given due consideration, discussion and action by the party.

Abuse

Unfortunately, the meeting ended with an incident. GV5 NEC member Laura Pidcock was speaking about the need for members to feel listened to, especially with regard to the NEC discussing and offering due consideration to motions passed by CLPs, an incident then occurred which the Labour Party’s General Secretary said the Party would conduct an investigation into.

Report authored by Gemma Bolton, Mish Rahman, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock and Yasmine Dar

by Admin at March 26, 2021 05:34 PM

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

Grassroots Voice NEC Report: 11th February-26th March

See below for a report from the Labour Party NEC Organisation Sub-Committee meeting held 11th March 2021 and the Full NEC meeting held 11th February 2021 from the Grassroots Voice NEC CLP representatives team: Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock, Mish Rahman. 

To sign-up for regular reports from the NEC and updates from CLPD, click here.

This report was originally published on grassrootslabour.net 


Full NEC Meeting – 11th February 2021

Leader’s Report

The NEC received a report from the Labour leader, which covered: universal credit, cladding, airports relating to job losses and plans for the local election campaign.

Keir was questioned on his lack of support for the National Education Union and how often he has seemingly supported the government rather than calling out their gross cruelty. Keir reminded us that the party has been using opposition motion days to work on action over cladding and Universal Credit cuts. We welcome action on these deeply important issues. However, in the context of 120,000 people dead from Covid-19, and the attacks on people’s jobs and living standards through renewed and harsher austerity imposed by the Tories, we are asking for much bolder opposition from the Labour frontbench.

We raised concerns about the consistent addition of the Union Jack flag to all of the party’s branding. Black GV5 member Nadia Jama recalled racist abuse around the flag such as being told “there’s no black in the Union Jack” when younger. For many of the communities Labour hopes to represent, and which we often rely on for a large percentage of our vote share, the flag has negative connotations that the party is neither considering nor doing anything to address.

Keir was asked why the PLP had been whipped to abstain on the Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill, which would enshrine into law the ability of undercover agents to break the law without proper limitations and safeguards. We feel this is deeply dangerous and undermines a fundamental principle that the law must apply to everyone equally. We feel strongly that the Labour Party should have opposed this bill robustly. Keir Starmer defended his actions, saying it was the right decision to abstain on the bill as national security would have been weakened had this bill not passed.

Finally, Keir was reminded that the NEC meeting took place 3 months after the decision not to restore the whip to former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, despite his being re-admitted to party membership by a democratic sub-panel of Labour’s NEC. When the decision to not restore the whip was taken, Keir said the matter would be kept under review. NEC members received (and continue to receive) thousands of emails from members calling for the whip to be restored. In the name of democracy, respect for the party’s processes and party unity, and in the context of us embarking on a local election campaign with a starkly-split party and disgruntled membership, it is time this sorry business was put behind us. Jeremy is a Labour member and a member of parliament; he should also be a Labour Member of Parliament.

 

Deputy Leader’s Report

Angela gave the NEC an update on her work as deputy leader and Party chair. She reported back on her work to ensuring diverse candidates, specifically mentioning successes in bringing about greater diversity among the Police and Crime Commissioner candidates. Questions were asked with regard to ensuring those diverse candidates were also standing in winnable seats.

Angela further talked about her commitment to community organising despite multiple staff members of Labour’s Community Organising Unit losing their jobs in the middle of a pandemic due to the unit being entirely scrapped. David Evans later argued this was lack of finances but this doesn’t seem to hold true given that the party is hiring for a number of new roles. Biden’s victory in the United States, particularly in places such as the Georgia, shows how political parties can win by deep organising in the communities it wishes to represent. For Labour to win back areas we have tragically lost in recent years, community organising is essential. In light of this, it is of deep regret that the Community Organising Unit is being abolished. The whole situation smacks of an attempt to remove a unit that is simply deemed to be an imposition from the previous leadership. We also believe it was the most diverse unit in the party.

 

General Secretary’s Report

i) Forde Inquiry Update

The NEC was supposed to receive an update on the Forde Inquiry into the ‘Labour Leaks’ report, which alleged: factional mis-handling of antisemitism cases; abuse and harassment of party members and Black MPs by party staff, as well as internal sabotage of the party’s 2017 General Election campaign through the misappropriation of funds.

We were disappointed to be told by the Forde Inquiry that they had taken the decision to further delay the publication of the report as a result of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigating a potential data breach related to the leaking of the report. Forde argues that such publication of the report could prejudice the ICO investigation.

The publication of the report has already been extensively delayed – we echo this statement from 9 black MPs on the subject. Party members deserve the truth and justice for what went on.

 

ii) EHRC Implementation 

The EHRC action plan was approved by the EHRC in December. Setting out a framework for required stakeholder engagement, an advisory board and engagement group to sit below the advisory board. The education and training programme is also underway.

 

iii) Membership

The NEC received an update on Party membership. We were greatly concerned to hear of a swift decline in party members, especially amongst those who are young, Disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. Labour members are our party’s greatest asset, and are a campaigning army to deliver seats and wins for Labour. We will pursue the party to regularly update the NEC on the work it is doing to win back members.

 

iv) Suspensions 

The NEC received an update on suspensions from the party. We stated that suspensions should never be used as a form of punishment. This is an abuse of our procedures. We were told that the cases are now being processed but we are concerned that this is happening so slowly. We are keeping this under review and are asking questions at every opportunity.

 

v) Staffing

Alongside explanations as to why the Community Organising Unit was being removed, General Secretary David Evans reported that we now have equalities staff networks for women, disability, and more. There has also been the implementation of a prayer room and quiet space. There are now also free sanitary products at the offices and a menopause policy. The party is about to appoint an ‘Executive Director for People and Talent’. Clarity is yet to be obtained on what this role actually entails! There will also be ACAS inclusive training and training on Trans Rights from Gendered Intelligence.

 

Policy Development Review Update 

In line with the democracy review, Labour has undertaken a review of the way in which the party develops its policy. It looks at the relationship between the National Policy Forum, Party Conference and the formulation of the manifesto. We believe that if the review goes ahead as planned, more power will be handed to members over the way in which labour develops policy.

 

Sandwell Update

Due to a variety of longstanding issues in the Labour-controlled borough of Sandwell, the NEC agreed to send two representatives to work alongside West Midlands Regional Executive Committee members in selecting candidates for the upcoming May elections.

Sandwell is an area with a large Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population and NEC CLP reps Yasmine Dar and Mish Rahman were suggested to form part of the panel. Two white NEC members were also put forward to be on the panel. Grassroots Voice reps and left Trade Union colleagues argued that in the interests of ensuring gender balance and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation in this diverse area, Yasmine and Mish should be appointed by the NEC on this occasion. It went to a vote that we lost, meaning that the NEC voted to send two white men as our representatives on this panel. This was an extremely disappointing outcome.

 

Labour Students

At an NEC meeting prior to Labour Party Conference 2019, the organisation formerly known as Labour Students was disaffiliated from the Labour Party, following a vote from the NEC. This was due to years of anti-democratic decisions and disenfranchisement of its own members.

The NEC was asked to agree a paper establishing a Labour Students Working Group to bring a proposal for the new structure to the NEC for agreement, the proposed makeup of the working group was:

NEC Chair

NEC Vice-Chair

NEC Treasurer

NEC Youth Representative

Young Labour Student Representatives

NEC CLP Representative

NEC Trade Union Representative

NEC Socialist Societies representative

Deputy Leader and Party Chair

It was agreed that Gemma Bolton and Luke Akehurst would jointly represent the CLPs and Michael Wheeler would represent the Trade Unions. An amendment was also moved that the 3 student reps on the Young Labour National Committee should be added as the only representatives in the party with a mandate explicitly from Student members of the party. This passed and was a win for party democracy.

The initial meeting of the working group took place on 12th March and there was broad consensus on the majority of issues. The group will meet again to formalise the agreements into a proposal and discuss the issues that did not reach consensus.

 

Letter to David Evans 

On December 11th, an unprecedented letter from 284 Party Chairs and Secretaries from over 180 Constituency Parties was sent to David Evans, expressing their concern over the guidance issued to Party Units restricting certain matters of political discussion, including expressions of solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn over his suspension and the restoration of the whip. A huge number of CLP Officers have been suspended following non-compliance with this guidance. CLP reps are working hard to rectify this situation. The Grassroots Voice candidates, along with our colleagues on the NEC, wrote to David Evans asking that his guidance be withdrawn and that he responds to these hard working volunteers. David has now responded and you can read his response, as well as the views of some of the CLP secretaries to his response here. You can read the original letter from the 284 Chairs and Secretaries here.

 

Organisation Subcommittee – 11th March 2021

EHRC Action Plan

In response to the EHRC report, Labour has drawn up an action plan, which has been accepted by the EHRC, in order to deal with the findings of the report. This includes making changes to the Social Media Policy code of conduct, the Confidentiality and Privacy Code of Conduct as well as creating Codes of Conduct on Anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.

Code of Conduct: Social Media Policy

In order to carry out the EHRC action plan, the Social Media Policy has been changed and we urge members to take a read of the document, which is available here. A key item of note is the addition that liking or sharing content deemed to be at odds with party rules and codes of conduct on fighting discrimination will now lead to disciplinary action.

We proposed multiple amendments in order to make sure all forms of discrimination were adequately and equally opposed within the party. All amendments passed.

We also sought assurances that after completion of the codes of conduct that are being drawn up on anti-black racism and Islamophobia, which are part of the implementation of the EHRC report, we would begin drawing up codes of conduct on all other forms of discrimination named within the rulebook and current codes of conduct in order to adequately define what constitutes a rule breach. This should mean codes of conduct are forthcoming on forms of discrimination such as Ableism, Transphobia and Homophobia.

Code of Conduct: Confidentiality and Privacy

A paper on Confidentiality and Privacy was presented for consideration. A number of concerns were raised, including the importance of elected representatives reporting back to members and those they are accountable to about NEC meetings. The paper was referred to a future meeting of the Organisation Sub-Committee so that more time could be given for consideration of its proposals.

Development of an Islamophobia Code of Conduct and an Anti-Black Racism Code of Conduct

Both papers were agreed with slight amendments and work is swiftly underway to put the codes of conduct in place. Nadia Jama and Carol Sewell are to be included in the group undertaking the anti-Black racism work together with other stakeholders and Black MPs.

In light of the EHRC and Labour Muslim Network reports, drawing up these Codes of Conduct are an important step in dealing with these forms of discrimination within the party.

NEC Aims and Objectives

Paper agreed. The need for greater policy from the party was stressed. It is important that the NEC and its elected committees and officers play an important role in the leadership of our party on governance and policy.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Structures working group outcomes

The long awaited new Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic structures and how a national committee would be composed and elected were finalised in this meeting.

The  Black Asian and Minority Ethnic committee structures will have CLP representation, Trade Union representation and reps from the PLP, ALC, NEC etc.

We managed to increase the number of CLP reps to gain parity with TU reps (11 each), something that the working group had failed to get consensus on.

We argued and voted for both the Chair of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Committee and the CLP places to be voted by OMOV (One Member, One Vote).

We argued this because we felt it was  important that EVERY Black, Asian and  Minority Ethnic Labour member gets a vote and not just the few who are able to go to a conference.

Unfortunately this was unsuccessful in a vote. We voted for OMOV on both occasions, which is what our members wanted as per the Democracy Review, while other CLP reps and even the NEC BAME rep voted against it. This is not good for member democracy in our view as it is our role as CLP representatives to speak up for rank and file members so we would have expected other CLP representatives to do the same.

Our major area of concern was allowing two voting positions to BAME Labour.

To sum them up: BAME Labour is a near defunct pocket organisation that represents almost no one in the Party.

We raised our concerns and asked for clarification on whether this moribund organisation is an official affiliate, whether it pays its affiliation fees to the Party and how many members they have.

These were important points that required clarification to give any legitimacy to BAME Labour as an organisation supposedly representing members. Our questions were not answered. We do not feel that this was good practice and we also lost that vote too.

Composition of GRT Working Group

The group has been set up to develop a definition of anti-Gypsy, Roma and Traveller racism and discrimination. GV5 and Trade Union colleagues had stressed the importance of making sure this group is overwhelmingly made up of community stakeholders. We were happy with the outcomes on this. It was agreed to send Laura Pidcock to the group to represent the CLP representatives and Andi Fox to represent the trade unions.

Elections Update

We tried to raise the Liverpool Mayoral selection contest and get an update on this extremely concerning situation. Unfortunately this was denied, it was argued that the matter was too confidential even for NEC members!

We raised concerns from the CLPs that they are struggling with activist engagement, noting the multiple reasons and issues members  had contacted us regarding. This included how many members feel attacked after the dictats and numerous suspensions and also the continued suspension of Jeremy Corbyn’s whip, which is affecting party unity and cohesion.

We also raised concerns about safely campaigning given the pandemic, from risk of infection to fear of attack and harassment for being out and about. Many members, especially younger activists, won’t yet be vaccinated and the party has a duty to make every effort to ensure we keep people safe. It will be included in communications to members and regional directors that those who do not feel safe should not feel any pressure to be out and that phone-banking and online campaigning is just as valued.

These are a hugely important set of elections, so we urge you to sign up for a postal ballot and vote early in order to ensure the best turn out for Labour.

CLPs in Special Measures

We were informed that the party was investigating serious incidents in the London borough of Newham constituencies of West Ham and East Ham.  There was no paper provided, just a verbal report. We were told this could lead to special measures.

We insisted that it is important a roadmap is urgently put together and that member-led selections are not impacted. We await the paper and a report into Newham.

NOTE – Both East Ham CLP and West Ham CLP’s were suspended the following day. We will be keeping an eye on the situation there and working towards the return of full democracy to the CLPs as soon as possible.

CLP motions + Recall Conference Motion

We considered the motions passed by CLPs. Members raised the ‘recall conference’ motion that had been passed in multiple CLPs and moved that we take a vote on it. The Chair did not allow for a vote on this, citing that it is not permissible for the NEC to take a vote on motions passed by CLPs.

As such, this means that, currently, the motions you as members take the time to pass in your CLPs are seen briefly by NEC members at the end of a long Organisation Sub Committee meeting, are noted, and then go no further and cannot actually be passed or agreed by the NEC. We have asked for CLP motions to be moved up the agenda and will be looking at ways to ensure members’ motions are given due consideration, discussion and action by the party.

Abuse

Unfortunately, the meeting ended with an incident. GV5 NEC member Laura Pidcock was speaking about the need for members to feel listened to, especially with regard to the NEC discussing and offering due consideration to motions passed by CLPs, an incident then occurred which the Labour Party’s General Secretary said the Party would conduct an investigation into.

by Jake Rubin at March 26, 2021 09:42 AM

March 23, 2021

Mish Rahman's Blog

NEC Update – March 2021

MARCH 12TH 2021

Yesterday’s NEC Organisation Committee was a bit of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Let’s start with the good.

There was a lot of discussion around different codes of conduct which are required as part of the EHRC action plan, such as Social Media Policy, on Islamophobia, on Anti Black racism and on GRT discrimination.

There was good discussion and we managed to make some amendments to the Social Media policy that were accepted by consensus. GOOD.

Following this we moved onto the long awaited new Black Asian Minority Ethnic structures and how a national committee would be composed and elected.

The BAME committee structures will have CLP representation, Trade Union representation and reps from the PLP, ALC, NEC etc.

We managed to increase the number of CLP reps to gain parity with TU reps (11 each), something that the working group had failed to get consensus on.

We argued and voted for both the Chair of the BAME Committee and the CLP places to be voted by OMOV.

We argued this because it is important that EVERY Black Asian Minority Ethnic Labour member gets a vote and not just the few who are able to go to a conference.

I’m sorry to say that this was unsuccessful in a vote. The GV5 and Ann Black voted for OMOV on both occasions, the other CLP reps voted against. This is not good for member democracy.

My major area of concern was allowing two voting positions to BAME Labour. You can see my criticisms of this organisation here: bit.ly/3vhRbWd

To sum them up: BAME Labour is a near defunct pocket organisation that represents almost no one in the Party.

I raised my concerns and asked for clarification on whether this moribund organisation is an official affiliate, whether it pays its affiliation fees to the Party and how many members they have.

These were important points that required clarification to give any legitimacy to BAME Labour as an organisation supposedly representing members. My questions were not answered. This was not good practice and we lost that vote too. BAD

Finally, we may have many discussions and disagreements in meetings, but nobody should be called names, and to hear it from the Chair of the NEC was embarrassing for everyone in attendance and deeply inappropriate. I stand in solidarity with Laura Pidcock and feel sorry that she had to endure this behaviour. UGLY.

by Admin at March 23, 2021 10:24 AM

NEC Update – February 2021

FEBRUARY 12TH 2021

Last Thursday 11th February 2021, I attended Labour’s full NEC as it met for its bi-monthly meeting. Overall it was a mixed bag, with some positives but also some aspects which left a bad taste in the mouth.

If we are truly an anti-racist party championing equality, then you would assume we stand up for all equality. We can’t just talk – we must walk the walk as well. Members aren’t empowered by empty words and manifestos but action and equality in practice.

On the plus side, we were able to get student reps onto the National Labour Student Organisation working group, while we also were able to prevent an attempt to reduce the number of meetings of the NEC. Although CLP reps are volunteers, it’s important we are given more opportunity, not less to represent members’ viewpoints. We also got good appointments onto the Audit & Risk Committee and the Bursary Panel.

However, the seemingly indefinite delay of the Forde report does not fill BAME members with any confidence. I am already fielding questions about the NEC and whether the Forde report will ever see the light of day or whether it will be ‘covered up for good’.

My serious concerns about our party’s relationship with BAME supporters are simply not being addressed. Are we meant to simply take our BAME support for granted? We are failing to empower BAME members at a time when Keir’s satisfaction rating amongst BAME respondents is in freefall: Ipsos MORI polling shows his net rating amongst BAME respondents has fallen from +53 (June) to +6 (December)

Courtesy @LeftieStats (twitter)

Community organising was a significant part of the Deputy Leader’s platform when elected, as well as part of the recommendations of the Labour Together report however the COU is a casualty of cuts and coincidentally the most diverse unit of the party, which is already severely lacking in terms of diversity. A diversity audit of the party is essential.

The NEC discussion and decisions on Sandwell. This really HURTS. Angela Rayner promised in her BAME Manifesto in the Deputy Leadership contest, that “there is BAME representation on all Regional Boards, including gender balance” she also spoke of “This starts by members accepting that no one knows more about their own racism than the people affected”.

So we asked for gender balance and BAME representation for NEC reps to a selection panel for Sandwell – but what did we get? When we asked that one of the two white men put forward ‘stand aside brother’ in favour of gender balance and the added benefit of BAME representation, they both refused.

It went to a vote and by a narrow majority, gender balance and BAME representation lost the vote. This vote was participated by the NEC Chair of Equalities, the NEC BAME Rep, the NEC Chair, the Chair of The Labour Party / DLOTO and in the presence of the General Secretary. Is this equality in practice and is this empowering BAME representation? Unconscious bias?

Members deserve to know the truth.

by Admin at March 23, 2021 10:21 AM

NEC Update – January 2021

JANUARY 22ND 2021

Yesterday the NEC Organisation Committee approved a paper supposedly to ensure that only ‘High Quality Candidates’ are selected for local government and Parliamentary selections.

The paper made it clear that candidates and elected representatives are held to a higher standard than party members and the NEC expects the highest standards of probity.

That’s fine in principle – but there were several elements of the paper which are deeply unsettling.

The system laid out in the paper ultimately rests on highly subjective and value judgements, in my opinion it will increase incentives for false/malicious accusations which are already a key contributor to toxifying party culture.

I asked for greater clarification on how a potential candidate can be deemed to “embarrass” the party and put down a basic amendment to change wording from “that be embarrassing” to “that would be seen by many people as”, but this was defeated.

Another simple amendment was made to stop the General Secretary unilaterally ruling out a candidate, adding stipulation for it to be brought to the NEC.

This was also defeated.

The fact that elected bodies can potentially be cut out of crucial decisions to rule candidates out troubles me immensely.

I believe the paper hands too much power to unelected officials and has a negative and discouraging tone towards disabled, working class or BAME people.

This could potentially intensify domination of professionalised, career-oriented people standing for elected office.

We don’t want bland robotic suits with little lived experience – we want people who represent our communities.

People make mistakes. They learn. Sometimes they are victimised by unfair accusations.

If we are to be relevant to ordinary people, we need to accept that not everyone standing for elected office will be perfect.

by Admin at March 23, 2021 10:19 AM

March 17, 2021

Ann Black on the Record

NEC Update, March 2021

National Executive Committee Update, March 2021 The full NEC does not meet again till 25 May, when the elections will be all over bar the shouting, but there have been plenty of other meetings. Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission, 24 February 2021 This was the only meeting to focus on policy.  Shadow home secretary […]

by Ann Black at March 17, 2021 02:57 PM

March 10, 2021

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 4 to 9 March 2020

Women’s conference

The NEC women sub-committee discusses the 2021 women’s conference. Plans are continuing for a democratic women’s conference in June. This event will be run on online and could be used as a model for national Labour Party conference if it needs to take place online or in a hybrid format. Delegates can submit policy motions. We discussed whether local parties could also submit rule changes. I asked how motion compositing would work for online.

Transphobia

Ann Black asked a question at the equalities committee about the party’s work to tackle transphobia. This is an important issue, and work to tackle transphobia will take place alongside Labour’s Equality and Human Rights Commission action plan and the ongoing work to tackle prejudice and hate. This will also include a code of conduct for members.

Support for candidates with disabilities 

The NEC equalities committee discussed support available for people with disabilities standing to be candidates in local or national elections. It is important that people with disabilities are able to fully access democracy and stand for election. The issue of the impact of long Covid on members and candidates prompted a discussion about medical exemptions and/or reasonable adjustments for candidates.

I raised the importance of offering pregnant candidates the opportunity to do telephone canvassing in place of doorstep canvassing. There are a variety of medical conditions that impact people’s ability to campaign in the traditional way, and adjustments and extra support sometimes needs to be put in place. Labour will issue guidance on this top local parties and local campaign forums (LCFs).  

All-women shortlists

The NEC reconfirmed Labour’s commitment to all-women shortlists (AWS). There will also be a renewed focus on phasing out all-male council wards and recruiting, selecting and supporting diverse candidates.

Parliamentary boundaries

I attended the parliamentary boundaries working group. The next general election will be conducted on the new boundaries. The Boundary Commission for England will publish proposals in early summer, with consultations running throughout the summer. In Wales and Scotland, the Boundary Commission proposals are due in early Autumn. 

The terms of reference of the group are as follows:

  1. To implement the Labour Party’s political and organisational strategy for the 2023 boundary review as agreed by the NEC.
  2. To direct the staff team to appropriately respond to the consultations, including putting together alternative proposals.
  3. To lead on stakeholder management to ensure so far as is possible all parts of the Labour Party are acting in line with the NEC’s agreed strategy.
  4. To consult as appropriate with internal groups within the party, in particular the PLP, Scottish Labour, and Welsh Labour.
  5. To agree a process for a formal consultation of internal stakeholders to feed into the Labour Party’s final representations, and to implement that consultation.
  6. To consult as appropriate with external expertise with prior experience of parliamentary boundary reviews.
  7. To undertake preliminary work on any required procedural guidance, including on parliamentary trigger ballots and selections, and CLP reorganisation.
  8. To report back to the NEC and its sub-committees as necessary.

Upcoming NEC meetings

The disputes committee and organisational committee are due to meet on Thursday this week. I will report back after these meetings.

by aliceperryuk at March 10, 2021 07:50 PM

February 13, 2021

Luke Akehurst's Blog

NEC Report - 11 February 2021

 

Although there have been the NEC Away Day and a special meeting to deal with the EHRC Action Plan, this was the first ordinary full NEC meeting I have attended since my election back onto the NEC in November.

 

Apparently, it was a better meeting that others in 2020 had been. The mind boggles about what they were like if this was a “better” one. Presumably, any improvement is down to the changed political balance. There is now a clear working majority that supports the leadership, making any votes that are forced performative displays of victimhood by the Hard Left for the benefit of their reports to the (rapidly dwindling based on the results of recent CLP AGMs) Momentum email list.

 

When I served on the NEC from 2010 to 2012 it was characterised by being a friendly, collegiate body, where people from across the spectrum of party opinion looked for issues where they could work together, treated each other respectfully, and were polite and positive towards the leadership and the General Secretary.

 

This longstanding culture has been broken and needs to be restored. I am assured by people who have served in the interim that the breakdown in good manners and professional behaviour is very recent, and that despite profound concerns about his leadership, moderate NEC members treated Jeremy Corbyn with respect and courtesy.

 

Now we have a situation where the majority on the NEC are behaving in a comradely, professional way and a minority are being relentlessly uncomradely.

 

The six and a half hours of the NEC meeting included large sections where the time of people of good will who are trying to make Labour electable was wasted in order for people who don’t want Keir to succeed to undermine him with a litany of negativity.

 

Time, because of what members choose to focus their questions on, is disproportionately spent on attack lines about confected internal cause celebres that excite the hyper-active, have already been extensively aired on social media and are of very little interest to the mass of party members let alone Labour or potentially Labour voters (whether Keir should appear next to our national flag, the end of the Community Organising Unit, suspensions for ignoring instructions about non-competent business, Jeremy Corbyn’s disciplinary case, something that Lord Falconer has said). Rather less time is spent making positive proposals or offering constructive scrutiny that might help the party staff with their immediate and huge task of rebuilding a party traumatised by the Corbyn era and winning the bumper lot of elections that are happening in May.

 

It is like having an opposition party inside the NEC meeting trying actively to damage the party. On occasion people were overtly personally rude as well.

 

I think this is a terrible waste. There are talented people from across the political spectrum on the NEC. If everyone played their role as team players we could achieve so much more, and in fact the left of the party would be far more likely to advance its agenda by being collegiate and constructive.

 

This is not a good use of Keir, Angela or David’s time, and their forbearance, dignity and calm in putting up with this nonsense is extraordinary, as is Margaret Beckett’s skill as chair.

 

Keir’s report was delivered from Heathrow where he had been meeting Unite union reps in solidarity with their dispute over fire and rehire. He outlined Labour’s approach to the Budget on 3 March and to the May elections, stressing that we want to “build forward” to a different, more equal future, rather than “build back” to the pre-Covid world as the Tories want. Keir said Labour will be fleshing out the detail of our practical “Recovery and Rebuild” policy proposals, which are in the three areas of health and wellbeing, the economy, and redistributing power.

 

Keir reported that Labour had forced Opposition Day debates on topics that were important to raise in Parliament and divided Tory MPs: fire and rehire, Universal Credit and Cladding.

 

In the Q&A I asked Keir to emulate the Biden campaign by consistently driving home the message about the need to sign up for postal votes.

 

Keir was on incredible form and dealt with all the questions, positive and negative, with great answers.

 

Angela Rayner’s report focused on campaigning but again there were silly attempts by the Hard Left to extract damaging answers, such as asking for foolhardy predictions about May’s elections. Have these people never heard of expectation management? I was pleased that Angela specifically picked up on my theme about postal voting and set out steps that are being taken.

 

David Evans read out a letter from the Forde Inquiry, saying they had had to pause publication of their report while the Information Commissioner’s Office conducted an investigation into the data breach associated with the leak that Forde was investigating. The report has already been delayed because the panel has conducted so many interviews and considered so many submissions. The letter has now been published on the Forde Inquiry website: https://www.fordeinquiry.org/forde-inquiry-update/

 

David also covered progress on the Organise to Win 2024 programme of organisational change, staff diversity, and the EHRC Action Plan, where he reported on creation of an Antisemitism Advisory Board (biographies here: https://labour.org.uk/antisemitism/action-plan/ ) and said training for staff and the NEC would be completed by 29 April.

 

On the suspensions for ignoring guidance about non-competent business about antisemitism there had been no blanket policy of suspensions, they had been on a case-by-case basis and were being resolved by Disputes Panel hearings. The key issue was that the EHRC Report had made the Labour Party legally responsible for the actions of its “agents” down to the level of councillors and branch and CLP officers. David said he would, after consulting the NEC, recast and reissue an updated set of guidance in order for CLPs to be able to frame discussions about antisemitism in a safe and inclusive way. He would also change the disciplinary process so that members could be issued with reminders of conduct and formal warnings without them having to be suspended.

 

I welcomed David’s proposed change to the disciplinary process as I don’t think it is fair for people breaching the rules in less serious cases to lose their right to hold office for months and eventually only get a written reprimand. But I made it clear that I supported the party having taken the action then available to it to stop uncontrolled debates about issues around antisemitism, which could have created flash points that would have caused a hostile environment for Jewish members and could have led to further legal and EHRC problems for the party. I said that many members had contacted me demanding the party take action to tackle the unpleasant culture in their CLPs and desperately wanted positive debates about policy and campaigning, not meeting after acrimonious meeting focused on the debate around antisemitism and the disciplinary process.

 

The membership report revealed we now have over 512,000 members, 19% of whom have joined since the start of 2020. I urged the party to work with affiliated unions to bring union members into full individual membership to redress the longstanding disproportionate bias in the party’s membership towards older middle class white male graduates and the London and South East regions.

 

We were given an update on the review of how the party makes policy, which will now move to a period of focussed engagement led by Angela, with rule changes to be proposed at Annual Conference. David said he was committed to there being a 2021 Annual Conference but Covid meant there were still two scenarios, a full conference and a socially distant one.

 

The most important item from my point of view was the update on the May elections, presented by the newly appointed Executive Director Elections & Field Delivery, Anna Hutchinson. This is a uniquely challenging double set of elections, with the added complication of Covid meaning that doorstep campaigning is unlikely to be possible and in-person voters will be told to wear a mask and even take their own pen or pencil! The party’s top priorities are maximising the number of postal voters, which we are describing as “early voters” as postal voting has connotations of being for older people only; and using the newly upgraded Dialogue phone canvassing. It was fantastic to hear that as much canvassing is now being done via Dialogue as was being done conventionally pre-lockdown. I was pleased that Anna responded positively to my suggestion of greater use of twinning and targeting of key marginal areas given that this is particularly easy when almost all the work is being done by phone. She said the party will be pushing a message to CLPs that every third Dialogue session they run should be in support of a marginal area.

 

We agreed that in Sandwell, where there has been a lot of local infighting (largely unrelated to national left vs. right conflicts), to ensure the council candidate selections are run fairly they should be untaken by panels consisting of regional appointees, and we added two of our own NEC colleagues, Nick Forbes and James Asser, to the panel line-ups.

 

A working group to come up with a model for re-establishing a student wing of the Labour Party was agreed. I was very pleased to be appointed to serve on this as I am a former National Secretary of Labour Students.

 

We agreed that overseas members in the Labour International CLP should be allowed to pay the concessionary membership fee if they are unwaged, when previously all overseas members had been charged the full rate.

 

Finally, we agreed to sign up the Labour Party to the employer aspects of the Armed Forces Covenant.  

 

Between the NEC Away Day on 24 November and this meeting I also participated in the following other meetings. It is not my intention usually to report in detail on sub-committee meetings because when I was on the NEC before we were under instruction that reports should only be on full meetings not committees, and in the case of Disputes Panels the proceedings are confidential:

 

·         Training for serving on Sexual Harassment disciplinary panels – 3 December and 2 February

·         Two Disputes Panel hearings.

·         Equalities Committee meeting on EHRC Action Plan – 4 December – this elected James Asser as the new committee Chair.

·         Special full NEC meeting on the EHRC Action Plan – 7 December

·         Development Fund Panel – 10 December – this panel allocates grants to CLPs

·         Equalities Committee – 14 January – this included items on the EHRC Action Plan, Women’s Conference, tackling anti-GRT (Gypsy, Roma and Traveller) racism, and BAME working group.  

·         Disputes Panel – 21 January – this elected Shabana Mahmood as the new Panel Chair and received statistics on total numbers of cases being resolved etc.

·         Organisation Committee – 21 January – this elected Wendy Nichols as the new committee Chair. I was elected to the working group on the parliamentary boundary review, and as the NEC link member for Labour International CLP. Items considered included the Liverpool Mayor candidate selection process, boundary review, ensuring high quality candidates, election of Young Labour equalities positions, membership data access and use for CLP officers.

·         I have also been elected to the NPF Health and Social Care Policy Commission, but this has not met yet.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at February 13, 2021 06:07 PM

February 12, 2021

Ann Black on the Record

NEC Report, 11 February 2021

Keir Starmer joined from Heathrow where he was supporting Unite members, on strike against plans to fire and rehire them on worse conditions.  He stressed the importance of the May elections.  With Scotland, Wales, London, councils, mayors, police and crime commissioners, and all the 2020 contests rolled in, this was the biggest test outside a […]

by Ann Black at February 12, 2021 03:44 PM

January 30, 2021

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

Grassroots Voice NEC Report – Organisation Sub-Committee 21.01.2021

See below for a report from the Labour Party NEC Organisation Sub-Committee meeting held 21st January 2021 from the Grassroots Voice NEC CLP representatives team: Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock, Mish Rahman.

To sign-up for regular reports from the NEC and updates from CLPD, click here.


Grassroots Voice NEC Report – Organisation Sub-Committee 21st January 2021

Election of Chair & Vice Chair

We had another election of Chair and Vice of the Organisation Committee, the left NEC candidates put forward, were the incumbent chair Andy Kerr (CWU) and vice chair Howard Beckett (Unite), unfortunately, we lost out on the vote – the new chair elected was Wendy Nicholls (Unison) and vice chair was Michael Wheeler elected (USDAW) Vice Chair.

Forde enquiry

Whilst this item hadn’t been on the agenda, the General Secretary wanted to discuss the delayed report in that he asked permission from the NEC members to contact the Forde Inquiry and request that they work to a deadline of the 31st January to produce the report to the NEC.

We have raised this in a number of meetings and via email, so we were really pleased that the whole of the NEC agreed to this request.  We will provide a further update as soon as we can.

Ensuring High Quality candidates

One of our first questions was to ask, why this paper was necessary – had there been significant problems that required this additional level of scrutiny?  There were a number of examples provided by other NEC members, as to why they felt it was necessary.  We then attempted to raise a number of amendments to the paper.

One of our suggested amendments related to convictions in particular, including wording around spent convictions, under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, in that this would not normally prevent anyone from being a candidate. This was VOTED DOWN.

We asked for more clarification to define how a candidate can ‘embarrass’ themselves or the party – this is highly subjective, we proposed an amendment again this was VOTED DOWN.

There was a clause that allowed the General Secretary to remove the endorsement of any nominee on the recommendation of the Regional Director  –  we requested that they add and the “approval of the Chair of the NEC Organisation Committee’’ to bring this decision back into the NEC Committee, this too was VOTED DOWN.

Our view has not changed – we believe this paper restates those powers with a tone that is highly problematic. Highly discouraging tone and potential negative outcomes affecting disabled people, working class people, BAME people. It could also intensify domination of professionalised, career-oriented people standing for elected office, at a time when our party needs working class, unionised members of Parliament with lived experiences. The whole system ultimately rests on a value judgement. It increases incentives for false or malicious accusations which are already a key contributor to toxifying party culture. The tone and focus of it also gives people low incentives for being truthful about anything contradicting the form.

The sentence ‘The form below represents the NEC’s expectation for high quality candidates’ contradicts the subsequent part where it says ‘While I understand that answering ‘yes’ to any of the above does not automatically disbar me from being a Labour Party candidate’ -. it doesn’t actually spell out what the circumstances that would/wouldn’t lead to a candidate being barred are. Defining a ‘high quality candidate’ in these terms is absurd.

Out of the 9 CLP representatives only the GV5 CLP reps voted AGAINST this paper.

Liverpool Mayoral Selection

There were suggested changes to the panel structure for the Mayoral selection together with a timetable agreed.

We requested an extension to the self nomination period to ensure it was more inclusive, in particular for women candidates; this was not accepted.  (We felt 7 days was too short, and could result in women candidates missing out –  as well as other equality groups).

Data Access

This paper was to update the rulebook on what data different stakeholders in the party can use and clarifying what data can be used from what purpose. The paper passed with some small amendments.

Young Labour National Committee Equalities Positions

The whole of the NEC voted to support the changes for the Young Labour equality position.  Lara McNeil the Youth Rep, welcomed this and stated it was long overdue, particularly that liberation reps should have been elected such a long time ago, that some were now in their early 30’s, above the age of eligibility.

Boundary review working group

A paper was brought to discuss setting up a working group on boundary reviews, it wasn’t clear how the group had been determined – but Ann Black suggested that rather than her being on the working group, she would like Luke Akehurst to take her place, as the CLP Rep.  There was no vote to agree or disagree with this change.

CLP’s in Special Measures

There were a number of CLPs in special measures – we asked about roadmaps for those CLPs and noted how special measures appear to affect BAME populated areas. We raised some concern around some of the wording used in the paper and wanted to be sure that there were no vexation claims against members, we were reassured this was not the case, Effort to work with the CLPs to progress them out of special measure, was key.

CLP motions

We had been assured prior to the meeting that a motion that had not been progressed from last November from Sheffield Central CLP on a trial for disabled candidates in local election, would be discussed. In any event our Disabled Rep spoke towards the motion and everyone was in agreement that this should progress and that we should find a way for it to happen. Angela Rayner voiced her support in making this happen.

We noted that there were a number of motions that had been brought before us, regarding the EHRC – we questioned how this was possible given the ‘guidance’ that the General Secretary has sent a number of times to CLP and BLP chairs and secretaries.

We raised the distress and anguish suspensions have caused many members and whilst we were certainly not advocating for the 3 CLP officers of the 3 motions on our agenda, we pointed out the inconsistency and unfairness to those that had been suspended from the party.

The General Secretary acknowledged this inconsistency and reminded the NEC members that the delegated powers that had initiated this guidance last year, could be revoked at the request of the NEC.  We are in the process of arranging a motion and letter to this effect – we will keep you posted.

Appointment of NPF vacancies

We then put our names forward for the following positions that had vacancies:

Nadia Jama: Justice and Home Affairs

Mish Rahman: International

AOB

We reminded the committee of the desire under the previous Equalities Committee Chair to increase our engagement with more stakeholders, through roundtables. It’s clear from the Labour Muslim Network, who attended the last equalities committee, that lots of concerns were not being addressed.  The current format of having the groups report back for 5 mins, is not sufficient. We recommended that this was reviewed and separate meetings or a process for stakeholders to feed into the equalities committee to ensure stakeholders have more time to present and discuss – as well as ensuring the equalities committee, as a sub committee, is properly structured with named members, as well as allowed elected NEC members to discuss other matters.  The point was noted but not responded to, we will raise it in the next equalities committee.

by Jake Rubin at January 30, 2021 12:32 PM

January 27, 2021

Ann Black on the Record

South East Regional Executive Committee, 26 January 2021

The chair Vince Maple reported on a positive meeting with general secretary David Evans, where he raised the need for more resources in the south-east.  A partywide review of staffing was under way, though David acknowledged the importance of replacing our communications officer.  Deficiencies in digital systems were being addressed. There was more to do […]

by Ann Black at January 27, 2021 04:50 PM

January 24, 2021

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 21 January 2021

The organisational sub-committee and disputes sub-committee of Labour’s national executive committee met today. I also attended the LGA Labour group meeting, which unfortunately clashed with part of the disputes committee meeting.

Parliamentary Labour Party representative Shabana Mahmood MP was elected chair of the disputes committee. UNISON representative Wendy Nichols was elected chair of the organisational committee and Usdaw’s Michael Wheeler was elected vice-chair of the organisational committee.

Complaints and disciplinary hearings

The NEC disputes sub-panels have been regularly meeting and have heard over 300 cases. The majority of these cases have concerned complaints relating to people’s protected characteristics. As agreed as part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission action plan, regular statistics about complaints and disciplinary cases will be published on the Labour Party website.

2021 elections

The LGA Labour group also met today. The meeting discussed the 2021 elections and when they might take place. If the elections are postponed, councils will need as much notice as possible to accommodate changes. As things stand, numerous polling stations are currently being used as vaccination centres and Covid-19 testing centres. There are some very difficult, practical challenges that councils need to resolve in order for safe elections to be able to take place. Many councillors expressed serious concerns about the elections taking place in May as planned.

Another issue raised is that currently people are unable to register for postal votes online. Labour has been lobbying government to change this and make it much easier for people to register fully electronically. Any change to this won’t be made in time for elections in May.

Postponing the elections to July or September would also pose challenges to local government staff, who have been working extremely hard in challenging circumstances. An election in September would also disrupt the party conference season.

Due diligence for candidate selection

Labour’s EHRC action plan includes commitments to undertake addition due diligence for candidate selection. There have been damaging incidents in the past where candidates were selected, only to be removed due to previous unacceptable behaviour coming to light.

Candidates and elected representatives are held to a higher standard than party members. The NEC agreed that it is right and proper that the highest standards of probity are expected. Additional checks and balances will be made to relevant selection procedures, including local government selections.

Forde Inquiry

General secretary David Evans updated the NEC about the status of the Forde Inquiry. This is an independent, impartial review. The report was due to be delivered last year but has received a high volume of submissions, which contributed to the delay. The report will be completed and delivered shortly.

Liverpool mayoral selection

The NEC agreed a process for selecting Labour’s candidate for mayor of Liverpool. The process has been accelerated to allow a candidate to be selected as quickly as possible.

Parliamentary boundary review

The NEC agreed proposals for an NEC boundary commission working group to oversee Labour’s response to the parliamentary boundary review and relevant organisational work relating to this. This working group will be a sub-committee of the NEC and any recommendations and proposals will need to come back to the full NEC for agreement.

Intimidation in public life

The NEC agreed that Labour could sign up to a joint statement on tackling intimidation in public life. This has been driven by cross-party parliamentary work and the Jo Cox Foundation. You can read more at Intimidation in Public Life: a joint approach to tackling intimidation on gov.uk. All political parties have agreed to sign up apart from the Conservative Party. I raised the issue of unacceptable levels of abuse aimed at councillors and council candidates. Ann Black also made important points about the need to change the culture within the Labour Party, as well as tackling wider abuse people face from the public.

by aliceperryuk at January 24, 2021 08:37 PM

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

Grassroots Voice NEC Report – November 2020- January 2021

See below for a report from the Grassroots Voice NEC representatives, backed by CLPD and the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance: Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock, Mish Rahman

This report was originally published on grassrootslabour.net

You can also download the report here


NEC Report – Grassroots Voice Team

This is the first of the GV5 NEC reports. During the elections, we ran on a platform of extending party democracy, building on the radical, socialist policy platform developed over the last five years, and supporting trade unions and social movements fighting for workers’ rights, peace and social justice. Since being elected, we’ve been working hard to put these principles into action. Below, we’ve outlined what we’ve been doing on a range of issues, from standing with education unions, to pressing the leadership on tackling islamophobia in the Labour Party.

NEC Induction Meeting

We attended an induction meeting in November as new members of the NEC and were given a guide and presentation on various organisational structures. We were welcomed by the General Secretary and the various heads of the other units within the party’s bureaucracy.

Labour Muslim Network Report

In our first meeting with the new General Secretary, we raised the issue that members have flagged to us regarding a perceived lack of action and response to the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) Report, which presented some damning evidence of Islamophobia within our party.

The General Secretary was keen to point out that all recommendations of the paper will be implemented. We will continue to review this and update members over the coming weeks and months, once dates and timescales are shared of how these recommendations will be implemented.

Forde Inquiry

We also raised the view that many members felt the Forde Inquiry had been kicked into the long grass. We were assured, at the time, that the report would be delivered by the end of the year. As it happened, the report was not delivered as expected at the end of 2020, so we wrote to the leadership for clarity on the exact date and how this will be shared with the wider membership, as well as the plan to address any findings. We were notified that the report will be provided to the NEC. Our next full NEC meeting is now February, so we will ask for this to be on the agenda.

NEC Away Day

Our first NEC meeting at the end of November was presented as an awayday. We had been told that this would be an opportunity for the NEC to review the previous year and plan for the challenges ahead. We are at a crucial point in our party’s history, given the recent examples of funding being withdrawn by Unite and – more recently – the Baker’s Union (BFAWU) consulting with their members about the possibility of disaffiliation.

It was announced that there would be an election of the Chair and the Vice Chair at the away day. We were aware that custom and practice for a number of years was that the Vice Chair moved into the Chair position, which in this case would be a member of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Therefore, when the agenda item for the election was moved, it seemed obvious that the new leadership wanted to change that practice and implement their own preference for Chair and Vice Chair.

The NEC is the governing body of the Labour Party and the Labour Party was born out of the trade union movement. There are millions of trade union members and many of them are also party members, including the GV5 – the new leadership should be looking to build on and strengthen this relationship, not blocking trade union representatives from taking roles on the basis of factional political manoeuvring.

This anti-democratic action, the insult to the FBU, with a move away from agreed protocol, and the ongoing perceived factionalism from the new leadership, left those who disagreed with this decision with no alternative but to leave the meeting as a unified block. There were no tirades and no abuse, just a point of order – the content of our views is now on public record. You can read our letter to David Evans HERE

All Women Shortlists (AWS)

We wanted to set out to make a difference for members, so it’s been great to see and to be part of the work to reverse a decision that had removed the All Women Shortlist protocol (AWS) for local candidates in one of our regions. Women are integral to our movement and the AWS requirements MUST be maintained, so this was a great result for all concerned and one of the first initiatives we became involved in with our trade union comrades on the NEC.

NEC Agenda

We stood on a platform of being the voice of members within the NEC, so we have asked that a standing item for CLP Representatives is included on the agenda for future meetings to represent the issues that matter to you, as and when they arise. Members are our greatest asset, and your views are as important as the Leader and Deputy Leader, who both enjoy dedicated slots on the NEC agenda. Our request hasn’t been accepted; however, we will continue to press for this at all future full NEC meetings.

Windrush Scandal – Stop the Plane

Following the absence of their names from a ‘round robin letter’ signed by more than 60 MPs, we wrote to Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, urging them to speak out over the unjust deportation flight that had initially sought to remove 50 individuals from the UK. Campaigners and lawyers were able to get 37 people removed from the plane before take-off. Labour must join these efforts, with the leadership at the forefront of speaking out against the government’s “hostile environment” policies. No response has been received.

Sexual Harassment Panel Training

We undertook training, so that we can take part in cases that are brought through the Sexual Harassment Panel.

Equalities Committee

We attended our first equalities committee, where there were further elections for Chair & Vice chair, following the departure of Ann Henderson, Ann was thanked by all for her dedication and hard work over the last few years as the Chair. -She will be missed by all. Nominations were then taken from the floor for a replacement Chair, (there doesn’t appear to be a custom and practice of statements or requests for candidates in advance of meetings to put themselves forward for role). James Asser was elected Chair and Vice chairs were elected for a number of roles. Ellen Morrison was elected Vice Chair for Disability, Lara McNeill was elected Vice Chair for Youth, Nick Forbes was elected Vice Chair for LGBTIQ, Carol Sewell was elected Vice Chair for BAME while Jayne Taylor and Ann Black were elected to job share Vice Chair for Women’s role

Special Meeting – EHRC response

There was a special NEC meeting to discuss the ongoing response of the Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report. The party’s initial plan for the implementation of the report was discussed and agreed to be sent to the EHRC. The next step is for the EHRC to agree to the initial plan before more detailed discussions as to the recommendations and implementation of the report are had.

We are totally committed to rebuilding trust and relations with Jewish communities and ensuring the Labour Party is a welcoming and inclusive space for people of all backgrounds and communities.

NEC Development Fund Committee

We attended our first Development Fund Committee, where we reviewed 50 applications from party members / groups. We elected our new Chair Ellen Morrison and were able to make some additional approvals for funding for accessibility for member meetings. We also suggested some improvements to the application form and ask for better guidance for members to aid their application in the hope that these would be more successful.

We are also happy to support any queries members may have in readiness for the next round. The next funding application deadline will be 26th February 2021. If you would like to make an application for the fund, please find all information HERE

Women’s Conference

The Labour Party will be holding an online, fully democratic Women’s Conference from 26th-27th June. There were discussions about a physical conference but due to social distancing this presented obvious issues with being able to ensure that each CLP would be able to send representation to the conference. The Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee (WCAC) reps also had concerns about people travelling alone and not being able to socialise with other delegates which could have made for a very lonely occasion without the incredible atmosphere that our most recent conferences have had.

The delegate entitlement will be the same as before, 2 delegates per CLP, one of which must be BAME, disabled or LGBT+. CLP reps and the WCAC, in consultation with Young Labour are also working to ensure that representation of young women is increased at the next conference and that young women feel as engaged as possible in our women’s structures going forward.

LBC – Call Keir

We wrote to Keir Starmer following his failure to challenge the far-right views expressed during his Call Keir slot on LBC – A caller had made comments likened to the racist ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, stating that the “racial inequality is now against the indigenous people of Britain, who are set to become a minority in 2066”. We wanted an urgent meeting to discuss this incident and to suggest how the party could reassure members that we are committed to fighting all forms of racism wherever we find it. No response has been received.

Well-being of Members

We wrote to David Evans and the new leadership asking for an urgent meeting, as we were concerned for members wellbeing due to the spate of suspensions, the lack of detail provided to members and the fact that emails notifying members of their suspension were being sent late at night. We were initially provided with details to signpost members to a number of organisations like the Samaritans, MIND, A&E as well as referring members to their local GPs. We felt this response was a shocking superficial way to meet our obligations to our members, so we restated our request for a meeting to discuss the wellbeing of Labour Party members. No further response has been received.

Standing Up for Labour Party Democracy

At the last NEC meeting we had wanted to raise a motion regarding discussions in CLPs – at the request of thousands of members – in particular, the seemingly arbitrary undemocratic guidance from the General Secretary, which has no basis in the Labour Party Rule Book. The guidance prohibits some political discussion, including the discussion of the current status of the Labour Party’s former leader, who has been cleared of a suspension charge. This is clearly relevant party business, and we believe that this unprecedented undemocratic crackdown on normal CLP functions is destroying the party from the inside out.

Moreover, we must recognise the undue stress CLP officers as volunteers have been placed under because of this move, documented in this letter from 240 constituency Chairs and Secretaries. The letter calls for David Evans to withdraw his guidance. As Labour’s NEC, we have a vital role to play in ensuring that we provide CLP officers and members with a safe environment to volunteer their time in the Labour Party. We must ensure that CLP officers are supported in their roles of administering their local parties and are able to express themselves freely as a part of our duty of care to those who campaign for the Labour Party. Their voices must be heard and respected by the General Secretary.

Our motion wasn’t allowed on the agenda, but we will push to ensure that this is taken at the next full NEC meeting and continue to work to have this issue progressed

We were co-signatories to a letter calling for the reinstatement of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and the rights of members to discuss legitimate topics in their CLPs, as well as calling on the leadership to end the attacks on party democracy. You can read the full letter HERE

School Closures

We started the New Year as we intend to continue as trade unionist-supporting workers. We organised an open statement regarding the situation on the reopening of schools, asking the new leadership to support the trade unions’ call for schools to remain closed for the safety of working people, children and our communities. This received overwhelming support across the Labour movement and had joint signatories from TU General Secretaries, MPs, left Groups within the movement as well as support from a leading Parent Group. We have received no response to date – you can read the statement HERE

Member Surgeries

Part of our manifesto was the commitment to regular engagement with the members, so we’ll be organising our first Member Surgeries in the coming weeks to enable us to listen to your concerns and issues, as well as feeding back the work we are undertaking on your behalf. So, watch this space.

 

Gemma Bolton, Yasmine Dar, Nadia Jama, Laura Pidcock, Mish Rahman

by Jake Rubin at January 24, 2021 02:09 PM

January 22, 2021

Ann Black on the Record

NEC Committee Report, 21 January 2021

Disputes Panel This was the first meeting of the NEC cycle and Shabana Mahmood was elected as chair, with 18 votes to 11 for Yasmine Dar.  Yasmine was thanked for all her work during an exceptionally busy time.  Shabana is the fifth person to chair the panel in the last three years. We then heard […]

by Ann Black at January 22, 2021 01:20 PM

January 21, 2021

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 14 January 2021

Various sub-committees of Labour’s national executive committee are meeting in the next few weeks. On January 14th, I attended meetings of the women’s committee and the equalities committee. I also attended the national policy forum’s justice and home affairs policy commission meeting.

The women’s committee noted that UNISON have elected Christina McAnea as their first female general secretary. UNISON represent over one million female members. The committee sent their congratulations to Christina.

Women’s conference

Women’s conference this year will take place online. This will be a democratic conference and will incorporate online voting technology. Women’s conference is piloting this technology, which could be used for annual Labour Party conference if necessary.

The cost of the conference for delegates was discussed. Options to reduce the cost are being considered and any changes will reflect the cost of running a democratic conference online. I also asked about opportunities for sponsorship and revenue generation for online conferences. It was good to hear about the work that is ongoing in this area.

Representatives from the women’s conference arrangements committee joined the meeting and discussed possible themes, topics and speakers for the conference. 

EHRC action plan

The equalities committee discussed the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) action plan. On December 17th last year, the Labour Party published its action plan for driving out antisemitism in the Labour Party in response to the EHRC report into antisemitism in the party published on October 29th.

The action plan demonstrates how the Labour Party will address all the recommendations made in the EHRC’s report and sets out a clear timetable for implementation. You can read the action plan on the Labour Party website. It was agreed that this will be a standard agenda item at all equalities committee meetings.

Challenging GRT discrimination

The equalities committee discussed work to tackle antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination within the Labour Party and public life. A working group will be established to move this important work forward, consulting with relevant community stakeholders. NEC members also noted the recent International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination. 

Future priorities for the equalities committee

In recent years, NEC agendas have been very reactive (not a surprise given the circumstances with successive general elections, referendums and leadership elections!). The NEC equalities committee discussed plans and priorities for 2021. Suggestions included work to address discrimination against disabled and deaf people, improving the culture within the party to make it more welcoming and inclusive, tackling Islamophobia, addressing sexual harassment (including complaints about historic abuse) and increasing diversity of political representation.

2021 elections

Next week’s organisational committee will include an update about plans for the 2021 elections. The Local Government Association is in regular contact with the government about possible plans to postpone the elections. While the government claims to have no current plans to delay the elections, there are contingency plans being developed to hold the elections in June, July or September, or they could be delayed until 2022. The uncertainty is understandably frustrating, but not surprising given the way the Tory government behaves.

Justice and home affairs

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP and David Lammy MP presented on recent justice and home affairs activities at their NPF policy commission meeting. The focus of this year’s policy consultation is devolution and Gordon Brown has agreed to lead a piece of work on this. Labour is currently near the beginning of the policy cycle, which will eventually produce the next general election manifesto.

Annual conference is planned for September, with contingencies for a hybrid or online conference should the pandemic make this necessary. We briefly discussed suggestions for online policy motion compositing meetings, which sound like they will be very challenging. There will also be benefits to an online conference, which will reduce costs for delegates and potentially make conference more accessible.

by aliceperryuk at January 21, 2021 11:17 AM

January 16, 2021

Ann Black on the Record

NEC Committee Report, 14 January 2021

NEC Women’s Sub-Committee / Equalities Committee, 14 January 2021 Returning after a strange and subdued winter break, these were the first NEC meetings of the New Year.  The women’s sub-committee congratulated Christina McAnea on her election as general secretary of UNISON, the first woman to hold the position. The committee moved on to discuss arrangements […]

by Ann Black at January 16, 2021 11:39 AM

January 11, 2021

Mish Rahman's Blog

NEC Report – November – January 2021

Our NEC update from the Grassroots five for January 2021

Report authored by Nadia Jama, Mish Rahman, Laura Pidcock, Gemma Bolton and Yasmine Dar.

This is the first of the GV5 NEC reports. During the elections, we ran on a platform of extending party democracy, building on the radical, socialist policy platform developed over the last five years, and supporting trade unions and social movements fighting for workers’ rights, peace and social justice. Since being elected, we’ve been working hard to put these principles into action. Below, we’ve outlined what we’ve been doing on a range of issues, from standing with education unions, to pressing the leadership on tackling islamophobia in the Labour Party.

NEC Induction Meeting

We attended an induction meeting in November as new members of the NEC and were given a guide and presentation on various organisational structures. We were welcomed by the General Secretary and the various heads of the other units within the party’s bureaucracy.

Labour Muslim Network Report

In our first meeting with the new General Secretary, we raised the issue that members have flagged to us regarding a perceived lack of action and response to the Labour Muslim Network (LMN) Report, which presented some damning evidence of Islamophobia within our party.

The General Secretary was keen to point out that all recommendations of the paper will be implemented. We will continue to review this and update members over the coming weeks and months, once dates and timescales are shared of how these recommendations will be implemented.

Forde Inquiry

We also raised the view that many members felt the Forde Inquiry had been kicked into the long grass. We were assured, at the time, that the report would be delivered by the end of the year. As it happened, the report was not delivered as expected at the end of 2020, so we wrote to the leadership for clarity on the exact date and how this will be shared with the wider membership, as well as the plan to address any findings. We were notified that the report will be provided to the NEC. Our next full NEC meeting is now February, so we will ask for this to be on the agenda.

NEC Away Day

Our first NEC meeting at the end of November was presented as an awayday. We had been told that this would be an opportunity for the NEC to review the previous year and plan for the challenges ahead. We are at a crucial point in our party’s history, given the recent examples of funding being withdrawn by Unite and – more recently – the Baker’s Union (BFAWU) consulting with their members about the possibility of disaffiliation.

It was announced that there would be an election of the Chair and the Vice Chair at the away day. We were aware that custom and practice for a number of years was that the Vice Chair moved into the Chair position, which in this case would be a member of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Therefore, when the agenda item for the election was moved, it seemed obvious that the new leadership wanted to change that practice and implement their own preference for Chair and Vice Chair.

The NEC is the governing body of the Labour Party and the Labour Party was born out of the trade union movement. There are millions of trade union members and many of them are also party members, including the GV5 – the new leadership should be looking to build on and strengthen this relationship, not blocking trade union representatives from taking roles on the basis of factional political manoeuvring.

This anti-democratic action, the insult to the FBU, with a move away from agreed protocol, and the ongoing perceived factionalism from the new leadership, left those who disagreed with this decision with no alternative but to leave the meeting as a unified block. There were no tirades and no abuse,

just a point of order – the content of our views is now on public record. You can read our letter to David Evans HERE

All Women Shortlists (AWS)

We wanted to set out to make a difference for members, so it’s been great to see and to be part of the work to reverse a decision that had removed the All Women Shortlist protocol (AWS) for local candidates in one of our regions. Women are integral to our movement and the AWS requirements MUST be maintained, so this was a great result for all concerned and one of the first initiatives we became involved in with our trade union comrades on the NEC.

NEC Agenda

We stood on a platform of being the voice of members within the NEC, so we have asked that a standing item for CLP Representatives is included on the agenda for future meetings to represent the issues that matter to you, as and when they arise. Members are our greatest asset, and your views are as important as the Leader and Deputy Leader, who both enjoy dedicated slots on the NEC agenda. Our request hasn’t been accepted; however we will continue to press for this at all future full NEC meetings.

Windrush Scandal – Stop the Plane

Following the absence of their names from a ‘round robin letter’ signed by more than 60 MPs, we wrote to Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, urging them to speak out over the unjust deportation flight that had initially sought to remove 50 individuals from the UK. Campaigners and lawyers were able to get 37 people removed from the plane before take-off. Labour must join these efforts, with the leadership at the forefront of speaking out against the government’s “hostile environment” policies. No response has been received.

Sexual Harassment Panel Training

We undertook training, so that we can take part in cases that are brought through the Sexual Harassment Panel.

Equalities Committee

We attended our first equalities committee, where there were further elections for Chair & Vice chair, following the departure of Ann Henderson, Ann was thanked by all for her dedication and hard work over the last few years as the Chair. -She will be missed by all. Nominations were then taken from the floor for a replacement Chair, (there doesn’t appear to be a custom and practice of statements or requests for candidates in advance of meetings to put themselves forward for role). James Asser was elected Chair and Vice chairs were elected for a number of roles. Ellen Morrison was elected Vice Chair for Disability, Lara McNeill was elected Vice Chair for Youth, Nick Forbes was elected Vice Chair for LGBTIQ, Carol Sewell was elected Vice Chair for BAME while Jayne Taylor and Ann Black were elected to job share Vice Chair for Women’s role

Special Meeting – EHRC response

There was a special NEC meeting to discuss the ongoing response of the Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report. The party’s initial plan for the implementation of the report was discussed and agreed to be sent to the EHRC. The next step is for the EHRC to agree to the initial plan before more detailed discussions as to the recommendations and implementation of the report are had.

We are totally committed to rebuilding trust and relations with Jewish communities and ensuring the Labour Party is a welcoming and inclusive space for people of all backgrounds and communities.

NEC Development Fund Committee

We attended our first Development Fund Committee, where we reviewed 50 applications from party members / groups. We elected our new Chair Ellen Morrison and were able to make some additional approvals for funding for accessibility for member meetings. We also suggested some improvements to the application form and ask for better guidance for members to aid their application in the hope that these would be more successful.

We are also happy to support any queries members may have in readiness for the next round. The next funding application deadline will be 26th February 2021. If you would like to make an application for the fund, please find all information HERE

Women’s Conference

The Labour Party will be holding an online, fully democratic Women’s Conference from 26th-27th June. There were discussions about a physical conference but due to social distancing this presented obvious issues with being able to ensure that each CLP would be able to send representation to the conference. The Women’s Conference Arrangements Committee (WCAC) reps also had concerns about people travelling alone and not being able to socialise with other delegates which could have made for a very lonely occasion without the incredible atmosphere that our most recent conferences have had.

The delegate entitlement will be the same as before, 2 delegates per CLP, one of which must be BAME, disabled or LGBT+. CLP reps and the WCAC, in consultation with Young Labour are also working to ensure that representation of young women is increased at the next conference and that young women feel as engaged as possible in our women’s structures going forward.

LBC – Call Keir

We wrote to Keir Starmer following his failure to challenge the far-right views expressed during his Call Keir slot on LBC – A caller had made comments likened to the racist ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory, stating that the “racial inequality is now against the indigenous people of Britain, who are set to become a minority in 2066”. We wanted an urgent meeting to discuss this incident and to suggest how the party could reassure members that we are committed to fighting all forms of racism wherever we find it. No response has been received.

Well-being of Members

We wrote to David Evans and the new leadership asking for an urgent meeting, as we were concerned for members wellbeing due to the spate of suspensions, the lack of detail provided to members and the fact that emails notifying members of their suspension were being sent late at night. We were initially provided with details to signpost members to a number of organisations like the Samaritans, MIND, A&E as well as referring members to their local GPs. We felt this response was a shocking superficial way to meet our obligations to our members, so we restated our request for a meeting to discuss the wellbeing of Labour Party members. No further response has been received.

Standing Up for Labour Party Democracy

At the last NEC meeting we had wanted to raise a motion regarding discussions in CLPs – at the request of thousands of members – in particular, the seemingly arbitrary undemocratic guidance from the General Secretary, which has no basis in the Labour Party Rule Book. The guidance prohibits some political discussion, including the discussion of the current status of the Labour Party’s former leader, who has been cleared of a suspension charge. This is clearly relevant party business, and we believe that this unprecedented undemocratic crackdown on normal CLP functions is destroying the party from the inside out.

Moreover, we must recognise the undue stress CLP officers as volunteers have been placed under because of this move, documented in this letter from 240 constituency Chairs and Secretaries. The

letter calls for David Evans to withdraw his guidance. As Labour’s NEC, we have a vital role to play in ensuring that we provide CLP officers and members with a safe environment to volunteer their time in the Labour Party. We must ensure that CLP officers are supported in their roles of administering their local parties and are able to express themselves freely as a part of our duty of care to those who campaign for the Labour Party. Their voices must be heard and respected by the General Secretary.

Our motion wasn’t allowed on the agenda, but we will push to ensure that this is taken at the next full NEC meeting and continue to work to have this issue progressed

We were co-signatories to a letter calling for the reinstatement of the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and the rights of members to discuss legitimate topics in their CLPs, as well as calling on the leadership to end the attacks on party democracy. You can read the full letter HERE

School Closures

We started the New Year as we intend to continue as trade unionist-supporting workers. We organised an open statement regarding the situation on the reopening of schools, asking the new leadership to support the trade unions’ call for schools to remain closed for the safety of working people, children and our communities. This received overwhelming support across the Labour movement and had joint signatories from TU General Secretaries, MPs, left Groups within the movement as well as support from a leading Parent Group. We have received no response to date – you can read the statement HERE

Member Surgeries

Part of our manifesto was the commitment to regular engagement with the members, so we’ll be organising our first Member Surgeries in the coming weeks to enable us to listen to your concerns and issues, as well as feeding back the work we are undertaking on your behalf. So watch this space.

Report authored by Nadia Jama, Mish Rahman, Laura Pidcock, Gemma Bolton and Yasmine Dar.

by Admin at January 11, 2021 02:56 PM

December 08, 2020

Ann Black on the Record

NEC Report, 7 December 2020

Two special meetings were held to consider Labour’s response to the EHRC (equality and human rights commission) report on anti-semitism in the party.  The equalities committee met on Friday 4 December:  together with NEC members this committee is attended by stakeholders from affiliated organisations who bring a wider perspective.  The full NEC then met on […]

by Ann Black at December 08, 2020 04:46 PM

November 30, 2020

Ann Black on the Record

South East Regional Executive Committee, 25 November 2020

South East Regional Executive Committee, 25 November 2020 The meeting opened with a presentation from the party’s national Head of Safeguarding.  The unit was responsible for protecting children, and also vulnerable adults.  There were now up to 10,000 children (aged under 18) in membership.  Incidents could occur where there was a potential victim, a perpetrator, […]

by Ann Black at November 30, 2020 04:17 PM

November 25, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Away Day Report – 24 November 2020

Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) away day took place on November 24th. The morning was set aside for formal business, including the election of chair and vice-chair. The second half of the meeting focused on elections, membership engagement and effective governance. The NEC thanked outgoing members for their service and contributions and welcomed incoming members, and thanked the outgoing chair Andi Fox for her service.

Dame Margaret Beckett was elected chair of the Labour NEC. Margaret has had a remarkable political career. She has served as leader and deputy leader and has blazed a trail for women in politics. I was honoured to be elected vice-chair of the Labour NEC (big thank you to Tom Warnett from the GMB and Ann Black for proposing and seconding me). I look forward to working with Margaret and the other NEC officers to help rebuild the party, win back public trust and win back power for our communities.

Leader’s report

Keir Starmer gave the leader’s report. Keir spoke about the importance of reconnecting and reengaging with voters. He stressed the importance of being outward-looking and focusing on winning elections. If we lose the next general election, we will have let down an entire generation. Keir spoke about Labour’s ongoing work to connect with voters and win across the UK.

Keir talked about the importance of unity, which is not about everyone agreeing with each other but about having a shared sense of purpose. Keir talked about the importance of constructive criticism and challenge. He told the NEC that it is healthy for people to put forward different views in a respectful and tolerant way.

Keir talked about the important 2021 elections. These elections will be a test of the Labour Party and we must rise to the challenge. Keir talked about how the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed structural inequality and how we can’t go back to the old ways of doing things as we rebuild the economy. He also stressed the importance of standing up for key workers and ensuring they get the pay they deserve.

Keir took questions on a range of topics including Brexit, nationalism, devolution, next year’s elections, local government funding, public sector pay and the Covid recovery.

2021 elections

Next year’s local elections are unprecedented in scale and complexity. In 2020, around 5,000 councillors are up for election. This is 30% of all English councillors. 40 police and crime commissioners are being elected in England and Wales. There are Scottish parliamentary elections, Welsh Senedd elections, seven metro mayors, five local authority mayors, the London mayoral and Assembly elections, as well as over 100 by-elections. Campaigning has been disrupted by the pandemic and our strategy needs to be adapted. The NEC then formed small discussion groups to consider key strategic and operational questions.

Safeguarding

The safeguarding manager gave a report about the review and consultation of improving the protection and safeguarding of children who take part in activity with the Labour Party and Young Labour. This will include a paper review, survey, focus groups and an external consultation. The NEC welcomed the presentation on this important topic. Discussion included how this important safeguarding work will link to our existing policies around areas like social media, membership conduct, sexual harassment and bullying and harassment.

Labour annual report

David Evans moved the Labour Party annual report. The report is usually moved as part of the general secretary’s report to Labour Party conference. It has certainly been an eventful year. The report will be published shortly following the NEC agreeing it at the away day.

Women’s conference

There will be a democratic online women’s conference next year in late June. The NEC discussed the delegate entitlement and process for electing delegates online. It is hoped that this online conference will be a one-off and we will return to the traditional format when it is safe to do so. Women’s conference will cost around £40 per person. Since it is online, CLPs will save money on travel and accommodation.

Membership

Staff gave an update about membership engagement. This included opportunities for new relationships, social organising and using new engagement tools. Phonebanking has been taking place across the country via Dialogue and new features of the Organise database are being explored. NEC members discussed how we can improve membership engagement, recruitment and retention. Labour currently has 540,000 members and our members have a key role in Labour’s future success.

Motions

Relevant CLP motions are shared with the NEC organisational committee. The NEC notes these motions. The NEC discussed the further information and feedback that will be shared in response to these motions in future. Motions on policy are sent to the relevant national policy forum (NPF) policy commission.

NEC code of conduct

The NEC must be held to the highest standards. A new code of conduct for members of the NEC was agreed. David Evans also gave a very welcome statement on last week’s high-profile disputes sub-panel. The decisions, discussions and outcome of this panel has been widely misrepresented. Media outlets have published contradictory, misleading and sometimes defamatory articles about the day’s proceedings. David’s clarification was very welcome.

Transparency and reporting

David Evans updated the NEC on plans to begin publishing summaries of key decisions made at NEC meetings. NEC members are able to report back from meetings. David talked about the importance of transparency in politics. (There is a difference between reporting back and leaking confidential information.) The NEC had a good discussion about culture and governance and improvements that can be made in the short, medium and long term.

by aliceperryuk at November 25, 2020 06:10 PM

Luke Akehurst's Blog

NEC Report - 24 November 2020

 Yesterday was my first NEC meeting after an eight-year gap.


I wanted to give you a quick report back so that you can be confident all of us elected on the Labour to Win ticket are doing the job of representing you that you would expect.


I think I ought to have anticipated a fraught start to the meeting when outgoing Chair Andi Fox congratulated a list of newly elected list of members and perhaps accidentally, perhaps on purpose, left out my name, and then had to be reminded to grudgingly add it.


Within minutes we were into an explosive row about who should be NEC Chair. This matters, it isn’t just about effective chairing of often contentious meetings, the Chair can rule out agenda items and only be overturned on this by a two thirds majority (which supporters of the leadership don’t have, we only have a simple majority), and the Chair and Vice-Chair sit on the extremely powerful NEC Officers group, which makes urgent decisions between NEC meetings. A hostile Chair using their role negatively could really damage Keir Starmer’s ability to lead Labour effectively.


The Hard Left argued that the outgoing NEC Vice-Chair Ian Murray (from the Fire Brigades Union, not the Scottish MP of the same name) was next in line to be chair.


We argued that the principle of seniority should be restored, which had been Labour’s custom and practice for four decades until broken by the Hard Left in 2017. This meant that we nominated Margaret Beckett for Chair as the longest-serving NEC member. She first joined the NEC in 1980, whereas Ian Murray has only been on the NEC about three years.


At this point Howard Beckett from Unite and Laura Pidcock attacked Keir and the General Secretary for “factionalism” and led a virtual walkout (it was a Zoom meeting) of 13 Hard Left NEC members.


In my first intervention I condemned this extraordinary behaviour. The disrespectful and personalised attacks on Keir and David Evans and the childish petulance of the walkout really shocked me, as when I had previously served on the NEC from 2010-2012 it had been a very comradely and collegiate body. Apparently this rude and aggressive behaviour only started in April when Keir became leader. The people who walked out failed their own supporters by leaving them voiceless in the rest of the meeting. This isn’t the serious approach to internal governance that a potential party of government needs to demonstrate, particularly when under scrutiny from the EHRC.


The rest of the eight-hour meeting was quorate, friendly, constructive, and brilliantly chaired by Margaret Beckett, who we went on to elect nem con once the kerfuffle from their stunt had died down. Alice Perry was also elected nem con as Vice-Chair. Congratulations to them both. They will bring much needed calm and experienced leadership to the NEC. Margaret is an iconic figure as Labour’s first woman Deputy Leader, Acting Leader and Foreign Secretary, who brings huge gravitas to the role of Chair.


During the formal part of the meeting we agreed a new NEC Code of Conduct (clearly behaviour of members needs to improve); a process for dealing with CLP motions sent to us; an important review of Safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults who participate in the Labour Party; and gave the go ahead for an online Labour Women’s Conference from 25-27 June 2021, which will elect the National Labour Party Women’s Committee. 


In the afternoon we had our “Away Day” where staff presented to us and we brainstormed ideas around three themes; Elections 2021, Engaging our Membership under Covid, and Effective Governance. We learned that Labour now has 540,000 members, a historically very high total.


We heard reports from both Keir and Angela Rayner. Keir answered questions on the forthcoming Brexit deal vote, devolution, public sector pay, Islamophobia (the party is drawing up an action plan to tackle it), local government funding, and shop workers. 


After an unnecessarily and wholly inappropriately disrupted start this felt like a good beginning for the new NEC with its new pro-leadership working majority. I’m honoured that your votes have allowed me to serve on the NEC and help with the big task of repairing the party. 

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at November 25, 2020 03:50 PM

Ann Black on the Record

NEC Report, 24 November 2020

Joint Policy Committee, 17 November 2020 This was the first formal meeting I attended, as the returning chair of the national policy forum.  The leader Keir Starmer stressed his commitment to democratic policy-making processes.  The wealth of knowledge and experience among the membership would help us build a vision for the future of the country, […]

by Ann Black at November 25, 2020 11:02 AM

October 16, 2020

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

NEC Report September / October 2020

From Yasmine Dar, Ann Henderson and the CLP representatives on Labour’s National Executive Committee supported by the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance. Also published on grassrootslabour.net 

NEC Report – September & October 2020

Two meetings of Labour’s NEC took place in September 2020. Earlier in the month we met to reflect on the Review of the 2019 General Election, followed by the formal full NEC meeting on Tuesday 29th September. Subsequently the NEC Organisation Committee met on Tuesday 6th October.

The NEC formal September meeting opened with a Leader’s Report from Keir Starmer, and then from Angela Rayner as Deputy Leader. Keir reported back on some of the visits he had been able to make, despite restrictions, during the summer, then he summarised Labour’s priorities at Westminster. Keir also placed on record thanks to the staff for the support given to the Party’s recent digital event Labour Connected, of which a full evaluation is being prepared, including acknowledging there had been some problems. It was noted that 27,000 members had registered to attend, and far greater numbers had been able to watch keynote speeches through various channels.

Points raised by NEC members included: the need for a robust ethical code with regard to donations and fundraising, and a recognition that members were concerned if the fundraising strategy was to shift away from building and investing in a mass membership party, with key links to the trade union movement; various examples of problems across the country with the Conservative government’s response to the COVID crisis, particularly on failings in access to testing; better support for those working from home including revising and improving allowances for low paid workers; going forward it would be wrong to abandon all the positive polices and member engagement from 2019; concerns over lack of Front Bench comment on Belarus; confirmation of a continued commitment to the ten pledges made during the Leadership campaign, including whether the Green New Deal be at the heart of Labour’s plans going forward; and a need for alternatives to the Tories’ approach to the NHS to be outlined clearly. Several NEC members reflected the widespread criticism of the decision to sack three front bench members following the vote on the Overseas Operations Bill; and other issues raised included the internal market Bill and impact on devolved administrations; the impact of COVID in the Higher Education sector currently; concerns about the Union Jack social media ad on the day of Keir’s Connected speech; and the need for action in relation to the inappropriate public comment on a recent disciplinary case by Wes Streeting and other PLP members undermining Labour’s complaints process and making it more difficult for members to come forward with complaints.

In response Keir assured the NEC that a future discussion would be held on a fundraising strategy, agreeing there needs to be a clear framework, and giving an assurance that there was no intent to weaken links with trade unions; that additional resources and time commitments from PLP members would be going into the Scottish 2021 elections; that he would continue to be critical of those who pursue a ‘fire and rehire ‘ policy, and will address the situation in Tower Hamlets; that it was normal practice when MPs broke the Whip to remove them from the front Bench; that he would talk to Lisa Nandy about Belarus. Keir reaffirmed that policy going forward would include commitments around green recovery.

Angela Rayner reported on a large number of digital events at which she had represented the Party over the summer. Progress has been made with improving Dialogue and a new phone app will be piloted in November, which will improve phone banking. Various NEC members including MPs offered to help with phone banking, including in supporting the forthcoming Scottish local government by-elections. Angela confirmed her intent to stick to the pledges made in the Leadership and Deputy Leadership campaign, whilst recognising the new context. With regard to MPs and their use of social media, and the recent references to a disciplinary case, she confirmed this had been raised with the Whip. The Forde Inquiry continues, confidentiality is to be maintained, and a report will come to the NEC in due course. No date was given. It was also confirmed that any necessary disciplinary processes within the party were still being followed and would not be delayed.

The push to increase the diversity of Labour’s candidates in all elections, including on socio-economic background, requires more resource, but it was noted that the events on which Angela has been leading recently have been successful. CLP reps raised several concerns, including asking what checks and balances were in place regarding allegations that the rulebook was being too often ignored; and an urgency to deliver justice rapidly through the Forde inquiry. Angela stated her commitment to upholding the rulebook and suggested potential breaches could be reported to her office.

Moving on to the report from the General Secretary, David Evans covered briefly the Forde Inquiry, reporting to the ICO and the draft EHRC Report, where there is still no firm date for publication. The General Secretary defended the wording in the letter sent to CLPs which restricted what could be discussed locally. NEC CLP reps highlighted that this had generated an adverse reaction from many CLPs, and that a way must be found of listening to, and acting, on, members’ views, especially in the current situation with conference being cancelled. A definition of ‘competent business’ as decided by the NEC was requested. The NEC had previously raised concerns about the West of England Mayoral selection procedures, which the General Secretary reported had been addressed as far as possible. A verbal report on the complaints process was given, but it was agreed more detail was needed, in particular in cases where the rulebook is not being followed, and consistency of approach is sought.  An assurance was also given that the mental health and wellbeing of staff was being given additional resource, working under the COVID restrictions.

Left CLP reps raised the need to review and improve on digital access for CLPs, learning from the recent nominations process; and raised concerns about consistency across regions in advice given and in particular in adhering to the Rule Book. Questions were raised about when the 28 January NEC decision on publishing agendas and minutes on the Members website page would be enacted; where is the progress on the equality monitoring of the Party’s Complaints process; how the Democracy Review recommendations on equality structures are being resourced and followed through, noting that the NEC Equalities Committee has not had a fully prepared meeting since March; the importance of the NEC and its members fulfilling their non-exec roles; that good governance also requires the NEC Organisation Committee to be serviced and to meet;  and the need to consider how CLP motions will be taken forward, particularly given Conference was cancelled. Comments were fed in about the ongoing internal organisation review, requesting clarity on the organisation as currently structured. The General Secretary indicated that the staff trade unions were fully involved in the review, and that the Staff Diversity and Inclusion board was up and running. Reports from the Directors in the Party’s offices in the nations and regions were noted.

Based on the General Secretary’s response, we expect to see further discussion on the process for CLP motions; greater attention to be paid to building the equality structures and implementing the democracy review; a review of Labour Connected; and a revisiting of some of the NEC governance questions, including on delegated powers and on a Code of Conduct for NEC members.

Specific agenda items were taken on:

Finance update. It was noted that the Annual Report which is being prepared will include the Annual financial statement as would usually have been presented to Annual Conference, and that the General Election 2019 campaign had been well supported financially, showing the support from members. It was agreed that communication with CLPs could be improved with regard to financial decisions, and that the current guidance on an ethical code for fundraising and donations should be circulated and confirmed at the next NEC meeting.

General Election Review update: CLP reps stressed the urgency of developing an effective digital strategy; and the need for a review of the selection processes which would allow concerns to be fed in from last year.  The role of NEC oversight of election strategy was emphasised, and the need not to ignore 2017 and 2019 voters in a quest to reach new voters.

NEC suggested improvement: Suggestions from members invited in August focussed on improving transparency and accountability but no firm proposals were brought to this meeting. Other suggestions included improvements that could be made in the support for NEC members, and improved efficiency in sharing papers and implementing previous NEC decisions. Reminders were given of the role and responsibilities of NEC members, including to respect confidentiality when appropriate, and to abide by the Party’s Code of conduct on social media.

An update was given on Party membership, which is 560,000, and this will be further examined at the next meeting, with a request for more data on the demographics, and on leavers, joiners and those in arrears, where CLP reps asked for a robust programme of retention. The importance of collecting equality data at every opportunity, in line with previous NEC decisions, was stressed. Trade union links continue to be vitally important, and can also feed into the work to improve diverse representation at every level, for the Party.

A proposal for an NEC Gypsy, Roma and Traveller working group was deferred to the NEC Equalities Committee to finalise remit and membership.

The previous NEC meeting had clearly reaffirmed its commitment, with no dissent, to using positive action measures such as All Women Shortlists in selections at local government and parliamentary levels. The NEC had also asked for clear guidance to be given on all the options open to the Party to promote more diverse and representative candidates. A short report was given to this meeting, indicating that the limitations of the Equality Act 2010 as in clause 104 apply. (AWS may not be used where a (Labour) group already has at least 50% women members, and that clause 158 Equality Act 2010 gave guidance on some other measures that could be taken for BAME members or disabled members). This report left unanswered a number of questions, as different regions are interpreting the advice in different ways, which still needs to be addressed. It was also noted that the framework set by the July NEC meeting had not been followed through. The NEC meeting reaffirmed its commitment to using positive action measures, within the broadest possible scope of the Equality Act, and a motion was agreed which laid out more detail on diversity measures. No information was given regarding any advice for elections other than for 2021 local government in England and Wales

The NEC meeting ran for over 7 hours. Some items which should have been treated as urgent, such as the establishment of the new Labour Student structures and funding for CLPs, were deferred until late November, despite opposition from the majority of CLP reps, the young Labour rep, and some other NEC members. Although it would have made more sense to defer these to Organisation Committee the following week, and this was confirmed by staff as possible, the majority that has been in place since the new leadership took office, including the two CLP reps elected in the by-election, voted for a two month rather than a one week deferral.

Having voted not to defer it, an important discussion on moving to online Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for CLPS and Equality branches, was curtailed by NEC members including, perhaps surprisingly, one of the CLP reps – this then came back on 6th October to the NEC Organisation Committee.

The 6th October NEC Organisation Committee meeting agreed that CLPs and Branches (including Equality Branches) could now proceed with immediate effect to hold AGMs. The required notice should of course be given to all eligible members, and dates are to be advised to regional and national offices, although the reason for this was questioned by CLP reps given the lack of confidence in some regional offices. Correspondence has now been issued to all CLP Secretaries and guidance will follow shortly. Left CLP reps have been asking for this to happen for some time, so the progress is welcome. NEC members raised a number of questions, and further examination of the feedback from the NEC nominations exercise with online meetings has provided a good indication of some of the problems to be addressed.

Following an amendment proposed by Rachel Garnham, it was agreed that AGMs must be completed by the end of July 2021. Ann Henderson reiterated a proposal she had raised at the July NEC meeting suggesting that the General Secretary make written contact with all Party members for whom the Party does not hold email addresses, to flag up the increasing amount of business now being conducted online, to encourage participation, but also to recognise that all members should be kept informed, whether or not in receipt of emails. No progress has been made on this.

With regard to Equality Branches, Ann advised that as Chair of the NEC Equalities Committee, she had been receiving examples of variations in guidance from Regional offices, on the new Rule Book provisions, and it was agreed that the guidance for AGMs would be issued in a consistent format.

A report was given on changes to the Sexual Harassment complaints procedures, and this too will need to come back to the various committees for further progress.

The Democracy Review 2018 recommended a review of the membership fees allocation to CLPs and of membership rates and discounts. Proposals on this were deferred to the 24th November meeting of the NEC, although the majority of CLP reps argued for this to be taken as scheduled, or at the 6th October meeting, and were preparing to argue for CLPs to receive a higher proportion of funding.

The Democracy Review had also proposed an overhaul of the Policy Forum process. Despite repeated attempts over the last two years by the majority of CLP reps to take this forward, no progress has been made. A paper was discussed which will open up a new round of consultation with a view to bringing rule changes to annual conference 2021. A left amendment to add a commitment that any new policy- making process would be inclusive was agreed. Left CLP reps also asked for assurances that the Joint Policy Committee will not start meeting without elections to the CLP places, or at very least, NEC CLP reps in attendance.

Other business considered at the NEC Organisation Committee 6th October included the West Yorkshire Devolved Combined Authority Mayoral Selection process. Positive action measures were agreed and some slight strengthening of wording regarding taking account of CLP nominations. In light of the West of England Mayoral Selection debacle, where the candidate with the most CLP nominations was excluded by the selection panel for what appeared to be factional reasons, Rachel Garnham proposed two amendments to the process to strengthen the role of CLPs, including that any candidate with a certain number of CLP nominations should automatically be shortlisted subject to due diligence. These amendments were defeated, with only Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance CLP reps in favour, alongside left trade unionists; with the two NEC CLP reps elected in the by-election earlier this year abstaining.

New rules for some Regional Executive Committees were brought to the meeting for noting, based on the new Chapter 9B of the Rule Book. However the wide variation was noted, particularly for Eastern Region, whose rules seem to more closely resemble those that are now obsolete. It was agreed to defer these to a future meeting. Some progress with local authority candidate selections was noted; and there was a welcome discussion on how best to consider CLP motions when submitted for NEC attention, particularly as Annual Conference 2020 was cancelled. A paper was promised, taking on board a number of the points raised in discussion, for the NEC Organisation committee scheduled for 10th November.

The Chair of Organisation Committee, Andy Kerr, had requested additional initial reports on membership and on Disputes Panel hearings and membership appeals. NEC members welcomed both reports, accepting that the information contained at this stage should remain confidential, and the discussion identified areas where more information was required and should be brought back to the relevant NEC sub committees, and to the full NEC. In particular the need for equality monitoring was once again noted and Yasmine Dar stressed the role of education and raised concern that panel members had not received any training in respect of anti-black racism or Islamophobia.

Given the amount of business deferred, or awaiting further information, from the September and 6th October meetings, and arising from the March and July NEC Equalities meetings, a proposal raised under Any Other Business to cancel all NEC meetings until late November, seemed a highly irresponsible course of action.

Following a lengthy argument on this point, the proposal was narrowly defeated. The NEC meetings (NEC Equalities 5th November, and Organisation and Disputes Committees 10th November will go ahead. The 24th November meeting of the NEC is scheduled as an Away Day, where those winning the current NEC elections will take up their seats, but this now seems likely to also include very many NEC business agenda items.

Altogether, two deeply unsatisfactory meetings have demonstrated the depths to which the post-April majority on the NEC will sink to curtail discussion and dismiss the rights and concerns of grassroots members. It remains crucial to ensure that as many of the Grassroots Voice slate as possible are elected to fight for members’ voices to be heard.

by Jake Rubin at October 16, 2020 06:13 PM

September 30, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 29 September 2020

Labour’s national executive committee met today, September 29th. This was the last full meeting before the new NEC is elected. 40% of NEC posts are up for election and some long-serving members are standing down. This meeting usually takes place before Labour Party conference, but the Covid-19 pandemic led to conference being cancelled and the NEC election timetable was extended.

Leader’s report

Keir Starmer gave the leader’s report. He updated the NEC on recent activities. Keir has had meetings in the Midlands and Scotland, working to regain trust with former Labour voting communities. He talked about his TUC speech on the importance of job retention. Keir highlighted that Labour believes it should be illegal for businesses to fire people and rehire them with worse terms and conditions. He condemned the Tory government’s total chaos and incompetence in their handling of the pandemic.

Parliamentary business is currently focused on tackling Covid and local restrictions. Keir has been in regular contact with local government representatives who have been managing this across the country. Serious concerns continue to be raised about the government’s handling of the crisis.

Keir talked about Labour Connected, thanking staff for all their work. 27,000 registered to take part, with 84,000 listening to Angela Rayner’s speech and 120,000 tuning in for Keir’s speech.

Questions and discussions included: the political situation in Belarus and support for pro-democracy protesters, Brexit, the internal market bill and its implications for devolution, Labour’s fundraising strategy, support for local government, support for local businesses, mental health during the pandemic, green jobs and the green new deal, the Covid-19 recovery, Keir’s ten pledges in the leadership election, election campaigning, collective responsibility, support for veterans and the armed forces, support for higher education and students, Covid-19 testing, track and trace, the role of the NEC and governance, Labour’s complaints process and Labour’s improved performance in the opinion polls.

Keir welcomed the questions and discussion. He talked about the importance of transparency, working collectively and constructively challenging each other with a shared sense of purpose. Keir talked about how disrespectful it is for people to leak from confidential meetings. He reminded the NEC how he stood with Jeremy Corbyn against leaking from shadow cabinet meetings.

Deputy leader’s report

Angela Rayner gave the deputy leader’s report. She told the NEC that she and Keir have been working hard to together to meet the challenges of 2020 and the crisis we face. She talked about Labour’s positive vision for Britain and the importance of “jobs jobs jobs” and the Green New Deal. She talked about fundraising and the value of gifts of all sizes to support our election campaigns. She gave another confidential update on the Forde Inquiry and ongoing disciplinary proceedings.

Angela talked about her first PMQs and thanked everyone for their support. She was disappointed but unsurprised that Boris Johnson didn’t know the average hourly wage of care workers. Angela talked about the importance of a real living wage and decent sick pay for key workers, particularly during the pandemic.

Angela talked about candidate recruitment and the importance of ensuring our representatives reflect the diversity of the communities they represent. Angela has been working to recruit key workers and people from non-traditional backgrounds. Angela has been hosting training sessions over the summer for people who want to be councillors. I’ve been really happy to help with this important work. You can watch the videos of these webinars on the Labour Party website.

I asked a question about campaigning for the crucial elections in 2021, which gives the public an opportunity to send a message to this disgraceful, shambolic Tory government. Members and councillors across the country are keen to support Covid-secure campaigning to support everyone how has elections next year in England, Scotland and Wales.

General secretary’s report

David Evans gave an update about a range of topics. He talked about plans for election plans, including improving digital campaigning, post and phone canvassing. Selections for candidates are underway across the country for next year’s elections. I asked if we could have a regular standing item on elections at full NEC meetings.

NEC members fed back on Labour Connected. The NEC was presented with an update on the finance strategy. NEC fed back on various internal reviews.

Membership

Labour has around 560,000 members. Party membership peaked at its highest ever level in February 2020. Around 90,000 people joined the Labour Party this year. Engaging and retaining members is a priority.

Online democracy

NEC members thanked staff for all their hard work in enabling NEC nomination meetings The NEC discussed plans to allow CLP meetings to resume with their full business online. Members will be able to hold AGMs online. It is unlikely that members will be able to meet in person in 2020 and beyond so NEC members are keen to allow members to meet virtually to conduct their usual business. 

Improving diversity in local and national government

The NEC reconfirmed its support for all-women shortlists. I proposed a motion, seconded by socialist societies rep James Asser. The motion noted:

The NEC equality committee has frequently noted the need for more work to be done to increase diversity in local government. As part of this important work Labour should:

  • Expand the “Be a Councillor” training aimed at increasing diversity in local government.
  • Recognise the achievements of groups that reach gender balance, and shares best practice about how this can be achieved. 
  • Provide the NEC with regular equality monitoring data on the number of candidates standing for election, and who are elected, who are women, BAME, LGBT+ and/or disabled, including other relevant information such as age.
  • Provide the NEC with an annual list of the remaining all male wards, with details of the local plans to recruit women to stand to be councillors. 
  • Through the NEC, undertake a wider review of diversity in local government and what more Labour can do to increase diversity of political representation and remove structural barriers that prevent more people standing.

The motion was passed unanimously. This is an issue that unites the NEC, and it is something we are passionate about. 

And finally…

A big thank you to the 71 Labour groups who nominated me to the NEC. You can read more about why I am standing for the NEC, and what I have achieved during my time on the NEC on my blog.

by aliceperryuk at September 30, 2020 10:12 AM

September 14, 2020

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Labour NEC Elections - state of the race

According to the CLP nominations so far, I'm currently 10th in the race for the 9 CLP reps on the NEC, which is an exciting place to be!

The deadline for CLPs to nominate NEC candidates is fast approaching on the 27th September.

There are over 200 CLPs with nomination meetings scheduled in the next two weeks.

How is the battle for nominations going so far?

The headline figures are that Momentum are ahead, but not by an insurmountable margin given there are hundreds of CLPs still to nominate. Labour to Win candidates already have more nominations than in 2018, with two weeks to go, and Momentum have lost many of the CLPs they won then. Here are the numbers from Friday, when 120 CLPs in total had nominated:

Laura Pidcock                      Momentum                    83 CLPs
Ann Black                            Open Labour                  81
Yasmine Dar                         Momentum                   68
Gemma Bolton                     Momentum                    67
Mish Rahman                       Momentum                     65
Johanna Baxter                  Labour to Win                     61
Nadia Jama                           Momentum                            60
Gurinder Singh Josan      Labour to Win                     59
Ann Henderson                    Momentum                            56
Luke Akehurst                    Labour to Win                     45
Theresa Griffin                    Tribune                                 38
Jermain Jackman                 Open Labour                        36
Michael Payne                    Labour to Win                     35
Terry Paul                            Labour to Win                     31
Shama Tatler                       Labour to Win                     30
Paula Sherriff                      Tribune                                 25
Crispin Flintoff                      Independent                         16
Roger Silverman                  Labour Left Alliance            14
Vince Maple                          Independent                         12
Liz McInnes                          Tribune                                  11
Cameron Mitchell                 Independent                         11
Alex Beverley                       Independent                         11

Another 12 candidates also have the required 5 nominations to get on the ballot.

Things to bear in mind:

·         The final ballot is by Single Transferable Vote so it will award seats roughly proportionately between the factions – the days of one grouping taking all nine seats are gone.
·         Any increase in our representation from the 2 of 9 seats we already hold strengthens the mainstream majority on the NEC as a whole.
·         Over 100,000 new members who joined the party to vote for Keir, Lisa or Jess didn’t get a vote in the February NEC by-elections that saw Gurinder and Johanna narrowly win. They can now vote. And the Hard Left keep complaining that many of their supporters have quit the party …
·         With every week of nominations, our position has got stronger compared to Momentum’s.
·         Over 80% of the CLPs nominating Labour to Win candidates are gains we didn't win in 2018.
·         We are doing best in CLPs with All Member Meetings where the new members can vote, and Momentum are mainly holding on where there is a delegate GC system – AGM cancellations due to the General Election and COVID mean some GC delegates were elected at the height of Corbynism in 2018.
·         We are doing best in the CLPs with the largest membership that will have the most voting members in the final ballot while many of Momentum’s nominations come from small CLPs.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at September 14, 2020 04:14 PM

September 10, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

NEC Report: Special meeting on 2019 election defeat and lessons for the future

Shortly after the 2019 general election defeat, Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) asked to have a stand-alone meeting to discuss the defeat and learn lessons for the future. 2019 seems like a very long time ago, and when we agreed the meeting we had we had no idea of the challenges 2020 would bring. The meeting took place later than intended but was an important step to understanding why we lost and what we need to rebuild and deliver for our communities and everyone who desperately needs a Labour government.

The purpose of the meeting was to analyse and evaluate the 2019 campaign, what went well, what didn’t, and how we can move forward to win in 2024 (and in future local elections). The meeting focused on topics such as voting trends and demographics, campaign strategy, the manifesto, campaign themes and messaging.

Keir Starmer introduced the meeting, highlighting the importance of reflecting on 2019 and ensuring we don’t make the same mistakes in future. Keir noted that while the NEC may not agree on everything, it is important that we engage constructively and understand what we need to do to win future elections. Keir told the NEC that if we don’t win the 2024 general election, we will have let down an entire generation who will have lived for 19 years under a Tory government.

Angela Rayner talked to the NEC about our strategic role in taking us forward and winning future elections. She referred to the crucial elections taking place across the UK in 2021, which is a massive test and opportunity for Labour. Angela talked about how we all must put aside any past differences to win together for our communities.

The NEC was reminded of the scale of the 2019 general election defeat, where we ended on 202 seats, recording the lowest number of seats since the 1930s and our fourth lowest vote share ever. We lost votes to all parties and non-voters.  Boris Johnson gained a huge parliamentary majority. The SNP significantly increased their vote share in Scotland. We lost seats across the country that we have never lost before or hadn’t lost since the 1930s. Our vote share fell everywhere. The Lib Dems increased their vote share but this did not translate to winning seats.

It was reported that in the last general election Labour had 138 target seats. The majority of these were seats we hoped to gain. Universal national swing was used to inform seat targeting for early selections. It was recognised that there were issues with our targeting and resource allocation.

Representatives from Labour Together presented the findings of their general election review. The NEC was talked through the long-term trends that contributed to some of Labour’s challenges and the global trends effecting Western politics. The presentation examined the challenges of Brexit and some of Labour’s strategic and organisational errors. They also talked about some of things the Conservative Party did very well, like fundraising, targeting, digital campaigning and messaging.

The NEC broke into smaller groups for discussions on key areas and then regrouped to talk about future plans. Areas for discussion included:

  • Use of CLP twinning for future elections and general resource and activist allocation.
  • The best way to deliver manifesto messages and values that cut through with voters.
  • What our strategy should be for engaging with the media and putting across our messages effectively.
  • How to use social media and digital campaign to reach and persuade new audiences, avoiding operating in an eco-chamber.
  • The future of community organising in the Labour Party.
  • Future fundraising strategy.
  • When and how to selection parliamentary candidates, and how to ensure these candidates reflect the communities they represent.
  • The role of councillors in rebuilding the party, and how to train and support them to be community champions and organisers.

Labour’s general secretary will report back to the NEC on progress and bring further papers for discussion. The next full NEC meeting is at the end of this month.

by aliceperryuk at September 10, 2020 09:01 AM

September 02, 2020

Ann Black on the Record

South East Regional Executive Committee, 2 September 2020

Meeting via Zoom again the chair Vince Maple steered us through the agenda, helped by written reports from most representatives.  Instead of a regional conference this autumn there will be a virtual conference during the week beginning Monday 9 November.  There will be no votes and no delegates, and all members will be welcome.  Acting […]

by Ann Black at September 02, 2020 02:13 PM

August 31, 2020

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

NEC report June/July 2020

This is a collective report on behalf of NEC CLP reps: Yasmine Dar, Huda Elmi, Rachel Garnham, Ann Henderson, Jon Lansman and Darren Williams from Labour Party National Executive Committee meetings taking place in June/July 2020.

30 June –  Emergency NEC

This series of NEC meetings started with an Emergency NEC on 30 June to set the timetable for elections to various sections of the NEC that had previously been cancelled because of the pandemic. Why this was suddenly an “emergency” was never fully explained.

Chair Andi Fox welcomed David Evans to his first NEC meeting as General Secretary.

Leader’s Report

Keir welcomed David Evans to the team. He highlighted that the work across the Party and in parliament continued to be dominated by Covid-19 with the terrible figure of 65,000 people, having now died. The government had been very slow going into lockdown, slow with the provision of protective equipment to the frontline, slow on testing, slow with its support for local authorities, slow to track, trace and isolate.

Keir reported on some victories, including on the immigration health surcharge; free school meals for the Summer period; and remote voting on parliamentary business. He stressed that during the health crisis we have been shielded from impending economic crisis by the furlough scheme, even though there are gaps and failures in its implementation, but those communities and areas already struggling will be hit hardest.

Keir described some of the reasons why we were in this situation including the government’s lack of investment. Investment figures show seven out of the nine English regions have had a decline in investment over the last 10 years, some of the worse hit areas have been East Midlands, Yorkshire and South West. He stated the focus has to be on jobs, flexible furlough and back into work schemes. Keir reported on virtual visits and his face-to-face visit to Stevenage last week. He talked about regeneration there and had spoken to local traders.

Keir then explained in some detail the removal of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet, although his account omitted some important aspects of her account.

NEC members had the opportunity to ask questions and issues were raised about Tower Hamlets and strike action by Unison members; progress with the proposed constitutional convention; job losses at the end of furlough; the behaviour of British Airways; and concerns about a potential US trade deal.

CLP reps thanked Keir for the work Labour was doing to hold the government to account, which should be Labour’s priority. Keir was asked again about his strategy for unity, asking if he agreed with the quote from Harold Wilson that ‘the Labour Party needs two wings to fly’, and how he planned to engage the 44% of party members who didn’t give him their first preference.

Keir was criticised by several members for sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey, with the point made that this would not help address antisemitism in any way. CLP reps highlighted that it appeared that factionalism appeared to have been a significant factor. It was highlighted that these matters need to be dealt with through disciplinary procedures, conflict resolution, education, truth and reconciliation.

Keir was asked if he would take the opportunity to apologise to the black community in Britain and the rest of the world, for his interview on BBC Breakfast which reduced Black Lives Matter to a ‘moment’ and it was pointed out that this did nothing to alleviate the just concerns that the black community have about the police. It was stated that Keir’s comments emboldened the Far Right such as Nigel Farage, dishonoured George Floyd’s memory and those organising to eradicate racism across the world. The question was a request for a simple Yes or No answer to apologise in an attempt to rebuild trust.

Other points raised by the CLP reps included why we were not clearly opposing the government’s relaxation of lockdown against scientific advice.

Keir was asked, given that he was taking a zero tolerance approach in regards to antisemitism, whether he was going to continue to allow Rachel Reeves to serve in the shadow cabinet, after she tweeted and has not deleted that she would support a campaign to erect a statue to the notorious antisemite Nancy Astor.

A further question raised the strong views of many members in regards to the acts of aggression and oppression of the new Israeli government, particularly in relation to the annexation of Palestinian lands. In line with conference policy, that the Labour party must recognise that any just peace must be based on self-determination for Palestine with equality and human rights for all. Keir was requested to support the Palestinians and speak out against the further annexation of Palestinian lands.

More questions were asked about the furlough scheme, public sector jobs, the heritage sector, plummeting incomes, changes to society from pandemic, social distancing, Scottish Parliament elections, working with local councillors and unions, huge levels of unemployment, already seeing entire industries under threat, economic crisis, job protection, green jobs and recovery with meaningful policies for people.

Keir in his response said he would look into the Tower Hamlets situation; he said Labour will hold the government to account on trade deals; and that he was determined to unite our party and his strategy would be to engage with all parts of the party – we should all ask ourselves what one thing have I done today to reduce factionalism in the Labour Party.

Keir said that he has asked for a weekly report on disciplinary cases, to have a proper line of sight. He explained what he meant by a moment – an expression, a defining moment; but he didn’t want the police defunded in UK.

Regarding Rachel Reeves’ tweet about Nancy Astor, he said he was not going to discuss an individual member of the cabinet on a Zoom call (having already gone into detail about the situation with Rebecca Long-Bailey). He said the annexation in Palestine was wrong, unlawful and inconsistent with a two-state solution, and that he would call out human rights abuses wherever they took place.

Deputy Leader’s Report

Angela Rayner gave the Deputy Leader’s report. She emphasised confidentiality in relation to certain situations where she had been supporting with various processes in the absence of a General Secretary.

Angela reminded members that an administrative suspension is not a punishment and does not prejudge an outcome. She explained that we were restricted by legal requirements to maintain confidentiality and not disclose any information regarding any disciplinary matters.

Angela mentioned the ongoing work programme to review and make improvements to Party functioning, including online events, a new membership platform, a technology review, a Diversity and Inclusion Board in relation to staffing, and training programmes including unconscious bias.

NEC members welcomed the report and updates. Members asked questions about addressing member disillusionment, disciplinary matters and retention issues. A concern was raised about a quote from the Press Office apparently pre-judging issues being covered by the Forde Inquiry. A further concern was raised about the Forde Inquiry’s slipping timetable and the need for it to stick to its terms of reference, not pick and choose.

CLP reps asked for more information about the tech review and asked that members are kept informed as far as possible regarding the response to the report as there is a danger of demoralisation if the issues are perceived as being brushed aside.

Angela responded by stating she wants to be transparent and give as much information as she possibly could. She clarified that the content of the leaked report has not been removed from the remit of the Forde inquiry and there have not been instructions for that to happen. The timetable has changed and Angela agreed this should not drag on. She said that she shared the concerns and frustrations raised by the NEC.

General Secretary’s Report

David Evans made some general remarks, having only been in role a couple of days, and outlined a programme of engagement, including the need to speak directly to voters.

NEC members asked a series of questions covering devolved issues, young members, all- women shortlists, when a general election review would take place and a request for more information. Ann Henderson asked about extending the National Policy Forum consultation and the need to properly monitor equality data in relation to the membership. Left CLP reps pointed out that members are embedded in their communities and in touch with and speaking to voters all the time. David responded to the questions and it was agreed that the National Policy Forum consultation should be extended.

A finance report from Treasurer Diana Holland followed. Various questions were asked, including left CLP reps raising the issue of extreme underfunding of CLPs. The General Secretary promised to come back with proposals to address the issue.

NEC elections

The discussion of the timetable relating to the NEC elections started with the notification of a legal challenge as to whether it was within the remit of the NEC to take a decision to change the electoral system for the CLP section without referring to annual conference. A strong case was made in a letter that had been circulated on behalf of members. Left NEC members spoke in support of the challenge, arguing that as this was in essence a rule change, it was clear in the rulebook that Annual Conference should take such a decision. However, Labour’s Acting Executive Director of Legal Affairs Alex Barros-Curtis, who had previously worked on Keir Starmer’s leadership campaign, advised that his view was that the NEC could take such a decision. The vote on whether the discussion should go ahead was lost by 21 votes to 13, with the left arguing that such a decision should be taken by our sovereign Annual Conference, defeated.

The discussion moved on to the paper itself, and the NEC received an update on the roll-out of technology for the online meetings.

The first issue addressed was positions elected at Conference. It was agreed that the elections of Auditors, CAC General Section, NCC division I (Trade Unions) and NCC Division II (CLPs) due to take place at Annual Conference 2020 will now be deferred to Annual Conference 2021, with the terms of office of existing members extended as appropriate. The NEC further agreed that all elections originally scheduled for Annual Conference 2021 will be deferred to 2022 with terms being extended as appropriate. Such deferrals and terms extensions will continue up until the usual schedule for elections can be resumed (three year terms for the NCC and two year terms for all other national committees). No decision was made about the CAC CLP section, due to be elected by OMOV in 2021. A decision had already been taken in January 2020 to postpone elections to the National Policy Forum, originally scheduled for summer 2020.

The second issue to be addressed was giving CLPs permission to meet online in order to make CLP nominations. At the May meeting, there had been general agreement that the right of CLPs to meet formally should be restored. However, the paper in May had specified that online meetings could take place for local selections and nominations for metro-mayors. Formal meetings of CLPs were excluded from that paper, and this exclusion was given as a reason given by the Governance and Legal Unit as to why the Party could not issue guidance for formal NEC meetings to take place. To avoid this happening again, Rachel Garnham moved an amendment to add wording to the paragraph that referred specifically to NEC nomination meetings to ensure that not only could NEC nomination meetings take place, but to ensure that the NEC made a formal decision in writing that formal CLP meetings could now take place. The amendment was designed to ensure that guidance could be issued without further agreement by the NEC.  No member of the NEC spoke against the amendment, however the vote was lost by 18 votes to 17. Six CLP reps  Yasmine Dar, Huda Elmi, Rachel Garnham, Ann Henderson, Jon Lansman and Darren Williams voted for the amendment; Two  Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan  voted against. There are only two possible reasons as far as left CLP reps can see that any member of the NEC would have voted against the motion – one is that they didn’t agree with enabling CLPs to formally meet, the second is purely factional – they did not want to support a left amendment.

The third discussion was about whether a timetable needed to be agreed for the elections at all at this stage, given the situation with a global pandemic and no reasons outlined in the paper why this was an ‘emergency’ and no risk analysis, in particular in relation to digital exclusion. Left CLP reps pointed out that the guidance currently available for online meetings was long-winded and confusing, there was great concern that members would be excluded from both the nomination process and the voting because of access to technology and the reality of pressures members are feeling from being key workers, home-schooling, grieving or unwell or with their jobs and livelihoods lost or under threat. There was no clamour for these elections to take place, it was the wrong priority and certainly not an emergency. Left CLP reps argued that it made far more sense to introduce the technology, allow formal online meetings to bed in and iron out any teething problems, work out ways of increasing accessibility and develop some decent guidance and only then should the NEC agree a timetable for NEC elections. It was also noted that in-fighting was not ideal at this time and in the lead up to crucial elections across our three countries in 2021. The only argument in favour noted was that ‘this is democracy.’ The vote to go ahead with elections was won by 21 votes to 12.

The fourth discussion was about whether Single Transferable Vote should be used for the CLP section for the NEC. A whole series of concerns were raised by left NEC members, including the most important of all that such a significant decision should be made by annual conference. Other concerns included the need for an equality analysis as the new system appeared likely to have a detrimental impact on representation, the lack of any detail about how the new system would work including the women’s quota, the potential impact on turnout given the new system could cause confusion, and a serious request for a proper argument in favour other than ‘in line with commitments made by the Leader and Deputy Leader during the recent leadership election’  it was pointed out that it was by no means a central plank of their campaigns, and most members would not even have seen any pledges made on this issue. As one CLP rep put it, the proposal appeared to be ‘another nail in the coffin of Keir’s commitment to Party unity.’ Nevertheless the NEC voted to approve STV for the CLP elections.

A fifth issue related to the election for the local government section and PLP section of the NEC. Those proposing STV were asked to explain why STV was so important for the CLP section but not good enough for these other two sections. It was suggested again that it was factionalism not principle that was driving the decision-making. Amendments from the left that would have provided consistency across the three sections were lost.

Finally, one of the left CLP reps proposed some changes to the timetable that would have enabled longer and more flexibility for members to put their names forward to be published on the portal, a deadline for getting CLPs set up for online meetings in advance of nominations opening, and an extension to the deadline for enabling CLP nominations. These amendments were lost. Once again only the six left CLP reps of the eight CLP reps present voted in the interests of member involvement.

After more than five hours of online discussion and debate, the meeting was closed.

7 July –  Committees

Organisation Committee was cancelled but meetings of both the Disputes Committee and the Equalities Committee took place.

Disputes Committee was unable to consider individual cases because of concerns around confidentiality, however it did receive an update on numbers of cases being dealt with by smaller panels. A series of issues were raised by left CLP reps, including the transparency and accountability of the panel process, the very long time that some members have been suspended for, and the application of administrative suspension, which anecdotally appears to be higher than ever. It was noted that members were seeking clarity  and justice  in relation to disciplinary procedures against those named in the leaked report, although it was noted no details about this could be shared.

Equalities Committees received an update on plans for the digital women’s event in September and for a full Women’s Conference in February. It also received an update from the working group looking at developing new BAME structures, as well as reports from its external stakeholders. There was a lengthy discussion about the approach to All-Women Shortlists, which all present felt should be defended as far as possible, although noting a difficult legal situation. Serious concerns were raised by left CLP reps about reports of falling BAME membership, and an update requested.

21 July –  Full NEC

The July NEC meeting opened with the Leader’s Report.

After welcoming the re-elected NEC members representing the Parliamentary Labour Party (Margaret Beckett, George Howarth, Shabana Mahmood), Keir spoke briefly on the EHRC Inquiry, the Panorama BBC programme out of court settlement, and the work of the Shadow front bench team in Parliament with a clear focus on the economy, on jobs, and on the global public health crisis. It was confirmed that the EHRC draft report was with the Party and was completely confidential at this stage and would not be shared with the NEC. The Party would be preparing its response to the provisional findings, as required.

NEC members were in the same position as most members of the Labour Party, having only learned through the media about the settlement that had been reached with former Party staff. There were therefore several questions on this, with a number of NEC members clearly expressing the view that this decision should have come to the governing body of the Party for consideration and left CLP reps concerned about the use of members’ subscriptions. Members asked for sight of the legal advice, and also made clear serious concerns that the timing of the decision could impact on the work of the independent Forde Inquiry into the leaked report, and the Party’s responses on the EHRC report. There also had been no opportunity for the NEC to exercise any scrutiny over the impact of the settlement decision on the finances of the Party. [Note that the Labour Party statement in Court was made public the day after the NEC, so was not available at the time of the NEC meeting.  The statement has failed to answer concerns expressed by NEC members the previous day.]

Other questions to the Leader covered jobs and the economy: including a focus on concerns in Wales with regard to the future of Tata steel; UK wide threats to the aviation sector and engineering; tax policy and whether Keir could reconfirm his leadership pledge to support raising income tax for the top 5% of earners (he didn’t); public sector pay announcement; ongoing issues with Tower Hamlets and redundancies; retail sector and high street regeneration; concerns over the Trade Bill and its impact on devolution settlement; acknowledging disproportionate impact of COVID19 on BAME communities; lines on China and human rights breaches; the green recovery plans; and discussions on constitutional reform and further devolution of power.

In response, Keir reiterated the PLP’s stand on a no-deal Brexit; agreed on the need for a sector specific response on aviation; concerns for Tata Steel, for the retail sector, and for local government; and referenced the previous day’s parliamentary debate on the Trade Bill, where all the amendments supported by Labour had been voted down, including on NHS, and on role of parliamentary scrutiny. Keir reiterated a commitment to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the trade unions with regard to workers’ rights and conditions, and to a progressive taxation policy which would be further developed in the run up to the 2024 election, but he did not currently wish to distract from the jobs agenda. Keir indicated that the current priority must be Labour’s ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ message. Lisa Nandy’s comments on China were referenced. Progress is needed on the constitutional reform and devolution discussions, and Keir indicated that he would be visiting Scotland during the Westminster parliamentary recess, along with Angela Rayner.

In response to the questions over the Panorama programme and the settlements, Keir reasserted his view that this will not affect the work of the Forde Inquiry, and that he made no apology for following through on commitments made during the Leadership and Deputy Leadership campaigns, clearly indicating his view that this was within the Leader’s role, as a political decision.  The role of the NEC, and its responsibilities for governance of the Party, was not addressed in Keir’s response.

The Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, reported on the online events that had recently marked the Durham Miners Gala and the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival; highlighted the summer campaigning on jobs and tackling unscrupulous employers, noting that a toolkit and campaign materials for local activity would shortly be available; welcomed the arrangements now in place for the NCC to proceed with online hearings; and noted that CLPs had now been authorised to hold online meetings. Equality and diversity surveys are underway amongst staff and elected members. The Forde Inquiry will not be ready to report until later in the year.

Discussion on the Deputy Leader report included a request for clarification and reminders for the wider membership on the full remit of the Forde Inquiry, with an updated timetable, and it was confirmed that this would be provided. Whilst welcoming the extension of online meetings to CLPs to conduct ordinary business, it was noted that this would have been better to have been addressed prior to rolling out the arrangements for the internal elections and selections, which were still causing problems for a number of CLPs (as proposed by the majority of the CLP NEC reps at the previous NEC meeting).

Serious concerns were raised about the West of England Mayoral short-listing process, where the candidates receiving the most CLP nominations had not been shortlisted, despite the hours and hours members had taken on piloting the online nomination meetings. A proper update on the Technology review was requested for the next meeting.

The General Secretary’s report to the meeting picked up on the West of England Mayoral Selection concerns raised by left NEC CLP reps, and he indicated this would be addressed. He opened his comments with a reminder that adherence to the code of conduct required NEC members to respect confidentiality and accuracy within reports, and echoed the Chair’s remarks with respect to the unacceptable practice of leaks appearing on social media from the NEC meetings. David welcomed the conversations that he had so far been able to have with individual NEC members, and would be writing out to all NEC members to seek further feedback on how the working arrangements could be improved.  An induction briefing would be arranged for the recently elected NEC members.

Noting a motion received from CLP NEC member Jon Lansman, General Secretary confirmed that a report would come to the September NEC on proposals for a Labour Students organisation. In response to a question from Ann Henderson, Chair of Equalities Committee, David confirmed that a programme of training on tackling sexual harassment training would be restarted. Also in response to repeated requests from NEC CLP reps, a membership report will come back to the September NEC which contains disaggregated data by region, nation; sex, race and disability, and tracks patterns across leavers and joiners. This commitment was welcomed. Current membership figures stand around 570,000. It was noted that some work on following up on collecting arrears had paused, as the COVID pandemic was at its most severe, but would likely be restarting.

The General Secretary also reported on some staffing changes and outlined an organisational review with a view towards the 2024 General Election, which would build on the work started by the previous General Secretary. This was being undertaken in discussion with staff trade unions, and with some external oversight. A report would be given to the NEC in September. It was expected to be complete by December 2020.  Richard Leonard received assurances that the organisational review already undertaken by the Scottish Labour Party would be fully taken into account in Scotland.

The General Secretary’s report was supplemented by a brief report from Labour’s Acting Head of Legal Affairs, Alex Barros-Curtis, on the EHRC report, on the progress of the Forde Inquiry, and on the reports to the Information Commissioner. It was noted that it was likely the closing date for submissions to the Forde Inquiry would be extended from 24 July, and this was confirmed subsequently – closing date now 7 August. Over 250 submissions had been received to date. Yasmine Dar urged early clarity on the end date for this Inquiry, which had originally been expected to report in July, and highlighted members’ expectations.

The discussion on the General Secretary’s report confirmed NEC members views that clarification was needed on the use and functions on delegated powers. Rachel Garnham outlined the detailed concerns from CLPs over potential issues with online nomination meetings; the lack of guidance for engagement with those members not able to access the internet or without email addresses; the inadequate training; and the failure to have given clear guidance on the method of voting for CLP nominations, nor specifics for the use of STV in the final ballot stage. Picking up on the point that not all Party members use email, the General Secretary undertook to review the possibility of hard copy communication. The decision to come back in September with proposals on Labour Students was welcomed. With regards to the discussion on accuracy of NEC reports to the wider membership (and in the public domain), Darren Williams and Ann Henderson reminded members that the decision had already been made at the January NEC, that the Minute of the NEC meetings should be published in a suitable form, on the Party website. The General Secretary agreed to take this forward.

National Policy Forum

The eight Policy Commissions are currently consulting on specific documents and questions. Following NEC Officers’ request, the closing date had been extended from 30 June, to 20 July. It was noted that roundtable online events had been held, and thousands of submissions had been received over the last few months. Following cancellation of Annual Conference, it has been agreed that an interim report will be produced, for further consultation, but a full Report will be prepared for amendment and decision by the 2021 Annual Conference.  The NEC meeting discussed again the Democracy Review recommendations on reviewing the whole policy Forum process, and it was agreed to come back to this at the next NEC. Left CLP reps flagged up reports from members on the faults in the online voting and technical capacity on the NPF website pages, and staff agreed to investigate further.

All Women Shortlists

The General Secretary and the Acting Head of Legal Affairs updated the NEC on legal advice with regard to the application of the AWS measure in local authorities (or parliaments) where the Labour Groups already had 50% or more women members. There is an interpretation of the Equality Act which suggests that where a Group has reached 50%, positive action measures for women may then not be allowed. The NEC and the Party reaffirmed strong commitment to using positive action for women, including AWS, and that it was never the intention to stop at 50%, or to allow gains to be reversed. It was also suggested that further guidance be sought and issued, on the maximum options for positive action to advance BAME, disabled, and other under-represented groups – within the current Party Rulebook and legal frameworks – and for future legislative change. Decisions on AWS seats impacts on all the current local authority and parliamentary selections. Queen’s Counsel opinion on the current legal position has been sought urgently and will be shared as soon as possible.  It was also agreed to take forward Party policy on extending the Equality Act provisions on All Women Shortlists, as it is subject to a sunset clause 2030.

Young Labour National Committee elections

A timetable was agreed which runs concurrently with the current elections for NEC CLP section and other elections. Clarification was sought that young members must be under the age of 27 at the close of ballot.

Autumn Digital Event

The Leader’s Office updated on the proposals for a three day membership engagement Digital event (20-22 September) which will replace Annual Conference.  It is an ambitious programme to bring members together – discussing ideas, campaigns, training, special guests and also plenty of member participation.  It will allow Labour to set out some of the COVID recovery priorities, and to build for our election campaigns in 2021.

A Women’s Digital event will be held on Saturday 19 September and content is being prepared in discussion with the NEC Women’s Sub Committee, the WCAC, and TULO. Disability Labour is providing advice and guidance on accessibility as the events are being prepared.

In both cases the timetable will be a mix of more formal and informal sessions, enabling members to dip in and out. There will be no requirement to be present at all of the events, and it is not a delegate- based event. Some sessions will be broadcast for the public and could be recorded for later viewing. The NEC members welcomed the work done so far, and made a number of suggestions to increase participation, and to record and evaluate the success of the events. It was noted that the NEC Women’s Sub Committee is a useful forum for discussion of the women’s event.

Annual Women’s Conference 2021

In line with previous NEC decisions, a paper was presented with dates and timelines for a full policy making delegate-based Women’s Conference in February 2021. (Harrogate 12-14 Feb).  CLPs and affiliates are to be advised of timetable later in August. However, options do also need to be considered in the event of public health restrictions preventing a large event taking place, or a social distanced conference with reduced numbers, or on the venue not

being available because of alternative health service use. The NEC agreed to proceed with the proposal, and the NEC Women’s sub Committee will consider it further, as will the WCAC. A final decision will need to be made in early October.

Disputes Panels

NEC members are working with the Governance and Legal Unit in line with agreed procedures, to consider cases as quickly as possible, and to address any outstanding cases. Panels are meeting regularly. CLP reps did indicate that members remain concerned about long delays, and the impact of the COVID pandemic on procedures and on members’ well- being. Ann Henderson and other NEC members have asked for equalities monitoring to be developed across the complaints and disciplinary procedures.

Democracy Review

Left CLP reps asked for a full update on the outstanding sections of this work, for the next meeting, which was agreed. Finalising the rule changes on BAME structures will come to the NEC in the autumn, and the work will start on the disabled members structures with a view to completing it early 2021. It was noted that the NEC Disabled members seat would be filled in November but that work should start on new structures, including stakeholder engagement, in advance of that.  The importance of eligible members registering for that election was stressed.

The next NEC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 8 September.  An additional meeting is also expected to be held in September to consider a Review of the 2019 General Election, and various reports in advance of that, will be shared.  We encouraged consultation with CLPs and their members, and asked for the inclusion of demographic reports in the Review.

July 2020

by CLPD at August 31, 2020 07:43 PM

July 27, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 21 July 2020

Leader’s report

Keir Starmer updated the national executive committee (NEC) about Labour’s work responding to the Covid-19 health and economic crisis. He talked about the concerning levels of infection across the world, with recent local spikes in the UK. He highlighted the risk of changing weather in the autumn, coupled with seasonal flu and NHS winter pressures, which bring new challenges and risk the virus becoming resurgent.
The Bank of England has predicted the worst recession for 300 years. Labour is pushing for real job protections on a sectoral basis. Keir talked about how the health and economic crisis exposes inequality. The Labour leader talked of the need for more resources, support and powers for local government.

Keir told the NEC that the economy was not functioning well before the pandemic, and that Labour must argue for a different economic settlement. People want to see a different country coming out of this and Labour needs to provide that vision and hope for the future.

Keir told the NEC that Labour has received a draft of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report, and that Labour is cooperating fully with the EHRC. The NEC will discuss the report when it is in the public domain.

Keir also updated the NEC about the settlement reached with former Labour Party staff interviewed in an episode of Panorama. He reminded the NEC that all leadership candidates made a commitment to settle this, and that it is the right thing to do both morally and financially. This settlement doesn’t interfere with the Forde inquiry or any disciplinary action.

The NEC asked questions on a range of issues; including the steel industry; the aviation sector; mass unemployment and the need to retain jobs and skills; a post-Brexit trade deal; food standards; devolution; Parliamentary Labour Party discipline; pay for care workers; human rights in China; local government support; the green recovery; vaccine confidence and tackling the anti-vaccination movement; and NEC governance and progressive taxation.

Deputy leader’s report

Angela Rayner talked about how the Covid-19 outbreak shows the importance of trade unions, and that the trade union movement is essential as we rebuild. She has worked with the TUC on the campaign to encourage people to join a trade union. She noted that over 200,000 people recently joined a trade union.

Angela updated that election campaigning activity has resumed – local parties can now leaflet and new virtual phonebanks will be introduced. Guidance will go out explaining how campaigning can be done safely. Angela also updated the NEC that CLP and branch meetings can restart – guidance has been sent to CLP secretaries.
She talked about her recent EDI work, including a number of projects and surveys, with work to improve equality data. She asked NEC members to encourage everyone to complete the equalities survey. She also gave another confidential update on the action taken as a result of the “leaked report”.

Membership

Labour membership continues to be stable at around 570,000 members. Resignations and membership lapses has been balanced by new members joining. David Evans committed to giving the NEC more detailed breakdowns of membership, including equality data and regional breakdowns.

Transparency

Members of the NEC asked whether a summary of decisions made in NEC meetings could be published by the party. Previous NEC meetings also agreed that agendas of NEC meetings could be published.

Leaking

Members of the NEC expressed frustration about leaking from NEC meetings. These leaks are often inaccurate and damaging. News steps will be taken to tackle this, including a new NEC code of conduct.

National policy forum

Usually NPF documents are prepared ahead of annual conference. Since conference has been cancelled, an interim report will be produced and next year’s conference will vote on the two years’ worth of policy documents. There will also be a virtual policy conference this Autumn. Members will be able to reference back the documents at the next Labour Party Conference.

NEC members asked for an update into the review of Labour’s policy-making process. The NPF hasn’t met in full for some time and many NPF reps have had to retire or stand down. NPF elections were rescheduled for next year, I asked if these were still scheduled to go ahead. I also asked when the next NPF meeting was likely to take place.

Virtual conference

Staff gave an update about plans for a virtual conference. Steps will be taken to ensure this event is accessible, including the provision for sign language. The sessions will be interactive and engaging, with lots of opportunities for members to input views and discuss policy. Measures will be taken to support members who don’t have internet access.

All-women shortlists

The NEC reiterated its support for all women shortlists. They have been a blunt but effective tool to increase gender representation. The NEC support extending the legislation to include the introduction of all BAME shortlists. Obviously these measures are not enough and much more needs to be done to support more women, BAME, disabled, LGBT and working class candidates to stand for election.
Young Labour national committee elections

Election will take place this year for the Young Labour national committee. This is the first time these elections have taken place since the democracy review and the procedures have changed slightly. Information will be available on the Labour Party website.

General election review

The NEC agreed to the process for Labour’s general election review, which will consider internal data and the Labour Together review into the general election defeat. A special NEC meeting will be arranged to discuss this.

And finally…

If you enjoy reading my NEC reports, you can ask your Labour group to nominate me in the NEC councillors section. Information about why I am re-standing for the NEC is available on my blog.

by aliceperryuk at July 27, 2020 10:16 AM

July 14, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

Why I am standing for the NEC

Councillors are the backbone of the Labour Party. Our contributions are enormous. We deserve respect and a greater say in how the party is run. If re-elected I will:

  • Continue providing detailed reports on NEC meetings, so Councillors are aware of what is going on at the top of the party.
    • Provide a strong voice for local government, arguing for better representation on the NEC and other bodies, and accountability for our ALC subs.
    • Ensure Labour Groups and local parties get the resources we need to fight elections, and have more say over election campaigns.
    • Champion local government policy initiatives, like building more affordable housing, tackling climate change, protecting and creating jobs and defending public services.
    • Work to increase diversity in local government, increasing working class, women, BAME, LGBT and disabled representation.
    • Fight to restore the local government pension fund.
    • Campaign for parental leave and greater flexibility for Councillors.
    • Stand up for members’ ability to select their MPs, giving people a real choice of talented candidates.
    • Support an independent disciplinary process.
    Defend the link between Labour and Trade Unions, and work closely and constructive with Trade Union colleagues.
    Champion Labour Councillors in opposition and the important work they do.

Since my election to the NEC in 2014, I have:

Please ask your Labour Group to nominate Alice Perry (L0111249) and Nick Forbes (A603264) to be your two local government representatives on the NEC.

Nominations will be done online this year. The link to the nomination form will be sent to Labour Group secretaries.

by aliceperryuk at July 14, 2020 10:11 AM

June 29, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

How Labour’s NPF works – and how to get involved

How should Labour make policy? How can members become more involved? How do we  reflect the views and values from across the party and wider labour movement? How can you harness the expertise and interests of members, local government, the Parliamentary Labour Party, socialist societies and trade unions? Is Labour’s national policy forum (NPF) the answer – and if it isn’t, what is?

Labour’s democracy review has been considering how to improve the party policy-making process. This ongoing work led the national executive committee (NEC) to postpone this year’s NPF elections. The leadership elections and Covid-19 pandemic have paused some of the democracy review work, but they have not reduced the appetite for members to get involved in deciding party policy.

There has always been some cynicism about the NPF. When I was elected as a London Constituency Labour Party (CLP) representative in 2012, I remember sharing the news with my fellow councillor Gary Doolan. He laughed heartily at what he always referred to as the “national powerless forum”, of which he was also a member. The NPF meeting in Milton Keynes in 2014 was a particularly surreal experience, and probably not the best way to make policy. Even then, there were some fantastic policies put forward by CLP reps that did make it into the 2015 manifesto.

When it comes to improving or replacing the NPF, a key part of the challenge is finding a structure that reflects the views of our entire labour movement. The current NPF structure successfully represents this breadth, with a careful balance of reps from CLPs, trade unions, affiliates, the NEC, the PLP, the shadow cabinet and local government. NPF members are listed on the policy forum website.

The NPF plays a key role in drafting policy documents for conference to debate and vote on. This in turn contributes to Labour’s manifesto, agreed by the Clause V meeting. Policy voted on by conference does not necessarily make it into the manifesto, and policy resets itself after each general election. This means that the policies in previous manifestos are not automatically party policy now, and we are at the beginning of a new process to produce our next general election manifesto.

As part of this new process, Labour has launched the 2020 policy consultations. The NPF is divided into eight policy commissions:

1.    Economy, business and trade:

2.    International;

3.    Health and social care;

4.    Early years, education and skills;

5.    Justice and home affairs;

6.    Housing, local government and transport;

7.    Work, pensions and equality; and

8.    Environment, energy and culture.

There is a lot more that could be done to improve the NPF. We could hold full NPF meetings more regularly – and elect a chair! For many years people have been calling for more online meetings and events to make the NPF more accessible. People have also called for more transparency, including what happens to submissions. And I’ve asked for us to live stream non-confidential parts of meetings, and plan to do this for a future justice and home affairs meeting.

In the meantime, the consultation runs until June 30th. You can find out more about how to get involved, online events and how to make a submission here.

by aliceperryuk at June 29, 2020 11:56 AM

June 26, 2020

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

NEC report May 2020

NEC report May 2020

This is a collective report by Yasmine Dar on behalf of NEC CLP reps: Yasmine Dar, Huda Elmi, Rachel Garnham, Ann Henderson, Jon Lansman and Darren Williams.

The first scheduled meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee under Keir Starmer’s leadership took place on 19 May 2020. There have additionally been two meetings to discuss the independent investigation into the circumstances and contents of the report ‘The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to Antisemitism, 2014-2019’ and a meeting to appoint a new General Secretary.

As the meeting was taking place via Zoom the chair Andi Fox announced that the agenda would be shortened.

It was noted that virtual meetings of Disputes Sub-panels would be taking place and that NEC members would be expected to take their turn in taking responsibility for their duties. There was some discussion about how these would be organised.

The Chair reported the agreement made in the NEC officers’ meeting to add the BAME rep Carol Sewell to the panel of interviewers for the General Secretary (GS) position. Carol was not available to participate and it was therefore proposed that the NEC invite Huda Elmi to join the panel as she is Vice Chair (BAME) of the NEC’s Equalities Committee, therefore best placed and would also increase BAME representation on the shortlisting panel, as had been the aim of the previous proposal. The majority of CLP reps recognised that she was the most appropriate replacement.

This proposal was questioned by some members and attempts were made to open up discussion around the rest of the interview panel. The Chair clarified the panel had already been agreed and as the BAME rep was not available the proposal had been made to replace her. Several individuals’ comments and the tone in the discussion which ensued was disrespectful and inappropriate. Despite the Chair’s ruling, several members continued to question the size of the interview panel.

The Chair and NEC members praised the hard work and commitment of Jennie Formby to the Labour Party. Obituaries were noted with a minute’s silence.

A vote was then taken on who would be on the interview panel. Gurinder Singh Josan, having previously put himself forward, withdrew, leaving Huda Elmi and Shabana Mahmood with

the latter narrowly receiving the higher vote.

Leader’s Report

Keir Starmer opened his report by mentioning the work he had been undertaking to hold the government to account during the Covid-19 pandemic. He mentioned the main challenges, including testing and that the government had been in a hopeless place since March. The government had set an ambitious 100,000 tests by April, achieved by manipulation. The government had no strategy. He mentioned the lack of PPE across the health service and care homes, furlough scheme and self -employment scheme about the benefits and the gaps.

Keir said that in the last couple of PMQs he focused on Care homes and that the government was way behind, in relation to the shocking statistics that 40% Covid deaths were in Care homes. In April alone there have been 26,000 deaths where on average in the last five years, there have usually been around 8,000 deaths.

Keir talked about the Prime Minister’s speech about what happens next, which was made without a plan therefore was a complete mess especially when the PM was pressed about safety in the workplace, travel and schools.

He described how Labour was doing a wider consultation with trade unions, local authorities and experts to make sure we have a wide range of views to inform the arguments we are making.

Keir mentioned the Immigration Bill which was unfair towards our care workers deeming them unskilled and not earning enough. This presented an abhorrent link between what people earn and their value, exposing the government’s hypocrisy.

Keir stated that every week on a Thursday, he had been holding virtual meetings across the country. He would have liked to have had face-to-face meetings but unfortunately due to the situation it was not possible. These meetings had been arranged to build trust and reconnection work with local people. These virtual meetings have taken place in Bury, Tees Valley, Fife, Glasgow, Wrexham and Bridgend.

NEC members had the opportunity to ask questions and thank Keir for his report.

CLP reps asked about Keir’s pledge to end factionalism and his strategy for building unity – he had a clear mandate to bring together a divided party but since coming to office some concerns have been raised regarding his appointments to the investigation, apparent abandonment of our democratically agreed party policies, for example on Kashmir, and appearing to be too close to the government in relation to the pandemic crisis. When would we see his strategy to unite the party and win elections? Other questions were around Covid-

19 and the need to be clear about devolved powers; the crisis in care homes; and local government finance. Housing and renters’ policy were mentioned, including Young Labour’s disagreement with the policy as presented. Questions were raised around backing teachers’ unions and the BMA who were saying it was not safe to send children back to schools; protection for non-teaching staff as well as teachers; and opposing recent statements on the issue by Lord Adonis.

Keir’s response in regards to the investigation and unity, was that the majority of the NEC voted on the appointees to the enquiry. He said that lockdown was the right thing to do and we would support the government on that, we will challenge where we need to, and that we need to get the balance right. With regards to Kashmir, he clarified that the position was the same as Ian Lavery’s position had been in November last year. He said we could and should speak out on human rights abuses anywhere in the world.

He mentioned unity within the four nations and working together. He also agreed there

should be more support for local authorities and has had several zoom calls on this. In regards to renters, Keir mentioned a broader package not just a rent package, he would reflect on

what had been raised.

In regards to schools, Keir said he was working closely with Rebecca Long Bailey, NEU and other unions. He wanted children to go back and be safe. Presently, schools are open at the moment for key workers and for vulnerable families. He was looking at how quickly we can get more children back into school in a way that protects them and staff.

Further questions were around surveillance testing, young children and social distancing measures, local government funding, particular issues in Scotland, and mental health issues in relation to isolation and grief.

Questions were raised around disciplinary matters and suspensions in relation to the 860-page

Report. Further concerns were raised about the letter Keir had sent out regarding Kashmir,

including publicity stating Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Points raised included Kashmir’s right to self-determination, and the strength of feeling expressed by many members contacting NEC members about the escalating issues in Indian occupied Kashmir and the need for this to be properly recognised as a humanitarian crisis. Members

felt the Labour Party needs to lead the way in standing up against injustice and human rights violations – other world issues were resolved with the international community taking the lead, for example in Ireland and ending Apartheid in South Africa – the Labour Party needs to recognise it has to stand up against governments promoting fascist and racist ideologies; and ensure our policy reflects our commitment to human rights.

Further concerns were raised regarding the Panel for the Report investigation. Although this had previously been agreed, because the names were presented at the meeting there had not been time for NEC members to carry out due diligence. An individual appointed to the panel was subsequently revealed to have endorsed deeply factional comments and it was suggested that their membership of the Panel should now be reconsidered.

Further contributions from NEC members focussed on the job retention scheme and valuing workers, asking about Labour’s alternative economic model. Building a new different type of economy is more important now more than ever coming out of this pandemic. We need to oppose Tory attempts to impose public sector cuts, public sector pay freezes, or any other form of austerity; it is not just an opportunity but an imperative coming out of this crisis.

Members were extremely concerned about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities; recognition of frontline workers; insurance payments; and calls for an enquiry into disproportionate deaths. The plight of migrant domestic workers was mentioned

– Labour had changed their status in the 1990s, and ever since then the Tories have attacked their rights. Since Covid-19 and many losing their jobs, homes etc are not covered.

The leadership’s engagement with trade unions was welcomed, but it was noted that the Party needs to recognise that 61% staff working in schools are not teachers. Several members

raised the despicable comments of a Labour Peer bringing the party into disrepute on this issue.

Keir was concise in his response to the questions raised, responding on testing, schools and social distancing and mental health. He said inconsistencies with disciplinary procedures will be looked at and that he is engaging with trade unions in regards to what is happening in the care sector; adding that the Labour whips will deal with any inappropriate behaviour of individual MPs and Peers.

Keir agreed that Kashmir is an international matter. He noted that he was a human rights lawyer for 25 years and all UN resolutions mean a lot to him – no human rights abuse of any country or region can ever be a matter for any one, two or three countries. If you abuse human rights then you are accountable to the rest of the world, he said, and nothing in what he has said undermines that principle. Keir felt it may be beneficial if the second letter he wrote after a discussion with MPs via zoom call was circulated in which he expressed his

understanding of some of the concerns raised. Debbie Abrahams, Andrew Gwynne and many other MPs were on that call and this letter will allay some concerns.

Keir said that he and Angela are determined that the enquiry into the leaked report is an independent enquiry that will get to the bottom of what happened. He wants to use this opportunity to promote cultural change in the organisation.

Keir talked about Labour alternatives to the government’s actions in relation to the pandemic. They were looking at the South Korea example, where a similar size population and has got through this with just a few hundred deaths compared to the situation we have found

ourselves in. Keir stated we cannot come through this and go back to business as usual or back to austerity. For the last ten years, austerity has crippled our economy and taken down our public services. We will be looking at a new economic model.

He wanted to make sure schools were as safe as possible, noting that parents and teachers have to be comfortable with how things are working, and Rebecca Long Bailey was putting forward the Party’s position on this. In regards to the BAME communities, he noted that it is clear that there are disproportionate deaths and Doreen Lawrence would be leading on this investigation for Labour.

Deputy Leader’s Report

Angela kept her report brief as Keir had covered a lot of issues. In relation to Covid-19, Angela praised the contribution of the Labour Party including Trade Unions, other organisations and the wider membership.

Angela mentioned community organising pilots, asking our MPs to do similar type of events as Keir. Angela thanked Jennie Formby for all her hard work for the Party and as a leading woman in the trade union movement. She also thanked Jon Lansman for his work following his announcement that he would be standing down as chair of Momentum.  She described them as great mentors.

Angela talked about the successful ‘Join a Union’ campaign. She expressed the importance of standing in solidarity with workers and supporting trade unions.

Angela mentioned that she had been working with senior staff in regards to the concerns raised regarding the leaked report and reassured the meeting that disciplinary procedures and processes will continue. She explained that all internal processes are confidential, but disciplinary processes would not be held back by the work of the independent enquiry and action is being taken. She stated that standards that are expected of our staff, adding that issues around racism, sexism and bullying are taken seriously. She will report back any relevant information to the NEC.

NEC members asked several questions including her strategy for party unity, about trade union campaigns, about disciplinary actions in regards to individuals no longer employed by the party, about campaigning during the pandemic, about legal advice for NEC members, and further questions on the Report and suspensions. Several points were raised regarding discipline and allegations of individuals working against the Party and the need for strong action against any form of racism or sexism in the Labour Party, whatever the forum.

Angela’s response highlighted the need to be professional not factional.  She reiterated that we cannot accept any form of racism and sexism. and mentioned the role taken up by Alex Barros-Curtis in the Governance and Legal Unit. She explained issues around staff confidentiality and said that action has to be proportionate, professional and support our values as an organisation.

Angela accepted there had been some difficulty in regards to some messages for example on Kashmir and housing policy. She will be looking at an election strategy including Scotland in particular.

Local and regional democracy during the pandemic

A paper was presented proposing a way forward in a number of areas in relation to selections, NEC elections, regional conferences and policy consultations. Unfortunately, this missed out

a proper proposal on the crucial issue that would predicate whether these were possible or not

– the question of enabling CLPs to meet formally using an online platform. Several NEC

members pointed out that the discussion was happening the wrong way round – particularly as by this stage, no decision had yet been made about annual conference, which came further down the agenda.

The NEC discussed the multiple issues that have impacted on local and regional democracy due to the corona virus and commented on the restrictions on the ability of local parties to operate. Emergency guidelines had been agreed by Chair of the NEC’s Organisation Committee for operation of CLPs during the initial days of lockdown. This empowered CLP Executive Committees to make urgent decisions, for example approval of CLP accounts. Many NEC members were of the view that it was now time for these guidelines to be updated to enable formal meetings to take place online, while acknowledging that many members, in particular those with limited access to digital technology, key workers and members struggling with illness, bereavement and increased pressure from caring responsibilities, would be excluded from meetings. At the same time, some members who would not usually be able to access meetings were able to attend online. Unfortunately, there was no specific proposal about enabling formal meetings so this decision could not be made.

The NEC agreed to allow procedures to enable local government selections to go ahead – with a proposal for these to be deferred until CLP meetings were up and running online and not put ‘the cart before the horse’ narrowly defeated. Most candidate selections for the Metro-Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners and London Assembly are complete or

almost complete. There are big gaps in local government selections and procedures discussed included video conference to interview those putting themselves forward. CLPs and LCFs will fill vacant seats and some viable options were put forward. There are two Metro Mayor elections taking place in 2021 where there is not yet a Labour candidate. A timetable was

agreed but immediately subject to change because the NEC elections had not yet been agreed. The left proposed an amendment to the procedures for local government elections to enable branch meetings rather than a small panel to shortlist, and this was narrowly passed.

A discussion regarding the transition from Local Campaign Forums to Local Government Committees took place. This change was agreed at annual conference 2019 but a proposal in the paper to delay this implementation was removed, following the narrow passing of an amendment from left NEC members.

Questions were asked about outstanding trigger ballots for 2021 and there was a wide- ranging discussion about what’s possible, what guidance for CLPs should be, issues around electronic ballots and particular concerns about equality. Members stressed that the guidance for CLPs has to be right and developed as soon as possible.

There followed a discussion about NEC elections where discussion touched on similar points, including the inappropriateness of looking inwards and accentuating division in the current crisis. There was widespread support for a delay, but then a proposal from Unison’s Wendy Nichols that rather than wait for a discussion at Organisation Committee on 7 July there should be an ‘emergency’ NEC in June to discuss a new timetable. NEC members pointed

out that many members were volunteers and had to take time off work to attend meetings alongside all the other responsibilities and there had been many ‘emergency’ NECs recently, which appeared to be an entirely factional course of action. It was noted that it was completely unnecessary to meet any earlier than already planned – and in fact the

‘emergency’ meeting is now booked in for 7 days earlier than the scheduled meeting where the discussion could have taken place.

There was a unanimous decision to postpone Regional conferences to 2021 due to the Covid-

19 pandemic and unanimous agreement for the Policy team to progress with NPF policy

consultation and to develop some guidance for CLPs to be empowered to discuss online via an electronic communications platform – although it was pointed out that this had already begun in advance of a decision being made.

Conference 2020

Following discussion, the NEC agreed to cancel annual conference due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was not an easy decision to make but presently there are no other options. Basically, it is not viable, but the Party will be looking into some imaginative policy-based online events. This will also include cancelling the Women’s conference.

National Policy Forum Commissions

Some vacancies were noted and new co-convenors were appointed to Health and Social care, Housing, Local Government and Transport, and International Commissions. It was noted, not for the first time, that there were no CLP reps in the position of co-convenor and that no CLP reps had been elected to the Joint Policy Committee. A request was made that if the JPC is to meet that CLPs should be represented. There was no response to the request.

Local government report

Nick Forbes gave the local government report and thanked Keir for his tone of inclusion of local government over the last few weeks. Many meetings have taken place with council leaders, opposition group leaders and councillors, and this has been appreciated.

Nick informed NEC members of local government’s Covid-19 response in regards to joint working with shadow cabinet members, inputting the local government view to ensure there is a better understanding of policy issues, so that there is no gap.

He raised issues around the financial challenges and government providing the compensation promised to help councils bridge the financial gap.

Nick spoke about the preparations for the important 2021 local elections and mentioned the importance of campaign plans.

The NEC thanked local government for their support and having gone the extra mile to keep our communities safe at this difficult time.

by Jake Rubin at June 26, 2020 09:50 PM

June 02, 2020

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

Equalities and Labour Party Organisation – Update

The Democracy Review (2018) proposed a number of changes that members felt would strengthen the work the Party does on equalities. The NEC and Annual Party Conferences have been working through the necessary Rule changes.

Chapter 10 – Women’s Branches

Chapter 14 – BAME branches

Chapter 15 – LGBT branches

Chapter 16 – Disabled Members Branches

The General Election 2019, the subsequent Labour leadership and Deputy Leadership elections, and now significantly the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on party activity and priorities, have all delayed progress in establishing Labour equality branches at local level.

Whilst guidance from the Party has not yet been issued on how formal meetings of the equality branches can operate under the COVID19 restrictions, it is helpful to be aware of the Rule Book equality branch provisions and to be considering how to bring members together locally, both informally and formally.

The 2019 Labour Party Conference agreed the introduction of structures that will allow for women’s branches, BAME branches, Disabled members branches and LGBT branches to be set up locally if members wish to do so.

The new rules explain how those equality branches should be constituted, with annual meetings open to all eligible members, which elect the branch officers for the year ahead.  Activities can be arranged formally or informally, and the Rules suggest different ways of getting involved with local communities. Equality branches, at their formal meetings, will be able to discuss and agree motions for the relevant CLP to consider, elect GC delegates, and to play a role in policy forum processes and in making nominations for a range of positions. This role in making nominations will be of interest as candidates are considered for vacancies arising in the UK, Scottish or Welsh Parliaments, or Metro Mayors, for example.

The most developed work so far has been amongst our women members. The Party has already agreed to the establishment of Annual policy making Women’s Conferences, and a very successful Conference took place in Telford in February 2019.  Women attended from CLPs and trade unions from across the UK, and two motions were taken direct to the Party’s annual Conference in Brighton in September 2019.  This demonstrated that a good number of Women’s Forums (now Branches) are already active and formally established at constituency level.

Now that the Rule Book guidance is published, on setting up Women’s Branches (which will replace Women’s Forums where they exist), it is clearer that women members can organise locally, electing delegates and submitting a motion to Annual Women’s Conference themselves. Plans are being made for a national UK Women’s Labour Women’s Conference in Spring 2021, which will operate under these new rules, if it is able to go ahead under the health advice at that time.

In some areas a Women’s Branch (formerly Forum) may organise across more than one CLP. That’s fine and may be a good way of providing more support to members. This does need to be signed off by the Regional Office on behalf of the NEC, so members should let them know the proposed area to be covered. The Rule Book details how members should then relate to the various CLPs involved.

The area or city level approach may be particularly helpful for some of the other equality categories, where there may initially be lower numbers of members wishing to get involved.

We hope to see more and more CLPs meeting this requirement to support the establishment of equality branches, increasing contacts across different communities, and supporting more members in seeking election.  CLPs are expected to assist with funding the new branches.  In due course appropriate Regional equality structures will be established too.

The NEC agreed to establish working groups through the NEC Equalities Committee in March, which have been looking in more detail at new national equality structures, including the launch of the BAME party organisation. On 10th March, the NEC agreed a paper which outlines the rules for the National Labour Women’s Organisation, including reference to the establishment of regional/Scottish/Welsh Labour Women’s Committees, and confirms the basis for the election of a national Labour Women’s Committee, which includes representation from the constituency membership, and trade unions and affiliates.  The nominations for, and election of, the new national Labour Women’s Committee is expected to take place at the 2021 Spring UK Labour Women’s conference.

The BAME reserved seat on the NEC has now been filled by Carol Sewell, following an election that ran alongside the Leadership and Deputy Leadership ballots concluding early April. The reserved NEC seat for Disabled Members was due to be elected by Annual Conference 2020, but the timetable was cancelled (due to COVID19 impact on internal election procedures) and will be reviewed by the NEC.

The NEC Equalities Committee meets again in July, as does the NEC. In the absence of the 2020 Annual Labour conference due to the impact of the pandemic, further discussion will be needed on matters where Rule changes are required.

At local level, as the Rule Book now explains, there are some other changes too. For example there is no longer the additional role of ‘Women’s Co-ordinator’ or other ‘co-ordinator’ posts in a CLP – just a straightforward Women’s Officer post, BAME, Disabled and LGBT officers to be elected by CLP members at each year’s AGM. We would expect the relevant equality branch to nominate – for example the women’s branch to nominate for the CLP Women’s Officer – although the CLP as a whole will actually elect the CLP Officers.

We look forward to working with members on these changes, and building a stronger Party as a result. All feedback will be welcome too, so we can make this work as effectively as possible.

Ann Henderson

Chair

NEC Equalities Committee

ahendersonlab@gmail.com

by Jake Rubin at June 02, 2020 09:55 PM

May 24, 2020

Ann Black on the Record

South East Regional Executive Committee, 19 May 2020

Regional executive members gathered on Zoom for an informal update.  Like local parties we were not able to make decisions, but it was a useful opportunity to catch up and share experiences.  Most of us, including myself, expressed frustration on behalf of our members, and when councils, Labour groups and the NEC itself are meeting, […]

by Ann Black at May 24, 2020 01:37 PM

May 23, 2020

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Unite Executive Council Elections 2020

If you are a Unite union member you will get a ballot for the Executive Council elections if there are contested elections in your region and/or industrial sector.

They must be returned by 12 noon on Thursday 18th June 2020.

Members who have not received a ballot paper by Monday 8th June 2020 should contact the ballot enquiry service on 0800 783 3856 (0818 333 155 from the Republic of Ireland or Gibraltar).

Details of candidates are here: https://secure.cesvotes.com/V3-0-0/unitenominates2020/en/home?bbp=6942&x=-1

I have seen the following list of suggestions circulated for who members should vote for if they want the union to change direction:

Ireland
Noel Gibson
Marie Casey

North East Yorkshire and Humberside Region
Gary Andrews

Scotland
Grieg McArthur
Helen McFarlane

South East Region
Dominic Rothwell

Wales
Kerry Owens

West Midlands Region
Stuart Hedley

Engineering, Manufacturing and Steel
Gary Buchan

Food, Drink and Agriculture
Neelam Verma
Matt Gould

Finance and Legal
Jacob Goddard
Fiona Tatem

Health
Steve Thompson
Tracey Osment

Local Authorities
Lisa Colquhoun
Kevin Woods

Passenger Transport
Nigel Atkinson
Simon Rosenthal

Road Transport Commercial, Warehousing and Logistics
Mick Casey
Paul Shedd

Service Industries
Howard Percival

Unite Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
Jamie Bramwell
Stuart Grice

National Black and Asian Ethnic Minority Members’ Constituency
Raffiq Moussa

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at May 23, 2020 05:59 PM

May 20, 2020

Alice Perry's Blog

Labour NEC Report – 19 May

Labour’s national executive committee met via Zoom today. The NEC thanked outgoing general secretary Jennie Formby for her service.

Leader’s report

Keir Starmer talked about his work holding the government to account during the Covid-19 pandemic. He talked about Labour’s work challenging the government on a range of key issues, including selective use of statistics, the furlough and self-employment scheme and lack of personal protective equipment for key workers. Keir talked about 40% of Covid deaths being in care homes, where the crisis has been absolutely shocking. Keir talked about how Labour is pressing the government hard on safety in the work place, transport and schools. Labour is doing a wide consultation with trade union and local government to ensure the experiences of the pandemic across the UK are reflected and raised.

Keir has been holding virtual meetings around the country with local communities. These have included a number of open meetings with local people, including current and former Labour voters, to listen and rebuild trust. The first meetings took place in Bury and Tees valley.

The NEC then asked questions on a range of issues, including: uniting party, Kashmir, the urgent need for financial support for local government, Covid-19, deaths in care homes, support for renters, reopening schools, surveillance testing and contact tracing, the impact of the pandemic on mental health, party discipline, safety of bus workers and other transport workers, the impact of Covid on BAME communities, funding for TFL, the economy, the importance of resisting future austerity and digital inclusion.

Deputy leader’s report

Angela Rayner talked about the community organising pilots and the national plan for activity during the pandemic. She thanked Jennie Formby, as well as Jon Lansman, who is standing down as chair of Momentum. She described it as an “end of an era” and thanked them both. Angela talked about the importance of solidarity with workers and the importance of standing up for workers’ rights, as well as what can be achieved when we unite together as a party.

Angela also addressed some of the issues raised in the leaked report. She discussed measures to improve culture within the party, tackling racism, sexism or other prejudice. She gave an update on some of the disciplinary action taken as a result of the leaked report. Angela stressed the importance of ending factionalism and uniting party.

Local democracy during the pandemic

The NEC discussed how we can continue to function as a political party during the pandemic. So much of our activity is based around meeting face-to-face and speaking to each other and the public.

Most of the metro-mayors, PCCs, London Assembly selections are complete or almost complete. There are many council selections that need to take place. We discussed ways these selection meetings can take place electronically via video conferencing.

I asked about arrangements for Labour groups to meet and hold their AGMs with secret ballots. The Labour Party has recently issued guidance on AGMs and will provide further information soon. Labour groups are encouraged to continue business and hold AGMs.

We discussed arrangements for this year’s NEC elections. The decision about how these elections will take place has been deferred to later in the year. I spoke in favour of the single transferable vote (STV) system for NEC elections (and other relevant internal elections).

The NEC also discussed arrangements for regional conferences. A number of regional conferences where due to take place this spring but were delayed. The current situation makes it challenging to reschedule them so they have been delayed until 2021.

National Policy Forum

The NPF has begun holding policy consultations. Members will be able to engage online. The vacant NEC policy commission chairs were filled. More information about the NPF and how it works is available on thePolicy Forum website.

Labour Party 2020 conference

The NEC regretfully has had to cancel annual conference. A policy conference can take place online instead. This is a shame but necessary. Hopefully life will be back to normal in 2021.

Local government report

Nick Forbes gave the local government report, updating the NEC on local government’s Covid-19 response. He highlighted the importance of government providing the funding they promised to help councils in their vital work tackling the novel coronavirus. Keir has invited Nick to attend shadow cabinet, enabling need to feedback the experience of councils and local authorities directly into the shadow cabinet and the policy-making process. Nick spoke about the preparations for the important 2021 local elections and thanked Angela Rayner for her work supporting councillors and committing to meeting us regularly.

The NEC thanked key workers for their amazing work responding to the crisis and for everything they do – day in, day out.

by aliceperryuk at May 20, 2020 12:55 PM

February 05, 2020

CLGA Nec Report from CLPD

NEC Report January 2020

NEC Report January 2020

2020 opened with a full NEC meeting on Monday 6th January, convened to set out the arrangements and timetable for the Leadership and Deputy Leadership elections. This was our first meeting since the General Election, and an opportunity to briefly consider the results, and to place on record our thanks for the commitment shown by Jeremy Corbyn, in the face of unacceptable personal attacks throughout the campaign. All NEC members reported high levels of member involvement in the GE campaign, and it was noted that there had been a significant rise in membership since the General Election was called.  A more detailed political discussion was scheduled for the NEC AwayDay on 28th January.  Thanks were also recorded to the General Secretary and all staff, both centrally and regionally.

The timetable for the Leadership election was agreed and is now well underway. It was agreed to run the by-elections for two CLP NEC member places alongside the Leader and Deputy Leader elections, following Claudia Webbe (Leicester East) and Navendu Mishra (Stockport) being elected as MPs.

A new BAME reserved seat has also been created on the NEC, following an Annual Conference decision, and nominations are now open for this seat too. The Party is seeking to improve the data collected for each member, which will be essential if we are committed to improving the representation and participation of all members of the party. BAME members wishing to vote in the NEC reserved seat election, must register by 14th February to do so. (The equalities survey can be found here). CLP NEC reps have repeatedly raised concerns that BAME members will be disenfranchised due to poor data collection.

Nomination meetings and hustings are around the country. Concerns were raised by CLP reps about accessibility of these meetings. We also objected to the high cost and short window for the registered supporters’ scheme. The NEC Procedures committee is meeting regularly to address any concerns raised by members or candidates, and the elections will be overseen by Civica Election Services (formerly the ERS). The results will be announced in London on Saturday 4th April. The Scottish Labour Party is also running a Deputy Leadership election simultaneously, which will declare on 3rd April.

An NEC reserved seat for a Disabled Members rep has also been agreed, and the election for this will run over the summer, at the same time as the other elections prior to annual Party conference.

Following Annual conference in Brighton, Andi Fox TSSA has taken up Chair, with Ian Murray FBU as Vice Chair. Joining the NEC are: Mark Ferguson UNISON, Kathy Abu-Bakir GMB, Tom Warnett GMB (replacing Sarah Owen GMB, successfully elected as MP for Luton North)

Jim Kennedy, UNITE, long serving member of the NEC, stood down in January 2020, and members have conveyed their appreciation for the significant commitment given over the years.

Meetings have also been held in January of the NEC Disputes Committee, the NEC Organisation Committee, and the NEC Equalities Committee.

Over the last few months NEC CLP reps have been contacted by CLP officers on a wide range of matters, including: frustration with the delays in candidate selections; lack of local member involvement in the rapid shortlisting processes for Parliamentary candidates; inadequate provisions to allow for full and equal participation of all members in selection processes; concerns over delays in the individual complaints procedure; the absence of a date for the 2020 UK Labour Women’s annual conference; timing and processes for selections for elections in 2020; and the CLP Secretaries Facebook group has highlighted pressure on CLP officers and increases in bullying and harassment in the running of local parties. On this latter point, the General Secretary agreed to meet with representatives of the CLP Secretaries group on 30th January, and a report will be given to the NEC in due course.

We have reiterated the importance of creating a culture in the Party which respects the work carried out on a voluntary basis by so many members, and an environment in which differences can be debated without fear of harassment. With around 580,000 members, this is a welcome challenge, on which we must all work together.

Recognising that all meetings and most workstreams had been suspended when the General Election was called, and that staff were covering other duties, there was only limited progress made on backlogs of work within each NEC Committee this month. The revised disciplinary procedure agreed at Annual conference requires monitoring and evaluation, and NEC CLP reps will be seeking further reports.

The NEC meeting scheduled for 28th January included an Away Day agenda.

The meeting opened with obituaries and a moment of reflection, for former MPs Frank Dobson and David Lambie.

The Leader’s Report included: update on Labour’s key points of opposition and intervention on the EU Withdrawal Bill, with particular reference to the Dubbs amendment on child refugees, a summary of international statements given in the House of Commons and in response to the rising tension in the Middle East; climate change, and importance of COP 26 to be held in Glasgow November 2020; forthcoming local government and mayoral elections and campaign commitments; the popularity of the policies outlined in the 2019 manifesto; the enthusiasm amongst young people, borne out by the polling data now available; the absolute dominance of Brexit in the public discourse between June 2019 -December 2019;  need for further discussion on our response to constitutional and federal structures questions; and the severity of the personal attacks on the Leader and family throughout the GE campaign, and Jeremy acknowledged with thanks the thousands of supportive and concerned messages that he had received.

Later in the meeting, informative and detailed reports from staff on demographic and polling data, Community organising, finance and political strategy, and regional and national reports, allowed NEC members time for a brief discussion on the situation post General Election. It was noted that a full survey of candidates and election agents was being undertaken, and a proposal would be brought to the next NEC for a one day extended meeting of the NEC with stakeholders. Additional demographic data is being collected, and a regional breakdown of current Party membership has been requested, along with equality monitoring report from the new PLP and of candidates.

Richard Corbett gave the last report from the European Parliamentary Labour Party, and the NEC thanked Richard and all his parliamentary colleagues and staff for their commitment. The meeting reasserted the Party’s commitment to maintaining links with the PES (Party of European Socialists) and with the council of Europe, maintaining our internationalist outlook.

A comprehensive International Report included Labour’s response to: Iran and the escalating tensions following the USA’s actions; the unrest in India following the Modi’s Government’s actions on Citizenship; pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong; and to the deaths following military action against peaceful protests in Chile. A summary of election results in a number of European countries was provided, and it was noted that over 200 international guests had attended the Party’s annual Conference in Brighton in 2019.

Whilst the 2019 Annual Conference agreed a number of the Rule Changes arising from the 2018 Democracy Review, including on local government and equality branches, there are still other recommendations to be addressed. These will be picked up during the year ahead. NEC CLP reps are keen to see early publication of the revised Rulebook and guidance issued to Regional offices and to CLP Secretaries, in plenty of time for AGMs and for new structures to take shape.

One of the more contentious issues has been getting a date set for the 2020 Annual Women’s Conference. Following the large, successful, Women’s Conference in February 2019, NEC reps from both the CLP and the trade union sections have been pressing for dates for 2020. Unfortunately nothing was agreed prior to the General Election being called, and the only option presented to the NEC on 28th January was for the delegate based, policy making, Women’s Conference to be held in Liverpool immediately prior to Labour Party Annual conference, starting on either the Friday or the Saturday. The decision was made therefore, that Annual Conference runs Sunday 20th – Wednesday 23rd September, the Women’s Conference will be held on Saturday 19th September in Liverpool. The NEC agreed that in future the Annual Women’s Conference be held in the spring, and dates are to be advised as soon as possible for 2021 and 2022.

CLP NEC reps are also pressing on the need for an early discussion about the future for the National Policy Forum and the review of the policy making process, as agreed in the 2018 Democracy Review.

The Away Day also considered the terms of reference for the NEC and CLP reps raised points about accountability and governance. It was agreed agendas and minutes of the NEC would be published to members, and there was support for measures to enable members to be more accountable. A proposal that Organisation Committee should consider nominations to the House of Lords was defeated.

The next meetings of the NEC Organisation Committee, and the Disputes Committee, will be on Tuesday 10th March, the NEC Equalities Committee on the 17th March, and the full NEC meeting is scheduled for 24th March.

 

Ann Henderson – CLP Rep on Labour’s NEC

Contact: ahendersonlab@gmail.com

 

by Jake Rubin at February 05, 2020 10:20 PM

March 06, 2015

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

Here are the recent council by-elections. Labour's vote increased in all 5:

5 March

Kenton Ward, LB Brent. Con hold. Con 1097 (51.6%, +0.3), Lab 839 (39.4%, +7), Green 121 (5.7%, -4.3), LD 79 (3.3%, -3). Swing of 3.4% from Con to Lab since 2014.

St Pancras & Somers Town Ward, LB Camden. Lab hold. Lab 1481 (72.8%, +4.7), Con 243 (12%, +2), Green 213 (10.5%, -4.8), LD 96 (4.7%, -1.9). Swing of 1.4% from Con to Lab since 2014.

Selhurst Ward, LB Croydon. Lab hold. Lab 1517 (71.5%, +19.4), Con  246 (11.6%, -2), Green 148 (7%, -1.5), UKIP 147 (6.9%, -5.6), LD 65 (3.1%, -2.9). Swing of 10.7% from Con to Lab since 2014.

Bocking Division, Essex CC. Con gain from UKIP. Con 1071 (34.3%, +2.1), Lab 974 (31.2%, +1.3), UKIP 855 (27.4%, -5.3), Green 165 (5.3%, +2.2), Ind 58 (1.9%, +1.9). Swing of 0.4% from Lab to Con since 2013.

19 Feb

Hengoed Ward, Carmarthenshire UA. Lab hold. Lab 335 (33.2%, +7), PC 313 (31%, +6.6), UKIP 152 (15%, +15), People First 80 (7.9%, -18.2), Ind 76 (7.5%, +7.5), Con 54 (5.3%, +5.3). Swing of 0.2% from PC to Con since 2012.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at March 06, 2015 04:04 PM

February 13, 2015

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There have been just four council by-elections in the last fortnight. Yesterday included an important Labour gain from UKIP in Harlow which is a key parliamentary seat in Essex.

12 February

Bar Hill Division, Cambridgeshire CC.  Con hold. Con 787 (46%, +0.6), UKIP 251 (14.7%, -7.4), LD 238 (13.9%, +5.4), Lab 235 (13.7%, +0.1), Green 200 (11.7%, +2.3). Swing of 4% from UKIP to Con since 2013.

Mark Hall Ward, Harlow BC. Lab gain from UKIP. Lab 586 (42.6%, +8.2), UKIP 353 (25.7%, -12.2), Con 334 (24.3%, +4.5), Green 55 (4%, +4), LD 47 (3.4%, -4.4). Swing of 10.2% from UKIP to Lab since 2014.

Oswestry East Division, Shropshire UA. Con hold. Con 629 (47.5%, +17), Lab 247 (18.6%, -10.2), Green 231 (17.4%, +17.4), LD 218 (16.5%, +16.5). Swing of 13.6% from Lab to Con since 2013.

5 February

Brimington Division, Derbyshire CC. Lab hold. Lab 1293 (62%, -6.7), UKIP 380 (18.2%, +18.2), Ind 157 (7.5%, +7.5), LD 135 (6.5%, -2.8), Con 120 (5.8%, -5.4). Swing of 12.5% from Lab to UKIP since 2013.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at February 13, 2015 02:58 PM

January 30, 2015

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There was one council by-election on Wednesday and two in the same ward on Thursday:

Purley-on-Thames Ward, West Berkshire UA. Con hold. Con 936 (68.1%, +1), Lab 172 (12.5%, -8.7), UKIP 163 (11.9%, +11.9), LD 104 (7.6%, -4.1). Swing of 4.9% from Lab to Con since 2011. This ward is in the parliamentary key seat of Reading West.

Marshalswick South Ward, St Albans DC. 2 Con holds. Con 667 & 647 (30.8%, -8.1), LD 495 & 488 (22.9%, +3.6), Green 450 & 166 (20.8%, +10.6), Lab 406 & 312 (18.7%, -4), UKIP 148 & 147 (6.8%, -2.4). Swing of 5.9% from Con to LD since 2014. This is in one of a handful of parliamentary seats the LDs think they might have a chance of gaining against the tide. The big gap between the two Green candidates is because they were listed on the ballot as “first choice” and “second choice”. This is the first by-election evidence of the Green polling surge.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at January 30, 2015 06:14 PM

January 23, 2015

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

Just three council by-elections so far this year, with the SNP and UKIP doing well:

8 January

Bolsover North West Ward, Bolsover DC. Lab hold. Lab 174 (45%, -22), UKIP 153 (39.5%, +39.5), Con 60 (15.5%, -17.6). Swing of 30.8% from Lab to UKIP since 2011.

22 January

East Kirkcaldy Ward, Fife UA. SNP hold. First preference votes: SNP 1460 (47.3%, +10.9), Lab 1088 (35.3%, -14.7), Con 223 (7.2%, +1.2), Green 126 (4.1%, +4.1), UKIP 117 (3.8%, +3.8), LD 40 (1.3%, -1.5), Ind 19 (0.6%, +0.6), Ind 12 (0.4%, +0.4). Swing of 12.8% from Lab to SNP since 2012.

Crowborough West Ward, Wealden DC. Con hold. Con 465 (58.7%, -14.1), UKIP 327 (41.3%, +41.3). Swing of 27.7% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at January 23, 2015 09:54 AM

December 19, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were just two contested council by-elections yesterday:

Bowydd & Rhiw Ward, Gwynedd UA. PC hold. Uncontested in this and previous election.

St James Ward, RB Kingston-on-Thames. Con hold. Con 1123 (42.9%, +5.1), LD 865 (33%, +11), Lab 355 (13.5%, -4.5), UKIP 206 (7.9%, -3.8), Green 71 (2.7%, -3.7). Swing of 3% from Con to LD since 2014.

Ollerton Division, Nottinghamshire CC. Lab hold. Lab 1171 (56.4%, -1.9), Con 533 (25.7%, +4.1), UKIP 347 (16.7%, -3.3), LD 24 (1.2%, +1.2). Swing of 3% from Lab to Con since 2013.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at December 19, 2014 10:24 AM

December 12, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were 12 council by-elections yesterday, with no discernible pattern to the results, and gains for the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, SNP and UKIP.

South Kintyre Ward, Argyll & Bute UA. SNP hold. First preference votes: SNP 942 (62.2%, +37.2), LD 214 (14.1%, -0.1), Con 203 (13.4%, -32.5), Lab 156 (10.3%, +10.3). Swing of 18.6% from LD to SNP since 2012.

Gatehouse Ward, Aylesbury Vale DC. LD hold. LD 295 (35.6%, -5.9), UKIP 267 (32.2%, +15.2), Con 113 (13.6%, -9.2), Lab 113 (13.6%, -5), Green 28 (3.4%, +3.4), Ind 12 (1.4%, +1.4). Swing of 10.6% from LD to UKIP since 2011.

Southcourt Ward, Aylesbury Vale DC. LD gain from Lab. LD 429 (42.3%, +6.3), UKIP 266 (26.2%, +12.1), Lab 175 (17.2%, -12.2), Con 112 (11%, -9.4), Green 33 (3.3%, +3.3). Swing of 2.9% from LD to UKIP since 2011.

Toton & Chilwell Meadows Ward, Broxtowe BC. Con hold. Con 952 (54.5%, +6.9), Lab 454 (26%, +3.9), UKIP 340 (19.5%, +6.4). Swing of 1.5% from Lab to Con since 2012 by-election.

Trelech Ward, Carmarthenshire UA. PC gain from Ind. PC 598 (68.3%, +33.6), Ind 181 (20.7%, -30.2), LD 96 (11%, -3.4). Swing of 31.9% from Ind to PC since 2012.

Kingsway Ward, Halton BC. Lab hold. Lab 537 (73.2%, -2.3), UKIP 164 (22.3%, -2.2), Con 22 (3%, +3), LD 11 (1.5%, +1.5). Swing of 0.1% from Lab to UKIP since this May.

Stamford North Division, Lincolnshire CC. UKIP gain from Ind. UKIP 400 (31.5%, +31.5), Lab 268 (21.1%, +0.1), Con 261 (20.6%, -11), Linc Ind 199 (15.7%, -31.7), LD 142 (11.2%, +11.2). Swing of 15.7% from Lab to UKIP since 2013.

Elgin City North Ward, Moray UA. SNP gain from Lab. First preference votes: SNP 728 (38%, -5.3), Ind 472 (24.6%, +15.2), Lab 287 (15%, -14.9), Con 273 (14.2%, -3.3), UKIP 81 (4.2%, +4.2), Green 77 (4%, +4). Swing of 10.3% from SNP to Ind since 2012.

Bransgore & Burley Ward, New Forest DC. Con hold. Con 834 (77.7%, +11.3), UKIP 171 (15.8%, +15.8), Lab 74 (6.9%, -7.4). Swing of 2.3% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Washington East Ward, Sunderland MBC. Lab hold. Lab 775 (38.3%, -3), Con 595 (29.4%, +4.1), UKIP 506 (25%, -1.1), Green 93 (4.6%, +4.6), LD 52 (2.6%, -2.2). Swing of 3.6% from Lab to Con since May this year.

Skelmersdale North Ward, West Lancashire DC. Lab hold. Lab 591 (87.9%, -1.8), Con 81 (12.1%, +1.8). Swing of 1.8% from Lab to Con since 2012.

Cox Green Ward, Windsor & Maidenhead UA. Con hold. Con 738 (50.7%, -2.2), LD 315 (21.6%, -10.9), UKIP 278 (19.1%, -19.1), Lab 124 (8.5%, -1.1). Swing of 4.4% from LD to Con since 2011.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at December 12, 2014 12:40 PM

December 07, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were three council by-elections on Thursday and one (in Adur DC in Sussex) on Friday. All four saw the Labour vote share increase. The Rossendale and Thurrock wards are in parliamentary seats that are key targets for Labour.

St Mary’s Ward, Adur DC. Con hold. Con 340 (38.4%, +1.3), Lab 223 (25.3%, +2.6), UKIP 216 (24.4%, +3.3), Green 106 (12%, -0.7). Swing of 0.7% from Con to Lab since May this year.

Netherfield Ward, Mansfield DC. Lab gain from Ind. Lab 347 (57.7%, +12.1), UKIP 225 (37.4%, +37.4), TUSC 29 (4.8%, +4.8). Swing of 12.7% from Lab to UKIP since 2011.

Longholme Ward, Rossendale BC. Lab hold. Lab 505 (43.8%, +0.9), Con 390 (33.8%, +0.6), UKIP 258 (22.4%, -1.4). Swing of 0.2% from Con to Lab since May this year.

Aveley & Uplands Ward, Thurrock UA. UKIP hold. UKIP 747 (41%, -6.2), Con 520 (28.5%, -1.1), Lab 338 (18.6%, +2.4), Ind 217 (11.9%, +11.9). Swing of 2.6% from UKIP to Con since May this year.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at December 07, 2014 08:00 PM

November 28, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-election results

There were 12 council by-elections yesterday. With the exception of a loss to the Tories in Melton, it was a good night for Labour, holding a split ward seat in Hillingdon, holding a seat in Midlothian with a good swing from the SNP to Labour, in complete contradiction of the Scottish opinion polls, and holding three Oxford council estate seats with over 70% of the vote and the Greens losing vote share and getting derisory scores in a parliamentary seat they have announced is one of their dozen national targets. Congratulations to my wife Linda on her election as Blackbird Leys Ward councillor with 75.7% of the vote and a 7.7% swing from UKIP to Labour since May.

Troup Ward, Aberdeenshire UA. SNP gain from Con. First preference votes: SNP 1159 (46.1%, +6.4), Con 574 (22.8%, +1.9), Ind 391 (15.5%, +15.5), LD 141 (5.6%, +3.6), Lab 140 (5.6%, -0.9), Green 68 (2.7%, +2.7), Ind 43 (1.7%, +1.7). Swing of 2.2% from Con to SNP since 2012.

Bridlington Central & Old Town Ward, East Yorkshire UA. UKIP gain from SDP. UKIP 401 (30.8%, +30.8), Con 352 (27.1%, -2), Ind 217 (16.7%, +16.7), Ind 214 (16.5%, +16.5), Ind 116 (8.9%, +8.9). Swing of 16.4% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Howdenshire Ward, East Yorkshire UA. Con hold. Con 1020 (46.2%, +2.6), UKIP 891 (40.3%, +5.4), Lab 298 (13.5%, -2.1). Swing of 1.4% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Ellerby & Kirk Ella Ward, East Yorkshire UA. Con hold. Con 1522 (55.6%, +9.4), UKIP 699 (25.5%, +25.5), Lab 515 (18.8%, +2.7). Swing of 8.1% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Charville Ward, LB Hillingdon. Lab hold. Lab 950 (39.2%, +4.2), Con 929 (38.3%, +7), UKIP 468 (19.3%, -3), TUSC 40 (1.7%, -1.3), LD 37 (1.5%, +1.5). Swing of 1.4% from Lab to Con since May this year. This was a split ward electing a mix of Lab and Con councillors in May.

St Neots Priory Park Ward, Huntingdonshire DC. Con hold. Con 448 (45.5%, -2.9), UKIP 337 (25.5%, +7.4), Lab 199 (20.2%, +5.4). Swing of 5.2% from Con to UKIP since May this year.

Asfordby Ward, Melton DC. Con gain from Lab. Con 265 (54.3%, +16.2), Lab 129 26.4%, -7.7), UKIP 94 (19.3%, +19.3). Swing of 12% from Lab to Con since 2011. This was a split ward electing both Lab and Con councillors in 2011.

Midlothian East Ward, Mildlothian UA. Lab hold. First preference votes: Lab 1294 (32.9%, -2.7), SNP 1260 (32.1%, -10.8), Ind 780 (19.8%, +19.8), Con 331 (8.4%, -0.7), Green 197 (5%, +5), LD 68 (1.7%, +1.7). Swing of 4.1% from SNP to Lab since 2012.

Kirkwall West & Orphir Ward, Orkney UA. Ind hold. All candidates Independent in this election and in 2012.

Blackbird Leys Ward, Oxford CC. Lab hold. Lab 509 (75.7%, +8.4), UKIP 91 (13.5%, -7), Con 27 (4%, -1.6), Green 21 (3.1%, -1.4), TUSC 13 (1.9%, +1.9), LD 11 (1.6%, -0.4). Swing of 7.7% from UKIP to Lab since May this year.

Northfield Brook Ward, Oxford CC. Lab hold. Lab 401 (70.6%, -1), Con 65 (11.4%, n/c), Green 50 (8.8%, -2.5), TUSC 34 (6%, +6), LD 18 (3.2%, -2.5). Swing of 0.5% from Lab to Con since May this year.

The Leys Division, Oxfordshire CC. Lab hold. Lab 879 (71%, -10.5), UKIP 168 (13.6%, +13.6), Con 77 (6.2%, -1.4), Green 57 (4.6%, -2.8), LD 30 (2.4%, -1), TUSC 27 (2.2%, +2.2). Swing of 12.1% from Lab to UKIP since 2013.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at November 28, 2014 07:27 PM

November 22, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

As well as the Rochester & Strood parliamentary by-election, there were three council by-elections on Thursday, one of them for a ward within Rochester & Strood:

Peninsula Ward, Medway UA. UKIP gain from Con. UKIP 2850 (48.3%, +48.3), Con 1965 (33.3%, -20.9), Lab 716 (12.1%, -8.6), Green 314 (5.3%, -2.1), LD 60 (1%, -5.3). Swing of 34.6% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Bramhall South & Woodford Ward, Stockport MBC. Con hold. Con 2080 (53.2%, +8.2), LD 1502 (38.4%, +5.3), Green 197 (5%, +5), Lab 132 (3.4%, -5.5). Swing of 1.5% from LD to Con since May this year.

Uplands Ward, Swansea UA. Ind gain from Lab. Ind 671 (32.5%, +32.5), Lab 553 (26.8%, -12.4), LD 215 (10.4%, -22.4), Green 179 (8.7%, -9.8), Ind 158 (7.7%, +7.7), Con 154 (7.5%, -2.1), PC 104 (5%, +5), TUSC 31 (1.5%, +1.5).  Swing of 22.5% from Lab to Ind since 2012. The Independent candidate who won was previously the Lib Dem councillor for the ward.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at November 22, 2014 01:46 PM

November 14, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were seven council by-elections yesterday. I initially assumed the Cambridge result shows how strong the Lib Dem organisation is in some of their defensive parliamentary marginals, even against Labour, but have since been informed this ward is actually in the South Cambs parliamentary seat and has only ever been won once by Labour, in 2012.

The two Dartford results look better than I would have expected for Labour in the Thames Estuary area where UKIP are on the march. In vote share terms the Labour vote looks more solid across this set of results than the recent national polls would suggest.

Queen Edith’s Ward, Cambridge CC. LD gain from Lab. LD 933 (36.5%, -6.1), Lab 790 (30.9%, +1.1), Con 614 (24%, +7.7), Green 222 (8.7%, -2.7). Swing of 3.6% from LD to Lab since May this year.

Brent Ward, Dartford BC. Con hold. Con 597 (45.4%, -7.4), Lab 402 (30.6%, -5.1), UKIP 316 (24%, +24). Swing of 0.7% from Con to Lab since 2011.

Littlebrook Ward, Dartford BC. Lab hold. Lab 358 (47.7%, -7.1), UKIP 220 (29.3%, +29.3), Con 172 (22.9%, -1.1). Swing of 18.2% from Lab to UKIP since 2011.

Alport & Derwent Division, Derbyshire CC. Con 1118 (44.9%, +2.6), UKIP 715 (28.7%, +3.3), Lab 656 (26.4%, +2.1). Swing of 0.4% from Con to UKIP since 2013.

Bolney Ward, Mid Sussex DC. Con hold. Con 261 (42.9%, -24.3), UKIP 187 (30.7%, +17.4), LD 161 (26.4%, +6.9). Swing of 20.9% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Douglas Ward, Wigan MBC. Lab hold. Lab 874 (59.4%, -0.7), UKIP 452 (30.7%, -0.9), Con 80 (5.4%, -3), Green 37 (2.5%, +2.5), CAP 29 (2%, +2). Swing of 0.1% from UKIP to Lab since May this year.

Bulmershe & Whitegates Ward, Wokingham UA. Con gain from LD. Con 726 (35.4%, +8.4), Lab 498 (24.3%, -10), LD 448 (21.8%, +4.1), UKIP 275 (13.4%, -1.6), Green 105 (5.1%, -1). Swing of 9.2% from Lab to Con since May this year.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at November 14, 2014 10:44 AM

November 07, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were only two council by-elections yesterday:

Mevagissey Division, Cornwall UA. Con gain from Lab. Con 348 (32.2%, +8.2),
UKIP 281 (26%, -1.6), Lab 204 (18.9%, -10.8), LD 197 (18.2%, +4.3), Green 50 (4.6%, -0.1). Swing of 4.9% from UKIP to Con since 2013.

Bilton Ward, Rugby BC. Con hold.  Con 668 (42%, -12.2), UKIP 325 (20.4%, +20.4), LD 280 (17.6%, +8.1), Lab 212 (13.3%, -8.1), Ind 60 (3.8%, +3.8), Green 37 (2.3%. -7.8), TUSC 10 (0.6%, -4.3). Swing of 16.3% from Con to UKIP since May this year.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at November 07, 2014 12:24 PM

November 01, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

As well as the by-election for South Yorkshire Police Commissioner there were five council by-elections on Thursday:

Police & Crime Commissioner, South Yorkshire. Lab hold. First preference votes: Lab 74060 (50%, -1.4), UKIP 46883 (31.7%, +20.2), Con 18536 (12.5%, -2), Eng Dem 8583 (5.8%, -9.8). Swing of 10.8% from Lab to UKIP since 2012.

Canvey Island East Ward, Castle Point BC. Ind gain from Canvey Island Ind Party. Ind 389 (39.1%, +39.1), CIIP 323 (32.4%, -34.4), Con 208 (20.9%, -0.2), Lab 76 (7.6%, -4.5). Swing of 36.8% from CIIP to Ind since May this year.

Sanfields East Ward, Neath Port Talbot UA. Lab hold, Lab 641 (61.1%, +1.4), UKIP 361 (34.4%, +21.6), Con 47 (4.5%, +1.2). Swing of 10.1% from Lab to UKIP since 2013 by-election.

North Coast & Cumbraes Ward, North Ayrshire UA. SNP hold. First preference votes: SNP 2021 (38.7%, -6.2), Ind 1190 (22.8%, +22.8), Con 1125 (21.6%, +3.2), Lab 691 (13.2%, -5.1), UKIP 192 (3.7%, +3.7). Swing of 14.5% from SNP to Ind since 2012.

Ironbridge Gorge Ward, Telford & Wrekin UA. Lab hold. Lab 325 (44.1%, -8.9), Con 276 (37.4%, -9.6), UKIP 136 (18.5%, +18.5). Swing of 0.4% from Con to Lab since 2011.

Newport West Ward, Telford & Wrekin UA. Ind gain from Con. Ind 264 (39.8%, +39.8), Con 179 (27%, -37), UKIP 157 (23.7%, +23.7), Lab 63 (9.5%, -26.5). Swing of 38.4% from Con to Ind since 2011.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at November 01, 2014 04:23 PM

October 24, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were eight council by-elections yesterday, with Labour, the Tories and the SNP each gaining a seat from Independents.

Oban North & Lorn Ward, Argyll & Bute UA. SNP gain from Ind. First preference votes: SNP 1090 (40.9%, +16.3), Ind 629 (23.6%, -11.6), Lab 530 (19.9%, -1.9), Con 415 (15.6%, -2.8). Swing of 14% from Ind to SNP since by-election in July.

Rogate Ward, Chichester DC. Con hold. Con 342 (71.3%, -19.8), UKIP 138 (28.7%, +28.7). Swing of 24.3% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Burnopfield & Dipton Division, Durham UA. Lab gain from Ind. Lab 656 (44.9%, +6.8), Ind 655 (44.8%, +3.5), Con 83 (5.7%, +5.7), Green 68 (4.7%, +4.7). Swing of 1.7% from Ind to Lab since 2013.

Evenwood Division, Durham UA. Lab hold. Lab 546 (38.2%, -7.8)
Con 396 (27.7%, -0.3), UKIP 309 (21.6%, -4.4), Ind 108 (7.5%, +7.5), Green 72 (5%, +5). Swing of 3.8% from Lab to Con since 2013.

Newnham & Westbury Ward, Forest of Dean DC. Ind hold. Ind 321 (38.5%, -1.6), Con 216 (25.9%, -4.9), UKIP 102 (12.2%, +12.2), Lab 100 (12%, -1), Green 70 (8.4%, -7.7), Lib Dem 25 (3%, +3). Swing of 1.7% from Con to Ind since 2011.

Mitcheldean Division, Gloucestershire CC. Con gain from Ind. Con 959 (38.4%, +14), UKIP 550 (22%, +2.7), Ind 455 (18.2%, -18.2), Lab 278 (11.1%, +0.8), LD 150 (6%, +0.6), Green 106 (4.2%, +0.4). Swing of 5.7% from UKIP to Con since 2013.

Haywards Heath Lucastes Ward, Mid Sussex DC. Con hold. Con 524 (56.4%, +4.9), UKIP 203 (21.9%, +15), LD 112 (12.1%, -12.3), Lab 90 (9.7%, +9.7). Swing of 5.1% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Folkestone Harvey West Ward, Shepway DC. Con hold. Con 385 (36.4%, -18.8), UKIP 293 (27.7%, +27.7), LD 262 (24.8%, +3.4), Green 61 (5.8%, +5.8), Lab 57 (5.4%, -18). Swing of 23.2% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at October 24, 2014 09:55 AM

October 17, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were ten council by-elections yesterday. Note the successful defence against UKIP by Labour in the key Essex target parliamentary seat of Thurrock, the UKIP gain from the Tories in Kent (Sittingbourne & Sheppey parliamentary constituency), and the two Lib Dem gains.

Harper Green Ward, Bolton MBC. Lab hold. Lab 1176 (50.7%, -6), UKIP 777 (33.4%, +9.3), Con 282 (12.2%, +0.1), Green 38 (1.6%, -2.2), LD 28 (1.2%, -1.7), Ind 19 (0.8%, +0.8). Swing of 7.7% from Lab to UKIP since May this year.

Towyn Ward, Conwy UA. Con hold. Con 143 (25%), Ind 116 (20.2%), Ind 104 (18.2%), Lab 98 (17.1%), Ind  69 (12%), Ind 43 (7.5%). No swing calculable as uncontested in 2012.

Medworth Ward, Fenland DC. Con hold. Con 257 (44.6%, -14.5), UKIP 201 (34.9%, +34.9), Lab 79 (13.7%, -17.8), LD 24 (4.2%, -5.2), Ind 15 (2.6%, +2.6). Swing of 26.4% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Tudor Ward, LB Kingston-on-Thames. Con hold. Con 1062 (41%, +0.1), LD 725 (28%, +10.3), Lab 314 (12.1%, -2.1), UKIP 269 (10.4%, -1.1), Green 219 (8.5%, -7.4). Swing of 5.1% from Con to LD since May this year.

Helmshore Ward, Rossendale BC. Con hold. Con 771 (48.8%, -13.4), Lab 444 (28.1%, -9.7), UKIP 364 (23.1%, +23.1%). Swing of 1.9% from Con to Lab since May this year.

Oakham South West Ward, Rutland UA. Con hold. Con 240 (52.2%, +13.8), Ind 177 (38.5%, +0.8), LD 43 (9.3%, -14.7). Swing of 6.5% from Ind to Con since 2011.

Whissendine Ward, Rutland UA. LD gain from Ind. LD 192 (51.8%, +51.8), Con 179 (48.2%, +5.8). Swing not meaningful since 2011.

Sheppey Central Ward, Swale DC. UKIP gain from Con. UKIP 831 (58.4%, +42.7), Con 324 (22.8%, -21.2), Lab 240 (16.9%, -15.1), Loony 27 (1.9%, -6.4). Swing of 32% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

West Thurrock & South Stifford Ward, Thurrock UA. Lab hold. Lab 903 (50.3%, +3), UKIP 621 (34.6%, +0.5), Con 270 (15.1%, -0.2). Swing of 1.3% from UKIP to Lab since May this year.

Westfield Ward, York UA. LD gain from Lab. LD 1804 (60.2%, +25.6), Lab 588 (19.6%, -23.8), UKIP 398 (13.3%, +13.3), Con 113 (3.8%, -10), Green 87 (2.9%, -5.5), Eng Dem 5 (0.2%, +0.2). Swing of 24.7% from Lab to LD since 2011.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 09:41 AM

October 10, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

As well as the two parliamentary by-elections there were five council by-elections yesterday, including a Labour gain in the key marginal seat of Crawley:

Waterloo Ward, Blackpool UA. Con hold. Con 406 (34.5%, -5.3), UKIP 372 (31.6%, +31.6) Lab 347 (29.5%, -17.5), LD 34 (2.9%, -10.3), BNP 17 (1.4%, +1.4). Swing of 18.5% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Bicknacre and East and West Hanningfield, Chelmsford BC. Con hold. Con 649 (56.1%, -15.6), UKIP 359 (31%, +31), Lab 80 (6.9%, -9.2), Green 35 (3%, +3), LD 34 (2.9%, -9.3). Swing of 23.3% from Con to UKIP since 2011.

Southgate Ward, Crawley BC. Lab gain from Con who had defected to UKIP. Lab 733 (44.1%, +9), Con 642 (38.6%, +6.1), UKIP 277 (16.7%, -6.7),  Justice 10 (0.6%, +0.6). Swing of 1.5% from Con to Lab since May this year.

Brightlingsea Division, Essex CC. Con gain from UKIP. Con 1809 (33.7%, +9.1), UKIP 1642 (30.6%, +0.2), LD 1199 (22.3%, -4.6), Lab 524 (9.8%, -2.7), Green 200 (3.7%, +0.2). Swing of 4.5% from UKIP to Con since 2013.

West Heath Ward, Rushmoor BC. UKIP hold. UKIP 662 (50.9%, +4.3), Con 312 (24%, -5.4), Lab 196 (15.1%, -0.3), LD 132 (10%, +1.4). Swing of 4.9% from Con to UKIP since May this year.


by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at October 10, 2014 03:17 PM

October 03, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections

There were six council by-elections yesterday:

Llandaff North Ward, Cardiff CC. Lab hold. Lab 898 (50.1%, +2.7), Ind 419 (23.4%, +0.2), UKIP 204 (11.4%, +11.4), Con 136 (7.6%, +1.7), LD 134 (7.5%, -6.8). Swing of 1.3% from Ind to Lab since 2012.

Windermere Division, Cumbria CC. LD hold. LD 1061 (51.6%, -10.5), Con 810 (39.4%, +20.7), Ind 123 (6%, +6), Green 61 (3%, +3). Swing of 15.6% from LD to Con since 2013.

Windermere Town Ward, South Lakeland DC. LD hold. LD 416 (64%, -8.9), Con 184 (28.3%, +13.5), Green 50 (7.7%, +7.7). Swing of 11.2% from LD to Con since 2012.

Woodside Ward, LB Haringey. Lab hold. Lab 1331 (56.3%, -0.8), LD 482 (20.4%, +8.6), Green 191 (8.1%, -3.4), UKIP 161 (6.8%, -0.5), Con 140 (5.9%, -1.8), TUSC 35 (1.5%, -1.3), Ind 23 (1%, -0.7). Swing of 3.9% from Lab to LD since May this year.

Grange Park Ward, South Northamptonshire DC. Double by-election for two seats in same ward. 2 Con holds. Con 433, 313 (63.3%, -12.9), Lab 151 (22.1%, +22.1), UKIP 100, 84 (14.6%, +14.6). Swing of 17.5% from Con to Lab since 2012.

Westoe Ward, South Tyneside MBC. UKIP gain from Ind. UKIP 676 (40.9%, +2.9), Lab 625 (37.9%, -6.9), Con 219 (13.3%, -3.9), Green 90 (5.5%, +5.5), LD 41 (2.5%, +2.5). Swing of 4.9% from Lab to UKIP since May this year.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at October 03, 2014 08:53 AM

September 26, 2014

Luke Akehurst's Blog

Council by-elections for last two weeks

18 September

Abergele Pensarm Ward, Conwy UA. Lab hold. Lab 160 (25.9%, -29.2), Ind 134 (21.7%, +21.7), UKIP 129 (20.9%, +20.9), Ind 74 (12%, -13.2), Ind 56 (9.1%, +9.1), Con 54 (8.8%, -10.9), Ind 10 (1.6%). Swing of 25.5% from Lab to Ind since 2012.

Crook Division, Durham UA. Lab gain from Ind. Lab 753 (46.8%, +6.5), UKIP 339 (21.1%, +21.1), LD 233 (14.5%, +6.6), Ind 193 (12%, -15), Con 90 (5.6%, +2.7). Swing of 7.3% from Lab to UKIP since 2013 by-election.

Quarry & Risinghurst Ward, Oxford CC. Lab hold. Lab 782 (42.3%, -1.3), LD 615 (33.3%, +7.8), Con 222 (12%, -7.2), Green 186 (10.1%, -1.7), Eng Dem 43 (2.3%, +2.3). Swing of 4.6% from Lab to LD since May this year.

25 September

Epping Hemnall Ward, Epping Forest DC. LD gain from Con. LD 607 (43.3%, +0.8), Con 386 (27.6%, +6.5), UKIP 339 (24.2%, -1.4), Green 69 (4.9%, +0.6). Swing of 2.9% from LD to Con since May this year.

Lovelace Ward, Guildford BC. LD gain from Con. LD 555 (63.4%, +49.1), Con 225 (25.7%, -45.3), UKIP 63 (7.2%, +7.2), Lab 32 (3.7%, -11). Swing of 47.2% from Con to LD since 2011.

Frome North Division, Somerset CC. Con gain from LD. Con 1111 (46.5%, +10.8), LD 836 (35%, -2.3), Lab 163 (6.8%, -3.9), Ind 139 (5.8%, +5.8), Green 139 (5.8%, +5.8). Swing of 6.6% from LD to Con since 2013.

by Luke Akehurst (noreply@blogger.com) at September 26, 2014 09:07 AM