Formal Complaint

How to complain to the Labour Party

Dear General Secretary

I witnessed the following actions.

<Describe the events which are in breach of the rules>

I believe this to be in breach of the following Laws, Rules, Procedural Guides and/or Code of Conduct*.

<List the Laws, rules or other policies that have been broken>

I am/am not* a member of the Labour Party. Please treat this as a complaint under Rule 6.I.1.

* List and or delete as appropriate

Double bonus if you can quote the European Convention on Human Rights

What’s a (LP) conference delegate do?

What’s a (LP) conference delegate do?

You need to be in the conference room for the debates (and votes). It runs from Sunday through to Wednesday lunch and ends with the Leader’s speech. It is likely that Woman’s Conference will be on the preceding Saturday. The most important task is to represent your members by voting on motions, rule changes, reports from the NEC, Officers and the National Policy Forum and in elections because some elections are still conducted at conference. Since a delegation is responsible for representing the organisation that sent it, it is expected that the delegation should vote together

Labour’s Democracy Review

People in the Labour Party are beginning to wake up to the Democracy Review. A correspondent found the following documents on the Labour Party site and I have mirrored them here.

The review is being conducted in stages, and the next stage for which the call for evidence ends on the 23rd March is about local organisation and membership engagement. The third phase will be about National structures and the call for evidence closes on June 29th. I was invited to speak to one of our branches and used this slide set, which talks about its governance, its timetable and topics, and details the links to be used to submit evidence.

The Labour Party documents found for me are,

  1. Party Democracy Review, Terms of Reference v2
  2. Party Democracy Review Leaflet v3
  3. Running a consultation event in your local party

Submissions are best made by email, or via a web form hidden in the party site.

I have written previously about this here and also on my other blog, but this article is meant to be anchor for things that help others make their mind up as to what changes they want.

Shortlisting

New Cross Labour held its Councillor short listing meeting yesterday. This was at noon in the Albany and we were expecting a low turnout from those who work and those with a social life. The meeting was enlivened by being leafleted by supporters of Old Tidemill Gardens and the Save Achilles St campaign.

Because it’s a Labour Party meeting, it started with two points of order, moved by me.

The first was about New Cross’s position in the schedule, the rules, Appendix A.iii.f states that the LCF shall ensure,

the agreed order for selection meetings (i.e. first priority to Labour seats, second to winnable seats and last to other seats)

New Cross should not be in the middle of the schedule, and Brockley which was first is not our safest seat, in fact it should have been last because it has the Green Party Councillor. Ian McKenzie came up with some old bollocks about how they’d considered it properly and the LCF had the right to do what it wanted … I said it didn’t have the right to break the rules, McKenzie denied that the rules mandate the order. (See above).

I then sought to discover whether the Branch Secretary had withheld the start time from the membership.  Notice of the day of the meeting had been available for about a month, but the time and place were only notified 7½ days in advance. Being on a Saturday, many people were not present, due to either work commitments, reasons of religious observance,  or other social commitments. It is almost certain that Ian McKenzie will have proposed the time in his initial circular, so I want to know why Redmond Garvey refused to ask the member that asked him for the start time, and whether he told others. i.e. did he or Ian McKenzie act in a partisan way by releasing the start time to some and not to others.

The candidate applications were distributed and this apart from 30 sec. moving speeches, and in this case the campaigning literature is all members get to go on. The candidate statements in some cases are not written as campaign statements and Ian McKenzie, the Procedures Secretary has prohibited the circulation of alternatives, another cause for complaint.

At this point, one of the attendees walked out. She felt that with the level of information available made any decision was insufficient. I hope she had a good a lunch.

Vicky Foxcroft, the MP and New Cross Ward member then moved that the meeting consider the three incumbents … I moved a point of order that the consideration of the incumbents was mandatory, and that Vicky was just using the opportunity to weaken the challenger’s presence, as to be considered they needed to be moved and their supporters get the chance to speak for them. By moving their candidacy, she with the MPs reputation took the opportunity to neutralise or reduce the impact of challenger’s speeches, and also establish an alibi for what was about to happen to Paul Maslin. Ian Mackenzie, usurping the Chair, stated that incumbent councillors needed to be moved at this stage of the meeting. (I don’t agree!)

I moved that Matt Hanson, an environmental campaigner and housing/planning expert be considered. I then moved that Rebecca Lawrence, an NHS, anti-cuts and tireless Labour campaigner be considered. Rebecca has also seconded motions supporting Forest Hill school at the CLP GC. I pointed out that unless we agreed to re-elect one (or more) of the incumbents then these candidates could not be considered. Ian Taylor nominated Jack Lavery, the CLP’s LGBT Officer and coincidentally, not!, a guest at our last branch meeting.

There are others I might have considered nominating, but they had been asked by Brenda Dacres not to come to New Cross and despite developments have chosen not to go back on their commitments.

So knowing who the alternatives are we then move to the confirmation/trigger ballots for the incumbent councillors. The votes were as follows

Candidate Yes No
Joe Dromey 30 12
Brenda Dacres 34 8
Paul Maslin 20 22

This needs to be studied by those who wish to suggest Maslin has been purged by the Left in the branch. We can assume 10 people who voted to confirm Joe Dromey, switched to vote No for Paul Maslin.

This meant that the meeting now had to construct a short list for Paul Maslin’s place, although he had to be on the list. The Labour Party’s rules state that the short list must consist of 50% women, rounded down, in this case, so much for the absolutism required by the CLP Secretary of Brockley branch. Since Rebecca was the only women nominated, the maximum short list size was three, and Maslin got one place as an incumbent and Rebecca Lawrence got one place as the only woman.

The meeting then had to choose between Matt Hanson and Jack Lavery, and chose Jack Lavery 28 – 12. (1 person had left the room, and one ballot was not returned.)

This means that the short list for one vacancy at the next meeting will be Lavery, Lawrence and Maslin.

We finished the meeting with little spat on how time limits for speech and questions would work. It started with asking where the rule that each candidate got the same questions and segued to where Ian McKenzie got the authority to say that all candidates have to be asked the same questions. He claimed it was on page 72, but opinion be divided.

Working Title

Today, I wrote to Labour List and proposed to write an article for them.

I’ll take help on the title but currently working with “Privacy Law, canvassing and registered supporters”

Next year, 28th May, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation comes into force. Among other things it will prohibit the storage and processing of canvass returns without freely given, informed and explicit consent. We will have to prove that consent has been obtained and be able to tell electors everything we know about them.

The simplest answer to these new compliance requirements is to extend the registered supporter arrangement, make it an ongoing contract so that the agreement can include privacy clauses. The ambition would be to extend the scheme to high proportions of our voter base. For this purpose, the fee would need to be low, nearer £3 than £25.

ooOOOoo

I should add that without some form of reform, the retention of the Registered Supporters data in the membership system is in my mind questionably legal, as it breaks the storage limitation principle. When compliance ruled that Registered Supporters could not be invited to member’s meetings, they made the sole purpose of holding the data the leadership election. This purpose was confirmed when the NEC required re-registration of the registered supporters at £25 in 2016; the consequence of such a decision to my mind negated the purpose of the original registrations.