The Labour national executive committee (NEC) met that day after the general election was announced to discuss candidate selection, campaign strategy, the manifesto and party finances.
Jeremy Corbyn and NEC chair Glenis Willmott began the session with a positive message of hope and unity. The election is a chance for Labour to frame the debate on the kind of society people want to live in.
The NEC noted that Labour policies are popular with the public and supported by people across the Labour movement. Jeremy said he wanted everyone to be involved in the election, showcasing “team Labour” throughout the media. Jeremy also spoke about the importance of mobilising voters, particularly younger people who are traditionally less likely to vote and who could decide the election. The election is a chance for the party to reach out to the whole country and demonstrate that we are listening to voters and addressing their concerns.
No progressive alliances or coalitions
The NEC applauded as Jeremy Corbyn ruled out any possible progressive alliances and/or coalitions with the SNP, Lib Dems, Green or others. Labour does not support so-called progressive alliances and will stand candidates in, and contest, every constituency.
A winning manifesto
Labour will agree the general election manifesto at a special “clause five” meeting in the second week of May. Every policy in the manifesto will be fully costed – there will be no unfunded spending commitments. The policies will embody Labour’s positive vision for Britain and show the clear and positive difference voting Labour will make.
On April 19, Labour had 13 days to select 630 candidates (it would have been 631 but we had already selected in Manchester Gorton). The NEC agreed that ideally we would hold full selection in seats with vacancies but this is completely impossible in this time frame. With important local elections just weeks away, it was agreed that all our resources should be put into contesting local and national elections.
The NEC agreed that all sitting MPs who want to re-stand would be automatically re-selected and an NEC panel would select candidates for the seats with vacancies. Applications are now open for people interested in standing – you can apply online.
The NEC also agreed to prioritise selecting candidates from traditionally under-represented groups, including woman, BAME, disabled, LGBT and working class candidates. Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to increase female representation to 50 per cent of the PLP and so there will be a concerted effort to select a high number of talented, well qualified female candidates.
Best of luck to everyone standing for elections in May and June – see you on the Labour doorstep!