NEC results – what does it all mean?

20th August, 2014 1:35 pm

Labour’s NEC election results were released today, with Ken Livingstone, Ann Black, Ellie Reeves, Christine Shawcroft, Kate Osamor and Johanna Baxter elected as constituency reps, whilst jim McMahon and Alice Perry were elected to represented Labour councillors. (Incidentally, LabourList readers predicted 5 out of 6 NEC candidates correctly, and the only two local government candidates who engaged with LabourList were those who got elected).


But what does it all mean? Here are 7 things you need to know about the NEC election results, and what it means for the Labour Party:

1. Incumbency matters. 5 of the 6 NEC members in the constituency section were re-elected – the only change is that Peter Wheeler is replaced by Kate Osamor. It’s incredibly hard to break through and get onto the NEC without being an incumbent. And it’s nigh on impossible to get onto the NEC without being an incumbent or being on a slate (with the additional organisation that brings) – Johanna Baxter remains the only constituency candidate who has managed that.

2. Female candidates performed better. 5/6 of the candidates elected to the NEC to represent Labour members are women, with Ken Livingstone (who is a special case – see 4) the only male candidate elected. Adding in the candidates elected by councillors, 6 out of 8 candidates elected to the NEC today were women. (I’d have to go through the whole NEC to check, but that should help move the NEC towards gender balance). Indeed, amongst slates female candidates performed better than their mate “slate-mates”, with Ken Livingstone the only male candidate to finish above female candidates on his own slate.

3. A slight shift to the Left. In terms of the dynamics of the NEC, the constituency rep results have seen a slight shift to the left, with Peter Wheeler (backed by Labour First and Progress) replaced by Kate Osamor (backed by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy). However, it’s only a one seat change on a large body, so that alone is unlikely to create a dramatic change on the NEC. That said, the CLPD will be delighted with this result. Meanwhile both Labour First and Progress will be disappointed to see so few of the candidates they backed get elected.

4. Livingstone is still popular with members. In part Ken Livingstone topping the ballot is due to his name recognition which far exceeds most of the shadow cabinet, nevermind fellow NEC candidates. But there’s still clearly a significant Livingstone vote in the Labour Party – certainly there’s a significant chunk of the party that is still hugely loyal to him. That’s the second time in a row he’s topped the ballot for NEC elections. (Although it’d be interesting to know where, as well as how big, Livingstone’s popularity is, see point 5).

5. Living in London or the South appears to be an advantage. This is an issue that comes up time and time again with NEC elections – being from London and the South appears to be a real advantage in these elections. That may be due to where the Labour Party has most members, or it may be due to differential turnout in different parts of the country – but either way, it appears at first glance that only one candidate (Jim McMahon, the leader of Oldham Council and the Labour LGA Group) lives outside London or the South. That’s not to say that there aren’t excellent candidates on the NEC who can represent other parts of the country (clearly there are), but it has to be noted that there’s a clear geographic bias towards certain parts of the UK – unfortunately without knowing how turnout breaks down across regions, it’s difficult to know why exactly.

6. A higher, but still lacklustre turnout. Turnout amongst party members was 33.1% this year – higher than in 2012, but still low considering how easy it was to vote online, and how long the voting period was. What worries me is that many members still don’t vote because a) they don’t know who the candidates are or what they’d do and b) they don’t know what the NEC does and how important it is in the running of the party. That only 1 in 3 members choose to vote suggests that more work needs to be done. There was, however, a far better turnout in the local councillors section (nearly 55%) which suggests a more engaged electorate. Still, if 45% of councillors don’t vote – that’s still nothing to be celebrating…

7. Councillors are getting more assertive – and anti-local government cuts. Most of the attention will be focussed on the constituency section of the vote (after all, it’s the part that all Labour members can vote in). However, the local government/councillors section has arguably thrown up more interesting results, not least because it’s unusual for there to be a contested election in this section. The one sitting candidate (Ann Lucas) lost her seat and she and Dave Sparks were replaced by Jim McMahon and Alice Perry. McMahon and Perry stood on a platform of no more cuts to local government and more say for councillors over where their party contributions go (summed up as a better deal for local government and a better deal for councillors). Expect both of those to be pushed forcefully on the NEC now that they’ve been elected.

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  • David Lindsay

    It is full of people from the South because it insists on meeting there, as if the Palestinian Authority were to meet in Tel Aviv.

  • Edward Carlsson Browne

    It’s not London and the South. It’s London and Ann Black.

    • swatnan

      Quotas, to get balance.

  • Dave Roberts

    Livingstone and Shawcroft should have been expelled for their role in backing the current Islamist regime in Tower Hamlets. All in all a disaster and something the Tories will use against Miliband next year.

    • Doug Smith

      Would that be the Tower Hamlets where Mayor Lutfur Rahman declared: “I absolutely believe in a secular society”?

      • Dave Roberts

        It is. He also also has meetings with Saudi clerics who call Jews pigs and snakes, sells multi million pound public buildings to his mates at knock down prices and then gives them back door planning permission to turn it into a hotel, and was expelled from Labour for vote rigging. Yes, same bloke. Mind you some or all of that could be laid at Livingstone’s door.

        • treborc1

          I’m afraid I like Ken and have met him a few times , I think he is what labour use to be, but with so many now being unknown to me, these days I think it’s nice to have an old name still battling for the left.

          • Dave Roberts

            The idea is to win and to win London someone like Alan Johnson is needed. He could do it. The idea that Livingstone was what Labour used to be is a joke.

          • jaydeepee

            You’re upset too easily. Alan Johnson is piss weak and too right-wing for Labour. Ken’s a great lad and has plenty of mileage left in him.

          • Dave Roberts

            The electorate of London rejected him twice.

    • i_bid

      Challenge to readers: find five posts by Dave Roberts that suggest he’d find something that he posits would weaken Labour “a disaster”. Good luck!

      • Dave Roberts

        Wishful thinking isn’t going to get a Labour government no matter how much you might think so. Livingstone lost us London twice when the move in council elections was towards us.He openly campaigned against the Labour candidate in Tower Hamlets and should have been expelled but because of his clout in the London party and the NEC survived to lose us London a second time.

        Tower Hamlets in East London is where the Labour Party was born and it is now run by a bunch of Islamist crooks supported and defended to this day by Livingstone. Explain how we sell that to the electorate.

        • MikeHomfray

          You are utterly obsessed with Muslims and always paint BME people in a negative light.
          I suppose you think that will assist Labour at the election

          • Dave Roberts

            Have you asked all of the ethnic minorities in the country if the want to be BME?

          • Guest

            The evidence I’ve seen is he thinks it’ll help UKIP.

    • Alan Ji

      The first Labour Council and the first Labour MP were elected in West Hamm(now Newham) before the Party was founded.

      • Dave Roberts

        If they were elected before the party was founded how were they Labour Party. In case you don’t know the East End the two areas are right next door to each other.

        There is a plaque on the Bow Road in Tower Hamlets where George Lansbury’s house used to stand were all of the original meetings took place. It’s made of bronze, I’ve tried to get the local Labour Party to move it before it’s stolen but so far they aren’t interested.

        • Guest

          Does bring up the question of why you’re going to steal it in the first place.

  • Danny

    What a terrible shame that the Progress-backed candidates performed so poorly.

    • jaydeepee

      Yeah, what an absolute shame.

      • Danny

        I’m loving the reaction by some of the party’s morons on Twitter.

        “Labour party members didn’t vote for who we wanted? Something must be wrong with them!”

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          Two out of the three I voted for got on- namely Ann Black and Ellie Reeves -both of whom never fail to tell humble members like me what has happened at NEC meetings. While disapproving of your use of the word ‘moron’ you are right- it was a democratic election and as a democrat you must just accept the result and continue political debate and argument.

        • Doug Smith

          Not enough Progress members elected? They’ll be campaigning to jettison the membership, just as they campaigned (successfully) to jettison the trade unions.

  • David Lewis

    The incident at Sainsbury’s was an act of hatred against the Jews and was led by a Labour MP.

    The NEC results only confirm that the Labour Party war against the Jews is no longer a proxy war.

    Labour is the deadly enemy of the Jews and the Jewish people can no longer ignore this.

    I am amazed and horrified to be saying this but it is true now, beyond doubt.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      What incident? I have no idea. The rest of your text looks like, well, I do not know, but possibly drunken.

    • Dave Roberts

      The NEC results aren’t great news I agree but the Sainsbury’s attack at Holborn by anti Israeli protesters doesn’t really belong here.

      • David Lewis

        I suggest that you look at the leading role a Labour MP took in the incident presumably representing the Labour Party..

        Fundamental Islamists and the so called `liberal left’ haters of Israel (as exemplified by the NEC result) are natural inhabitants of the Labour Party and in consequence have become the implacable enemy of the Jewish people, who should never again vote Labour.

        • MikeHomfray

          I certainly hope that Labour will not fall into the trap of supporting everything the Israeli government does. Not only would that be foolish, but also, unpopular

          • Guest

            Sure, but from your comment you’ve immediately made THE crucial differentiation – Israel’s Government. Not, as the nastier elements use, “Israel” or worse.

            Certainly there is nothing to support in the Settlements, for instance, which can and should be opposed politically – I support Peace Now and their legal efforts against them, too!

  • Alan Ji

    Some of us keep being told Christine Shawcroft lives in Nottingham. Clearly a woman of great stamina, working in south London.


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