Scottish Labour Party’s new proposed Clause IV: full text

10th January, 2015 3:30 pm

Last month, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy announced that he would seek to amend Clause IV of the party’s constitution, in a similar move to Tony Blair’s rewriting of UK Labour’s Clause IV twenty years ago.

Today, Scottish Labour’s Executive Committee met to draw up the wording for the new clause, which will be put to a members’ vote at a one day conference in March.

The new clause commits the party constitutionally to supporting a “permanent and powerful Scottish Parliament”, that all policy areas devolved to Holyrood can be determined autonomously by the Scottish Labour Party, and that the party will always act with “common purpose” with the UK-wide Labour Party and labour movement.

The new clause in full can be is:

‘The Scottish Labour Party is a democratic socialist party rooted in social justice, which seeks to represent the people of Scotland. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few; where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

To these ends we work for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland:

– For the success of a permanent and powerful Scottish Parliament.

– Decisions on policy that is devolved to the Scottish Parliament will be decided by the Scottish Labour Party.

– In common purpose with all parts of the Labour Party and Labour Movement across the UK for the advancement of Scotland’s interests and the benefit of all.

– With the Scottish people to create policy in Scotland for a just society, a prosperous economy, a vibrant cultural life, and a more sustainable, democratic Scotland.

– With others, across the UK and internationally, to unlock the potential of all and to create a fairer society. 

Scottish Labour will work towards these aims with trade unions and the co-operative movement, and also with voluntary organisations, consumer groups and other representative bodies.

On the basis of these principles, Scottish Labour seeks the trust of the Scottish people to govern.’

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  • Harry Barnes

    The Constitution of the Labour Party provides for sub-units to operate in Scotland, Wales and in regions in England, who can only amend their own internal arrangements (including an expression of aims and values) with the endorsement of the NEC and the subsequent acceptance by Annual Conference. I am more than happy to see Clause 4 of the Labour Party Constitution amended via a clear vote at Annual Conference based on formal constitutional amendments; especially if it then looks more like the old Clause 4. But it is a dangerious slight of hand to amend Labour’s aims and values for only one section of the Labour Party, by adopting a form of UDI. It is even more peculiar when the move for change in Scotland is led by a person who was fully involved in a campaign to prevent Scotland from declaring its independence. David Cameron must be in his element. Why isn’t the Labour Party in Scotland mobilising to get the bulk of the “no” voters in the referendum to support Labour in the General Election, instead of pretending that it is a second class version of the SNP? John Denham who wants a Labour Party Manifesto for England and Jim Murphy who wants the Scottish Labour Party to detach itself from the body which Keir Hardie helped to found, clearly deserve each other. It is just what you except from the children of New Labour.

  • robertcp

    The important part of this is Decisions on policy that is devolved to the Scottish Parliament will be decided by the Scottish Labour Party.
    It seems reasonable to me.

    • Steve Stubbs

      Not when they involve taking powers that are currently exercised elsewhere. That must surely require agreement by both parties in practice. Otherwise we could have Scottish Labour deciding they want some power devolved and the rest of UK Labour saying no, that’s unreasonable or unworkable.

      • robertcp

        It is for the Westminster Parliament to decide what should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Labour MPs will make such decisions with MPs from other parties.

        • Steve Stubbs

          You misunderstand. This about setting labour party policy. Not about actuality.

          • robertcp

            I am not following your argument. Sorry!

    • Harry Barnes

      That can easily be agreed to. But the Labour Party’s constitution belongs to the Labour Party itself and not just to its Scottish section.

      • robertcp

        So the rest of the Labour should not have a problem with this wording.

        • Harry Barnes

          If there is a move for the Constitution of the whole of the Labour Party to be altered to suit the wishes of the Scottish Labour Party, then should the rest of us not also have a say about the final contents of its wording? Especially as the changes go beyond being changes just for Scotland. Or is it now to be OK for areas of the Labour Party (such as the East Midlands Region) just shoot off in their own direction?

          • robertcp

            I do not know the constitutional position to be honest. I do, however, think that Labour policies for Scotland and Wales should be decided by the Labour Party in those countries. Of course, Labour policies for Westminster should be decided by the whole Labour Party.

          • Harry Barnes

            Well the devolved elements. There are still areas which are of common ground. And devolved actions should not undermine Labour’s overall and collectively agreed stance.

  • Daniel Speight

    The Scottish Labour Party is a democratic socialist party rooted in social justice…

    Is there anything “socialist” left in the likes of Murphy. I guess they can still mumble it when in a panic over the referendum. Even Yvette Cooper managed to talk about worker solidarity, a phrase she probably has had no use for since being a student. Come to think of it a few less students and a few more workers would do the party a lot of good.

  • Michael Murray

    Frankly they can do what they like with Blair’s Clause Four. It’s so anodyne it’s meaningless. I want Labour’s original Clause Four back.

    • treborc1

      You do why….

  • “we work for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland”

    What is the purpose of ‘patriotic’ here? We’re about the people!
    We’re emphatically not about the ‘country’ with its imagined histories and legends, and meaningless symbols and flags. That word should be kicked right out.


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