Getting candidates in place for the next election — Alice Perry’s latest NEC report

20th July, 2017 9:02 am

2017 General election

Jeremy Corbyn thanked everyone who contributed to June’s amazing election result. Jeremy thanked Iain McNicol and Labour Party staff for turning everything round so quickly. Labour delivered a million leaflets in the four days after the election was called. Labour HQ distributed 80 million printed items, while activists around the country held three million conversations with votes.

Labour undertook a major voter registration drive. Over two million people registered to vote in the run-up to June’s election. Social media played a key role in driving this.

One of Labour’s Snapchat filers was seen by over seven million people on polling day and viewed over 36 million times. During the last election campaign Jeremy Corbyn spoke to thousands of people at large open air rallies. Some 8,000 people came to hear Jeremy speak in Gateshead. One memorable rally on West Kirby beach was only stopped when the tide started to come in.

Labour won 40 per cent of the vote, recording the best vote share in recent memory. Sadly this was not enough to win but Jeremy talked about how he felt the election had unleashed and unlocked something, giving hope to millions of people that another world was possible.

The NEC discussed the election results in Scotland. Ironically the electoral failure of the SNP gave the Conservatives enough seats to form a minority government with the DUP. It was great to see Labour winning back seats in Scotland. Building on this success could be the key to winning the next general election.

Preparing for another snap election

Labour are preparing to fight another general election and will be read whenever it takes place. Jeremy Corbyn will continue holding rallies and will visit 40 key marginal seats between now and Labour Party conference in September.

The NEC agreed the process for selecting candidates in key English marginal for the next election, which could take place any time between now and 2022. NEC members acknowledged that selecting candidates now poses some challenges if the election is in 2022, but on balance agreed it was best to get candidates in place as soon as possible.

Members will be able to select candidates this autumn. Local parties will elect a procedures committee to oversee the process and draw-up a shortlist for members to vote on. Branches and affiliates will be able to nominate candidates in the usual way. After a consultation with those CLPs this summer, the September NEC meeting will make decisions on which seats with have all women shortlists. Labour is aiming to have a gender balanced parliament so it is likely that at least 50 per cent of the marginal seats will need to be AWS.

The Scottish and Welsh Executives will decide on the process for selecting candidates in those nations.

Local government report

Nick Forbes gave the local government report, including updates and reflections on May’s local government election results, the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the damage done by years of Tory cuts to council budgets and emergency services, the housing crisis and Tory deregulation of the construction industry. Shockingly the Conservative government is not providing addition resources to councils for fire safety. Jeremy Corbyn has written to the government to the government to request two inquiries, including a study of the wider social issues surrounding the tragedy.

We also discussed local government work to tackle domestic violence, gang violence and the disturbing rise in acid attacks. I also spoke about the very moving women’s quilt project, which raises awareness of women murdered because of domestic violence.

European Parliamentary Labour Party and international reports

Glenis Willmott announced that she will be standing down as an MEP later this year. Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC thanked Glenis for all her hard work and service as an MEP, leader of the EPLP and more recently as chair of the Labour NEC. Glenis spoke about the EPLP’s work protecting the rights of EU citizens, recent victories ending mobile phone roaming charges in Europe, tackling tax international avoidance and Brexit.

The international report included discussions on human rights in Turkey, international LGBT rights and workers’ rights in Qatar. Jim Kennedy urged the NEC to do whatever it could to raise aware of the rights of workers in Qatar, including the 1.4 million migrant work force.

National policy forum update

A report on the NPF’s activities this year will be submitted to Labour Party conference. The 2017 manifesto has proved extremely popular (it is on its third reprint)!) and work is underway to build on this manifesto for the next election.  Members can make submissions to the National Policy Forum online.

Labour party membership

Labour now has over 575,000 members, with more people join the party and wanted to become involved. The increased membership across the country will further strengthen grassroots campaigning and plays an important role in helping Labour to win elections.

Labour Party conference

The NEC received copies of the rule changes submitted by local parties to Labour party conference. Many of these rule changes covered areas from the Collins Review. The NEC will consider these rule changes at its September meeting. It can decide whether to recommend supporting or rejecting these changes but, whatever the NEC decides, the rule changes will be debated at Labour Party conference.

Mary Turner

It is such sad news that Mary Turner has passed away. She was a class act and has been a role model and inspiration to many people. We will all miss Mary very much.

Alice Perry represents local government on Labour’s NEC.

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