The Labour NEC sub-committees met on 20th November. This was the first round of NEC meetings since September’s Labour Party conference. It was also a busy day for the MPs on the NEC, who had to leave or send their apologies. The government looks increasing fragile amid the Brexit chaos and Tory infighting. This makes general election preparation an important priority.
Increasing BAME representation
The BAME Labour conference is taking place on 1st December at Brent Civic Centre. Brent Council’s leader Muhammed Butt is one of a small but growing number of BAME council leaders. The NEC is committed to growing BAME representation at all levels of the party and increasing the number of BAME people in leadership roles in local and national government.
The NEC is aware that more needs to be done in terms of BAME representation in the ongoing parliamentary selections. The national leadership training scheme, the Bernie Grant Initiative, will open to applicants in the new year. It’s hoped that this will build of the success of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and support more BAME members to be selected as MPs and Councillors.
The Local Government Labour Women’s Leadership Taskforce, working closely with Labour Women’s Network, launched a template baby leave policy for councils. In 2017, only 4% of councils had a parental leave policy for councillors. It’s important that councillors reflect the diversity of the communities they represent, including parents with young families. You can read the policies here. Please do encourage your council to adopt these policies.
Supporting disabled members
A representative from Disability Labour gave a report to the Equalities Committee about supporting disabled members and making Labour more inclusive and welcoming to everyone, including people who self identify as disabled. Any members who self-identify as disabled are welcome to join Disability Labour for free, and will be able to vote in the election for their NEC rep. Details of how to join are given on their website. Disabled members have also provided their feedback on September’s Labour Party conference and improvements that could be made to make the event more accessible.
Improving disciplinary procedures
The Equalities Committee discussed the ongoing work to improve Labour’s disciplinary and complaints procedures. The Committee heard an update on plans to improve the sexual harassments procedures and learn lessons from the handling of past complaints, as well as work to tackle antisemitism. There was also a discussion about arrangements for dealing with complaints made about MPs.
2019 Conference and Women’s Conference
The 2019 Labour Women’s Conference takes place on 23rd and 24th February in Telford. It will debate eight policy topics and will move two motions to annual Conference in Brighton in September. CLPs can send two delegates, including at least one from an under-represented group. The deadline for motions to Women’s Conference is 14th January.
Since Women’s Conference is taking place earlier in the year, the national conference can begin a day earlier on the Saturday rather than Sunday. Adding an extra day to conference increases costs but will allow more time to debate motions and rule changes.
The selections of candidates in key seats has almost been completed. The NEC agreed the seats for the next set of selections. These seats will be winnable on a swing of around 12-13%. The NEC will shortly decide which of these seats will be AWS selections.
Standing candidates in Northern Ireland
Labour has been conducting a review into whether to stand candidates in elections in Northern Ireland. This has been paused while our sister party the SDLP consider a merger with another political party. Labour will continue to monitor developments.