Richard Corbett gave the European Parliamentary Labour Party report, with a detailed update on Brexit and the mood in the European parliament. The NEC considered practical issues that might arise if the deadline for leaving the EU is extended, including possible European parliamentary elections and candidate selections.
Jeremy Corbyn gave a further update in his leader’s report. There was a discussion about Brexit and various scenarios that could arise (the most preferable being a general election). The MPs on the NEC had to leave the meeting early to take part in important Brexit votes. Jeremy pointed out how the Labour-backed amendments reflected the position agreed by conference.
Labour membership continues to be over 500,000. Membership has been stable for several years. Continuing to engage all members, retain members and reach out to new members or members that have lapsed remains a key priority.
Preparing for a snap general election
Labour has stepped up preparations for a snap election. It was agreed that all selections should be completed as soon as possible in every seat in the country – not just the key marginal seats. The NEC also discussed the importance of our parliamentary candidates reflecting the diversity of the UK.
In his report, Tom Watson asked about the process for trigger ballots for current MPs. He encouraged the NEC to consider and agree the process and timetable.
Police and crime commissioners, metro mayors and the London Assembly
The NEC agreed the process for selections and reselections of PCCs, metro mayors and the London Assembly. There was consensus that the NEC would like Labour to stand candidates that reflect the UK population, including more women and BAME candidates standing to be mayors and PCCs. I also raised the importance of realistic spending limits for the selections so that a wide variety of candidates can afford to stand.
An impressive number of councils are passing motions to give councillors parental leave. The LGA Labour Women’s leadership taskforce has developed a model baby leave motion. If your council does not have any parental leave provisions, please encourage your councillors to bring this to their Labour group and full council. Further information is available here.
Local election campaign
Important local government elections are taking place this May. This includes 33 metropolitan districts, 168 district authorities and 47 unitaries. There are mayoral elections in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesborough, as well as the North of Tyne metro mayor election. Labour is also using the local elections to build support in key parliamentary seats.