Labour’s ruling body has agreed that pregnant MPs will only be subject to the trigger ballot process at least one year after their return from maternity leave, LabourList can reveal.
When sitting MPs were asked last month to give notice as to whether they wanted to stand again as a Labour candidate, kicking off the reselection process, questions were raised over whether pregnant MPs or those who have just had a baby could be deselected by local party members.
The issue was brought into sharp relief last week when PoliticsHome reported that a Labour member in Lewisham West and Penge wanted to put forward a motion of no confidence in their local MP Ellie Reeves, who is pregnant. The idea of proposing the motion was ultimately dropped.
According to LabourList sources on Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), the body decided at its meeting on Tuesday that instead of allowing pregnant Labour MPs to avoid the trigger ballot process altogether and automatically reselecting them, as suggested by Harriet Harman, MPs would only have to face a trigger ballot at least one year after the end of their maternity leave.
In practice, this means that if a snap election is held within the next year, any MP already on their maternity leave or soon to start their leave will be automatically reselected as a Labour candidate in that election.
Labour’s trigger ballot system allows local party members to vote on whether they would like their sitting MP to face a full selection process or be automatically reselected as the candidate. Under new rules, an open contest follows if more than one third of local party branches or more than one third of affiliate branches indicate that they wish a selection to take place.