Our 10 most-read news stories of 2019

Elliot Chappell

It’s been a busy year and as we say goodbye to 2019, LabourList has put together our most-read news stories. Unsurprisingly, Brexit-related articles feature frequently, but other key moments for Labour also made the top ten.

1. Labour confirms it wants to end freedom of movement

In April, Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesperson said the party’s 2017 manifesto commitment to end freedom of movement still stood.

The 2017 manifesto stated: “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union… Labour will develop and implement fair immigration rules.”

The Labour leader’s office said this pledge remained in place, and that the party supported “fair rules and reasonable management of migration”.

2. Super Sunday: Labour candidate selection results

October 27th saw a jam-packed Sunday with Labour concluding selections in a number of defector and retirement seats ahead of the general election.

Candidates were selected for retirement seats Nottingham East and Liverpool Wavertree, while the defector seats decided were Bassetlaw, Poplar and Limehouse, Vauxhall and Blyth Valley, South Thanet, Finchley and Golders Green, and North Norfolk.

3. Labour conference approves motion to extend free movement

In September, Labour conference passed a policy motion advocating the extension of free movement, the closure of all detention centres and the awarding of equal voting rights to all UK residents.

The party’s position on the freedom of movement had been a source of tension since the EU referendum, after which Labour had committed to an end to the right.

In passing the motion Labour conference delegates effectively voted against the statement from the party in April.

4. Peterborough by-election liveblog: Labour HOLD

June 6th saw the election of Lisa Forbes with a majority of 683 votes in Peterborough after a successful recall petition removed the ex-Labour MP Fiona Onasanya.

Onasanya was recalled after being charged and found guilty of lying to avoid a speeding ticket. She was expelled from the party and Labour selected Forbes as its new candidate.

The victory was short-lived as the Tories took the constituency in the general election earlier this month, winning with a majority of 2,580.

5. Tom Watson launches new Future Britain Group with 130 Labour MPs and peers

In March, the then deputy leader of the Labour Party – Tom Watson – launched his ‘Future Britain Group’ in parliament.

The group for ‘social democrats’ formed part of an effort to stem further resignations from the Labour Party. 130 Labour MPs attended, including several frontbenchers.

6. Key Brexit amendments voted down as Labour MPs defy the whip

In January, almost all of the Brexit amendments that Labour had backed were defeated.

14 of the party’s own MPs voted against proposals put forward by Yvette Cooper, Rachel Reeves and Dominic Grieve.

Eight shadow ministers – Tracy Brabin, Judith Cummins, Gloria de Piero, Yvonne Fovargue, Mike Kane, Emma Lewell-Buck, Jim McMahon and Melanie Onn – broke the whip to abstain.

7. Rolling list: Trigger ballots for Labour MPs

This year Labour went through the trigger ballot process, in which local members decided whether to automatically reselect their sitting MP or trigger an open selection process.

The threshold for an MP to be ‘triggered’ was changed at the 2018 conference – an MP is triggered when either a third of local party branches or affiliated branches request a full selection.

The MPs triggered included Diana Johnson, Margaret Hodge, Roger Godsiff, Emma Lewell-Buck, Kate Osamor and Virendra Sharma.

Hodge and Johnson were reselected but the snap election interrupted the process for the others. The NEC endorsed Osamor, Sharma and Lewell-Buck as candidates but decided not to do so in Godsiff’s case.

8. PM could break promise on £10.50 minimum wage

Before the general election Boris Johnson pledged to raise the national living wage to £10.50, but his party quickly watered-down this commitment after winning.

The Conservatives pledged to raise the national living wage – earned by those aged over 25 – at their conference, claiming to be the “real party of labour”.

But in the Queen’s Speech shortly after polling day, the party stated that the promised pay rise would only take place “provided economic conditions allow”.

9. Policies announced and motions passed at Labour conference 2019

The Labour Party’s conference this year saw a swathe of policy announcements and motions passed, from education to health, to immigration and housing.

LabourList put together this complete guide for readers to keep pace with all the commitments made by the party.

10. Labour shuts down campaign tools after Independent Group MP ‘accesses data’

In February, the party shut down its campaign tools after it said an ex-Labour MP that had joined the Independent Group accessed protected data.

The party’s volunteer management and communication tool for assisting organisers to build local activity was made unavailable.

The Independent Group, started by ex-Labour MPs in February, went on to unsuccessfully stand three candidates in the 2019 election.

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