Labour leadership candidate Keir Starmer has unveiled eight key reforms today that would aim to change party culture and ensure that the organisation is “open, respectful, creative and engaging”.
At a members’ meeting in Brighton and Hove and in a conference call with supporters tonight, Starmer will kick off a discussion around how Labour can build a “new, more inclusive, more democratic culture of dignity and respect”.
Announcing his package of reforms, Starmer said: “I am immensely proud of the size and energy of the party. People were inspired in their thousands by Jeremy Corbyn to join Labour, and we must not lose that idealism and radicalism.
“We can, however, channel it more effectively. We owe it to our members and our country to be a professional, effective campaigning organisation that is geared to win.”
The measures currently being proposed by Starmer are the following:
- Recruit a truly representative set of candidates for future elections.
- Provide better access for disabled members.
- Become campaign innovators – by “creating and maintaining a leading technology position”.
- Make the selections for Labour candidates more democratic and end NEC impositions of candidates.
- Set up an assembly of members and trade unionists to look at how we can develop policy in a more democratic way.
- Launch a “transparency revolution” – making public the membership of key committees and allowing members to communicate with their representatives on the NEC.
- Scrap the NCC and create an independent body to deal with complaints.
- Establish a review to explore how we can encourage more party members to become active in their trade unions and more trade unionists in the Labour Party.
Starmer has indicated that as Labour leader he would want to champion diversity in the parliamentary selection process, pushing for all-BAME shortlists, and to establish a ‘Labour Party College’ offering political education and training.
The frontrunner also says he wants to ensure accessibility for disabled members by providing remote access to local party meetings wherever possible, and intends to “explore a full inclusivity review of all of our structures”.
He plans to initiate a review into Labour’s campaigning infrastructure and technological innovation in order to “invest in creating and maintaining a leading technology position” ahead of the next general election.
Other suggested reforms focus on Labour’s ruling bodies, from ending impositions of candidates by the national executive committee (NEC) to scrapping the national constitutional committee (NCC) entirely and replacing it with an independent body.
In a message to Labour supporters, Starmer said: “We must embed into our systems and actions this principle that all members are equal. We need our party to function like friends round a table, where each of us can be confident that our ideas are valued while we work together to find a way forward.”
The eight-point plan comes after fellow leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey criticised the “mismanagement and bad organisational culture” within the party and put forward her own suggestions for improving Labour’s culture and campaign tools.
Further details of Starmer’s plans for party reform can be found on his website and the candidate is set to outline them in an online video conference call from 7.30pm on Tuesday evening.