Fiona Dent: Why I’m standing to represent local parties on Labour’s NEC

Standing for Labour’s national executive committee is challenging as an independent but very worthwhile as it raises the issue of sectarian pressures within the committee. Such pressures have their value but it can mean that committee members vote with their grouping instead of following their broader commitment to the labour movement. We have seen this struggle when either the left or the right slates have had ‘control’ of the NEC.
As a member of several decades, I have watched this power struggle and decided that there is room for greater breadth of debate, efficiency and action from the NEC. This is why I am standing. I will stand up for constituency members and their concerns, not just blindly follow guidance from any sect.
The voices of Constituency Labour Parties have not been given the NEC attention that they deserve and as as a result their needs have not been addressed with enough action. CLP resources for elections have been restricted and voting at conference lacks power. Members deserve better than this for their loyalty, their campaigning and their subs. I will champion us.
An active Labour member since my early 20s, I have held various local party roles, I am a blogger and I have been a lifelong door-knocker. I am a union woman – Unison, Unite, Artist’s Union of England – and a Save Our NHS campaigner (walked from Jarrow to Westminster in the 2014 People’s March). I have worked in public service, and as a health commissioner fought the swingeing cuts to the NHS. I have been an environmental and human rights campaigner, formerly on the economy commission, ex councillor, twice parliamentary candidate in challenging constituencies (Windsor 2015 and Runnymede against the then Chancellor 2017), sculptor, painter and general washer upper.
Along with CLP members around the country, I want to see greater connectivity between leadership and local parties. During my three years on Labour’s national policy forum, I did just that by helping fellow members to follow, engage and contribute to policy debate. Speaking at distant CLP meetings, running engagement sessions and campaigning in constituencies around the country from the North West to Cornwall has not always been easy due to the systems that we have in place. But this experience has meant that I am committed to democratising policy development and other party decision-making systems.
I am not a member of any sub group or sect of Labour because I do not want my votes to be controlled by anything other than the democratic interests of members as explained to me by them. However I am a loyal, left-of-centre stalwart of our party who supports the elected leader and campaigns to win. Please choose me, as one of your nine CLP section votes, to do that job and I will report in writing after each meeting and work with you on agreed priorities. Thank you.

More from LabourList