New ruling body, Labour Islamophobia, anti-vax crackdown and self-isolation

Sienna Rodgers
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Are we all recovered from the excitement of Labour’s new national executive committee (NEC) election results? The outcome released on Friday offered all party factions cause for celebration: the Labour left did better than expected, winning five of nine local party reps, plus both disabled and youth places, while Keir Starmer increased his majority on the ruling body, partly thanks to the introduction of a new voting system earlier this year that prevented a ‘winner-takes-all’ conclusion. Our write-up – including links to detailed vote breakdowns – is available here, and for more analysis, you can watch back our live event from the night and read my deeper dive from the weekend.

More internal Labour news emerged over the weekend when the Labour Muslim Network released its findings on Islamophobia within the party. The survey conducted for the report saw one in four Muslim members and supporters of Labour report directly experiencing it in the party and one in three say they have directly seen it. A series of recommendations has been issued, which Starmer has committed to implementing, from a code of conduct around Islamophobia and more education for members to an improved complaints system. These urgently needed steps will be added to the already overflowing in-tray of Labour’s general secretary and new NEC.

Labour’s weekend policy push was around anti-vax content on social media. With preparations underway to roll out the Covid vaccine as soon as possible, concerns around hesitancy and the sharing of disinformation are mounting. Both Jonathan Ashworth and Jo Stevens used the morning Sunday shows to make the case for online harms legislation designed to deal with these anxieties, which would see financial and criminal penalties introduced for failures leading to “serious harm”. This action would be aimed at big tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, rather than individuals.

Someone who will be spending yet more time online is Boris Johnson. We can safely assume that Zoom will play a key role in governing the UK in the near future, as the Prime Minister has been told by Test and Trace to self-isolate. He only has PMQs to front, a delayed ten-point climate change plan to announce, a Brexit deal to strike and a chaotic No 10 to sort out. You might assume that during coronavirus and following the exits of certain notable staffers the childish briefing war between the Vote Leave lads and others in Downing Street might die down, but if anything it has escalated. After all the incompetence and cronyism on display during this crisis, the idea that Johnson can bounce back to his cuddly London mayor image seems laughable right now. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

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