Wendy Nichols elected as new chair of Labour NEC’s organisation committee

Sienna Rodgers
© Peter_Fleming/Shutterstock.com

UNISON representative Wendy Nichols has been elected today as the new chair of Labour’s organisation sub-committee known as ‘Org Sub’ and Usdaw’s Michael Wheeler has been picked as its new vice-chair.

The fresh internal party victory for Keir Starmer and his allies will see Nichols replace the Labour left’s Andy Kerr of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), who was not successful in his bid for re-election this afternoon.

Nichols will now head the sub-committee of the party’s national ruling body that is responsible for Labour’s rules and its constitution and for ensuring that parties across the country are operating to the highest standards.

The organisation branch of the national executive committee (NEC) also has overall responsibility for membership, investigations, selections, party conferences, electoral law, boundaries strategy and internal elections.

The ‘Org Sub’ results and the election of Shabana Mahmood as NEC disputes chair have strengthened the support for Starmer’s leadership on the NEC officers’ group, which has changed significantly. It now comprises:

  • Leader – Keir Starmer
  • Deputy leader – Angela Rayner
  • NEC chair – Margaret Beckett
  • NEC vice-chair – Alice Perry
  • Treasurer – Diana Holland
  • Joint policy committee co-convenor – Tom Warnett
  • National policy forum chair (when also an NEC member) – Ann Black
  • Organisation committee (‘Org Sub’) chair – Wendy Nichols
  • Disputes panel chair – Shabana Mahmood
  • Equalities committee chair – James Asser

As the CWU’s Kerr and member representative Dar – both on the Labour left and critical of the new leadership – are no longer NEC officers, the core group does not include any members who joined the digital walkout last year.

The GMB’s Warnett is usually thought of as a swing voter on the NEC, while Perry and Black are seen as ‘soft left’. Unite’s Holland is supported by the left but did not join the recent protest staged by 13 other Starmersceptic members.

The officers’ group is a decision-making body within the NEC. It assumes responsibilities such as setting a timetable for the appointment of a new general secretary and deciding on the process for emergency candidate selections.

The result of the ‘Org Sub’ chair election held this afternoon also offers more power to Nichols’ party-affiliated trade union UNISON, which recently elected Christina McAnea as its new general secretary after Dave Prentis retired.

UNISON endorsed Starmer and Angela Rayner in the 2020 leadership and deputy leadership elections, with Prentis writing on LabourList that “they have all the ingredients for a winning team”. McAnea’s bid had the support of her predecessor.

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