Labour’s ruling body has put the local constituency parties of both Luton North and Luton South in ‘special measures’ due to allegations that there has been the kind of ‘membership abuse’ banned under the party rulebook.
The move by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) follows claims that local members have signed up friends and family members to influence the results of candidate selections ahead of the 2023 elections.
Labour’s rulebook states that “higher than average join rates ahead of meetings such as those to select candidates” can be evidence that a local party should be placed into special measures by the NEC.
Local members have been told by the regional director of Labour East that the decision was taken “in order to safeguard the integrity of our CLPs [Constituency Labour Parties], our internal democratic procedures and our selection processes”.
The regional director wrote: “We have a duty to ensure that our CLPs are properly run and are able to operate in an inclusive and supportive environment.
“It is of the upmost importance that CLPs have fair, open and accessible selection processes. In order to ensure this is the case in Luton, the NEC will conduct a membership audit, to verify local membership lists.”
When a local party is in special measures, anyone applying for party membership in that constituency is asked for two additional pieces of identification proving they live at the address cited, to ensure new members are genuine.
The party will check whether the applicant is on the electoral register at that address. If they are not, applicants need to try to register or give evidence explaining why they cannot register. Membership is then audited annually.