Labour to Win, the internal party organisation that brings together the Labour First and Progressive Britain groups in support of Keir Starmer’s leadership, is celebrating significant gains made at London Labour conference this weekend.
The campaign group has declared that Labour is “back on track” in London, where pro-leadership activists have made progress across several local parties in recent weeks by winning control of executive committees.
There has also been criticism today from the party’s left over the way that the online conference ended, with an outgoing regional board member being stopped from giving a speech that was critical of leadership decisions.
At the last London Labour conference in March 2019, the Labour left won almost all the regional board positions up for election, with Unite’s Jim Kelly and Tottenham’s Seema Chandwani becoming chair and vice-chair respectively.
This year has produced starkly different results for Labour’s factions. UNISON’s Maggi Ferncombe was elected chair, while Brent councillor Shama Tatler and GMB Harrow councillor Dean Gilligan were chosen as vice-chairs.
Out of 23 positions up for grabs – including local party representatives, Conference Arrangements Committee members and liberation officers – 18 candidates backed by Labour to Win and five endorsed by Momentum were elected.
The July 2021 regional board election results were as follows:
- CLP Representatives – Section 1: Callum Anderson (Labour to Win) and Candice Atterton (LtW)
- CLP Representatives – Section 2: Lisa Homan (LtW) and Martin Whelton (LtW)
- CLP Representatives – Section 3: Gemma Doyle (LtW) and Maxine James (LtW)
- CLP Representatives – Section 4: Brenda Dacres (LtW) and Linda Perks (LtW)
- CLP Representatives – Section 5: Sabia Kamali (Momentum) and Asma Islam (LtW)
- CLP Representatives – Section 6: Emina Ibrahim (Momentum) and Tom Taylor (Momentum)
- CLP Representatives – Section 7: Izzy Lenga (LtW) and Shama Tatler (LtW)
- London-wide CLP representatives: Emma Whysall (LtW) and Jamal Uddin (LtW)
- CAC: Lucio Buffone (LtW), Miriam Mirwitch (LtW), Linda Perks (LtW)
- Disability officer: Patrick Moule (LtW)
- LGBT officer: Lucio Buffone (LtW)
- Women‘s officer: Niamh O’Brady (Momentum)
- BAME officer: Taranjit Chana (Momentum)
Six of the successful candidates supported by Labour to Win – Anderson, Atterton, Buffone, Moule, Mirwitch and Whysall – were also backed by soft left group Open Labour.
Nathan Yeowell, co-director of Labour to Win and executive director of Progressive Britain, said: “These results show just how much the Labour Party is changing under Keir Starmer.
“Labour to Win-backed candidates have taken 13/16 CLP reps on the new London regional board. We came into this conference holding only 1/14. We’ve also won 3/4 officer positions and have won the elections for chair and both vice-chairs. We started the day with none of these positions.
“This is what unity looks like in today’s Labour Party – members coming together to put the division and defeat of the past decade behind us. We know that we’ve got to change the party to have any chance of winning the country at the next election.
“Changing the party and reconnecting with the public has to be a collective effort. We’re not a fan club and we’re not a pressure group. We’ve got to be the best vehicle for political and social change in this country – and these results show that we understand that again.
“Congratulations to all the members of the new London regional board and thank you to all of LTW’s supporters and our friends in the trade unions and socialist societies for getting them elected. It’s time to get Labour back on the path to power.”
The London Labour regional executive committee (REC), also known as the regional board, is normally elected every two years at regional conference. Until this weekend, there had not been a London conference since March 2019.
There was a row ahead of the conference being held over its date, with most of the majority-left REC opposed to July, wanting it to be held in November instead. Chair Jim Kelly accused Labour of breaching its own rulebook.
Labour left members were unhappy at conference today as Kathryn Johnson, the outgoing chair of the London Conference Arrangements Committee, was cut off while criticising the current direction of the party.
Johnson, who voiced opposition to Jeremy Corbyn’s exclusion from the parliamentary party, was muted at the online event by London region, then unmuted by a co-host, before the party ended the conference abruptly altogether.
Momentum’s Mish Rahman tweeted that “being able to pull the plug on speakers” was one of the “benefits of a July Zoom conference” rather than the “November in person conference” that the outgoing REC would have preferred.
Newly elected REC member Gemma Doyle suggested that the chair had “abuse[d] her position” by finishing the day with a “personal political speech”.
Labour’s London REC oversees party activities in the capital, such as mayoral trigger ballots, and performs functions related to local government, such as hearing appeals from local councillors who have had the whip removed.
Among the policy motions passed at London conference this weekend was one opposing the Silvertown Tunnel. It resolved to call on mayor Sadiq Khan – plus all London Labour MPs, Assembly Members and councils – to oppose the project.
The Silvertown motion was approved by 74% of affiliates and local parties, with 26% opposed. 62% voted in favour of a motion on a just transition, and 57% for a motion against plans to rebuild and expand the Edmonton incinerator.