Labour general secretary David Evans has been approved by party conference this afternoon after a card vote was taken – in an unprecedented move, as the endorsement is usually done by a show of hands or by acclamation.
During his speech to conference delegates today, Evans declared: “Conference, I want your support too – that’s why I’ll be calling for a card vote on my election as general secretary. And I ask for your backing.”
He was backed by Labour conference as general secretary, on the recommendation of the national executive committee (NEC), by 59% to 41% of delegates today.
Update, Monday 27 September: The original card vote result released by Labour had hundreds of thousands of votes missing. The party has now released revised results, showing that David Evans was approved as general secretary by 57% to 43% on Saturday.
A Labour spokesperson said: “David was appointed by the NEC 16 months ago. Since then, he has been getting on with the job of reshaping the party so we are ready to fight the next general election.
“He will carry on doing that and we will all focus our energy on building a better future for working people.”
Unite the Union and smaller left trade unions including the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) voted against Evans.
It has been estimated that the core Labour left vote among local party delegates – those willing to oppose the general secretary – is 47%. Momentum believes more will align with the left on policy and possibly some rule change votes.
Reacting to the vote ratifying Evans, a Momentum spokesperson said: “Hundreds of delegates today voted to reject the ratification of David Evans as general secretary, whose factional approach has left the Labour Party in chaos and controversy.
“This should serve as a warning shot to the leadership that they cannot continue so recklessly. The fact that a historically uncontested vote has been pushed this far is remarkable.”
“The numbers for this vote are just the starting point for the growing coalition opposed to Starmer’s plans to give near total power to MPs in choosing the next Labour leader. This isn’t about left versus right; it’s about a basic democratic principle.”