The pre-conference leader’s report is traditionally brief. Keir spent the summer on visits around the country. Keir said he sensed that voters are growing tired of the shambolic and corrupt Tory government and are open to returning to Labour. Keir discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the government’s failure. Keir talked about worker’s rights and his TUC speech, adult social care and plans for Labour Party conference.
Keir took questions on PR and electoral reform, campaigning, health and social care, the pandemic, racial equality, industrial relations, local government, rail ticket office closures, parliamentary boundary changes, universal credit, worker’s rights, equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and party unity.
Harry Donaldson updated the national executive committee (NEC) about plans for Labour Party conference. Labour Party conference packs include the Covid-19 guidance for delegates. Safety of attendees and staff is extremely important. Conference packs with contain detailed information about the protocols put in place to minimise risk. This guidance will be added to the Labour Party website. Delegates will be asked to wear masks whenever they are not speaking. A helpline will be set up for attendees who develop Covid-19 symptoms.
375 motions were submitted to conference. 330 met the published criteria. These have been grouped together and will go into the priorities ballot. The CAC have reviewed the process for reference backs. All reference backs will be published in the relevant CAC report.
NEC rule changes
The NEC reviewed the proposed constitutional amendments and agreed all the rule changes relating to the EHRC action plan. This is a positive step forward. Other changes discussed included plans to remove NEC by-elections in the CLP section. NEC CLP by-elections can be very expensive, especially compared to the other sections, which are less contested with smaller electorates. We discussed the use of the single transferable vote (STV) system in the CLP section. It is only used for the NEC CLP election as in order to get a proportional result you need at least five positions. I suggested that if people would like to use STV in the local government NEC elections, we could create some new places for councillors on the NEC to make this work.
The NEC discussed rules for Local Government Committee composition and rules for CLP affiliations.
Discussions are ongoing for a number of rule changes. These changes will come back to the NEC during Labour Party conference for further discussion. The next NEC meeting will take place on Friday, a week from now.
The NEC discussed the policy around proscribed organisations and rules around auto-exclusion. There was consensus around the importance of how this policy is implemented and clarity of what demonstrates support for these organisations. NEC members asked for reassurance (which was given) that “support” is more than liking social media posts.
Rule changes submitted by CLPs
The NEC went through the rule changes submitted by Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). Oxford East brought a rule change about increasing diversity in local government. The NEC supported the principle and will try to draft an NEC rule change in the spirit of the Oxford East text (but is legally compliant).
The NEC reviewed other rule changes on a range of topics, including getting the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to report to conference, whether conference should debate PLP disciplinary cases at conference, method of election Labour’s General Secretary, conditions of party membership, fundraising, internal election systems and candidate selections.