It is now just ten days until Labour conference kicks off in Liverpool. The deadline to submit motions to the annual gathering is 5pm this evening, and we’ve published a round-up of the model motions put forward by groups within the party for members to consider. As was the case at last year’s conference, Labour for a New Democracy has proposed a motion seeking to commit Labour to introducing proportional representation (PR) for general elections, which has received the backing of Momentum and Open Labour. Last year’s motion was rejected despite being supported by 79.5% of Constituency Labour Party delegates as 95% of trade union delegates voted against.
But it could be a very different story this year. Unite passed a motion at its policy conference back in October that commits the trade union to opposing the first-past-the-post voting system and instead “supporting moves to explore, select and introduce a new voting system for the UK”. In June, delegates at UNISON’s conference also voted in favour of a motion calling on the union to reject first-past-the-post and instead embrace PR for future general elections – meaning the UK’s two largest unions have now backed electoral reform, joining other Labour-affiliated unions including ASLEF and the TSSA.
Writing for LabourList this week, Labour peer and vice-chair of the Compass board Ruth Lister and Unlock Democracy council member Luke Williams argued that there is “overwhelming demand” for Labour to show “more of a positive vision of how we can build a better future for our country” and that “refreshing our political system so that people’s voices… are heard and our politics is fit to tackle the challenges our country faces can be the bedrock of that vision”. They declared that PR must be the first stage of this refresh, followed by radical devolution and decentralisation, a democratic second chamber and a written constitution. “It’s not simply enough to kick out the Tories,” Lister and Williams wrote. “We need to modernise the creaking political system that puts them in power and allows them to get away with so much.”
LabourList has an exciting series of conference events scheduled, which we hope many readers making the trip to Liverpool will join us for. First up on Sunday 25th, we have an event with Savanta ComRes, ‘How Labour wins: the path to a Labour majority’. During the session, we’ll explore exclusive MRP analysis produced by the pollster, with speakers Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, former advisor to Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn Simon Fletcher and Savanta’s political research director Chris Hopkins.
Next on the schedule is our annual LabourList rally, where will hear from a variety of prominent figures within the Labour Party and the wider labour movement, including deputy leader Angela Rayner, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram and London mayor Sadiq Khan. On Monday 26th, we’re hosting a panel event with the FBU, ‘Public ownership and picket lines – which side is Labour on?’, with speakers Zarah Sultana MP, John McDonnell MP, FBU general secretary Matt Wrack and We Own It director Cat Hobbs. And the conference calendar wouldn’t be complete without LabourList’s legendary karaoke night, scheduled for Tuesday 27th. Grab your £5 early bird tickets now while stocks last.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.