This blog has previously highlighted the two additional, right-wing members levered onto Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to obstruct the party’s direction under Corbyn and his team according to the massive mandate of Labour members – and the unlawful, antidemocratic methods used at last autumn’s annual conference to maintain a right-wing advantage on the NEC when it had been democratically removed.
CLPs (constituency Labour parties) around the country are waking up to the threat that this poses to Labour’s cohesion and electoral prospects – and are taking action.
Yesterday, the SKWAWKBOX looked at this week’s by-election results: the lessons that Labour needs to learn – and the actions it needs to take. Correcting the balance of Labour’s NEC is one of the most urgent, to allow the party to be configured and the way to be cleared for Labour to get its superior message and policies across effectively to the electorate.
Last night, Garston and Halewood CLP took its own step toward this crucial advance – by passing a motion demanding the removal of the unlawfully-imposed on the NEC. Here is the wording of the motion:
The motion focuses on events at Labour’s 2016 annual Conference surrounding a vote to ‘reference back’ the Conference Arrangements Committee report. The report being voted upon described and entered into record the alleged authorisation by Conference for a package of rule-changes to be the subject of a single vote on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis.
One of these proposed constitutional amendments had the effect of adding 2 unelected representatives to the National Executive Committee, one each appointed by the leaders of the Scottish and Welsh parties.
‘Reference back’ means that the report is not approved until fully discussed by Conference and voted on.
Several delegates from the floor were heard calling for a card vote. Chapter 3 Clause 3 Rule 3 of Labour’s 2016 rulebook requires that “Voting at Party conference on resolutions, reports, amendments, proposals and references back shall be by show of hands or, when the conditions laid down by the CAC require it, by card.”.
The CAC report specified that “votes at Conference are taken as a show of hands unless a card vote is requested by delegates or by the decision of the Chair” [emphasis added]. The failure to hold a card vote after it was requested was therefore a breach of the Labour party constitution.
This therefore demonstrates conclusively that conference Chair Paddy Lillis violated Labour party voting rules and the labour party constitution during voting on the report in question. Mr Lillis violated this rule despite attention being drawn to the fact by dozens of people on the conference floor and representations by both NEC member Christine Shawcroft and the mover of the reference-back motion, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes.
As legal precedent during the recent challenge by disenfranchised members shows that the rules of the Party have legal force, any such violation also constitutes violation of the law and renders it and what follows from it unlawful and invalid.
There is therefore clear that the platform Labour party and NEC chair perpetrated a breach both of the Party’s democratic constitution and of the law in an illegitimate and unlawful process.
This CLP therefore moves that the addition of two new, unelected members to the NEC was unlawful and that those members therefore have no legitimacy or voting rights on the Committee.
If passed, the CLP resolves that the motion shall be passed to the CLP representatives on the NEC and to the 33 member NEC for motion there.
Moreover, as the conflict of interest of the two additional members appointed by the leaders of the party in Wales and Scotland is self-evident, those individuals shall not be permitted to vote on the matter.
The motion was convincingly carried. The CLP’s MP, Maria Eagle, voted against. A couple of CLP members argued that it was wrong to demand the removal of Scottish and Welsh members, but others countered that it was not the presence of the members that was the issue but their unelected nature and the unlawful manner in which the positions were created.
The SKWAWKBOX urges every reader who is a Labour member to put forward a similar motion at your next branch or CLP meeting – and, just as importantly, to organise to make sure it succeeds. If you’re not yet a member – join here.
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