A crucial victory was achieved by the left at the NEC meeting last week, where Tom Watson’s absence allowed decision to pass that will be welcomed by the vast majority of Labour members.
After the frustration of having to accept imposed candidates because of the short notice of the General Election, local Labour members will control the candidate selection in key marginal seats this autumn.
CLPs will elect a ‘procedures committee’ that will oversee the process and draw-up a shortlist for members to vote on – ins CLPs with a branch/general committee structure, branches, together with affiliated unions and societies, will be able to nominate candidates.
As the next General Election could be any time between in the next five years, Labour is looking to have candidates in place in readiness and the NEC’s decision will allow members in target marginal seats – around 80 are believed to be on the list – to have their say with no repeat of the imposition of candidates. The NEC will still make a decision on which seats will have an all-women shortlist as the party pursues its aim of 50% female MPs.
Pro-Corbyn NEC members were jubilant about the decision, which represents a significant improvement on the usual system of a panel of three NEC members – seemingly usually one left-winger and two ‘moderates’ – deciding the candidate shortlist.
There is still, of course, a big question-mark over selections in seats Labour already holds, but this achievement is certainly a cause for celebration. However, it’s certain that the party’s right will already be making plans to try to hijack the process, so it’s essential that pro-Corbyn members start their own plans – most will have a good idea whether they’re likely to be in one of the eighty target marginals, but this blog will publish the list if it can be obtained.
If members who are behind Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s direction under him – the vast majority – organise properly, this will be a massive step forward in creating a democratic, representative PLP (parliamentary Labour Party) aligned with the views of Labour members.
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