#BAME Labour NEC member Vaz ‘elected unlawfully’


As regular SKWAWKBOX readers will be aware, this blog supported the candidacy Asghar Khan in the recent election of BAME Labour. Khan lost to incumbent Keith Vaz.

It appears that the whole election was unlawful and invalid.

Labour’s rulebook states:

BAME rulebook.png

Contrary to what many might expect, BAME Labour does not consist of any Labour member who identifies as black, Asian or minority ethnic – it is an affiliated ‘socialist society’ that members must apply to join and many have reported difficulty in joining.

And according to the party’s rules, it must have at least 2,500 individual members and one third of eligible trade unions must have affiliated to BAME Labour, before it can have a member on the NEC.

However, according to a recent open letter issued on the subject, the recent election revealed that BAME Labour has only 731 members in total.

Not only that, but the letter claims that the BAME Labour officers do not even have access to the membership list. Instead, the election is arranged by and conducted on behalf of Labour’s central ‘Southside’ HQ.

Which would mean that Southside, which continues to be dominated by the right of the party, conducted an unlawful election with full access to the information that showed it to be unlawful under its own rules.

Electoral Reform Services, which conducted the election on behalf of the party, has confirmed that the Labour Party itself was its client for the BAME election.

Even if the election had been lawful, the idea that 731 – or even 2,500 – members of one socialist society should have a seat on an NEC consisting of 35 people is clearly nonsensical.

The Labour Party has been contacted about this matter but has so far not responded.

Labour’s membership is approaching 600,000, with large numbers of BAME members. That 0.1% of the membership (or even 0.4% at 2,500) should wield 1/35 of the voting power of the party’s sovereign body simply cannot be right in a democratic party.

BAME members must of course be represented, but the matter of an immediate switch to an OMOV (one member, one vote) election of that representative by every Labour member identifying as BAME needs to be on the agenda for the next NEC meeting, which takes place next Tuesday ahead of Labour’s annual conference in Brighton.

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    1. It’s linked in the article – look for the underlined words “open letter” (or blue, depending how your machine registers links

      1. That takes us to a copy of the letter but does not enable us to vote. Linda

  1. You say Labour’s membership is approaching 600,000 – I thought during the summer it had reached either 800,000 or was approaching 800,000. Can someone tell me which is the correct figure, and if it is approaching 600,000, what happened to the other 200,000?

    1. Latest confirmed figures were around 570k. Maybe be at 600k now but 800 would be doubtful. Onwards and upwards though!

      1. Thanks for your reply, perhaps the Tories increasingly undemocratic behaviour will get us up to the 800,000 mark. Fingers crossed.

  2. I concur with those who have reported difficulty in joining BAME Labour! I’ve been waiting for approval for nearly 2 months since I applied.

  3. I suppose the best mechanism for dealing with such flagrant rule breaking in order to gerrymander votes away from genuine BAME members of the Labour Party is for a BAME member with a grasp of the rules to submit a complaint to the Certification Officer. If it is a straight forward breach of rules then NcNicol will be forced to explain himself in a public forum and then put matters right.

    1. No – BAME Labour membership is a specific thing. You’re only in it if you join separately to your Labour membership. That needs to change

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