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:
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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