Exclusive: pro-Corbyn Conference delegates outnumber centrists > 3:1


The battle for the policy direction of the Labour Party has taken an interesting – and for most members welcome – turn.

At last year’s conference in Liverpool, right-wingers – or ‘centrists’ if you prefer the mainstream media term – organised and managed to ensure a majority of CLP (constituency Labour party) delegates. This, along with a departing – and almost certainly unlawful – ‘pre-packed rule change’ move by NEC members who had been voted out by the membership, allowed the party’s right to hinder Labour by getting two unelected additional members onto the Labour NEC (National Executive Committe).

‘Fool me once’, as the saying goes. The SKWAWKBOX and other new left media, along with pro-Corbyn organisations in and out of the party, called for Corbyn-supporting members to match the right for organisation and use their superior numbers to ensure there was no repeat this year in Brighton.

Anecdotal evidence suggested that this call was heeded and that many local parties were successful – but until now, it was unclear whether that pattern was consistent across the party.

At the turn of the year, anti-Corbyn factions were proclaiming a confident expectation of ‘centrist’ dominance in Brighton. By late spring, this had been downgraded – in spite of anti-democratic tactics by some CLPs to send right-wing delegates against the wishes of most members – to ‘we’ll be competitive’.

This But now party and Momentum insiders have told the SKWAWKBOX that they believe that left delegates – out of a total number of over a thousand, a new record by a distance – outnumber the right’s by over 800 to around 250.

If they are correct – and it’s difficult to measure accurately – this represents a Herculean effort and huge success for pro-Corbyn members and activists and bodes well for the Conference, especially with the current balance of power on the NEC following the resignation of Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale.

Optimism must be tempered by the fact that sheer delegate numbers alone do not guarantee results. In the ‘card votes’ that decide rule-changes, the voting power of the CLPs sending the delegates decides the weight of each vote cast, so one delegate from a large CLP has greater weight than several from a small one. Union votes are also often decisive. However, in any vote taken by ‘show of hands’, such a difference in numbers should have a huge impact.

In any event, it is a very good sign and a change of delegate balance even vaguely resembling those described to this blog will make the 2017 event a very different experience to last year’s.

Much now depends on the willingness of the rebalanced NEC in putting forward bold changes onto the Conference agenda. On that, ‘watch this space’.

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  2. Our CLP informed us that there wasn’t time to get a meeting together to choose delegates so they chose them for us so glad it’s bit them on the backside

  3. The game is up for the right wingers in the Labour Party.

    Their justification for dominating the party machinery was their claim that you can’t win elections from the left. Which, when you think about it, was a peculiar thing to believe when it was a mostly left wing manifesto that delivered the most parliamentary seats in the party’s history in 1997.

    In addition, Jeremy Corbyn has just delivered 13 million votes for the party and under his leadership the Labour Party is sitting at 42% in the polls, ahead of the Tories.

    As a result of the pristine campaign run by the leadership of the party, (in stark contrast to the defensive and incompetent campaign run by Labour HQ under Iain McNicol’s incompetent management), there are now 80 marginal and eminently winnable seats at play.

    In order for Labour to win the next election it is critical for the party to unite and ensure the score or so of electorally toxic right wing Labour MPs, and their collaborators in the Cooperative Party, are challenged and exposed whenever they attempt to sabotage the Labour Party from within, as they have persistently been doing for the last two years.

    1. Last year, with a more evenly balanced delegate make-up, it was desirable, which was precisely why the chair refused to allow it. This year, it won’t matter how undemocratic the chair is, he can’t pretend that 20% of hands raised is ‘overwhelmingly carried’.

  4. Let us all hope and pray that as well as the usual sound, true, Labour, ‘, policies, the top priority is to get a grip on CLIMATE CHANGE and totally embrace renewable energy investment to create new jobs, speed up the development and advance of renewable energy and try to SAVE us and FUTURE generations from weTher conditions which will bring destruction and misery to the MANY and not just the few. This is the single most urgent and pressing issue of our genetTion which has entered the anthroocene and has only a couple of decades to wLe up and deal with this planetary disaster and potential deAth sentence.

    1. Good point. Perhaps the National Investment Bank and regional investment banks should have a criteria that a percentage of all investment be allocated to renewable energy and environmentally beneficial projects.

  5. I just hope that optimism is not clouding reality. Given the continued fight from the likes of Akehurst and Angel’s to get representatives from the Right of the party to become delegates and given the corruption from the labour office in particular McNicholls I await with baited breath!

    1. It is up to the delegates now to get to grips with what is on the agenda, understand the issues, and vote accordingly. Novices will certainly be floundering in such a huge conference. But they will make up in energy and enthusiasm what they lack in experience, hopefully. The sheer numbers are now against the right, and no matter how far their organised cabal goes, short of locking the doors to keep delegates out, there will never be another conference as crooked as the last one.

      The site has done a great job so far in highlighting the different information out there for the delegates, the choices of candidates for the various elections to committees. Keep up the great work.

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