At Labour’s 2016 annual conference in Liverpool, the party’s right-wing factions created outrage by using anti-democratic manoeuvres to create two new places on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) – one each to be filled by members appointed by the Scottish and Welsh party leaders.
With both leaders opponents of Jeremy Corbyn, the move was designed to stack the NEC against the Labour leader – but backfired when Kezia Dugdale unexpectedly resigned as leader of Scottish Labour in August. Dugdale had appointed herself to the seat and had consistently voted against Corbyn on a tightly-balanced NEC.
Her resignation meant that her pro-Corbyn deputy, Alex Rowley, took the seat – creating an opportunity for the leadership to push through measures to improve democratic representation for party members.
Rowley stepped down just before the election of a new leader was decided – a contest that resulted in a clear win for the left-wing candidate Richard Leonard. But no announcement has been made so far about whether he will take up the seat himself or appoint a representative.
However, Scottish Labour insiders have told the SKWAWKBOX that Leonard will ‘almost certainly’ follow the precedent set by Dugdale and take the position in person. This move will be welcomed by Scottish members, as it will give their elected leader a direct voice in the running of the UK-wide party.
With three new NEC positions still to be decided in the tighter-than-expected election of additional member representatives, for which ballots will start to be issued next weeek, Labour’s wider and largely pro-Corbyn membership will also welcome Leonard’s presence on the NEC. It will increase what has been a narrow left-wing advantage on the NEC and make the implementation of the results of Jeremy Corbyn’s wide-ranging ‘democracy review‘ far easier to achieve.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.