Every Labour member to have chance to de-/re-select MP in 2018

Few Labour members may be aware of it, but Labour’s latest rule-book contains a provision to give each of them an opportunity to change their MP in 2018. Usually, this opportunity takes place when an election is called, but possible changes to the number of MPs has meant that the party has set out a timetable for selections independently of a General Election.

Appendix 3 of the 2017 rule-book lays out how the Labour Party will deal with the government’s planned changes to constituency boundaries, which the Tories want to force through to eliminate fifty of the 650 current parliamentary constituencies in a move that is broadly recognised to favour the Tories.

Given the weakness of the government and the likelihood that the DUP will resist the proposed changes because they will favour their rivals Sinn Fein, there is considerable doubt whether they Tories will be able to push the measure through. Regardless whether they succeed or not, however, the rules provide for every sitting Labour MP to face a ‘trigger ballot’ in the new year.

Clause two of Appendix 3 states that:

apx 3 2.png

The appendix goes on to set out the process and conditions for sitting MPs who wish to continue to be candidates and how a CLP and its affiliate groups can vote either to keep the current candidate or move to a full selection, before clause three provides the timetable for the process:

apx 3 3

The NEC can vary or cancel the process, but with its current make-up this is unlikely, so essentially members who wish to change their MP (or candidate where there is no sitting MP) have until March to organise to win the vote.

And they will need to organise.

The current trigger-ballot process is complicated and gives affiliated groups from unions and socialist societies a disproportionate voting power, as votes are by group (ward, union or socialist society affiliate) rather than on a one-member-one-vote basis. This means that an affiliate with a couple of members has equal say to a ward-based branch of several hundred people.

In many parts of the country, right-wing unions have already been preparing for the process, with reports in some areas of right-leaning unions affiliating dozens of branches.

The process is likely to change as a result of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘democracy review’, but for now it is easy for rules-savvy groups to commandeer the process by stacking the CLP with affiliate branches.

Labour members who want to change their MP for a candidate more sympathetic to their views and wishes need to use the next three months or so to organise to match the right’s efforts – with the same level of awareness and commitment that they successfully brought to the battle to make delegates to last September’s annual conference representative of the membership.

In practice, this means members of Labour-affiliated unions need to organise to establish branches of their union and affiliate them to CLPs – and others can set up and affiliate branches of the socialist societies that have official standing with the Labour Party.

A list of affiliated unions can be found here and societies here.

Mass awareness and mobilisation will be needed for members to succeed in changing their MP if they wish to.

A full copy of Labour’s 2017 rulebook can be downloaded here.

A handy guide to the trigger ballot process was published last year by Novara Media.

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  1. Interesting when you follow through the link to the Labour Party Irish Soc you get this;

    Posted on 28/10/2013 by labourpartyirishsociety

    The LPIS website is currently under construction. More to come in the next few days…

  2. Right wing Labour MPs who have benefited from the Corbyn surge are now sitting on very large majorities.

    They might think that those large majorities make their position safe, but in fact the opposite is true.

    Those large majorities mean that there is no risk involved should members decide to deselect ill-disciplined, divisive MPs. Members can safely get rid of right wing troublemakers and replace them with a candidate who will support the party instead of constantly attack it and we still be able to retain the seat.

    It’s a win-win situation.

  3. From the sublime to the absurd, “how”, are the right, going to cling on to their posts in parliament?
    Any person who has scruples, who voted for Jeremy in his last leadership election, wouldn’t vote for the right!
    While they fight like rats in a sack, we, THE SOCIALIST LEFT, WILL GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH!
    We will overcome any interference that the right try to throw at us!

  4. Be careful tho – does this mean that right wingers are mobilising to deselect JC supporting MPs too? In Newham the GMB has packed all 35 branches with affiliates and each delegate is equivalent ti 350 members. They thought it was to do with the Mayoral trigger ballot but could be protecting Lyn Brown and Wes Streeting. If they do the same in other areas, they may try to deselect left wing MPs too.

    1. Good warning !
      Then the party is screwed and there possibly will not ever be another Labour Govt of any kind so defeating their aims of power .
      Or maybe its all about just enabling the continuation of those right wingers on the gravy train . Easy money no responsibility in permanent opposition and the disenfranchisement of the many who would see little point in voting as the are ALL THE SAME be they Blairites or Tories .
      Very annoying that the Newham GMB is doing this as it ensures Tory rule and more shit and salt for their membership . Is this indicative of all GMB branches or even driven at National level I wonder?

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