Formby declares for GenSec. Pressure mounts on Lansman to step aside for Left cause


Unite National Executive Committee (NEC) representative Jennie Formby has declared her intention to apply for the position of Labour Party General Secretary.

Ms Formby, who has a long track record of unassuming work on behalf of the left, has the right combination of political nous and people skills to make an outstanding General Secretary who will work for the wishes of the members. As a union representative, she also has the background and contacts needed to work well with both of the NEC’s main constituencies.

She also has the solid backing of both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Pressure is mounting on Momentum founder Jon Lansman to cancel any plans to stand. Two left-wing candidates for the position make two things almost certain that will dismay the vast majority of Labour members – and will actually work against party democracy.

To become General Secretary, Lansman would need to resign his place on the NEC – the General Secretary is an ex officio, non-voting NEC member. Labour rules state that if an elected NEC member stands aside, there is no election to replace them – their place is automatically taken by the unsuccessful candidate who received the most votes in the NEC election.

In this case, Eddie Izzard – effectively annulling the votes of the 65,000 people who voted in Lansman as part of the left ‘slate’ last month.

A Lansman application for the position would also have the almost certain consequence of opening the door for any right-wing candidate who decides to apply – saddling Labour members with “McNicol Mark II”.

The current balance of the NEC is twenty-one left vs seventeen right. If Lansman peels away just a few votes and the right-wing members remain solid, they could block Corbyn’s preferred candidate and get one of their own into the job.

This would be a disaster for Labour and a double blow for party democracy, even if Izzard would probably only be able to attend a meeting or two before this summer’s new elections for ‘CLP’ representatives on the NEC.

However, the SKWAWKBOX understands that the disaster can be avoided, as Lansman is prepared to accept a majority decision by the NEC’s left members as to who should stand.

The SKWAWKBOX is confident that he’ll do the right thing for members and ‘the project’.

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  1. There’s also, sadly, the “what message does it send out” issue with Lansman, and I’m sure he appreciates the games the MSM would play, should he be selected. While that should never be the main issue, it’s not something that can be ignored at this stage in the Left’s revival.
    Formby sounds a great candidate, and that brings an extra strong person to the heart of Labour.
    It’s all good!

  2. I’m distinctly suspicious about this Lansman story; as Skwawkbox points out, if he got the job he’d have to quit the NEC — a point that could not escape Lansman’s notice, if he’d ever contemplated the idea.

    So I think the story is a kite flown by someone else, probably the right.

  3. Momentum is primarily a campaigning and education organisation which helps people understand the overly complex processes of the Labour Party and make them more accessible.

    Momentum is evolving and it is perfectly understandable that it should seek to become increasingly involved in selection processes to reflect the views of members and to increase representation of different groups in society.

    It has not yet evolved sufficiently to warrant its leader standing for the position of general secretary of the Labour Party.

    To justify that level of representation Momentum will first have to fully prove itself by achieving its objective of helping to return a Labour government.

    For this reason I would advise Mr Lansam to make it explicitly clear he will not stand for the role at this time.

  4. Not clearly knowing what Johns intentions are then perhaps it’s best to wait and see , he can always withdraw if he chooses to stand and finds the support is not there for him .BUT this arcane rule of giving up one’s position to the looser , Izzard would as SB states be a severe blow .
    I’d like to think that as and when appropriate this rule is changed to simply state a proper OMOV to elect a replacement for ANY vacant NEC seat .

  5. Shenanigans opportunity – given there’s no precedent (?) could it be argued that the unsuccessful candidate with the most votes is in fact Ellie Reeves, from the 2016 election? (72.5k vs Izzard’s 39.5k). Ok, this is hardly an improvement, but it would deny Izzard the publicity opportunity that could help him get elected later this year. (NB I’m not pro-Lansman, I just thought the shenanigans opportunity should be noted)

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