Formby collecting CLP data amid reports of mass rogue affiliations and rising GE expectation


One of the key democratic – or otherwise – influences in the Labour Party around the country consists of affiliations to CLPs (constituency Labour parties) from other groups affiliated to the national party.

Unions and affiliated socialist societies are entitled to send delegates to a CLP from any branch that has affiliated to it – but they must meet certain conditions to qualify. In CLPs run on a branch/delegate basis, the influence wielded over that CLP’s everyday decisions can be huge – and in all CLPs can play a massive role in selections of candidates and especially in attempts to deselect an MP.

In the ‘trigger ballot‘ process for the potential removal of a sitting MP before a general election, a party branch of two hundred members will have a single vote as a branch. An affiliated union or socialist society branch of just a couple of people will have the same voting power. If the votes in a trigger ballot do not favour the replacement of an MP and that MP wishes to continue, s/he is secure.

It’s one of the gaping ‘legacy’ loopholes in the party’s current rules – and one of the most urgent to change through the impending ‘democracy review’.

For months now, the SKWAWKBOX has been receiving reports from all over the country – but with London, the West Midlands and a few others as hotspots – of mass affiliations of, almost exclusively, the more right-dominated unions to individual CLPs.

In some cases, as many as thirty or forty affiliations have been registered with a single CLP – swamping the voting power of the members – with a particular focus on CLPs with an incumbent right-wing MP that looks likely to be under threat at the next general election. In many cases, members and secretaries are reporting that the required information, for example about branch members living in the constituency to qualify a branch to affiliate at all, is missing or suspect.

It looks, to all intents and purposes, like a mass, coordinated attempt to secure Blairite and Labour First MPs against the likely desire of their local members to replace them with a better candidate.

Now it seems that the issue has reached the attention of the party’s leadership. Emails are going out now from regional directors to CLP secretaries informing them that Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby is collating information on union and socialist society affiliations to CLPs nationwide for both last year and this year – and that every CLP must respond no later than 10 August with details of the organisations and numbers affiliated to them.

If Ms Formby and the NEC are planning measures to prevent this distortion or even wholesale rigging of the party’s local democracy, it comes not a minute too soon – and the short timescale may be another indication of the growing sense at the top of Labour that a new general election is imminent.

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  1. Welcome news that Jennie Formby is alert to the games the right are playing.They have no respect for truth or democratic norms and should be treated accordingly.

    1. Well lets hope that those Unions involved get a name and shame treatment.
      perhaps they’d like to go and affiliate to the much vaunted new Centrist party….One assumes their membership is fine with their Union undermining the chance of a Labour Govt and the continuance of Tory rule !!
      Great work by Jenny ,,clean up the RW corruption.

  2. Direct result of the previous incumbent’s tenure. Looks like Jennie Formby really getting to grips with it and doing a great job.

  3. Given that McNicol’s lot prevented new members from voting the right wing can hardly complain if their entryists are similarly disqualified this time.
    Not gentlemanly behaviour I know but the right can’t be allowed to keep getting away with pulling strokes like this.
    And they’re not gentlemen.

  4. “It looks, to all intents and purposes, like a mass, coordinated attempt to secure Blairite and Labour First MPs against the likely desire of their local members to replace them with a better candidate.”

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck…

    Jenny Formby has a huge task on her hands!

  5. Lots of twitching sphincters at the moment, I’d imagine. “Meet the new boss folks – NOT like the old boss, oh no siree!” 😀

    Oh, I sincerely hope the snide tactics of the right are put right under the spotlight as a result of this, and (certain) MP’s are deselected.

    Imagine the fume from the remaining ones? (The ones where there wasn’t enough proof?) Hahaha – Ace!

    Come the next election I wouldn’t be remotely arsed to see the remaining beauts punted by their constituencies.

  6. Yes what you have is one man/women and their dog living in a CLP having the same vote and an equal say and power as affiliates with many members living in a CLP.
    OMOV where possible on relevant votes but perhaps with affiliations we need a simple rule of say you need 50 or so of your organisation’s members to live in the CLP with the exact number to be decided?

    1. In which case we should we also allow ordinary members that attend the CLP meetings to block vote on behalf of those that don’t. I can’t see the difference can you?

      Personally I’d like to see the democracy of the party opened up with electronic voting and OMOV

      1. Couldn’t agree more – OMOV definitely, electronic voting as soon as possible – including in ‘Parliament’ which might be anywhere MPs happen to be at the time.

        Electronic debate monitoring too ideally – the level of software sophistication that can detect plagiarism in written material paired with even today’s smartphone level of voice recognition may soon be able to detect falsehoods, assertions unsupported by facts etc. – the right wing’s stock-in-trade.

        Tories are blithely and unknowingly paving the way to this with their drive to stop “fake news” – they assume they’ll always be holding the levers but we already know better 🙂

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