As the SKWAWKBOX reported yesterday, Unite insiders – one of the UK’s and Labour’s largest unions – say that the union is set to get firmly behind changes to party rules to bring in ‘mandatory reselection’ (MR) of Labour MPs. Activists, along with MPs such as Chris Williamson, have been campaigning for the change to empower members and improve the accountability of MPs for their behaviour.
The current trigger-ballot process makes it extremely hard for unhappy members to prevent a sitting MP standing as their candidate at a new general election – and moves by right-wing unions and affiliated organisations have long been underway to stack the branch-based trigger ballot system for the protection of existing ‘centrist’, right-wing incumbents.
Campaign analyst and longtime Labour member Charlie Mansell, something of a maven when it comes to analysing the influence and likely voting impact of union and member decisions in the party and whom the SKWAWKBOX has rarely known to be far wrong in such matters, believes that Unite’s plan may well give MR a convincing majority at next month’s Labour conference in Liverpool:
The precise left/right mix of delegates from CLPs (constituency Labour parties) at Conference won’t be known until voting on contentious issues begins – but if Liverpool 2018 resembles Brighton 2017, Mansell’s estimate will be pretty close.
There is no room for chicken-counting and much work remains to be done to ensure all the unions mentioned swing behind Unite and Labour members, but there is certainly a basis for cautious optimism that the change will go through as long as no ‘left field’ manoeuvres by its opponents at, say, NEC level succeed in blocking or neutering it before Conference.
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