Mandatory selection set to pass conference with Unite backing


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:

mansell mr.png

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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  1. The New Labour MPs have forced this proposed change. If they had accepted Corbyn’s two resounding leadership wins, then mandatory reselection may not have been uppermost in members’ minds.
    But they’ve continually lied about and smeared their own party to such a degree that local parties deserve the right to choose someone else as their candidate.
    The party would be a far better place without the worst of them.

  2. The risk of dissident MPs sabotaging a Labour majority must be removed. They have repeatedly betrayed our trust.

  3. It’s a very moderate demand so I hope Conference accepts it. The experience of the 1980s was that very few MPs were actually deselected, but MR did make MPs more accountable to the Labour Party. For the SDP defectors, that was beyond the pale and they walked…

  4. Please, Skwakbox, take every opportunity to refer to this as “Open Selection”, not just mandatory selection. It is important that people understand the distinction.

  5. CLPs and membership also need a way to force elected party officials to renew their mandate and a way to ensure that at least one member-selected candidate is on the ballot.

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