The Labour National Executive Committee’s (NEC) standing orders state that the issue of Labour’s Code of Conduct should not be discussed until October at the earliest – after the three-month minimum from the July NEC meeting that first approved the Code expires.
In spite of that rule – and the fact that it was not on the agenda for the meeting at the end of last week – expectation among NEC members is now high that the issue of amending the Code to include the adoption of the remaining ‘examples’ of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s ‘working definition will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the NEC, along with the issue of strengthened protections for members, free speech and the rights of Palestinians.
A number of NEC members still believe that the topic is ‘out of order’, but even though Tuesday’s meeting is an ‘extraordinary’ one specifically for the discussion of the Democracy Review recommendations to be put forward to Labour’s annual conference this month, it’s now essentially certain to be discussed and taken to a vote.
Resistance among the membership to the wholesale adoption of examples considered dangerous to free speech on the issue of Israel’s oppression of Palestine is still high, but as long as the examples and protections are passed as a package most members recognise that it will be the best achievable solution at least in the short and medium term.
Of far greater importance is that the issue should not be drawn out in order to hinder the passage of Democracy Review recommendations that will democratise the party and protect it from being re-seized by a small number of hardline right-wingers against the wishes of its members.
Those recommendations need to be finalised so that delegates from around the country can vote them into place when conference takes place in Liverpool and the NEC must ensure that no grandstanding or other diversionary tactics are tolerated.
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