Labour’s NEC has backed a change to the nomination threshold for future leadership contests. Future would-be candidates will need nominations by ten percent of MPs – MEPs will no longer be a factor post-Brexit.
In addition, they will require support from either five percent of affiliated unions or five percent of Labour CLPs.
Its critics have claimed this will rule left-wing candidates out of future contests, but this is an exaggeration. The strongest left candidates will not struggle to achieve the twenty-six MP nominations required based on the current number of Labour MPs, especially with unions ready to lean on MPs who are members of their parliamentary group – all Labour MPs are required to be union members.
The leadership nominations by unions show that a good left candidate can easily have the backing of the unions, who in turn would use their influence on the MP members – and support a left candidate’s campaign:
The alternative system of requiring nominations by all groups – 10% of MPs and 5% of unions and 5% of CLPs was not selected and had been widely criticised as too high a bar for left candidates. However, in practice it would have given members and unions a stronger voice – and an effective veto on the right’s preferred candidates.
Tom Watson, for example, did not receive a single union nomination for deputy leader in 2015.
This is a change that members and the NEC should push in future.
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