The definitive guide to selecting an MP under Labour’s new (2018) rules

labour rosette.png

Labour’s annual conference last week in Liverpool passed new rules for the process of selecting an MP when there is already a sitting candidate.

While the final, detailed NEC (National Executive Committee) guidance for what has been termed ‘affirmative ballot’ (AB) meetings are still to be finalised, below is a definitive guide of the new process as it currently stands according to senior Labour sources. Finalised details will be confirmed as they become available.

The motion

The exact rule-change motion passed by Labour’s conference is as follows (emphases added):

NEC Rule Change on trigger ballots

Chapter 5 Clause IV.5. Delete sub-clause A and B, and replace with:

A. If the sitting MP wishes to stand for re-election, a trigger ballot will be carried out through Party branches and affiliated branches according to NEC guidelines.

B. If either one third or more of Party branches, or one third or more of affiliated branches, indicate that they wish a selection to take place, a selection shall proceed. The MP shall be included in the shortlist of candidates from whom the selection shall be made. Where neither one third or more of Party branches, nor one third or more of affiliated branches, indicate that they wish a selection to take place the MP will, subject to NEC endorsement, be selected as the CLP’s prospective parliamentary candidate.

The new rule reduces the threshold for triggering a selection process from a majority of all branches – affiliates and members – to a third. Conversely, a sitting MP will have to win five out of every six branches to prevent a selection process taking place.

Even more importantly, it separates affiliate and member branches into their own separate categories and either can cause a selection if a third of those branches vote for one to take place. This is vital because some right-leaning unions had been stacking up ‘ghost branch’ affiliations in CLPs with MPs they wanted to protect in order to control the previous ‘trigger ballot’ process, but the new rules prevent unions or members influencing each other’s decision.

When can an affirmative ballot take place?

It is currently intended that AB meetings will only take place when a general election has been called. This is to avoid the possibility of long periods with a ‘lame duck’ MP in post, counting down the days to his or her replacement.

Mandatory affirmative ballot

Campaigners for ‘mandatory selection’ (or the version some have recently termed ‘open selection’) wanted a selection meeting to take place every time there is a parliamentary election. However, the AB system makes AB votes mandatory instead, because the rule says the process will take place as long as a sitting MP wishes to stand in the new election.

This means that members will not need to call for AB meetings, they will become routine before every general election – in every constituency that has a sitting Labour MP. In constituencies without one, a full selection is required in any case and can take place ahead of an election being called.


Branch votes for a selection will need to be ‘quorate’ to be valid. However, a separate rule-change last week reduced the quorum for all CLP (constituency Labour party) or branch meetings from 25% – a level hardly any meetings achieve in practice, although local standing orders could vary it – down to just 5%.

This means that in a branch of, say, two hundred members, just ten would need to attend for the selection vote to be valid.

Simple majority

The vote for the branch will be by a simple majority, with just two options to vote for – yes or no – as to whether the branch wants a selection to take place. No need for candidates to have been identified or any other complicating factors, just ‘yes we want a selection to happen’ or ‘no we don’t’.

If, for example, fifty people turn up to a branch AB vote, a simple majority of 26 or more will result in that branch counting toward the required one-third of branches.

Will there be postal votes?

At the moment, postal votes are intended for the CLP-wide ‘OMOV’ (one member, one vote) ballot to select a winning candidate if a CLP has called for a selection process – but postal votes are not planned for AB votes.

However, the NEC is still finalising its options in this area and postal/electronic voting is under consideration – as are ‘virtual meetings’.

What if my CLP’s branches don’t divide by three?

If a CLP has a number of branches that divides by three, the one-third applies easily. If it does not, then a ’rounding up’ will apply.

This means that a CLP of 9 branches would require 3 to vote in favour of selection for one to take place – but one with 7 or 8 would also require 3. One with 6 branches would require 2 – but 4 or 5 would also require 2.

Looked at from the other direction, in a CLP of nine branches a sitting MP will need to win seven to prevent a selection. In one with three branches, s/he would need to win all three. In one with five, s/he would have to win four – and so on.

What if my CLP isn’t organised in branches?

The details of the process in this scenario are still to be agreed by the NEC. However, CLPs that do not meet in branches still have ward-based meetings to select local election candidates. It’s likely that something similar will apply for AB votes – but this section will be updated as soon as the process is finalised.

If a selection is called, how will candidates be selected?

Once a third of branches has voted for a selection process, candidates will be invited to apply. The long-listing and short-listing processes have not been changed. This would also have been the case under the ‘open selection’ system some had called for.

Once a short-list has been finalised, all eligible members in the CLP will be entitled to vote in the OMOV selection ballot. This will be an ‘exhaustive’ process – if one candidate does not achieve an outright majority in the first round, the lowest-scoring candidate will be eliminated and ‘second preference’ votes will be taken into account, and so on until the winning candidate is identified.

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  1. “The power to call a selection process is now in members’ hands.”

    No it really isn’t.

    This is the key point. To quote:

    When can an affirmative ballot take place?

    “It is currently intended that AB meetings will only take place when a general election has been called. This is to avoid the possibility of long periods with a ‘lame duck’ MP in post, counting down the days to his or her replacement.”

    Conference changed sub sections A and B but not C through E. If you look at Chapter 5, Clause IV, 5, D:

    “D. When there is a formal announcement of a royal proclamation to dissolve Parliament before the trigger ballot or the constituency
    selection meeting(s) have been held, the provisions of this clause (other than this paragraph) shall be suspended and the said MP shall be reselected as the prospective parliamentary candidate, subject to NEC

    So if it is left until, as you suggest a senior source is saying, a GE is called then in fact the provisions of the Affirmative Ballot (its not it is a reformed Trigger Ballot but nice bit of channeling Frank Luntz!) is actually suspended by sub section D and all sitting MPs are automatically re-selected subject only to NEC discretion. Members have zero input to this.

    I agree the AB mechanism is better because it lowers the threshold to 1/3 and stops the ghost branch nonsense by affiliates. The quorum we don’t know because the rule says the AB is conducted “according to NEC guidelines”. In my view this empowers the NEC to set almost any procedural process they want and that would include altering the default quorum.

    However the fundamental control of the mechanism itself is still totally in the hands of the NEC. To ensure no AB’s or Trigger ballots ever take place all the NEC has to do is run out the clock until a royal proclamation to dissolve Parliament and the rule is suspended so no AB and no member choice on who their MP/PPC is.

    We have to face facts here this mechanism is a sham. It is a polished turd and no amount of continually polishing is going to make it any less a turd. It is designed to be this way and was forced through Conference to stop any re-selections taking place unless the NEC decide they want to make it happen. That is not member control or party democracy. So long as members have zero opportunity to make an AB kick off then it is a worthless ornament. If it were altered to allow a CLP to vote to begin it then it might be a genuine change but as is this is nothing more than a kick in the teeth to members who want to see realy Party democracy.

    I am sorry to be critical because as you know I hold you and this blog in high esteem but a dead horse is a dead horse no matter how eruditely you try to sell it.

    1. I had strongly suspected that this was the case but I had been reserving judgement until I could study it further and discuss it with friends.

      I had thought that I must be mistaken because surely they wouldn’t con the membership like this, especially after all the talk about a member led party and accountability.

      It is profoundly disappointing that the will of the members has apparently been subverted yet again by vested interests.

      FFS don’t they realise how counter productive this is, they can only lead members (particularly new ones) up the garden path so many times before they get pissed-off and just give it up as a bad job.

      The NEC and the Unions are going to have to wake up-to the reality that nearly 1 in 50 (c1.8%) of the people who actually turn out to vote are Labour Party members. They can’t just carry on with their old ways of treating members (the people that finance the party) like sheeple. The 100s of 1000s of new members need treating with some respect. They will only put up with this sort of crap for so long.

      Will the Democracy Review turn out to be nothing more than a PR sham, nothing more than the equivalent of a Tory Government so called ‘consultation’ on the latest round of cuts for the vulnerable.

      What happened to the much vaunted democratisation of the party and OMOV.

    2. Well observed. On all fours with the generally sham nature of the Democracy Review and its retention of the Kinnockite-Blairite National Policy Forum (as a cover for an eternal leadership monopoly on policymaking) and the Blair-era NEC with privileged sections for MPs, government etc (to make sure we don’t get mandatory reselection and other democratic reforms).

    3. Thank you Duncan. I often jump straight to the comments section and to comments like yours to find out what people really think.

  2. Well as a new member I find this system incomprehensible and tedious and can’t see how it can be member led.

    1. I agree. It feels like bureaucracy is being deliberately ramped up and used against the working class.

  3. Is it one-third of all branches or one-third of branches that hold an AB?

    Why wait until a GE is called? With fixed term parliament’s it would be easy to say that a CLP shall hold an AB at least 6 months before and not earlier than 12 months before the date of the next scheduled GE or immediately if Parliament is dissolved earlier.

    1. It is a third of all branches. One branche should vote for AB with a majority in order to count for the third reselection requests.

  4. What a effing mess , that’s why OS was so straight forward and now we need to make dam sure its back on the agenda for the next Conf no matter what. I am , and am sure, many members are becoming increasingly angry at the antics / disregard that the NEC/ Momentum ( Lansman ) and the TUs have shown the membership .
    We are 500,000 strong and DEMAND you listen to us , take a vote across the membership via email OMOV and see ?

    1. The problem here is multifaceted:

      Firstly, assuming the Rule (Constitutional) Motions submitted this year for timetabling at the 2019 Conference are allowed by Party Rules to go forward – relevent Motions have been submitted on selection of Westminster candidates by Derbyshire Dales CLP; Sherwood CLP/ SW Hertfordshire CLP’s; Young Labour; Kingswood/ Wells CLP’s; Crawley/Islington South & Finsbury/ Mid-Sussex CLP’s; and Mid Dorset & N Poole CLP for next year – you are still left with the same problem faced this year.

      Let’s consider what happened this year and some of the meaning of the Constitutional arrangements for the demos.

      Firstly, delegates arriving on site early Sunday morning to attend their 9:00 am Regional Briefings & collect their Card Vote booklets were met with the first of four daily Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) Reports containg the days new timetable.

      Sunday’s Report was a 67 page document which included 29 pages of the outgoing NEC compromise Motion on the Democracy Review; plus an 81 page Appendix containing all the Contemporary Motions accepts by the CAC for the priorities ballot – of which CLP s have to vote for 4 and TU Affiliates have to vote for 4 to forward for debate.

      Conference commenced at 10:30 and by 10:40 we were into the acceptance of the CAC Report issued that morning with its appendix. Labour International attempted to Reference back this Report on the grounds that the 29 Page NEC Constitutional Motion, scheduled for 14:15 would mean their Motion on the Democracy Review and the motions of other CLP ‘s would not get debated and would fall as a consequence of the NEC Motion being passed.

      What also needs to be borne in mind here is that the Labour International Motion & those of 47 other CLPs which would fall as a consequence were submitted at the 2017 Conference to be heard at the 2018 Conference.

      The fact that the Chair for the session was Andy Kerr from the CWU. Affiliate Union was probably no coincidence. The Reference back was put to a show of hands and the vast majority of the auditorium, CLP delegates, voted to Reference back the Report to enable the I ternational Motion to be heard which called for what’s become known as Open Selection.

      The votes against on the show of hands were from the small section of the auditorium containing the TU Affiliates. This is where things get Constitutionaly more complex for the unaware.

      In simple terms each of the two Constituent parts of the Party – CLP’s and Affiliates – have 50% of the vote each. So a card vote was called by the Chair of the session. The result was:


      For accepting to the Report – 36,516 (9.49%)
      Against (for the Reference Back) – 348,421 (90.51%)


      For – 1,800,021. (97.77%)
      Against – 41,004 (2.23%)

      The Percentages are then halved to produce the following 50/50 split.

      CLP’s For 4.74% – Against 45.26% = 50%
      Affiliates For 48.89% – Against 1.11% =50%

      Giving a card vote outcome of

      For Acceptance of the Report 53.63% (4.74% +48.89%)
      Against acceptance of the Report (for the Reference Back) 46.37% (45.26%+1.1%

      Whilst this means only the NEC Democracy Review Motion went forward and everything else fell as a consequence it also means the same scenario will play out under this way of conducting card votes at any future Conference.

      Some of the interesting questions this throws up are as follows:

      Firstly, there was a time some people can recall when the T&GWU alone could throw somewhere in the ball park of 1.5 million votes on the floor of a Conference. Those days are gone. They are gone not only because of the legislation on political funds but also, in the main because of structural changes in employment and the economy which has seen not only relocation of production and therefore employment abroad but alsothe the hnological substitution of labour.

      A substitution which has significantly reduced the number of votes Affiliate Unions have at Conference over the years and a trend substitution which will accelerate as a result of AI. A consideration which appears lacking in the National Policy Forum Report Section.

      What that means is that on present trends there will come a switch over point where the CLP’s could well have more votes than the Affiliates. The bad news is that will come far too late.

      Secondly, the process described above throws up some problematic issues in these times of mass community membership of the Party.

      For sure, there’s the obvious issue of a Party of 600k plus members, some of whom are also trade union members being outvoted by political levy payers who are not members of he Party.

      But it gets weirder. Consider the following exercise for your CLP. Some of the CLPmembers will also be members of a trade union who pay the political levy. Others will not.

      Those who are in the former got two votes in the Card Votes at Conference. In Card Vote 9 for example (the results detailed above) they were tallied in the CLP votes against accepting the CAC Report as CLP members and also in the accepting the Report in the Affiliates vote tally as Trade Union members paying the political levy.

      Those in the latter group only get the one vote.

      There are clearly issues which need addressing if the Party is serious about democracy in a scenario where some members get two votes at Conference whilst others only get one whilst both can be out voted using the political levy of non party members.

      Until these issues are properly addressed it matters not how many times you bring something to Conference when such an unsatisfactory process exists. It will go nowhere unless the Union Affiliates can be persuaded. Even then, such a process is still undemocratic and unworthy of a Party Nicholas needs to set the Gold Standard on the demos.

      1. Dave – You’ve done a excellent job of explaining a complex situation.

      2. Thanks for that Dave. I’ve got the razor and the bottle of gin and I’m running the warm bath now. But that isn’t your fault!

      3. Thanks Dave and confirms my opinion as to what an effing mess this is and it’s seems to getting worse the more the analysis is done .
        This is NOT democracy but a historic throw back to the days of back room stitch ups. The new younger members , whom there are many , must be looking on in utter disbelief/contempt believing that the party that styles itself on socialist values can be so utterly partisan. Its not acceptable and has to go.
        There has to be a way to sweep away this old bureaucratic clap trap , I don’t know how as I am not ” brainy enough” but perhaps Duncan S-D can suggest something.
        But one things for sure if Labour is to survive into the future as a real socialist movement with an ever increasing number of members then this crap has got to go .
        I just don’t get it that we have TU’s who dislike ( to put it mildly ) the Blairite RW MPs , who appear to be standing in the way of a simple and democratic process for removing them and making everyone’s life inc the leaderships so much more productive in getting the policies enacted .
        The longer these Blairites ,who will never change remain , the worse it will be for the leadership and a possible Labour Govt.
        I don’t understand why there is not a more positive push from the top team to help themselves by approving and supporting OS .
        One suggestion that has been mentioned is for the membership to take the nuclear option and not help or aid any of the MPs who are RW Blairites to ensure they loose the seat , crazy !!
        But when one is faced with the same old politics and there is no other way as the powers are not going to listen or change,, then rather like the Brexit vote it’s a case of to hell with it all and press the sodding button .
        To some extent I can see the screwed up logic of it.

      4. I am plagued by a recurring nightmare scenario – After the next election we get in with a small but manageable majority and the newly elected ‘usual suspects’ decide this is the ideal opportunity to form their new party and f**k everything by resigning from the Labour Party.

      5. Honestly got no idea where this is coming from. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to the new system, where unions have no influence over the member vote, which is also perfectly straightforward – at least as far as it’s been defined, still more work to do on that

      6. Rob,

        As detailed further down in response to Ceredig, there are places where the issue of OS is largely academic as it merely formalises the reality in which many members have already voted with their feet and will not do the business for anyone who runs the Constituency, along with those who subscribe to their little clique, as though it were their personal fiefdom.

        Two other issues are the obvious difference in organisation and experience between the Unions and the CLP’s (which the CLP’s need to address; and the way policy is done.

        Having attended Union Conferences as a regular delegate in the eighties and early nineties what is obvious is that LP Conference is not where the nitty gritty of policy is formulated. Apart from the DR reference back on Sunday everything else, from propositions through to reference back of NPF Report sections went through.

        Most policy happens through the National Policy Forums and that is where CLP ‘s need to get stuck in, if possble. Written submissions have no guarantee of being taken account of. CLP’s need to get people into those forums because that is where the real business is done. Conference is merely a shop window and delegates merely extras.

        The other issue is timetabling. Firstly trying to cram too much into a Conference which used to run Sunday to Friday lunch but which now runs from Sunday to Wednesday lunch with the National Policy Forum sessions running in sessions of three at a time (leaving CLP’s with less than three delegates having to choose which one(s) to leave out) over lunch time on Sunday and at 8:15 in the morning on Monday and Tuesday before start of Conference proper – reducing attendance.

        Putting four or more propositions along with reference backs to the floor to be debated at the same time is nonsensical. One minute you are talking about Grenfell, the next about housing or something else. Or you can get several speakers picked out on the same proposition whilst others who want to talk about one of the other motions on the floor at the same time are frustrated. You need to timetable each debate properly one at a time.

        Problem is that you have a leadership and a grassroots broadly in tune and a legacy managerial bureaucracy in the middle, particularly in the Regional structures, which control the structures and processes who seem to be largely in tune with those in the PLP still wedded and committed to the past.

      7. Ceredig,

        I’ve found that throwing yourself on top of the spiked railings more effective.

    2. Dave Hansell. “Putting four or more propositions along with reference backs to the floor to be debated at the same time is nonsensical. One minute you are talking about Grenfell, the next about housing or something else. Or you can get several speakers picked out on the same proposition whilst others who want to talk about one of the other motions on the floor at the same time are frustrated. You need to timetable each debate properly one at a time.”

      You are spot on. I was tempted to say it is because of incompetence on the part of the CAC or whoever but it is nothing of the sort, it is shear manipulation. We had a debate on Brexit, Windrush and Palestine and then delegates were chosen at random to speak on any of the three. This was done entirely, in many peoples” view, to dilute the debate on Palestine because the LP and John McDonnell in particular, is absolutely terrified of upsetting the Zionists within who are determined to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn as Leader.

      1. As I know some of the people on the CAC, I can say that’s untrue.

      2. Skwarky, I also know someone on the CAC and I still believe it to be true. However, if I am wrong, then it was shear incompetence.

  5. The snap election of 2017 only had a seven week period to get a candidate in place (if there wasn’t a sitting Labour MP) and campaign for the election. It took the NEC two weeks to agree the procedure and put the candidates in place. That left five weeks to get the candidate known (we were a Tory marginal). Sitting MPs have the advantage of being known in the constituency.

    How long will it take to get the branches and affiliates balloted, have the selection meeting and get NEC approval, before the campaigning starts? I also suspect that the NEC would first have to meet to agree a time frame for CLPs for each stage of the procedures. A step that does not appear to have been factored in and a further potential delay. The new procedures are cumbersome, so it will not be a quick process and that’s time lost by Labour, potentially giving the opposition an advantage. This is especially important in marginal constituencies with a sitting Tory MP, where Labour candidate exposure to the electorate is essential.

    The lesson from the 2017 snap election is that Labour cannot depend on the luxury of a fixed term Parliament, where the election date is known in advance and the long and short campaign periods are defined. Once a snap election date is announced Labour has to be in a position to hit the ground running. It seems likely that these new rules will only hinder CLPs. Once the Tory’s realise this, they will take full advantage of the potential chaos these rules are likely to generate.

    As I suspected, it’s a dogs breakfast.

  6. What a complicated bureaucracy here… and for what exactly? I mean Skwak, stop giving too much energy in order for the member to swallow this turd. Start preping the fight for next year conference when OS will again be debated and will pass this time because the majority of what constitute the labour party wants it, period.

  7. Duncan Shipley Dalton wrote:-

    “So if it is left until, as you suggest a senior source is saying, a GE is called then in fact the provisions of the Affirmative Ballot (its not it is a reformed Trigger Ballot but nice bit of channeling Frank Luntz!) is actually suspended by sub section D and all sitting MPs are automatically re-selected subject only to NEC discretion. Members have zero input to this.”

    This does appear to put ‘AB’ firmly into lipstick on a pig territory I am afraid to say.

    I would still like to know what happens in the case of MPs subject to CLP no confidence votes.

    1. As of now nothing. A no confidence motion has no substantive effect under the rules.

      As for OS that was my preference because the LI motion had a fixed timetable. You won’t get a new OS rule to conference because the 3 year rule blocks it. Earliest opportunity is 2022 in my view.

      1. Thank you, I suspected a no confidence vote was symbolic but you have added to my despondency with a reminder of the 3 year rule!

        I fear for the effectiveness of a Corbyn led Labour government with the current PLP.

      2. The NEC also have a three month rule blocks and they didn’t care about it when they passes the deeply flawed and roten so called IHRA antisemitism definition, so why do the members should care about these undemocratic rules? Shameful

  8. It would be useful to see a detailed description of how selection of candidates works in some other countries.

    1. Why look abroad, in this country the SNP, Lib-Dems and Greens all do mandatory (re)selection.

      Unfortunately its something the Labour Party and the Conservatives have in common, both parties don’t trust their membership.

      1. I said ‘detailed’, to assess how well it works not just citing the fact that it is done – with regard to the timing, for example. Ok, good, SNP etc. Why look abroad? If my memory is correct, ‘other countries’ appeared within the argument of the Open Selection campaign.

      2. No other party in the UK is comparable with Labour – and few abroad. Others have only one constituency to accommodate – the members. Those parties often sideline their members nonetheless.

        Labour consists of members, unions and other affiliates. It’s a movement and the will of the members is of huge importance – but it’s not the only relevant or valid will.

      3. If it is OS and OMOV all that would be irrelevant and wouldn’t make any difference.

  9. The left clearly needs to organise better in the affiliated unions in order to put a stop to this.

    Of course, there is the ultimate sanction when it comes to election candidates: Only campaign for, or donate money to, those candidates who are worth supporting in the first place.

    1. Organising is always better than not organising. But put a stop to what? Unions can’t do anything to prevent members calling for a selection

      1. Unfortunately it appears that the Unions put a stop to open selection, I think this is what Tony was referring to.

        Also it appears to be unclear as to whether CLPs can initiate a trigger ballot without the prior consent of the NEC.

    2. Well, yes, the membership does, in the final analysis, have the nuclear option of simply saying we will not campaign for, and will in fact campaign against, any MP who has incurred a vote of no confidence. If we are going to get a right winger whatever we do let’s have a true Tory rather than a red Tory.
      Of course this would require iron resolve on the part of the membership, but it may turn out to be the only way we can wrest control from the manipulative power freaks of the NEC.

      1. If I might add a pertinent observation here:

        First some context. It seems reasonable to observe that most members will have at least one other family member who will vote Labour.

        In 2017 the majority in the Constituency in which I reside was roughly twice the CLP membership at the time. Clearly indicating that in this case the seat depends on the votes of local and active CLP Party members. Pissing them off, keeping them out of the loop and disdainfully ignoring them is therefore not a sane and rational approach.

        And here’s the rub. In seats like that – regardless of the machinations of the affiliate TU (& I will have observations to make elsewhere on this thread) – many local members have already voted with their feet on this.

        Going out for the first time cavessing during last year’s GE was embarrassing. With most sessions I attended consisting of three of four door knockers ( including the MP). On only three occasions did I find around six or seven of us. This seat could easily have been lost to the real Tories given the collapse of the UKIP vote.

        It was only by people being shipped in from the wider area and other Constituencies to get the known Labour voting contacts out which kept the seat. Given what’s happened locally since, along with the off putting literature people vowed never to shove through doors ever again that is going to present a problem of local activist turnout if things do not change.

        Surveying the situation, which I have to accept will not be unique to this Constituency, I’m reminded of an occasion many years ago announcing earnestly to a packed workplace depot that the first stage of national industrial action would commence that very day with everyone working without enthusiasm.

        The peals of laughter this was greeted with was a valuable lesson that, whether it’s the shop floor or the activist base in the CLP’s, the membership are usually ahead of the curve. A successful campaign requires boots on the ground. In many places that now depends on a change of candidates.

        If that does not happen we are likely to lose a number of seats we should be winning. The affiliates who voted this the other Sunday have just cut off their noses to spite their faces.

  10. This is not a good situation. The PLP is still dominated by too many Blairites, Red Tories and Friends of Apartheid Israel. In order for the membership to truly get control of the party and make it fully as democratic as possible these people or most of them need to be deselected. These are in affect zombie MPs, that is MPs who hate Corbyn and the membership will never accept his leadership and will continue to undermine him at every turn. OS is needed more than ever!

  11. How will this new system be affected if Parliament approves the boundaries for a 600 mp house of commons.

    1. Won’t be affected at all – except some MPs will end up competing against each other as well as against new candidates

  12. @Dave Hansell , re your comments further up this thread , spot on regarding the membership and leadership top team being in agreement.
    The membership is , as you said , way ahead of the curve and the block in the middle has to change or go , the issues is how to make that happen .
    CLPs and members getting stuck in at the NPF level all good and well but this in itself is a antiquated system . What to replace it with ?… Direct feedback to the membership and OMOV system to vote directly on policies , not via the CLPs for discussion as not everyone can go to the CLP meetings , or maybe some form of local ratification of the results of OMOV on polices perhaps involving the CLP ? .
    I don’t know and am not informed enough to suggest but I am sure there are lots of folks in the LP who know what would work better , but it has to involve the membership more than putting out complex documents for comment , you make your input but have no real direct meaningful say over what is decided . There must be a better more up to date way .

    The days spent at Conf are NOT enough , it ludicrous to think that any large organisation can get all it’s really important business done in 4 days . I don’t understand why its now like this , it needs to change and it’s not fair on the delegates to expect them to deal with this amount of info and pressure in such short timescales. Cost maybe an issue for delegates but the LP is now very buoyant with funds and this is where vanity projects like Labour Live should be dumped in favour of subsidising delegates who would attend a longer conference.
    Had we had a better system then no doubt the wishes of the membership for OS would by now have been implemented

  13. The exact period in 2017 was:

    18th April 2017 PM calls snap GE
    19th April 2017 Parliament votes to hold GE
    (2 weeks later=)
    3rd May 2017 Royal Proclamation/dissolution
    (9 days later =)
    11th May 2017 deadline for nomination papers
    8th June Polling day

    So if you look the rule at 5.IV.5.D that scraps a Trigger Ballot it comes into effect 2 weeks after a snap GE is announced.

    This would mean that in a snap GE scenario a CLP would have 2 weeks to organize and hold a Trigger ballot amongst all its branches (remember need for 7 days notice of meetings). Then if it voted for an open selection in the TB would have approx 9 days to make that open selection.

    Under 5.IV.10:

    “10. The normal procedure may be dispensed with by the NEC where no valid nominations are received, or when an emergency arises, or when the NEC are of the opinion that the interests of the Party would be best served by the suspension of the procedures issued by the NEC.”

    To apply common sense here it seems to me that in a snap GE scenario there is no prospect whatsoever of Trigger Ballots taking place and any kind of even limited democratic selection is unlikely.

    If the time runs on until the end of the fixed term in May 2022. Then a TB is more likely. It would be hoped the NEC might set off selections in all seats in 2021 or earlier. However the important point here is that the NEC entirely control this not members. It is not mandated in the rules for the NEC to do this it is entirely discretionary. They may do it when they want or not at all. They get to choose.

    I agree the mechanism of the TB has been moderately improved. It is still not OMOV and so is not fully democratic. More concerning though is the fact that setting one off is not in control of the members in any way. Genuine grass roots democracy means members not just having the chance to periodically tick boxes in a vote it means genuine power and choice vested at a members level.So far I see no real evidence of the leadership actually trusting members with any real choice and thus the commitment to grass roots democracy looks to me to be quite hollow.

    1. Thank you Duncan for your inputs. Now I think Skwawkbox would be well advise to answer to those arguments.

  14. Some thoughts comrades: True democracy is a lovely dream. It takes ages. Cut off points are needed all the time. Skill and honesty about reality is required. How does one satisfy everyone, or does one separate those who talk but don’t walk the walk? Vast majority of members in our constituency of 2000 members, 1,500 approx of whom support Corbyn, do no work at all and never turn up to meetings. Open selection would have been done by maximum of 300. Is that democratic? No. I was Procedures Secretary on our selection process earlier this year. Leaving the argument about how expensive and how onerous it is as a job to get right, (no way would it have been triggered every three-four years because nobody here would have been prepared to do the work or find the minimum £3000 it cost. Do you know what a postal information letter of 2000 members costs? Hustings cost as well. Even negotiating a fulfilment house for second class post cost a fortune. In order to avoid legal challenges, the procedures panel had to have affiliate reps -the GMB rep was put forward by the joint trades union group, and the co-op. The GMB rep was opposed to the candidate who was the favourite to win for local political reasons and because the GMB has positioned itself as anti-Corbyn and pro-Tom Watson. It made life very difficult until the GMB rep realised the awkward position they were in and the conflict presented and resigned the Ctte. No one else came forward so they were not that organised, but the key person was the NEC person overseeing the whole process, who was a rightwinger, anti- Corbyn. That person could have interfered at any point if we put a step wrong under the rules. When you have a left wing Corbyn supporting NEC then you are in a much much stronger position. We have at the moment. And they need to be on the appropriate committees. Actual voting under the new rules will be by OMOV. I think at Conference it was simple. Unions voted not to have their power reduced. They have been the backbone of Labour. Len McLuskey is our man but he knows we must bring other unions on board and get supportive General Secs in the GMB and other unions. Can you imagine what Unite would have done under his right wing challenger ? We must learn to dance cleverly. There will be more tears before we get it right. I know Democracy would say has to work for all, Sometimes, in branch meetings, listening impatiently to people who go on and on and on about nothing, missing the point all the time, I feel like being an autocrat not a democrat! The old system worked in favour of the same old status quo and old Labour establishment. Now it has shifted.

    1. Surely a lot of the problems you outline above would be negated if mandatory reselection was adopted because it would become a standardized procedure. It is also worth noting that the SNP don’t seem to have any difficulty in managing their mandatory reselection procedures.

      1. Can’t find anything on Mandatory Reselection in SNP – Greens do it but that is more manageable as they are v small. Unlike SNP. 125,000 SNP members in 2018/ Like Labour at snap election MPs were reselected by involvement of National Executive. I also found this for SNP:
        Vetting or assessment of members for consideration is carried out by a candidate assessment panel appointed by the National Executive Committee We don’t have that in Labour The calibre of half of those who applied in my CLP was truly dire but the tendency was to interview them all to ‘give them a chance.’ It is also expensive for some candidates and we had no expenses money to help give. We did offer to put a couple of people up in comrade’s homes.

        The panel helps establish a register of centrally-approved candidates, reviewed on an annual basis
        Constituency associations have responsibility for overseeing the selection of candidates
        Members of 13 months’ standing, who are on the electoral register in the constituency, vote for their preferred parliamentary candidate
        The decision by local members is subject to approval by the party’s national secretary and the business convener

        We had an announcement of the timetable for selection on labour website and on Labour List and other internal websites. Those who applied had to complete involved application forms and have it signed by their CLP Chair and Secretary. They also needed two references also from Labour members .They had to be a TU member. Each had to declare that they had never brought the Party into disrepute and there was a confidential disclosure form for past/ spent misdemeanours.

      2. http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/06/back-to-the-future/
        “The SNP has mandatory reselection for every MP and MSP for every election. It is a fundamental democratic need. The mainstream media are now trying to generate horror at the idea that the Labour MPs should be accountable to their local members, in whose name they wish to stand again. It is a ridiculous argument that people who have behaved like Simon Danczuk should have the right to represent the Labour Party for life. Yet it is the democratic alternative which the media are seeking to demonise.”

  15. I don’t think the rule book say that trigger ballot needs to be called when a GE is called.

    Clause IV (page 31 of 2019 rule book) just says that NEC will establish a timetable.

    Indeed, they are usually done in advance. For instance, Welsh Labour did the trigger ballot for 2021 Welsh Assembly elections in January-March 2019. London Labour is currently doing the trigger ballot for Assembly Members (election in May 2020). Trigger Ballot for Police and Crime Commissioners were also done this spring (again election is in 2020). The London and PCC trigger ballots are on new thresholds, while Welsh Labour used the previous method.

    1. Correct. But when the article was written, the rule book had not yet been changed. NEC is about to give a green light.

      1. True, I got lost in the threads and I didn’t realize it was from October 2018

  16. ‘If I was a Joe Stalin which I never ever would be.
    I would kick Right wing of Labour out.
    But the first then it would be he.
    But this is the system that we have!
    And we need to make it work.
    If we only had open selections.
    But perhaps someone a somewhere was a bloody Burke!’
    Perhaps the NEC could declare that the process should start in September 2019 to be completed by December 2019.
    It could be argued this could give candidates time to get themselves known as an election is likely to come at any time.
    Oh by the way has anyone seen Johnson – No Show Jo – or to the tune of ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Cheap’ “Where has Boris gone? Where has Boris gone?

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