Excl: Labour NEC authorises Formby to make general election reselection plan

Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) sub-committees met on Tuesday – and one of the outcomes will trigger intense discussion and activity at constituency parties (CLPs) around the country.

In 2017, the calling of a snap election resulted in Labour’s NEC and administrative machine – then both still weighted in favour of the party’s right wing – announcing that CLPs with an incumbent MP would be forced to keep that MP as their general election candidate if the MP wished to stay on. In many CLPs without an incumbent MP, unsuccessful candidates from the 2015 general election were simply re-imposed.

The decision provoked outrage among the party’s left-leaning mass membership, as it forced many CLPs to campaign for unpopular right-wing candidates.

Last September, Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool approved new rules for candidate selections, lowering the bar for CLPs to trigger a selection contest to just one in three branches supporting a contest – and removing the ability of right-leaning unions to ‘stack’ branch affiliations into CLPs to protect favoured incumbents. Right-wingers were not happy.

Now an NEC source has told the SKWAWKBOX that the NEC has made a statement of intent – and of the party’s preparedness for a new general election – by authorising Labour general secretary Jennie Formby to prepare a plan to ensure that CLPs have the opportunity to call a selection process if they so wish, even if Theresa May calls a new ‘snap’, short-campaign general election.

The plan is not expected to be ready in time for next Tuesday’s full NEC meeting and the next one is not scheduled until March – but the NEC ‘officers group’ expects to meet earlier to approve Formby’s plan when it is ready.

Labour members eager to select a candidate who better represents their aims and politics will quickly be starting their own plans for a rapid trigger process and identifying good would-be candidates to contest seats with unpopular ‘centrist’ incumbents.

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    1. Yeeees indeedy ! Potentially, a historically HUGE opportunity for us on the Left to purge (sorry, make that “democratically de-select, in favour of better candidates” ) the 50 of the really hard core treacherous Blairite PLP fifth column – who WILL UNDOUBTEDLY stab us in the back immediately Labour wins a General Election unless removed.

    2. We’ll just have to hope that this welcome and long overdue move doesn’t turn out to be too little too late.

  1. OK so what EXACTLY does this mean ?

    1. Can we without having to ask permission of the NEC or anyone else for that matter as a CLP instigate a re-selection process .
    2.Is the threshold of 30% still a requirement ?

  2. *Rubs hands and cracks popcorn open*

    (Monte Cristo stays in the tube for now)

  3. Under the rules a trigger ballot for re-selection of an MP can only happen “If the sitting MP wishes to stand for re-election” presumably by issuing a statement that they wish to do so.
    Should the NEC ask all MPs if they intend standing at the next GE now and if they don’t respond within a stated period of time ( e.g. 2Wks ) take that as a statement of intent?
    This would give all CLPs time to ensure their preferred candidate is in place ready to campaign in the case of a snap GE.

  4. I’ve always supported a fresh selection before every election – it’s normal practise in local goverrnment.

    But it’s not a cure-all; the usual shenanigans of caucuses, favouritism, even bribery and con artistry still apply.

    Remember – many of the despised right wing were elected by popular vote in the 2000’s.

    Bullshit crosses apparent boundaries, and not all self-seekers wear a Progress badge.

    Just saying. Caveat emptor.

    1. Unusually for “RH” this is true. we all remember the disastrous PPC, and eventually new MP, in Sheffield in Clegg’s old seat (hard to believe we will win THAT one this time round !) . But , despite this danger (ie, opportunists spouting the correct slogans and getting selected , without proper checks to find out if they are REALLY good candidates) , it is hard to see that the opportunity to remove at least 50 of the most rabid PLP wreckers , who simply WILL stab a new Labour government in the back immediately, should be foregone , just because a few new MPs could turn out to be like the Sheffield mistake.

      There is a slight risk of one or two of the new choices of PPC , and eventual MPs being a mistake – but an absolute CERTAINTY that the likes of Benn and Cooper, Kinnock, Mann, Bryant, Umunna, et al, WILL betray us at the first opportunity

      1. My guess is that the whole process will be quite varied and its usual contradictory – and at times messy – self.

        Your reference to Hallam is appropriate – I don’t think the recent selection pulled up any trees πŸ™‚

    2. “Remember – many of the despised right wing were elected by popular vote in the 2000’s.”
      Correct, but that was back in the day when Blair and Murdoch were best buddies and had plenty of Neolib support in the media

    1. Yes, absolutely – And start with the utterly yellow and self-serving PCS.

      The antithesis of everything a union ought to be.

    1. Just remember that the roots might not always agree with you – or even amongst themselves.

  5. Disgusting last time that we had appointmentism by an obscure few instead of democratic selection by the many.
    The Gaul of some people to accept being chosen in this way and it was a Rigjt Wing careerists paradise.
    We shouldn’t talk of deselections but about selections of the best left wing democratic socialists to help JC transform society. If you don’t want join in this project then be honest and say it and remember “only the stars will ride the storm!”

  6. My MP Dan Carden was foisted on me by left leaning panel of NEC. An ally of Len McCluskey

    1. Oh that’s just terrible, Elizabeth. I’m gutted for you. Truly gutted.

      Here in Wallasey we’ve had angela illeagle foisted upon us since 1992, Wavertree have had the woeful berger ‘foisted upon’ them since what seems like an eternity with the endless shrieking, but in reality it’s 9 years (Of failure & disappointment)

      Oh, and count yerself blessed it weren’t fat joe anderson that was ‘foisted upon you’.

      I want to hear local MP’s in parliament on issues that matter for the PEOPLE of Merseyside. I get that from Dan Carden.

      From illeagle and berger, -plus just about every other Merseyside labour MP bar Margaret Greenwood – I hear nothing but their self-interested bleating. We’re a remote second place – until it’s election time, of course.

      Not remotely interested in these ‘minority members’ of progress LFI, labour co-operative and the rest of the self-serving westminster bubble who’s own selection processes were dubious to say the least. Those who bleat about injustices that are pertinent to their own little societies within their ‘broad church’ , at the expense of the interests of the people who were given little choice but to put them in their positions once they’d been ‘foisted upon us’ by the New Labour bliarite twunts.

  7. We absolutely should be constantly working to identify, vet and build the skills of potential candidates so that we’re always ready, especially in opposition if we’re serious about winning.

    Tory old boy network goes back generations & regenerates itself through inbreeding and the public school system so there’s no shortage of dulcet-toned wannabes on their side however shallow and incompetent.

    If I had to nominate a candidate from my area I wouldn’t have a clue where to start and then I wouldn’t know how good my choice had been for a year or more.
    Frankly I doubt the value of local constituencies choosing PPCs in today’s homogeneous world of identical high streets and mobile nuclear families.
    In fact I don’t believe national selection of parliamentary candidates is necessarily undemocratic if we dispense with constituencies.
    Local selection of council candidates is obviously essential and they could have greater autonomy.
    I know parliamentary candidates being parachuted in is disliked by CLPs but a fair mind would acknowledge that London does genuinely pull in much talent from the rest of the country.
    Because of that it seems to me that selection of candidates for central government might better be done by party head offices – by full-timers with access to everything known about potential candidates.

    If we recognised the modern truth that most vote for party and not for individual candidates a lot of other problems and complaints might be solved.
    I have in mind that in GEs we just tick Labour, Tory, LD or whatever.
    Each party nominates up to 650 candidates at conference and each party’s MP numbers precisely reflect that party’s votes.
    Leaders should probably be required to accept MPs in the order chosen by conference until the next conference to limit leaders’ powers.
    Party leaders would be able easily to replace deceased/jailed/etc. MPs with the next available and willing candidate on the list, avoiding the need for by-elections.
    No change in majority even if a plane crashes.
    Genuine PR and no gerrymandering.

    Rip it to bits, it was just a thought doodle πŸ™‚

  8. David – I think a major flaw in your argument is contained in this sentence :

    “In fact I don’t believe national selection of parliamentary candidates is necessarily undemocratic if we dispense with constituencies.”

    The imposition of candidates during the Blair years, and the running of Conference as a public relations stunt was devastating to Party support.

    Essentially, spreading the unwisdom of one bunch of sectional interests (at national level) to pre-empt ‘wrong’ decisions by a variety of conflicting local interests would just increase the disillusionment with the incredibly centralized politics that we have in this country.

    I’d argue that, even if there was some evidence of particular cumulative wisdom at the centre – which there isn’t.

    I’ve watched the effect of the increasing take-over of parliamentary seats by metropolitan tourists (a growth from 0% to 75% in my last district). It wasn’t a pretty sight : there was certainly no evidence of enhanced talent – and that’s with full knowledge of the local deadwood that there had been at times.

    Particularly burned into my memory is the new tourist MP refusing to take on board the CLP’s and DLP’s unanimous opposition to the idea of academy schools. Of course – the local view was based on a platform of wide experience. And – more importantly – was right.

    Then there was the general centralizing tendency of the Blair and Brown governments – dismissive of the peasants in the sticks. Great record that had.

    No – I can’t think that exacerbating the worst aspects of our rickety system of governance is a viable idea.

  9. It wasn’t the method of doing the picking that stuffed the party with his clones, it was that Blairdelson was doing the picking – had JC/Formby/Williamson been doing the picking we’d have the party we want already.
    A Co-op CLP will keep on picking Co-op candidates won’t it?
    The Blairites’ CLPs clearly don’t all hate them, many will keep on canvassing for them and may well get them re-elected on the strength of the Labour brand – deselect a Blairite this year his right wing supporters at that CLP or any other might manage to turn the tables next year.
    “Of course – the local view was based on a platform of wide experience. And – more importantly – was right.” might be a valid argument if all local views were the same but they weren’t.
    Your personal experience is just that – I don’t accept unsupported anecdotal evidence as anything more than anecdote – whether it’s yours, Lundiel’s or anyone else’s.
    Centralised wisdom is the essence of government/parliament.
    Sectional interest v. sectional interest is the essence of politics.

    I’m not convinced yet πŸ™‚

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