CLP was one of first to be switched to delegate structure after Corbyn’s first leadership victory
Local Labour activists in Manchester Central CLP (constituency Labour party) are encouraging all members to attend an all-member meeting (AMM) called for tomorrow, 13th June, under Labour’s new rules allowing CLPs to switch to regular all-member meetings instead of a delegate basis by a simple all-member vote.
The meeting will determine whether or not to return to an AMM model for CLP meetings – allowing members of all branches to participate even if not delegated by particular branches. The delegate structure has been extensively used by the right to try to retain control of CLP executives and decisions, as it can be ‘stacked’ by the creation of union or affiliate branches who send delegates to vote.
Manchester Central was amongst the first CLPs to switch to a delegate structure after the unsuccessful ‘coup’ against Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2016. Many local left activists have railed against it ever since, believing it denied the left its full democratic voice.
Tomorrow’s AMM comes after a number of contentious incidents. In 2017, the CLP was revealed to have misled members about their delegate entitlements to Labour’s annual conference at a time when key left-right battles were set to take place at the event in Brighton.
Last year, an attempt was made to deselect popular left-slate National Executive Committee (NEC) member Yasmine Dar, who topped the ballot in the last NEC election, as a council candidate. The challenge was successfully resisted, but many local activists saw it as an attempt by the right to ‘take out’ a local left councillor.
The past two years have also seen a running ‘turf war’ over the Socialist Health Association (SHA), an affiliated Labour Society with delegate entitlements to the local CLP. Former national organiser of the SHA Martin Rathfelder was expelled and sacked from his position over alleged interference in local branch elections.
The Greater Manchester branch of the SHA was then suspended with national officers citing financial irregularities, ‘serious problems revealed in the membership base’ and ‘misuse of SHA membership’ to ‘create and influence factional political delegation to Labour Party structures’. Greater Manchester currently holds over a third of the SHA’s entire national membership, a steep increase from only a handful of members a few years ago. Senior members of the Manchester Central right were members of the suspended branch’s committee.
AMM supporters also believe that it will make the CLP more inclusive, as the current system is believed to discriminate against members that are BAME, disabled, young, on a low income or who have caring responsibilities.
In this context, left activists in Manchester Central believe that the meeting on the 13th is set to be a pivotal moment in the history of the CLP and are asking all Manchester Central Labour members to attend.
The meeting is scheduled for 7pm tomorrow, 13 June, at the East Manchester Academy, 60 Grey Mare Lane, Manchester M11 3DS.
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