New conference motion looks to remove MPs’ veto over leadership nominations – and removal of Watson

Move to democratise leadership elections aims to work around controversial rule blocking it
Loser Owen Smith congratulates Jeremy Corbyn in 2016

Earlier this year, Labour left organisation CLPD published a motion for this autumn’s party conference asking the NEC to re-table a change to Labour’s leadership nomination rules for 2020. Last year, many members were outraged when a recommendation of Labour’s ‘democracy review’ to make it harder for MPs to block left candidates in future leadership elections was changed at the last minute to allow MPs to retain an effective veto over candidates.

In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn only made the list of candidates at the last moment after a handful of right-wing MPs ‘lent’ him their nomination – a ‘mistake’ that will surely never be repeated.

Tom ‘Barnacle’ Watson

Now, however, a new motion to remove the MPs’ power to deprive members of a left candidate in future leadership contests has been published – and structured in a way to work around legacy rules that would prevent it being discussed at this year’s conference.

Titled ‘Nomination rights for the many, not the few’, the motion asks the NEC to table a rule change that members would not be able to table directly because of the ‘3-year rule’ on member rule-changes. It reads:

Conference motion – Nomination rights for the many, not the few

Conference notes:
• the current Labour leadership and deputy leadership election rules are not democratic.
• that when there is a vacancy, the rules require a candidate to receive a minimum of 10 per cent of Labour MPs’ and MEPs’ nominations for a place on the ballot paper.
• that when there is no vacancy, the rules require a candidate who wishes to launch a challenge to receive a minimum of 20 per cent of Labour MPs’ and MEPs’ nominations for a place on the ballot paper.

Conference believes:
• the current rules give MPs and MEPs (who make up roughly 0.10% of the membership) a veto as to who can stand and the power of potentially blocking the preferred candidate(s) of Labour’s Members, Affiliated Supporters and Registered Supporters.
• that such a nominations process is oligarchical in nature and gives unjustifiable, undemocratic power to privileged few.
• that such a nominations process denies the many who make up our party and wider movement a role in deciding its future.

Conference instructs:

• the National Executive Committee to bring forward to 2019 Conference, before the close of business, rule changes transferring the rights of nomination for the leadership and deputy leadership from MPs’ and MEPs’ to Constituency Labour Parties and affiliated organisations.

205 words.

As well as removing MPs’ power of veto, the rule change would also make it far easier to put forward a challenger to the hugely unpopular deputy leader Tom Watson. Watson has clung barnacle-like to his position in spite of widespread member demands to submit himself to a new election contest because of his media campaigns to damage the party.

Motion author Max Shanly told the SKWAWKBOX:

For a party that claims democratic socialism as its creed, the Labour Party isn’t very democratic. The current nominations process for candidates standing for the leadership or deputy leadership are oligarchical in nature and bestows disproportionate and undemocratic power in the hands of less than 0.1% of Labour’s half a million members.

The current rules give MPs and MEPs a veto as to who can stand and the power to potentially block the preferred candidate(s) of Labour’s Members, Affiliated Supporters and Registered Supporters. It’s time that that changed. It’s time for nomination rights for the many, not the few.

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36 responses to “New conference motion looks to remove MPs’ veto over leadership nominations – and removal of Watson

  1. Very good,wait for the onslaught from Watson and the rest of the far right in the PLP and their media friends.

    • Want more democracy?
      Got a smartphone?

      Conference could be an ad hoc year-round process on line. No advantage in delegates when counting millions of votes need take only a few seconds. Can even drill down to why people select particular options with a few questions, which might even suggest other options. There’d be some surprises.

      No arguments about what the membership really thinks of brexit.
      No manipulation of members with on line Skype CLP meetings.
      No waiting three years to revisit a decision or a year to deselect an MP.
      Opportunity for constant participation by members via email and an app is perfectly possible and who knows – people might actually appreciate a party that listens to them daily or weekly instead of once every five years.

      Things change much faster today than when the rules were decided.
      Maybe it’s time to catch up with the technology of the new century, or at least the second half of the 20th?

      It won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that similar technology could publish GE results the moment the polls close, or that the cost of polling would be close to £0.

      • David McNiven at 8:00 pm

        I seem to remember there was talk of this at one time but it appears to have been ‘forgotten’ about now.
        I suspect the Trade Union leaders are the biggest barrier to the OMOV democracy that you describe above. They don’t want to give up their block vote.

      • Should we care about the unions wanting to keep their block vote? I don’t think so.
        I’d have dumped them when Thatcher bought their votes with right to buy.
        Or before that when they were playing competitive differential leapfrog.
        Or before and since that when they were the most organised and determined racists I ever met.
        Fuck’em.

      • Unfortunately they will be very reluctant to give their power back to their own members

      • Yes, yes, we can all see and read about those things both having happened and happening, but do you support Laura Pidcock for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party? As a lifelong socialist she has my 100% support, I can think of no-one better suited to the position.

      • Steve, union members can make their views known at their CLPs and at the ballot box like the rest of us.
        I’m happy disaffiliating the unions if they fight to keep their ridiculously outdated voting privileges.

  2. I am totally in favour of the proposed rule changes. We need to operate all our processes on a democratic OMOV system. MPs who rely completely on us for their nomination and election should not have the power of veto over us. Furthermore too many have, as my old gran used to say, got above themselves and think they are more important than the rest of us. The present system reinforces that. We need to change it and give back the power to the many not the few!

    • It appears from the latest LabourList Survey that roughly ½ of Labour members would like the opportunity to change their MP

      “Asked whether they would opt to trigger an open contest, allowing the local party to possibly deselect their current representative, 50% of those respondents who identified themselves as Labour members said they would vote for a full selection process.
      35% of the members who took the survey said they would vote to reselect their MP, while the rest indicated that they were not currently represented by a Labour MP (and will therefore inevitably be given the opportunity to participate in a full selection, unless an early election is called before it is completed).”

      • So, after watson gets you your remain option with zero complaint from you (or the other clowns) about HOW he went about it, you’re gonna throw him under the bus, eh?

        Still, as long as he’s ‘democratically’ voted out and no-one ‘manoeuvres’ to remove him …

      • I’ve always been puzzled by the underlying idea that, once elected, an MP has a job for life (assuming that elections are won).

        The process of selection was an accepted routine when I was a councillor. At every election.

        It isn’t a magic bullet, and you don’t have to be sentimental about the wisdom of the selecting members (there is no general inherent wisdom in crowds) to accept that this is a basic democratic process. It’s just a basic and necessary check as part of the democratic process.

        As with the antagonism to putting fundamental policy questions to the members of the Party, resistance to the idea comes from the established interests afraid of losing.

    • I agree.

      An aside… warning, rant.
      I am sick of this latest fad of Parliament declaring itself sovereign over the people… the people are sovereign, MPs and Parliament are the servant/s of the people. Parliament (HoC) is becoming a de facto administration and rubber stamping body for aggressive global Capitalism and finance. HoL has always been for Capital, finance and Oligarchic so called ‘ruling class’ interests.
      EU Parliament has been a de facto rubber stamping body since its creation giving an illusion of democracy.

      It is akin to this ‘rules based system’ western leaders such as May harp on about and the egregious R2P that are both used in blatant violation of International Laws and Conventions which explicitly prohibit wars of aggression and interference in the affairs of sovereign states. Many International Laws were agreed after the aggressive Nazi assault on sovereign states and subsequent atrocities of WW2. These are laws and solemn conventions not ‘rules’ that equate to ‘do as we say or else’!

      New undemocratic systems are being put in place slowly at home and in foreign policy actions where states are being bombed, smashed, subverted and terrorized into smaller infighting entities easy to control and plunder at the will of multi nationals, finance sector and major corps and global entities. All decided by a few who often ignore the wishes of their and target populations or deceitfully, sometimes ignorantly, don’t put actions they take into proper context.

      R2P (which Blair/Clinton enabled) seems to have died a death thank heavens.

      • Matia… Simple solution Get a written constitution . We at present are subjects and as such are not a democracy as johnson will show all of us using the royal prerogative.We are little more than peasants…

      • “the people are sovereign”

        That begs an awful lot of questions about the practicalities of who ‘the people’ are and how sovereignty expresses iitself. Representative democracy is simply one way of defining the concept.

        One thing that emerges clearly from the last few years is that referendums don’t cut the mustard!

  3. As SB says in the above article, members of the PLP won’t make THAT ‘mistake’ again, so this change is absolutely crucial.

  4. YESSSSS at last , well done Max , I hope he has had this put through the rules an regs wringer to make sure it’s water tight so the RW bxxxxs can’t obstruct it .
    Democratising the party that’s what it all about and the likes of Twatson & Co want the exact opposite.
    Trust the membership as Chris Williamson says and give us the tools to do the job , we’ll do the rest .

    Every left wing CLP MUST support this motion at Conf , please mandate your delegates , no options no other choices and NO FUDGE like last year 1/3 trigger ballot bollocks .
    I wonder if Max could work on something similar to get the mandatory reselection process back on the radar for this yrs Conf ?

  5. Great, current rules treat members like children and MPs like adults so this offers more equality and democracy.
    Did my bit for union this morning and now listening to radio, some nice songs:
    Smokey Robinson, “I second that.(e)motion.”
    ’99 Red Baloons’ “This is what we’ve waited for, this is it boy(& girl) this is war!”
    Good news at last!

    • Beware interference from the Zionist Lobby if they think any of their stooges could be removed if this goes ahead.

      • That’s a given Jack and what I mean by Max putting the motion through the wringer to make it water tight . These bastards will play dirty to stop anything that threatens their control over Labour , we know that.

      • If there is any doubt about Zionist interference then have a look at the link I posted below ,,

    • Rob, when any official is appointed in the USA, no matter how insignificant their job or role they are immediately given a free trip, sponsored by AIPAC, to Israel where they are subjected to the myths and lies of Zionism.

      Israel is probably the most dangerous country on Earth. To protect its stolen land it will insert its operators into governments and institutions all over the world to subvert democracy and exercise control. We saw the mechanisms being inserted when Blair was Leader and now we can see them being used to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

      Don’t anyone tell me not to mention the evils of Zionism. For too long we have ignored it and let it fester in our Party because we were too afraid to upset those who imbued it with a religious angle by design or by indoctrination to enable the charge of anti-Semitism to be hurled at anyone who called them out.

    • rob – the problem is that, whilst the Israel influence on US policy is obvious, the source that you quote comes out of the stable of ‘iffy’ conspiracy web sources that link back to the right racial supremacist lobby.

      It is one of the problems we face in creating clear water between ‘antisemitism’ smear rebuttal and the projects of the right.

      It can get pretty tangled and murky.

  6. In the leadership election of 2016, 313,209 LP members voted for Jeremy, and approximately 130,000 new members were unable to vote because the NEC suddenly decided that only people who had been members for six months or more were entitled to vote, although they did give them a two day window in which, if they paid an additional £25, they would be entitled to vote. I don’t know how many DID pay the additional £25, and I doubt that many of the 130,000 or so even got to hear about it, but I have little doubt that 99% of them joined the LP precisely so that they could vote for Jeremy (and I was one of them!).

    And my point is this: That around 400,000 people either DID vote for Jeremy OR would have voted for him if they could have, and the Blairites and CAA and JLM and the MSM would have the general public believe that the vast majority of the 400,000 or so are anti-semitic hard-left extremist entryists – ie they have ‘transformed’ them from caring people who want to change society for the better into anti-semitic, homophobic, extremist bullies. And no doubt if Jeremy was replaced by a ‘moderate’, they would ALL magically disappear!

  7. “…to bring forward to 2019 Conference, before the close of business, rule changes…..”

    Nice idea, but I suspect this is optimistic. The Chair may rule out the practicality of this proposal as not giving sufficient opportunities for full consideration of issues. I would be pleased to see it but can see the oppositionists claiming this to be out order.

  8. All good but nothing is stopping Watson from being removed from his shadow cabinet post now, and if necessary, being given something far more boring than culture.

    Everyday he spends in post is another day he has got away with lying about Jenny Formby.

  9. I actually love CLPD! I Think ky membership of that group has lapsed – I must renew. I don’t know if this will be successful. Probably not. But hats off to them for organising OVER DECADES- bringing such motions forward and reminding us all, it doesn’t have to be this way

  10. I just noticed R H was a councillor .I was a Labour councillor.and proud of it.What was RH.. …just surprised he didn’t say Labour councillor…… Just saying!

    • Oh FFS – Nothing ‘surprising’ at all. You may have been kicked by the system (by your own account), but just because they’ve been out to get you doesn’t mean you have to develop paranoia about everyone who may disagree with you on some issues. It’s bad for the health.

  11. Democratizing of Labour Party! That’s what got CW in trouble with the right-wing PLP members, not the AS charge that we all know is a disgusting smear.

    So Max Shanly is very soon going to stand accused of trumped-up AS smear. I bet they are busy trawling through Max’s social network posts at this very moment looking for the tiniest bit of anything that can be misconstrued as such.

  12. This needs to be circulated to contacts in CLPs countrywide and submitted several times so that it makes it onto agenda as a rule change from Conference. Work should be done on lobbying Trade Unions to support it

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