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Excl: NEC’s new twin-track parliamentary selection process should help improve left representation

Truncated selection process to ensure members can choose candidates before general election should also increase number of left candidates and MPs

The senior ‘officers group’ of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has agreed two new, accelerated processes for the selection of parliamentary candidates to ensure that members have the opportunity to choose their preferred candidates before the expected general election.

Contrary to some reports, the NEC has agreed a twin-track process – with different streams for seats currently held by Labour – or that were won by Labour at the last election – and those currently occupied by other parties.

In the twenty or so Labour-held seats vacated by retirements or defections, the NEC will long-list potential candidates. A panel made up of NEC, regional and local Labour representatives will establish shortlists on which members will vote to choose their parliamentary candidate.

For seats that Labour did not win in 2017, local members will be given full control of the truncated process.

For both streams, the process is designed to be completed in just a week, as opposed to nine weeks for the usual process.

Unusually, deputy leader Tom Watson backed Corbyn’s preference for members and regions to have full control of fast-track processes. The NEC’s decision to reject this seems to have been driven by the suspicion of some members that Watson wanted it in order to better influence the selections toward his preferences in the numerous constituency parties in which the right has managed to retain control despite the left membership majority.

Recent trigger results have demonstrated how easily selection processes can be skewed by a minority of influential right-wingers, so the NEC’s decision can only improve the representation at parliamentary level of Labour’s majority left membership.

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  1. IMO a good move by the NEC wary of the List of NEC drawn up canditades but lets see

  2. A different perspective has been reported elsewhere.

    New selection process agreed by Labour’s ruling body

    A new, fast-tracked parliamentary selection process has been agreed by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) that will see the ruling body take partial control over contests for candidates.

    Labour’s NEC officers decided on Monday that the NEC would draw up long-lists of potential parliamentary candidates ahead of the next election, then mixed panels – comprised of NEC, regional board and local party representatives – would establish shortlists.

    Under the agreed plan, the final stage and decision will be taken by selection meetings of Constituency Labour Parties. The entire process is intended to be conducted over just seven days.

    LabourList understands that an all-members selection process – which would not have given an additional level of control to the NEC – was rejected by members of the NEC officers group in favour of the course of action outlined above.

    Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader who sits on the NEC, argued unsuccessfully for a more member-led process. This would have been identical to the normal selection process, but significantly sped up.

    LabourList has also been told that Jeremy Corbyn himself argued in favour of the Watson-backed member-led process. But the leader and deputy leader were not successful in pushing their case.

    Another plan, which would have given total control to the NEC and seen parliamentary candidates imposed wholesale, was also rejected by the ruling body with a number of members expressing opposition to it.

    The vote was taken by members of the NEC officers group, which does not comprise all NEC members but only: Corbyn; Watson; NEC chair Andi Fox; vice-chair Ian Murray; treasurer Diana Holland; chairs of NEC panels Jim Kennedy, Claudia Webbe and Ann Henderson.

    Parliamentary selections have been paused across the country since mid-September – a decision that saw many CLPs demand that their contests resume ahead of a likely early general election. Parties such as Vauxhall and Nottingham East have previously had candidates imposed by the NEC and there was vocal opposition to this happening again.

    The party has decided that truncated processes are necessary because the full, standard process for selections usually takes nine weeks to complete. There may not be sufficient time for these to be undertaken before an election is called.

    But some activists and a number of NEC members have pointed out that CLPs have been demanding permission to start their selections for an extended period of time. It has also been argued that selections should be prioritised over trigger ballots, which are ongoing.

    1. And to think all this time wasting shit could have been avoided if Lansman and MClusky hadn’t vetoed MS.

      Brilliant well done you two ……idiots

      1. I think everyone now understands why Lansman took that position.I am assuming MCCluskey took it to retain more Union influence,but I don’t really know.

      2. I think, John, that the term is ‘more influence for union officers’ (often elected on a small minority of the membership).

      3. Working people need only one union – the Labour Party.
        A union of one trade competing with unions of other trades in negotiations with employers foments division between them exactly as the Tories would if they’d invented unionism themselves – exactly as they did when they had an empire to play with.

    1. Both Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson were representing the members interests by arguing for greater membership involvement at CLP level, whose interests were the 6 NEC officers representing?

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