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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