Concession at councillor hustings weakens member influence over party matters
On Saturday, Labour leadership hopefuls appeared at a hustings in front of assembled Labour councillors – a group still dominated by the right of the party, many of whom are determined to get back the influence and status they rightly lost as the party’s members dragged it back to its roots.
The councillors’ response was a demonstration of the arrogance and entitlement that led to their lack of support among members – and one that included some shameful abuse toward Rebecca Long-Bailey.
But all four candidates failed the wider membership. When the arrogant right-wing councillors demanded greater representation on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) – a move first proposed by Keir Starmer, who was represented on Saturday by Jim McMahon because of a bereavement – every candidate caved in.
An increase in the number of councillors, who already wield disproportionate influence at a local level, would dilute the power of member representatives on the NEC – and gift the Labour right a level of influence its numbers do not merit.
It was a colossal failure of leadership.
By conceding, every one of those hoping to lead the party agreed to disempower and disenfranchise Labour’s almost 600,000 members in favour of a few thousand self-entitled officials who have not enjoyed the loss of prestige that the behaviour of many of them, over years and on Saturday, has deserved.
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