Right-wing NEC member – seeking re-election to represent members – votes TWICE to scupper discussion meant to empower members to hold online AGMs

Labour First-backed Gurinder Singh Josan is asking members to re-elect him to NEC but acted to hinder member democracy, according to NEC sources

Josan’s spot on materials promoting the right-wing NEC slate

Gurinder Singh Josan, who won election to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in a by-election earlier this year because of a divided left slate, is standing for re-election as part of the Labour First- and Progress-backed right-wing slate of candidates in the election of nine ‘CLP’ (constituency Labour party) member representatives on the NEC.

But other NEC members say that Josan – a close associate of right-wingers such as John Spellar, Luke Akehurst and former deputy leader Tom Watson – voted yesterday to block an NEC discussion intended to restore democracy to Labour members around the country currently limited by restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the NEC meeting agenda was running out of time last night, Josan voted against deferring a discussion about CLP online meetings to the NEC’s Organisation Committee next week. The motion had been proposed by left ‘CLP reps’ on the NEC in order to create time to give it more attention and discuss it properly.

He then seconded a proposal to curtail the discussion, which he and other right-wingers voted through so the NEC didn’t have adequate time to discuss the issue.

The agenda item had been intended for discussion of online CLP meetings, which currently have limited scope, to agree proposals to allow local parties to run important annual general meetings (AGMs) online. AGMs allow CLPs to elect key executive positions to run the CLP’s activities for the next year.

Mr Josan was contacted for comment on whether his conduct was compatible with asking members to re-elect him to represent their interests, but did not respond. He also failed to respond earlier this month to questions about serious concerns raised over his conduct toward a vulnerable member and his alleged use of a local Tory to broker a meeting to discuss bringing down a local Labour councillor.

Labour members may wish to bear his voting record in mind when the ballot in the new election opens.

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  1. They are supposed to be our representatives so it does beg the question, why aren’t all NEC votes published. Why the secrecy, what do they have to be afraid of?

    1. SteveH, what they fear is democratic accountability. Paraphrasing Orwell, “some are more members than others”

    2. Agreed SteveH. Why aren’t minutes of NEC meetings made available for inspection by Labour Party members? Glasnost & perestroika.

    3. Left members tried to have meetings live streamed (and PLP meetings) but it was blocked by the right

  2. I seem to recall one of Anne Black’s anti-democratic moves when she was on the NEC was to vote with the right for an actual secret (not just unpublished) ballot…apparently it was because of fear of intimidation. Not to be confused with fear of embarassment or accountability.

  3. Left wing .right wing all a myth on the establishment NEC..who even under Corbyn danced the right wing agenda.The kangaroo court for Chris Williamson makes the Assange farce look like a bastion of democracy.

  4. NEC nominations have closed – The Results.

    ‘Grassroots Voice’ (GV) is supported by Labour-left organisations like Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD). It has six candidates and 42% of the nominations.
    ‘Labour to Win’ (LtW) represents the party’s right-wing and is backed by Progress and Labour First. They too have six candidates but only 24% of nominations.
    Open Labour – which represents the party’s soft left – have put forward two candidates, winning 11% of nominations between them.
    The Tribune Group of MPs (TMP) (not to be confused with the magazine) is supporting three ex-MPs to stand and these have together won 7% of nominations.
    The Labour Left Alliance (LLA) has also endorsed six candidates, winning 5% of nominations.

    The remaining 19 candidates are standing as independents.

    How loud is the voice of the grassroots?

    Grassroots Voice are, by every measure, the frontrunners in this race. They have the most popular candidate, Laura Pidcock. Their entire slate has 50% more nominations than their nearest competitor, and three times the number of CLPs to nominate all their candidates. There are only 80 nominating CLPs that did not endorse at least one of their candidates. In other words, they fare well in all three of the factors mentioned above: first preference votes, slate loyalty, attractiveness to other candidates’ supporters. After winning only 28% of the vote for Long-Bailey this spring, the Labour left looks poised to top this election.

    But I would urge caution. Most nominations will have been decided by general committees (GCs) elected before Starmer’s ascension. Members who have since joined, rejoined or reactivated would not have participated in this process, but they will be able to participate in the final NEC vote. This group will probably be less amenable to the left than members active under the Corbyn years.

    While Grassroots Voice is probably not as far ahead as the nominations suggest, they are almost certainly in the lead. This is no surprise as Corbyn supporters still make up a huge proportion of the party membership and GV is best placed to win those members. However, this may not be an easy task as the election goes on. Corbyn supporters are divided on the current leadership: while many are fiercely critical, tens of thousands voted for Starmer. Grassroots Voice cannot afford to alienate either group.

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