Source: Labour List UK
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, which 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.
Further details to follow…