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How can I vote for Jeremy Corbyn?

CorbynTuesday’s NEC meeting which ruled Jeremy Corbyn would be on the ballot without needing to seek further nominations also made a string of rule changes to make the contest harder for him. Chief among these are raising the cost of being a ‘registered supporter’ from just £3 to £25, shutting out those who cannot afford to pay. Second, the NEC set a ‘freeze date’ for membership, only allowing those who have been members before January 12 the right to vote. This may be challenged legally – the party’s website states that being a member gives you a right to vote, and up to 200,000 people may have been arbitrarily excluded in this way.

Despite these attempts from the right, there are a number of ways that party members denied a vote – or those who simply support Labour and Jeremy Corbyn and wish to vote – can do so. One clear option for the unwaged (i.e those most likely to be unable to afford the party’s ludicrous £25 fee) appears to be signing up to Unite Community for 50p a week, then opting-in to the political fund.  

Momentum emailed members yesterday to inform them:

Yesterday we won a huge victory for democracy. Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) decided that Jeremy Corbyn would be on the ballot paper automatically for the leadership election. 

However, the NEC did also made some rulings that could impact on your ability to vote in this crucial election.

There is still a degree of confusion and we are trying to seek greater clarity, which we’ll tell you as soon as possible. Here is what we do know:  

If you joined the Labour Party after 12 January 2016:

As it stands, you will not be able to vote in the Labour leadership election. If you joined after 12 January, please complete this survey so we can keep you informed with any advice that follows. You may be able to join as a registered supporter or affiliate member (see below) to vote in the leadership contest.

If you were a registered supporter last year:

You will need to join again as either a registered supporter or affiliate member (see below) unless you joined as a full member prior to 12 January.

If you are a member of an affiliated union:

If you’re in an affiliated trade union, check to make sure you haven’t opted out of the political levy and then you can register with Labour as an affiliated member and you will be able to vote in the leadership elections. The deadline is the 8th August.

As it stands, there are two ways you can obtain a vote if you’ve been disenfranchised by the NEC’s decision.

1. Join as an affiliate supporter before 8 August (likely to be the cheaper option)

You can find an affiliated trade union to join here. Providing that you don’t opt out of the political levy, you can then register with Labour as an affiliated supporter and you will be able to vote in the leadership elections.

2. To join as a registered supporter

It is likely that you will only be able to register between Monday 18 – Wednesday 20 July. The timetable will be confirmed tomorrow. Regrettably the cost has been raised to £25.

We will let you know as soon as we know more but in the meantime, please sign up to volunteer, donate and get active.

Thank you for your support. Together, we’ll build a more democratic, equal and decent society.

In solidarity,

Team Momentum

Many activists are signing up to vote for Jeremy Corbyn via Unite’s Community scheme. I’m told by those attending Unite conference that within twelve hours of the NEC result, 2,000 new members had signed up this way. One of Unite’s representatives of the NEC, Jennie Formby, posted a public statement:

Unite is a trade union representing working people in most sectors of the economy.

People seeking to join Unite are of course very welcome but they should join at the appropriate rate.

For speed of process, we would advise would be members to join online at www.unitetheunion/join

If you are in work, then please join Unite at the full rate, which is £14.06 per month.

If you are not in paid employment; a student, carer, retired or unemployed, membership costs just 50p a week which can be paid annually or monthly by Direct Debit.

You can find out more about the category of membership that is most appropriate for you by visiting http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

All Unite members are eligible to vote in the Labour leadership election provided:
1. They pay the political levy – this will be the case unless the member has opted out.
2. They have agreed to be affiliated to the Labour Party and have signed a statement that they support the aims and values of the Labour Party and are not a supporter of any other political party. Unite member should sign up at www.unitetheunion.org/yourpartyyourvoice before 8th August.
3. That they are on the electoral register at the address given to the union and the Labour Party.
4. That have provided a date of birth and email address
5. They have joined Unite and signed up as an affiliated member by August 8th. The Labour party will be conducting the election.

The Labour party will be first check applications against the electoral register and then will conduct checks on members to ensure that they are not supporters of any other parties. Unite does not have any role in this process.

If there are further developments to the rules and regulations surrounding the contest, we’ll keep you updated. For now it appears the right’s attempts to (in Robert Peston’s words) “gerrymander” the contest may have an amusing unintended consequence – that of driving up membership for Unite.

14 Comments

  1. Matty says:

    Thanks for the article – a rather odd decision by the NEC – spun by some as a blow to Corbyn’s chances. However, as the article says, trade union membership could get a boost. UNISON is also encouraging people to join saying they could get a vote in the leadership election.

    1. Ric EUTENEUER says:

      I think the “pun by some as a blow to Corbyn’s chances” is rather more a wish by them, than the reality

  2. Bazza says:

    Yes Stalinist TOP DOWN type proposals from the Right et al to stifle the voices of the grassroots.
    Interestingly I went to a branch meeting this week where they usually get 10 people and there were about 35!
    About 4 were anti-JC, about half a dozen undecided and the rest (over 20) were there to fight for JC and a dream – members power and a potential left wing democratic socialist Labour Government, the discussion from our side was excellent but the anti JCs (like Kinnock in his horrible rant) had no ideas!
    In my area I had previously told a Momentum meeting that we needed discipline (there should be no abuse or threats against the Right who in my opinion are political non-entities) but sadly at a national level a tiny few may not have heeded this wisdom and may have given the opponents of left wing democratic socialism the narrative that they desperately craved.
    But the enemies of progress can’t stop human beings from gathering as they try to crush the flowering of members democracy in Labour.
    But there is nothing to stop CLPs holding seminars and meetings on ‘The Leadership Question’ and in these spaces for discussion people could move resolutions supporting Jeremy as Leader and perhaps also pass no confidence motions in their MP plus call for immediate re-selection meetings for the 174. And this could be made public and sent to the NEC, you see in the end you can’t kill ideas.
    I recently read the Labour rules (kindly provided by a branch secretary) and stopped reading after the first line half way down where it said “Where there is a vacancy” believe me 260,000 members say THERE IS NO VACANCY!
    What they are afraid of is that left wing democratic socialists are not afraid of the rich and powerful, TNCs, Big Business, and the media and we WILL fight to: End Austerity, Grow the Economy Out of Recession, Build the Homes that are Desperately Needed, Tackle Poverty, Get Our Schools Back (so the kids can have fun whilst learning), Have more Democratic Public Ownership, Build Unity Amongst our Wonderfully Diverse Population, and Fight Internationally for Global Peace and Stability.
    It is A POTENTIAL LEFT WING DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST GOVT v SAVE LABOUR/NEO-LIBERALISM/THE GREAT MEN AND WOMEN OF HISTORY (WITH NO IDEAS).
    Solidarity!

  3. Matty says:

    Oh dear – just in from a Times journalist:
    NEW: Labour NEC procedures cmte has ruled 6-month freeze date applies to affiliates in leadership contest. Stops £2 sign ups by Unite et al

    If true the whole article needs complete revision

  4. rwendland says:

    I have a question – essentially does becoming a supporter last for a full year?

    A friend registered as a £3 supporter on 11 August 2015. 8 August 2016, a few days less than a year after, is the final date for for updated affiliated supporter lists to be received by Labour. So if being a supporter lasts a full year, he will still be a supporter on the cutoff date this year. So should he be entitled to a vote this year based on becoming a supporter late that year?

    There must be quite a few supporters in this position.

    1. Matty says:

      I’m not sure what the exact position is but all supporters will have to pay £25 and they will have a 48 hour window to register from July 18.
      What I am not sure of is will there be restrictions on who can be a supporter. My understanding is that there won’t be but as James says below, the rules are being made up on the hoof.

  5. Peter Rowlands says:

    Yes, Matty is right, this has now been confirmed on Labour List. Can the article be amended accordingly asap.

  6. James Martin says:

    It seems that there is an NEC sub-committee that is happily making up rules and procedures on the hoof with this election without any mandate or discussion to sallow them to do so. The fact that they have now taken the vote away from large numbers of trade union affiliated members as well as direct members, but still allowed non-members rich enough to find £25 a vote strikes not just at some pretty basic concepts of decency and fairness (which of course the Party is supposed to be based on) but against democracy too (as does the bar on CLP meetings). Who are the people making these decisions – please can someone name and shame them, and then we can lobby them. But also how can we challenge and overturn this germandering nonsense?

  7. Syzygy says:

    ‘The party’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, is the procedure committee’s returning officer. Others on the committee include Ann Black, Keith Birch, Diana Holland, Jim Kennedy, Paddy Lillis, Ellie Reeves, Mary Turner, Tom Watson, Margaret Beckett and Glenis Willmott.’

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/14/new-members-may-be-barred-from-voting-in-labour-leadership-contest

    So 6 out of 10 are anti Corbyn

  8. SANDRA CRAWFORD says:

    I am very concerned about the ban on meetings.
    I have a colleague who voted for Yvette last year who is very upset by this and feels that it is wrong.

    It is like Milgram’s obedience experiment. Everyone is unquestioningly accepting something which is normally only done in authoritarian states.

  9. Bazza says:

    Yes brothers and sisters and meet and defy the top down little people. Take the power!
    We are the many and they are the few!
    X & Solidarity!

  10. Sussexlabourleft says:

    I wrote recently on another thread on Left Futures that a branch in the Hove constituency had passed a motion of confidence in Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, as had nearby Hastings & Rye CLP, and it would be considered at the forthcoming annual general meeting. The a.g.m. took place on Saturday with a huge turnout of members participating. The result was a clean sweep for the left and the removal of New Labour supporters from the Executive Committee.
    Today, the news (see below) is that the N.E.C. has decided to annul the meeting and suspend the three-constituency strong district Labour Party.
    I think this crushing of the efforts of local party members will have a temporary demoralising effect. However it should be seen in the context of a deepening struggle for the future of the Labour Party as a vehicle for social democratic or socialist politics against neo-liberalism and against the acceptance of pro-capitalist economic austerity policies by government.
    So now Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party members must campaign for a functioning internal democracy in the party itself.
    Fortunately, we have allies in the trades unions and Unite the Union, holding its national policy conference in the same city, has strengthened its position by calling today for some control over the Parliamentary Labour Party through support for prospective parliamentary candidate reselection.
    The purpose of the Labour Party is to represent the unions in parliament!
    The actions of the neo-liberals in the PLP, through their continuous undermining of the elected Corbyn leadership, to co-ordinated sabotage and resignations from the shadow cabinet, bullying of Corbyn to wear him out and now an unwanted leadership campaign, and further legal challenges today from Mr Foster to challenge the leader’s right to stand in an election against challengers, the better to drain party finances, are actions of a neo-liberal faction that needs to be fought. The trades unions must step up their involvement in this fight now and inform their members, that just as in 1981 , against the S.D.P. but also within the unions themselves, and before that, in 1931, the splits from Labour against the Labour Party were from the right wing. The 172+ Labour MPs’ wrecking activity is in this tradition. It massively weakens the fight against the Tory government which is re-organsing itself. Labour in the south of England, including Brighton, Hove and District and others will be part of the modern struggle for Labour’s survival as a party of labour. It is the trades unions that need to take back control of the party they founded against the neo-liberal enemy. Corbyn would help himself and us as members by stepping up his activities, with trade union support, to bring the party apparatus and full-time LP officials under control. There are local party members who are still suspended who have still not had their cases dealt with by the NEC and we ought to have them in the party.

    http://www.facebook.com/BrightonHoveLabour/

    The Labour Party National Executive Committee have suspended the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, and annulled the results of the AGM. The 2015/16 Executive remain in place until a new AGM is held.

    This does not affect Labour councillors, individual members or their ability to vote in the NEC or Leadership elections.

    We will be making no further comment pending the investigation, and all enquiries should be directed to Labour South East Regional Office: http://www.labour-southeast.org.uk/contact

    http://www.brightonandhovenews.org/2016/07/14/labour-suspends-brighton-and-hove-branch-and-quashes-election-of-new-executive/

  11. Peter Rowlands says:

    Why has this article still not been amended? The new position ( 6 months for affiliates) was apparent from mid afternoon yesterday. It is now 8.30 am on the following day. It is vital that we ask all affiliates since Jan 12th to become registered supporters next week, Mon to Wed..

  12. Rich says:

    Please help!
    I joined Labour on the £1 student fee a week ago so that I could support Corbyn.
    Now I have no idea what the situation is. Can I vote if I pay £25 today? Noone is giving out accurate informartion- no the party nor the unions.
    I only have today!
    Thanks

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