Centre Left bids for policy-making power

Labour's manifesto with "a new dawn?" written on itWhilst the eyes of the media are focused on the Leadership election, nominations also open this week for other important elections.  A Left slate is emerging for both Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Policy Forum (NPF).  The most significant of these is the NPF election: for the first time, this will be an all-member ballot in the constituencies, a change won last year with the support of most trade unions but against the fierce opposition of the Leadership.  The Guardian quoted a union source at the time as saying “the coalition being forged today illustrated a new mood of cooperation between the grassroots and the unions”.

In the last elections in 1998, the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance, which brought together such organisations as the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Save the Labour Party, and the Labour Representation Committee, won four out of six places on the NEC in an all-member ballot.  However, in the last NPF election, not a single one of 55 constituency places was won by the Centre Left. Voting was by conference delegates only who were strongly briefed at “regional delegates briefings” against Centre Left candidates.

If the Centre Left’s share of the vote in previous all-member ballots for the NEC (winning a majority in all eleven party regions in 2008 and all but one in 2006) is reflected in this one, the face of policy making in the party will fundamentally change. The party conference is likely to be able to vote on any policy on which the unions and constituency grassroots were in agreement, since they would have sufficient votes on the National Policy Forum.  Discussions this year have involved Compass and Compass Youth as well as organisations previously involved.

For the six constituency places on the NEC, the Grassroots Alliance have so far narrowed the possible slate to eight contenders.  Its member organisations will be calling on the supporters in the constituencies to nominate six of them over the coming weeks.  They are:

ann blackAnn Black, current Chair of the Party and NEC member since 2000, Secretary of Oxford East CLP and a member of UNISON’s National Labour Link committee, she reports back here.

Peter KenyonPeter Kenyon, elected to the NEC in 2008, is Secretary of Cities of London and Westminster CLP and Chair of Save the Labour Party and blogs here.

Christine ShawcroftChristine Shawcroft, NEC member since 1999, is Secretary of Nottingham South CLP and has previously been Leader of Tower Hamlets Council and PPC for Meriden. She is a regular columnist in Labour Briefing.

Pete WillsmanPeter Willsman, first elected to the NEC in 1998 having previously served for many years on the Labour Conference Arrangements Committee, is Secretary of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, and reports back here.

ken livingstoneKen Livingstone is former Mayor of London and Leader of the Greater London Council, MP for Brent East and member of the NEC. Many of his speeches and writings can be found here.

Susan Press, is Vice-Chair of the Labour Representation Committee, Hebden Royd Town Councillor, Secretary of Calder Branch Labour Party and Chair of Calderdale NUJ. She blogs at Grimmerupnorth.

Sam TarrySam Tarry is National Chair of Young Labour, Compass Management Committee member, GMB activist, Hope not Hate organiser and recently elected Barking and Dagenham councillor.sofi taylor Follow him on Twitter @SamTarry.

Sofi Taylor is a member of Unison’s NEC, Chair of the STUC Black Workers Committee and a former member of the TUC General Council.

For the 5 constituency places in each of the eleven Labour Party regions on the National Policy Forum, the Grassroots Alliance have also agreed candidates. For more information, please contact the Editor via this spam-proof e-mail link.

  1. Hi – how’s the NPF slate being put together? (Couldn’t help noticing there were a lot “to be confirmed” in Yorkshire)

    • All the CLGA organisations (CLPD, LRC, STLP, Briefing, Compass Youth etc) have suggested people, asking their contacts in the regions. In some cases, including Yorkshire, we seem to have too many and we’re trying to get them to resolve it amongst themselves.

  2. Useful info, Jon.

    And what is the process for the Grassroots Alliance establishing its longlist and then ‘narrowing’ it. Who does the listing and narrowing?

    How does a CLP nominate people. Is it just by resolution? Is there a form? Where is it sent to?

    I’m new to all this.