Latest post on Left Futures

How votes work at Labour conference

Over the past few weeks, I have explored the motions that will come before conference, what’s happened since Refounding Labour, and the proposed changes to the party constitution from CLPs, which if passed will make the party more democratic.

Today, I’ll be looking at the various votes held at annual conference – and they are held in a number of ways.

The first votes will be for the priorities ballot – that is, to decide which of the contemporary motions will be debated. Those Contemporary Motions that slip through the CAC’s nets and reach Conference will be grouped into subjects and published in CAC Report 1 available on Sunday morning at delegation meetings, from the Party stand and when delegates enter the Conference Hall. These subject headings then go into the Priorities Ballot, which will be held on Sunday, probably between 1.30pm and 4.00pm.

If CLP delegates vote for the same four topics as the trade unions, only four motions will be debated. Therefore, to ensure maximum debate at conference, CLPD issues advice to vote for an alternative four topics. This will be printed in Campaign Briefing on Sunday. Each CLP delegation votes as one in the priorities ballot.

Voting will also take place to elect the Conference Arrangement Committee (CAC) and National Constitutional Committee (NCC). CLPD will give details of the candidates it is supporting in these elections to delegates in our daily Campaign Briefing (known colloquially as The Yellow Pages), distributed outside the conference centre. Voting will likely take place on Monday – but make sure you check Campaign Briefing for exact times. Each CLP delegation votes as one in these elections.

The CAC has seven members.  There are five general section seats (of which two must be women) and two CLP section seats (of whom one must be a woman).  In 2012 only the general section is up for election – each CLP has 5 votes in this section. Biographies of the CAC candidates and information about obtaining the ballot papers at conference are usually issued to CLP secretaries and/or delegates in early September.  The biogs. are usually printed in the delegates’ report.  GCs should then decide how the vote is to be cast.  The votes are recorded and published.

CLP delegates will also vote for their representative on the NCC.  It is important that delegates are fully mandated by their CLPs.  The candidates’ biographies are likely to be sent out in early September and may be sent direct to delegates rather than to the CLP. They will also be published in the delegates’ report.

The Labour national executive has issued a Code of Conduct for internal elections which includes the following:

  • Candidates are allowed to canvass delegates but must not distribute literature inside the conference hall.  Contact with delegates must not be carried out in a manner likely to cause offence or be seen to be applying pressure to delegates.
  • If one candidate is allowed to distribute literature at an official Labour Party event then that facility must be available to all candidates.
  • Labour Party staff employed by the NEC shall not canvass or distribute literature on behalf of any candidate.
  • Please immediately inform NEC members and the General Secretary of any infringements or possible infringements of the Code. You can discuss these issues with CLPD additionally.

On Tuesday, delegates will vote for the national policy forum’s priorities for the year. This is a new initiative and flows from the Refounding Labour consultation.  The idea is that Conference will give the work of the NPF a steer by agreeing a number of priorities.  On Tuesday the NPF and its governing body, the JPC, will present a list of possible priorities from which Conference will choose in a ballot.  At the time of writing the actual mechanisms of this ballot were still being discussed.

Additionally, there will of course be votes throughout the week on policy motions and rule changes. The latter are likely to be held on Wednesday morning, first thing. Voting on policy motions or conference procedure is normally by hand unless a card vote is requested by a delegate or by the chair. Voting on rule changes is always by card – delegates need to keep their wits about them.  Quite often the platform gets in a muddle, which makes the situation doubly confusing.

This is an edited extract from Peter Willsman’s delegates’ guide to 2012 annual conference, sent out to all CLPs and available in full online here. See previous instalments published on Left Futures: on contemporary motions, an update on Refounding Labour, and proposed changes to the party constitution.

Comments are closed.

© 2024 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma