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Campaign to oppose primaries

Primaries model motionThe Labour Party is calling on its members to let its leaders know by Friday 13 September what they think about Ed Miliband’s proposals on “building a better Labour Party, so we can build a better Britain.”

Tell us how you’d build a better Labour Party – a party that is rooted in the hopes of the British people, that reaches out to every community in the country, that has members and candidates from every walk of life.

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy has produced a draft motion which you may wish to use as a basis for a response by your constituency party, members branch or trade union branch on the introduction of primaries:

This (CLP/branch/trade union branch etc) notes that Ray Collins is reviewing the use of primaries in the selection of Labour’s candidate for London Mayor and for other elections.

This CLP notes from the experience of the US that primaries: drive up the cost of seeking selection; favour wealthy candidates; reduced the input of grassroots members; and strengthened the influence of right wing media in candidate selection.

We also note the Labour has a long standing membership structure that unites individual members with affiliated organisations in an effective party able to promote Labour candidates in elections at all levels of the democratic process.

We note this structure gives the Party a relationship with millions of trade unionists and helps to root Labour across widespread communities and workplaces. It is a relationship which has helped our party through its greatest crises and to our greatest triumphs.

We also note the party’s individual membership is another invaluable base within society – and the aim should be to build that into a mass membership. Should it become possible to have a say in Labour’s candidate selections without being a Labour Party member an important incentive for joining the Party will be removed. Recruiting members is facilitated by linking participation in Labour’s selections and internal elections with membership, as was successfully promoted during the 2010 Leadership election.

This CLP believes that primaries (in giving voting rights to non-members) would devalue party membership and therefore hinder the development of the committed activist base – essential to winning elections.

We believe that both the affiliates and individual members play a valuable role in our candidate selection processes, which should retained.

We also believe the method of selecting the London Mayoral candidate should be removed from the remit of the Collins review as it should be a devolved matter for the London Labour Party to determine.

We note there is no great demand from either the electorate or party membership for primaries.

We therefore oppose the introduction of a primary for the selection of Labour’s candidate for London Mayor or for any other election and call on Ray Collins to recommend that Labour’s selections processes continue to involve Labour’s membership (both affiliates and individuals) and to recommend they are not replaced with primaries.

We call upon Ray Collins and the NEC, in the current review, to reflect these concerns.

CLPs can forward their suggestions by 13 September if possible on the Collins review to the NEC and to the Better Politics Policy Commission (via the Your Britain website), to its dedicated website A Better Labour Party and by email. Please also copy them to NEC member Ann Black and to Ed Miliband.


  1. Aidan says:

    Rather difficult to get a CLP response if your CLP doesn’t meet in August (or is that why they chose it). They should move the deadline back a month.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      The best thing, Aidan, might be to send it from your branch and to ask your CLP executive to send it too if there is one before the deadline. But you can always send it later from the CLP if necessary.

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