Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What Happened At Sunday's Meeting Of Labour's NEC

Here is an important report from Ann Black about Sunday's meeting which set out the rules for electing a new Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Ann is a member of the NEC and produces these personal and invaluable reports

National Executive Committee, 13 May 2007

The main business was to finalise procedures for electing a new
leader and deputy, though as the principles had been fully
discussed at previous meetings, all that remained was to fill in
the dates. Key events are listed below, and full information is
available on the party website. Now is the time to get to grips
with your MpURL, to follow the progress of candidates and to
register for hustings and the climax in Manchester on Sunday 24
June - go to labour.org.uk/membersnet, and ring Computing for
Labour on 0207-783-1291 if there are any problems. Now is
also the time to recruit new members and bring back former
members before the deadline of 1 June, so they can vote.

Countdown to Change

Monday 14 May to 12:30 p.m. Thursday 17 May - MPs
nominate candidates. A candidate needs 45 MPs to go through
to the ballot stage.

Monday 14 May to 12:30 p.m. Friday 1 June – constituencies
can, if they wish, make supporting nominations at general
committees or all-member meetings. The draft procedure was
circulated in March, and the final version is on the website.
Nominations will be listed in the ballot booklet.

Tuesday 15 May onwards – at 6 p.m. the first list of MPs’
nominations will be posted on the website, after which the list of
MPs and supporting nominations will be updated daily at 1 p.m.
and 6 p.m.

Friday 1 June – deadline for members to join or renew, to take
part in the ballot.

Wednesday 6 June to Friday 8 June – ballot booklets and
magazine posted to all members.

May/June - the party is organising hustings at the following dates
and places:

Sunday 20 May – Coventry
Sunday 27 May – Bradford or Sheffield
Wednesday 30 May (black and ethnic minorities) – Leicester
Saturday 2 June – Glasgow
Saturday 9 June – Cardiff
Sunday 10 June (youth) – Oxford
Saturday 16 June - London

The unions are organising the following additional hustings:

Saturday 26 May – Bristol
Sunday 3 June – Newcastle
Wednesday 6 June – London

Thursday 21 June – trade union ballots close
Friday 22 June – individual members’ ballot closes

Sunday 24 June, Manchester – leadership conference and
announcement of results.

Individual members can register online for party-organised
hustings (£10 each) and the leadership conference (£50) – first-
come first-served for all. I asked for the times of events to be
published, taking into account the state of the rail network at
weekends, and Pete Willsman pointed out that many members
would be unable to get to Manchester until the afternoon (the
first train from London is supposed to get in at 12:30 p.m.).

There were requests for additional hustings in the north-west, for
women, and for other aspects of diversity. The officers would
consider these, but stressed that it would be difficult to squeeze
more into a very packed timetable. There will be a special
edition of Question Time during the campaign, and the hustings
will be open to the media, so hopefully everyone will be able to
see something of all the candidates before deciding how to vote.

3rd May and After

The scheduled May NEC and subcommittee meetings have been
postponed, with any essential business, such as parliamentary
selections, conducted by telephone. But while recognising the
immense workload for staff, we do need to capture what
happened in the May elections before memories fade. I would
be interested in feedback from all parts of England and
especially from Scotland and Wales, which are not represented
on the NEC and which have increasingly divergent electoral
systems and political dynamics, so please mail with your
thoughts and experiences.

The End of an Era

This turned out to be Tony Blair’s and John Prescott’s last
meeting, and the Chair Mike Griffiths marked the historic
occasion on behalf of the NEC, on the day after the 13th
anniversary of the tragic early death of John Smith. He paid
tribute to John Prescott as first and foremost a Labour party man,
a key figure on the NEC since 1988, and a moderniser in
persuading conference to accept one-member-one-vote. And he
praised Tony Blair for making Labour electable, for getting
world leaders to confront moral issues, and for bringing reasoned
and thoughtful analysis to the NEC. John Prescott thanked the
party for the privilege of allowing him to serve and emphasised
that Kyoto and much else would never have been achieved
without the prime minister. However he regretted that the
position of appointed party Chair, and its relationship to the
deputy leader, remained unresolved. Tony Blair thanked the
NEC for being understanding in difficult times, and said he
valued the range of views expressed, recognising that they
reflected currents within the party even where he didn’t agree
with them. He would be 100% loyal to the new leadership, and
wished the party well. And after a few further contributions
from individuals, it was over. We shall miss them both.

Questions and comments are welcome, and I am happy for this
to be circulated to members – and supporters - as a personal
account, not an official record. Past reports are at

Ann Black
annblack@acedial.co.uk / annblack50@yahoo.co.uk

Presented with Ann Black's permission.

See also here

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