Peter Willsman’s report from Labour’s special May executive Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 May 2015 09:08

National Executive Committee, 13 May 2015

This special executive was called to consider the arrangements for Labour’s leadership and deputy-leadership elections. The meeting was v ery comradely and there was a serious intent to reach a consensus.

Harriet Harman paid tribute to Ed Miliband for his unstinting commitment to our cause and to his dedicated leadership over five years. These sentiments were echoed all around the table. Everyone regretted that Ed was unable to be present for us to show the depth of our appreciation.

Harriet stressed the importance of party unity and the need to conduct the elections in a comradely manner. This weas endordes by every speaker, with several (me included) drawing attention to the unacceptable criticisms and negativity from several senior party bigwigs who have rushed into print with ‘wise after the event’ diatribes.

The executive will have a full discussion of the general election at our meeting next week. Our debt to our full time staff and all voluntary activists was put on record. There was no doubt that we out-organised on the ground. Iain McNicol reported that 30,000 new members have joined, bringing a total membership to 231,000. This is a very positive signal and Iain added that we are building on this through Contact Creator. The Scottish members of the executive in particular high lighted that we have not properly learnt the lessons of our failures since at least 2007 of how to counter the nationalists.

I argued that if Labour loses touch with our working class base, we will not regain their support. I pointed out that our vote increased by 3.6% south of the border, but that the old adage that ‘government lose elections, oppositions don’t win them’ remains valid. Unfortunately not enough former Lib Dems and waverers see the government as having failed.

Agreed Timetable

Fri 15 May
Election formally opens

Tues 9 June
PLP nominations & supporting nominations (CLPs, unions etc) open

Mon 15 June
PLP nominations (leader) close

Wed 17 June
PLP nominations (deputy leader) close, Hustings begin

Fri 31 July
Supporting nominations close

Wed 12 Aug
Last date to join as member, affiliated supporter or registered supporter

Fri 14 Aug
Ballot papers despatched

Thurs 10 Sept (12 noon)
Ballot closes

Sat 12 Sept
Special conference to announce result

Special rates for certain categories of members will be considered:

Registered supporters: sign up on line and will asked to pay £3 as previously agreed for the London Mayoral election. In relation toaffiliated supporters, it was accepted that many levy payers do not have emails and Iain McNicol undertook to ensure that satisfactory arrangement are made for them.

National Policy Forum (NPF), Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) & National Constitutional Committee (NCC) elections

The closing date for nominations of 10 June remains but the NPF and CAC all member ballot will take place alongside the leadership ballot  and the same applies to the ballot for London Mayor. The NCC is elected by delegates at party conference.

Councillors have eight seats on the NPF and Cllr Alice Perry pointed out that Labour Group secretaries have not yet been notified of this election and asked for an extended timetable. It was agreed that the closing date for nominations will be 31 July.

Procedure Committee

This will oversee the leadership elections and is made up of NEC officers, Jon Ashworth, Ann Black and Jan Royall (Labour’s leader in the Lords).

To be validly nominated, a candidate needs the support of 35 MPs (the PLP is 232). The ballot will be a preferential vote.

Gender balance for these elections was raised, and it was acknowledged that unfortunately no rules are in place to properly facilitate this.

Glenys Willmot raised the fact that MEPs are not able to make full nominations. It was accepted that the rules will be changed at a future party conference to facilitate this.

Candidates and staff codes of conduct

These codes were agreed. Validly nominated candidates will receive lists of all voters and the secretaries of constituency parties and affiliates on payment of £2500, subject to guidance on data protection and limitations on the number of contacts (to keep them to a reasonable level).

A cap on all cash expenditure, resources and donations in kind will be set, in line with the cap for the 2010 leadership election.

Tower Hamlets

At the end of the meeting, Ken Livingstone raised the issue of Tower Hamlets and the recent report from the election commissioner as a consequence of which NEC member Christine Shawcroft has been administratively suspended. He felt that this action was unjust and that the party should move on. Ken was supported by several trade union and CLP representatives (me included). It was pointed out that the electoral commissioner had made a damning critique of the way the NEC had treated Lutfur Rahman. Iain McNicol replied that the commissioner’s commment in relation to Christine was being investigated and if this proves not to be substantiated then that would be the end of the matter.

EU referendum

Glenys Wilmott stressed that the NEC and the party needs an early discussion of the implications of the EU referendum which was agreed.


The timetable for the London Mayoral candidate selection has been revised to the timeline below.

20th May

Period for CLP Nomination Meetings begins

10th June

Period for CLP Nomination Meetings closes

London Selection Committee draws up shortlist

17th June

Hustings Meetings begin

12th August

Last date to register as a supporter or affiliated supporter or join the Labour Party and be eligible to vote

14th August

Postal Ballots sent to members

10th September

Close of Ballot 



Plus subsequent to the NEC, it has been decided to extend the closing date for nominations to the CAC, NPF, and NCC to July 31st. It was previously June 10th.