|Reports from the NECs at Labour Conference 2016|
|Tuesday, 01 November 2016|
Reproduced from Yellow Pages
NEC 24 September Structures set to be debated
At the first NEC meeting of Conference, Jeremy Corbyn was congratulated on his win and welcomed back as Leader. A marathon NEC earlier in the week had put on one side the Deputy Leader’s proposal that the Shadow Cabinet be elected by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to allow for negotiations. At an NEC meeting on Saturday evening, this proposal was dropped – at least for now – pending a full discussion of possible rule changes on electing the Shadow Cabinet and the structure of the NEC, to be held at an NEC “away day” in November.
The NEC held earlier this week had also agreed to add two new places to the NEC: one nominated by the Leader of the Scottish and one by the Leader of the Welsh Labour Parties. There was a suggestion at yesterday evening’s NEC that the November “away day” should discuss how these two NEC places should be filled – by selection or election. Unfortunately this suggestion was misinterpreted as an attempt to overturn last Tuesday’s decision – and the Chair closed down the discussion and moved on.
It is likely, therefore, that a rule change adding these places to the NEC will be included in the rule changes coming to Conference on Tuesday morning.
NEC 26 September: all smoke and mirrors
Sunday’s CAC Report 1 contained the statement that “the NEC agreed a package of rule changes at its meeting yesterday, which will be voted on as a single item.” At Monday’s NEC, several members objected to this statement, saying the NEC had certainly not agreed to one card vote on all 15 of the (mostly unrelated) rule changes set out in the Appendix to CAC Report 1.
The rule changes are a very mixed bag, including issues relating to affiliations to CLP AGMs; a national annual women's conference; probity of Labour Combined Authority Mayors & Police Commissioners; annual levy to the party by Labour Group members; NEC seats for Leaders of the Scottish & Welsh Parties; eight TU members of the TULO Contact Group being able to attend Clause V meetings and Scottish & Welsh ECs to be responsible for administrating the selection of PPCs. In response to the objections, it was argued that the Refounding Labour document had been put as one package to Conference a few years ago.
It was then pointed out that this was a coherent group of proposals and involved only one or two rule changes, whereas today we have a dazzling kaleidoscope of subjects. It was further pointed out that this bizarre procedure is not only unprecedented at Annual Conference, but must surely be unprecedented anywhere in the labour movement. This point was endorsed by the most senior NEC member, who was very worried, in terms of procedure, that we were moving into totally unchartered waters. At the end of the debate the Chair of the NEC resolved that a vote should not be taken at the NEC and he turned to next business.
The senior NEC member then raised a procedural point – namely that this bizarre procedure must not be accepted as a precedent of any sort and that in future, rule changes should be considered separately. The NEC Chair accepted this point and asked for it to be minuted.
NEC 27 September
Dennis Skinner is retiring from the NEC at the end of Conference and was given a standing ovation. Dennis responded by giving one of his impromptu and rousing speeches.
The new NEC Chair is Glenis Wilmott, Leader of the Labour Group of MEPs. Andy Kerr of CWU is the new Vice Chair.