The following democratic rule changes (constitutional amendments) were submitted last year and so are coming up at this year’s Labour Party conference unless the Conference Arrangements Committee, for now still dominated by the right, rules them out of order or they are somehow manoeuvred out. The NEC can still submit changes for this year – last year the right successfully used it to submit their anti-democratic changes!
Added up these rule changes would make quite a significant difference to strengthening Labour Party democracy, including beginning the work of restoring a sovereign conference. It is worth saying that they the result of work from activists, particularly in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, and not a push from the leadership or from Momentum nationally.
For a PDF file of all rule changes submitted this year, see here.
Rule change 1: leadership elections
Chapter 4 Clause II, Section 2B (ii)
“In the event that a potential challenger attains the threshold and that an election will take place, the incumbent (Leader or Deputy Leader) will be automatically included on the ballot”
Rule change 2: leadership elections
“In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be supported by 15 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP. Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.”
Replace the words “15 per cent” with the words “5 per cent”
Rule change 3: so CLPs can submit a rule change AND a contemporary resolution
Chapter 3, Clause III, Section 2C
The Labour Party Rulebook 2016 (page 13). Chapter 3 Party Conference, Clause III
At the start of the last sentence delete “Alternatively” and replace by “Also”
Rule change 4: allowing conference to vote in parts
Chapter 3, Clause III, Section 2G
Policy documents Page 13
Amend the first sentence as follows: after “strategy” end the sentence and insert: “Conference has the right to refer back part of any policy document without rejecting the policy document as a whole. Conference shall also consider…”
Rule change 5: abolishing the one year’s delay for rule changes from CLPs
Chapter 3, Clause III, Section 2H
Constitutional Amendments – debated in year of submission
Add a new sub-clause 2I at end: All constitutional amendments submitted by affiliated organisations and CLPs that are accepted as in order shall be timetabled for debate at the first party conference following their submission.
Rule change 6: removing the arbitrary criterion of ‘contemporary’ in relation to annual conference motions
Chapter 3, Clause III, Section 2C
Amend the first sentence as follows: delete “contemporary” and delete “which is not substantially addressed by reports of the NEC or NPF or Conference.” and replace the latter with “on a matter of policy, campaigning or Party organisation and finance”.
Amend the second sentence: delete “determine whether the motions meet these criteria and”
Amend the last sentence: delete “contemporary”.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEMOCRACY
Rule change 7: a new Local Government Committee structure (instead of the existing Local Campaign Forum)
Chapter 12, Clause IV Local Campaign
Delete all and insert new sub-clauses as follows:
1. The membership of the LGC shall consist 75% of delegates from the local CLP(s) and 25% from affiliates. At least 50% of delegates from each group shall be women
2. Additionally, CLP campaign co-ordinators shall be ex officio members of the LGC. Any sitting MP, AM, MSP, MEP, PCC and/or PPC may attend their LGC. Where a Co- operative Party council exists for the area concerned and they sponsor candidates in local elections they shall be entitled to appoint a member to the LGC.
3. The LGC shall meet at least four times per year with representatives of the Labour group where one exists.
Consequential amendments – elsewhere replace LCF by LGC
Rule change 8: a democratic Young Labour
Chapter 11, Clause V
Young Labour Rules
Add at the end after Sub-clause 3, a new Sub-clause 4 as follows: “Young Labour shall have its own constitution and standing orders, to be determined by the Young Labour AGM.”