What’s happened at Labour Party conference so far (Tuesday night)

For an update from Wednesday, see here 

• Left National Constituency Committee candidates Anna Dyer and Emine Ibrahim were easily elected, with 70pc of the vote. Left Women’s Conference Conference Arrangements Committee candidates Teresa Clark and Jean Crocker were elected.

• Affiliated unions voted to prioritise discussions on workers’ rights, Grenfell, industrial strategy and public sector pay – and Constituency Labour Parties prioritised rail, housing, the NHS and social care – meaning that Brexit, free movement and migrants’ rights would not be debated. This followed a push by CLPD and Momentum, who won all their priorities among CLPs and thus kept Brexit off the agenda. The CAC ruled an emergency motion from transport union TSSA supporting free movement out of order. Conference voted for a bland statement from the National Executive Committee reiterating consensus positions on Brexit.

• Delegates voted unanimously for strong policy on trade union rights/the right to strike, passing a motion pledging Labour to “free unions from legal shackles”, repeal not just the 2016 Trade Union Act but the anti-union laws introduced by the Tories in the 80s and 90s, and introduce positive legal rights. It also reiterated support for a £10 an hour minimum wage and banning zero hours contracts; advocated a campaign against insecure work and called on Labour councils to use their position to promote job security; and supported the McDonald’s and Picturehouse strikes and called on CLPs and MPs to support workers’ struggles in their areas.

• Other policies passed included support for Royal Mail workers in their upcoming dispute, and renationalisation of Royal Mail; above inflation pay rises for all public sector workers; stopping the destruction of council housing and building “a new generation of council housing” (though the numbers were not very clear); criticism of the Grenfell Tower inquiry and various measures to prevent the possibility of such tragedies in future; stopping the introduction of Driver Only Operation, destaffing and ticket office closures on the railways; a substantially stronger policy on fighting and reversing NHS privatisation and rebuilding a comprehensive public health service; and support for a National Care Service (though a line saying explicitly this would be a free public service somehow got removed in compositing). We’ll post the text of all motions soon.

• Delegates voted to refer back a section of the National Policy Forum report dealing with welfare, after a delegate pointed out and very explicitly criticised its failure to commit to stopping and reversing all benefit cuts. They also referenced back to say that the NHS being “preferred provider” is not good enough; and on education.

• Around two thirds of CLP delegates voted to refer back the Conference Arrangements Committee report after it was pointed out that every single emergency motion submitted by a CLP had been ruled out of order (23! Ruled out motions are, ridiculously, not currently printed, but we know topics included expulsions, NHS privatisation and the crisis engulfing many Labour councils, in addition to TSSA’s free movement motion.) However because of union support the CAC report passed about 60-40.

• Many CLP delegates were extremely critical of the NEC’s proposal for all rule changes submitted by CLP to be remitted to the forthcoming democracy review, with a number of CLPs that had agreed to remit protesting strongly. One CLP, Brighton Pavilion, who had submitted a rule change to remove the need for motions to refer to “contemporary” events after the start of August, refused to remit their proposal.

• Along with the unremitted Brighton Pavilion rule change, the conference voted on the three rule changes proposed by the NEC – three new CLP reps on the NEC, taking the total to nine; reducing the nomination threshold for leader 15pc of MPs to 10pc; and the amended version of the rule on disciplining those guilty of racism, anti-semitism, etc, which originated with the Jewish Labour Movement. They were card votes, however, so we won’t know the results till tomorrow.

• Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell used his speech to reaffirm plans for some nationalisations and an end to use of the Private Finance Initiative, but also to cancel PFI contracts and bring projects back into the public sector – causing exclamation marks in the press and joy among delegates. However there was some disagreement among Labour spokespeople afterwards about how extensive this policy would actually be.

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