Wake up Labour! Allow online meetings

Please sign and share this important call (republished from here).

To: Labour Party Leader, Deputy Leader, NEC Chair and NEC CLP Representatives,

In the days leading up to the Covid-19 lockdown, CLPs were effectively placed into administrative suspension until further notice. Weeks have now passed since CLPs submitted to this in good faith. Following further Party advice, many CLP members are actively using Zoom, Slack and other online platforms to communicate with members.

Contrary to arguments against, many CLPs are seeing a significant increase in member participation through using these technologies. We are able to communicate across geographical boundaries far more easily than ever before and members who have never attended meetings are increasingly getting involved. We accept there are challenges in terms of privacy and security concerns, as well as ongoing costs, and issues with accessibility and inclusion, but many of these are barriers for physical meetings in CLPs too. We believe these concerns are not sufficient to continue the ban on CLPs meeting formally.

In our view the use of online platforms presents a huge opportunity. The Labour Party would benefit greatly from developing a hybrid mix of online and in person meetings for the future in terms of greater inclusion, provision of training, conferencing, brainstorming and for general discussion of our political landscape.

In any democratic structure it is important that decision making continues. It is a fact that Labour’s National Executive Committee, the Party Leader, UK Parliament, Welsh and Scottish Governments, among many other organisations have managed to operate in the fullest way possible without the option of in person meetings. It is our opinion that these same principles should apply to the internal operations of the Labour Party too.

In the spirit of unity and solidarity we, the undersigned, seek from the next NEC meeting:

1. Approval for CLPs, branches and other Party units to conduct business meetings via Zoom or other online video-conferencing platform during the Covid-19 crisis, subject to the following conditions:

(a) The Executive Committee of the CLP, Branch or other Party unit agree to holding online video-conferencing meetings and are willing to organise them,

(b) Meetings will follow the rules and format of in-person meetings as closely as possible,

(c) Meetings will not normally be recorded electronically, and minutes will be taken,

(d) Efforts will be made to avoid digital exclusion e.g. providing for members to dial in by phone and/or offering support for members struggling with the technology.

2. Establishment of a working group, involving NEC members, ‘ordinary’ members and industry experts, to develop a longer term video-conferencing strategy for all Labour Party units.

Yours sincerely,

Signed by over 900 members so far:
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