This article was written by Symon Vegro.
This is a crucial time for the Labour Party, as we recover from the disastrous General Election defeat in December and plan for the future. The election of a new Leader and Deputy Leader is a vital part of that process, and the good news is that you can be part of this hugely important decision. Here are some facts to guide you through the process.
Who can vote?
Anyone who is already a member, or who joins the party before Monday 20 January (5pm) will be able to vote. Any members who are currently in arrears will need to be fully paid up by Friday 14 February.
People can join the party online (or rejoin from lapsed) or by calling 0345 092 2299. They can also call this number to pay off their arrears.
What is the timetable for voting and how will voting work?
There are two parts to this:
1 – your individual vote. We are justifiably proud of our internal democracy, and the fact that our c500,000 members (making us the largest political party in Europe) will each have an equal vote. This vote will be an on-line ballot, taking place between 21 February and 2 April.
2 – your vote as a member of the Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Our Hitchin and Harpenden CLP is meeting on Wednesday 29 January, 8pm (doors open at 7:30) at Purwell School, Hitchin to discuss and then nominate our choices as a collective.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON ELIGIBILITY TO ATTEND THIS MEETING
You MUST have joined on or before 4 December 2019 (i.e. 8 weeks before the meeting) to attend. Please check with us if you have any doubts as to your eligibility to attend.
Important though this step is, it will not influence the final result beyond helping to secure the necessary nominations for each candidate (see the next section) and you should not be concerned if the CLP decisions differ from your own.
Purwell Primary School
Fairfield Way, Hitchin SG4 0PU
Click here to find the venue on Google Maps
We would encourage members to lift-share where they can. If you don’t have access to transport and would like to attend the meeting then please get in touch with us, and we can hopefully sort you out with a lift.
Who’s in the running?
The Party is still deciding who will be on the final ballot papers. The first phase of the selection process is now complete, with 5 candidates making the cut for each of the two roles by securing the required number of nominations from Labour MP’s. These are:
Leader: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer, Emilly Thornberry
Deputy: Rosena Allin Khan, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler, Ian Murray, Angela Rayner
It’s good to see a range of candidates from across the Labour spectrum of views, and that a majority of the candidates in each category are women.
They may not all stay in the race, however, as they now all need to be nominated by at least 5% of all CLPs (a total of 33) or at least three affiliates – at least two of which must be trade unions – comprising 5% of fully paid up affiliated membership.
There are 12 unions affiliated to the Labour party, of which only five (Unison, Unite, GMB, the Communication Workers’ Union and Usdaw) are big enough to get a candidate into the next round on their own. Candidates will also have to win the support of a smaller allied union and a socialist society to satisfy party rules.
Once this process is complete, the final shortlists will be on the ballot papers you will see.
Important note: you can only vote for a candidate in the role they are going for i.e. if they are on the Leadership shortlist, you cannot vote for them to be Deputy Leader (and vice versa).
Will be declared at a Special Conference on Saturday 4th April.
There will of course be lots of coverage in the media over the coming weeks. A good source of information and commentary is at the ‘Guardian’ newspaper. The website LabourList, which is funded by Unison and Unite, also provides news and commentary on the Labour leadership.
There will be hustings events around the country. The closest to us will be in London (16 February) and in Bedford (22 February). You’ll also be able to watch these online.
Fot the official view as the process unfolds, keep an eye on the Labour Party website over the coming weeks for updates and information about the leadership elections.