This suggests that pro-Corbyn forces have significantly strengthened their position in local constituency parties since this time last year. The left has even taken the nominations of Dulwich and West Norwood, once a bastion of Progress and home to former Blairite MP Tessa Jowell.
The positions up for election, on Labour’s Conference Arrangements Committee and National Constitutional Committee, might sound obscure – but these are key structures in the battle to transform the party to empower ordinary members.
CLPs have until 7 July to make their nominations, and the pattern of nominations is a good measure of the relative support of those in favour of delivering democratic change versus the mis-named ‘moderates’ who are determined to insulate party decision making from any such pressures.
The vote for Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) is an one-member-one-vote ballot of all Labour members, so it’s important that Corbyn supporters are aware of the candidates and the importance of voting.
The committee is vital in negotiating which motions are called for debate at Labour’s annual conference, who is invited to address delegates, how much time is allocated to platform speeches in relation to debate from the floor and so on. Ultimately, CAC members shape conference into either a staged, top-down rally or a place where the will of party members can be democratically expressed.
On the CAC at the moment are the unelected peer (and one-time Eastenders actor) Lord Michael Cashman, together with former GMTV presenter turned now MP Gloria De Piero. In previous years, the right have relied on this pair’s public profile to carry them through.
However, this year the left is hoping to mount a real challenge, with Billy Hayes, former general secretary of the postal workers’ union CWU, standing alongside Seema Chandwani, a vocal Corbynite and CLP secretary from Tottenham, committed to empowering members.
The other committee up for election, the National Constitutional Committee, is elected by delegates at party conference. This committee is in charge of policing the party’s rule book. Here, the left’s slate is London Regional Board member Emine Ibrahim, and Anna Dyer from Scotland.
Once nominations close, it is important that the left makes sure members cast their ballots, to deliver a blow to the rearguard resistance to Corbyn’s leadership being mounted by the likes of ‘Labour First’.
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