Closed shop

First published in Progress magazine and LabourList

Labour selections are long due an overhaul, but are new proposals a step backwards?

Barnsley Central’s selection of former paratrooper Dan Jarvis as its by-election candidate stands out for its choice of a new face with a different background. But the National Executive Committee’s new rules look set to restrict what can already be an opaque system.

The current assault course for wannabe MPs constitutes a 12-week process starting with self-nomination and access to membership lists, knocking frantically on doors and telephoning members. Four weeks in, a members’ event is organised and six weeks in branch meetings nominate up to three candidates. Anyone winning nominations in branches with a membership totalling more than half the CLP’s membership is shortlisted. The remainder are selected from those nominated by ward branches, unions and affiliates, and CLP equalities groups like Young Labour, women or BAME by members of the CLP’s General Committee. The prospective MP is finally decided by AV at an all-members’ hustings meeting. (more…)