candidate selections

Opening selections back up to working people

First published by ProgressOnline

I was really pleased to see Paul Cotterill write a reply to my recent article, Selective Memory, on the increased time and financial costs recently added by the organisational subcommittee of the NEC to Labour’s selections process.

In the piece I argue that Labour should establish two principles when developing its selection process. First, that the part of the process with the membership list, where aspiring candidates need to go door-to-door, fit into statutory holiday entitlement, time off for working people so hard won by the trade unions and the Labour government. Second, that aspiring candidates shouldn’t have to incur costs before being guaranteed a place on the shortlist and the right to make a speech to the whole membership. (more…)

Selective memory

First published in Progress magazine

New rules will not bring more working-class candidates

Last year’s conference saw Labour adopt a rule change which pledged it to ‘select more candidates who reflect the full diversity of our society … and to increase working-class representation’. In its first meeting of the new year, Labour’s organisation subcommittee of the National Executive Committee set about implementing this new rule.

The need to increase working-class representation has been recently reiterated by Ed Miliband, and endorsed by figures from across the party. From Unite general secretary Len McCluskey to former home secretary Alan Johnson, everyone agrees that we need a more diverse mix of people elected to parliament. (more…)

Embracing reform

First published in Progress magazine

In the run-up to the last general election, it was not uncommon for fewer than 200 party members in safe Labour seats to effectively decide the constituency’s next member of parliament. In power, Labour shied away from creating opportunities for non-members to help select our candidates. At the same time, we saw our membership decline and disengage, allowing smaller and more vocal groups to dominate stagnating CLPs.

Paradoxically, opposition presents an opportunity to revitalise the party and put this disturbing trend right. Our growing membership now offers us the chance to look with confidence at how to broaden Labour’s engagement with non-members in the selection of both our candidates and party leader. (more…)