Making the most of primaries

First published in Progress magazine

We should automatically trigger primaries where party membership falls below a certain threshold, says Richard Angell

Primaries are an idea whose time has come in British politics: the coalition agreement mapped out plans for 200 all-postal primaries in this parliament, and last year Bassetlaw Labour engaged 6,000 local Labour supporters in a primary to determine their MP John Mann’s vote in the leadership election. Now the party there is bigger, stronger and has just won back a majority on the council – no small achievement. (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…)