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Labour to decide on whether to switch to single transferable vote system for NEC elections

LABOUR’s ruling body will decide tomorrow on whether it should switch to a preferential voting system for electing constituency party representatives on its national executive committee (NEC).

NEC members will discuss scrapping the first-past-the-post system for selecting its nine constituency Labour Party (CLP) reps and replacing it with the single transferable vote (STV) method.

If the issue goes to a vote, the switch is expected to be favoured by a majority of NEC members.

The party is being urged to approve the change by groups such as the Electoral Reform Society and over 500 party members who have signed an open letter in favour of the change.

Labour MPs, activists and democracy campaigners have said that the “simple but vital move” would create a “fairer, less divisive” system.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner also backed the shift during the leadership contest earlier this year.

The open letter encouraging the move was organised by Fair Internal Labour Elections (File) and Open Labour. The push for the party to adopt STV in more elections has long been a demand of the party’s soft left.

The NEC seats are currently elected using a system that mirrors Westminster’s first-past-the-post system.  

In the recent NEC by-elections, more than 45 per cent of members voted for candidates from left-wing Labour slates but, due to split votes, the left won no seats.

Labour’s NEC has often gone from near 100-per-cent domination by one faction to another, further dividing the party and disenfranchising members, MPs and campaigners say. 

File founder Tom Laing said: “The winner-takes-all nature of the NEC at the moment promotes hyper-factionalism. But with STV we can ensure a pluralistic Labour where the proud traditions of our movement can always be heard.”

Electoral Reform Society chief executive Darren Hughes said that the move would “boost Labour’s authority on issues of democracy.”

“It’s great to see this consensus for fair representation moving forward. Labour already uses preferential voting for its leadership elections, so bringing the NEC into harmony with this would give members confidence their vote will always count. This is a welcome boost for party democracy,” he said.


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