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Labour members given greater role in selection of parliamentary candidates in snap elections

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

THE Labour left has claimed a surprise win at party conference after delegates backed a greater role for rank-and-file members in the selection of parliamentary candidates in snap elections.

It was revealed today that 53 per cent of delegates backed a rule change on Saturday evening which states that a five-person panel, including constituency Labour Party reps, must undertake shortlisting when there is no time for a normal process.

Reacting to the result, which came via a card vote, Momentum co-chair Gaya Sriskanthan told Labour List that “grassroots members are standing up for our right to shape the future of the party.

“This rule change is a key step on the long road towards creating a movement party that is led not by professional politicians, but working-class leaders.”

A separate proposal that would have required the parliamentary party to provide a written report detailing any disciplinary action taken or ongoing against MPs, with conference having the final say on any decision taken, was rejected.

The left reacted with fury late last year when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer withdrew the party whip from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, forcing him to sit as an independent MP. 

The votes came ahead of key battles today on further party rule book changes.

Proposals to create an independent review body to assess cases related to protected characteristics was expected to pass, despite Momentum urging delegates to vote against.

The change was legally mandated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission after its investigation into anti-semitism in Labour.

The party’s left wing meanwhile warned that Sir Keir’s proposal to double the MP nomination threshold, from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, in party leadership contests was an attempt to hand more power to MPs at the expense of ordinary members. 

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that it was time to “mobilise and enthuse members,” not shift power away from them, while his ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged delegates to reject the “stitch-up.”

The party leadership also wants to make it harder to deselect sitting MPs, with a proposal to raise the threshold to trigger a vote from a third of CLPs and affiliated groups to a simple majority, as well as cutting the number of policy motions debated at conference from 20 to 12.

The votes were due to take place after the Morning Star went to press.


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