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REBECCA LONG BAILEY has called for a “democratic revolution” in the Labour Party, announcing support for the open selection of all Labour parliamentary candidates.
At a rally in London last night, the Labour leadership contender and shadow business secretary said the party must “rip up” its “outdated” rules and processes for candidate selection, and unleash the talent of ordinary members by democratising internal electoral processes.
Ms Long Bailey said: “We need a democratic revolution – both in the country and in our party. Our party must lead by shining example.
“If we can’t democratise our own party, we will never be trusted to democratise workplaces, our economy and the country.
“Now is the time to break out of the bunker and become the open, democratic party we’ve always aspired to be.
“My role as leader is to democratise the party and to examine new ways to empower our members, trade unions, MPs, leaders and councillors.
“This means open and democratic policy-making at every level, properly resourced political education and a professional and accountable party operation.
“These are the basics.”
Under current party rules, sitting Labour MPs are subject to a trigger ballot from local party branches, unions and other party affiliates that can approve or reject their automatic reselection as a general-election candidate.
However, open selections – which under the name of “mandatory reselection” was a key political principle of Tony Benn’s supporters in Labour’s internal battles throughout the ’80s – would mean that all Labour candidates contest an internal election before becoming the nominated Labour candidate.
The system is common in most European left-wing political parties, and other British parties such as the Greens and the Liberal Democrats select their candidates through this method.
Ms Long Bailey also said that she supports “properly resourced political education” in the party’s ranks, and much more room for democratic policy-making at “every level” of Labour.
Open selection was also endorsed by deputy-leadership candidate Richard Burgon, who said at Saturday’s hustings in Liverpool that Labour members should have a “full and democratic say over who is their candidate in each and every general election.”
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