Below, you can read an email from our local NEC contact regarding the ‘fall out’ following the European and Local elections – some interesting points are raised.
First, thanks to councillors, MEPs, candidates, activists, members
and fellow-travellers for campaigning right through to 4 June in
the face of difficulties beyond your control and which you did not
I’ve received several requests for an extra NEC meeting to
analyse the results, and to ensure that all members are involved
in future policy-making and that the manifesto reflects Labour
This has not proved possible. In fact the original plan was to
postpone the May NEC meeting to June, but a date could not be
found which fitted with union conferences and other
commitments. So the NEC will meet next on Tuesday 21 July for
a full day, to allow extended discussion. This gives time to collect
feedback, and I would be interested in:
1) reasons for Labour losses, both local and European, and
reasons for any good results against the overall trend
2) what the party leadership can do to rebuild towards the
general election, organisationally and politically
3) how members’ views can be taken into account in policy-
making. The national policy forum “Warwick” agreement dates
back to last July, before the recession, and needs reviewing, but
time and resources do not allow another full-scale forum with
thousands of direct amendments. Are members and local parties
happy to work through their NPF representatives, and if not, what
is the alternative within the Partnership in Power framework?
4) what policies represent “Labour values”?
5) whether conference should return to resolutions or stay with
the experiment on “contemporary issues” introduced in 2007
6) anything else I should know.
Second, a number of questions have been asked about the
NEC’s special endorsements panel (the “star chamber”). One of
the problems is that the panel cannot decide who it wishes to
interview. It only investigates MPs referred to it by the chief whip
and the general secretary, and then has to decide whether they
have crossed lines drawn by the Green Book or by what members
and voters would expect. However the criteria for referral are not
clear, and this has led to perceptions of unequal treatment at the
initial stage, which I share.
The national audit office is examining all MPs’ expenses for the
last four years, and we expect their report to provide objective
benchmarks, and perhaps lists of “flippers”, extravagant
spenders, tax avoiders, and other types of misdemeanour. I
believe it would be preferable, except in extreme cases, for MPs
to come through this process, so that their situation is considered
alongside others where similar issues are involved.
The NEC will be reviewing the process, but conflicting views have
been expressed to me recently. Members want wrongdoers dealt
with through clear evidence-based decisions, which means
waiting for the audit report and further interviews. But they also
want a speedy conclusion so we can get back to policy, which
means either ignoring some transgressions or risking summary
injustice. Again, comments are welcome.
Depending on the number of replies I may not have time to
answer every point individually, but promise to read and take
them all into account for the next NEC.
NEC constituency representative