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Labour Party Election Rules

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Labour Party Election Rules

Postby dls » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:30 am

We face today a question of whether an incumbent labour leader needs to produce MPs to support his entry onto the ballot. As usual there is a lot of hot air about, with threats of court action.

I wanted to see the words. It was surprisingly difficult to find them, but eventually:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5Ik-g ... NJZ1E/view

The relevant bit is Chapter 4 (Page 14)

2. Election of leader and deputy leader

A. The leader and deputy leader shall be elected

separately in accordance with rule C below,

unless rule E below applies.

B. Nomination
i. In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy
leader, each nomination must be supported
by 15 per cent of the Commons members of
the PLP. Nominations not attaining this
threshold shall be null and void.

ii. Where there is no vacancy, nominations may
be sought by potential challengers each year
prior to the annual session of Party
conference. In this case any nomination must
be supported by 20 per cent of the Commons
members of the PLP. Nominations not
attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

The rules seem to make a clear distinction between situations where there is a vacancy, and where there is a challenge. The one states what is required for a nomination, the other does not, but deals only with nominations for potential challengers.

See also
http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/blog%20 ... ines_2.pdf

It seems further that the National Executive retains some discretion to interpret the rules and to resolve differences. I cannot see that a legal challenge would succeed.

More than that, This will put a very clear question to the NEC - to which side will they give their support? I have to say that I cannot see that it would be right to require Corbyn to find nominations.

That said, the apparent importance of the question only emphasises the fatally deep split within the party.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:57 am

The NEC must surely follow the rules and the rules as quoted seem to me to be perfectly clear.
What recourse might the jilted party have in law? Can a party be forced to follow its rules? Will we see a "divorce" and a big row over who gets the house and the children?
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby dls » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:30 am

People can be very emotional about such things, and a very damaging divorce is becoming really quite likely. In this case, the 'who gets the children' argument would be about a rapidly vanishing electoral support.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby dls » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:15 pm

We await the National Executive.
I think the mistake is in combining the triggering of an election with the acceptance of nominations.

The trouble is that neither interpretation leaves a viable way forward.

If Corbyn stands and wins, as he probably would, he will still have no parliamentary party (to speak of).

If he does not stand, the MPs will have no party to back them (to speak of).

I do not know the maths, but without Scots votes, the Labour party is even more unlikely to recover power.

How many times do we as lawyers see parties impervious to everything but the fight and their own dark principles rip away at the joint assets until nothing is left? In the past, the Social Democrats (?) were a very much smaller bunch of MPs unhappy with a Labour party suffering a rather more clear entryism. This just looks much more fundamental.

It is a measure of the distorted reality pervading many labour minds that they point to a Tory party in self destruct mode. In a rather obvious contrast they seem to be doing pretty well. They had a real problem. Within two weeks they have resolved it.

The only point here is that there is a certain kind of blindness which simply refuses to see this. They are so engrossed in conversations with each other that they fail to see that so many others disagree.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby atticus » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:23 pm

The NEC has ruled that Corbyn goes on the ballot; that only challengers need seek nominations. That was certainly my interpretation of the rules that have been shown in various places recently.

The rule is daft. If a party leader does not have sufficient backing in the parliamentary party, they have a major problem. Didn't Andrea Leadsom say something similar yesterday?

Daniel Finkelstein says it is a bad day for parliamentary democracy when a party leader does not have to command support of his party in Parliament.

I agree, but to my mind the obvious consequences are:

- re/deselection of MPs, if they diverge so much from the membership;

- a breakaway party.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:26 pm

I have seen interpretations from lawyers on both sides of the argument. Laura Kuenssberg was suggesting earlier that the Party may end up suing itself over the matter. I am not sure how that is quite possible.

If Corbyn wins* I can't see the Party surviving. The Tories' General Election campaign is going to write itself: they'll just quote everything Corbyn's own MPs have said about him. Either way, the atmosphere in the Party at the moment is poisonous.

*though the NEC has changed the rules significantly to disenfranchise all members with less than 6 months membership, and to reduce the registered supporters influence by increasing the fee to £25 and only giving them 2 days to register.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby miner » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:49 pm

This is like an ongoing comedy show - one which isn't even funny any longer.

Smouldering Stoat wrote:I.... Laura Kuenssberg was suggesting earlier that the Party may end up suing itself over the matter. ....


Now THAT, Laura, would reintroduce the comedy element, and give us all a bloody good laugh! And the lawyer involved would be laughing all the way to the Bank.

I knew Corbyn becoming the Labour "Leader" - a misnomer if ever there was one - would be truly disastrous for the Labour Party, but even I never imagined that it would be so utterly catastrophic. There may be so little remaining of the Labour Party after Corbyn's Performing Circus Act that it won't even matter much! The destruction is all but complete with today's events.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby miner » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:57 pm

atticus wrote:The NEC has ruled that Corbyn goes on the ballot; that only challengers need seek nominations. That was certainly my interpretation of the rules that have been shown in various places recently.

The rule is daft. If a party leader does not have sufficient backing in the parliamentary party, they have a major problem. Didn't Andrea Leadsom say something similar yesterday?

Daniel Finkelstein says it is a bad day for parliamentary democracy when a party leader does not have to command support of his party in Parliament.

I agree, but to my mind the obvious consequences are:

- re/deselection of MPs, if they diverge so much from the membership;

- a breakaway party.


Well, it won't be "New Labour" as Blair has already used that as unofficial nomenclature.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:35 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:I have seen interpretations from lawyers on both sides of the argument.

I've only seen the rules as quoted, which I thought we agreed were clear, and the only argument the other way was "it is perfectly clear what we meant when we drafted it..."

If Corbyn wins* I can't see the Party surviving.

I cannot see it surviving without him: they have provided a thorough demonstration of their capability and competence: I cannot imagine anyone other than the blindly loyal voting for them. Plus they'll be splitting the vote between them and Corbyn's Party.
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Re: Labour Party Election Rules

Postby dls » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:05 am

the only argument the other way was "it is perfectly clear what we meant when we drafted it..."

Not quite the only one, but you are right, it was weak.

I think the National Executive interpreted the words in accordance with their meaning. Heaven help them - and us.
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