[Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.]

[Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.]

What a lucky coincidence that Steve Walker’s Skwawkbox blog would explain this, days before I put a motion before my own Constituency Labour Party demanding that the rule change be annulled.

Steve reckons (and so do I) there was an orchestrated and concerted attempt to force through rule changes at Labour’s annual conference, that would allow them to stack the National Executive Committee (NEC) with anti-Corbyn members.

It wasn’t clear from reports of proceedings exactly which rules had been broken, though – so I, and others, asked Steve to seek clarification. Records of the conference mention NEC member Christine Shawcroft speaking from the podium to remind the chair, Paddy Lillis, that the rules mandate a properly-counted ‘card vote’ if a delegate asks for one.

He sought out an NEC member, who agreed to talk about the issue on condition of anonymity.

S is the SKWAWKBOX and N is the NEC member:

S: The debate about the vote on the NEC rule-change package extended across 3 mornings, starting on the first day of the Conference, and became especially heated on the morning (Tuesday 27/9/16) of the vote. A number of delegates stood to remind the Conference and the Chair that the packaging together of an anti-democratic rule change (allowing extra members to simply be appointed to the NEC) along with good changes that unions etc had been campaigning for was against democratic principles – basically a ‘dodge’ to get it passed. One of your colleagues on the NEC even stood to remind the Chair that the rules state that if a card vote is requested, there must be a card vote. But some readers have said they can’t find anything in the rules that says that. Can you enlighten us?

N: The Labour party rulebook, in the ‘Procedures for Party Conference’ section, part 3A, states this:

“Voting at party conference on resolutions, reports, amendments, proposals and references back shall be by show of hands or, when the conditions laid down by the CAC require it, by card.”

The CAC (Conference Arrangements Committee) delegates report (number 1 that was presented on Sunday morning) clearly stared that voting is by show of hands UNLESS delegates request a card vote. The rules say the CAC will decide before Conference what the procedures will be – and the CAC agreed that a card vote would take place if requested.

S: Is this normal procedure?

N: Absolutely! In the past, a call for a card vote was always treated as a procedural motion, similar to moving next business, or whatever. In other words, if a card vote was called, it was taken.

S: So this is definitely a break with normal practice as well as contravening the rules?

N: Definitely. Recently, they started saying that a card vote would only be taken if the mover specifically asked for one – but Manuel [Cortes, head of the TSSA union] certainly did – twice, in fact. So it’s certainly custom and practice, and part of the CAC regulations, that card votes should be taken.

Source: Exclusive: Labour NEC member talks about ‘silent coup’ attempt | The SKWAWKBOX Blog

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