NEC committee moves to stop new Corbyn supporters from having any say in leadership election…

Jeremy Corbyn faces a leadership challenge from Angela Eagle and Owen Smith [Image: Getty Images].

Jeremy Corbyn faces a leadership challenge from Angela Eagle and Owen Smith [Image: Getty Images].

… Unless, of course, they pay £25 in a narrow window of opportunity between July 18-20.

The last loopholes were tied up earlier today (Thursday, July 14) when the procedures committee of Labour’s National Executive Committee (yes, apparently it’s a committee, not a sub-committee) blocked off members of affiliate organisations including trade unions, who have registered since January 12.

The move brings affiliates in line with members, who can also only vote if they joined before January 12 – and rules out anyone who joined after the so-called ‘Chicken Coup’ began on June 26, meaning those who joined because they wanted to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership are being refused the opportunity.

But those who can afford a one-off payment equivalent to a huge chunk of benefits or a large slice of a low-paid family’s income will be able to walk straight in and make their ‘X’ for Angela Eagle or Owen Smith, or whoever.

It isn’t fair. Worse – it isn’t democratic.

This will be something to remember, because members of the NEC are up for election.

Oh, except “because of the time needed for Electoral Reform Services, the independent balloting company, to prepare the mailings, only people in membership at 24 June 2016 will be able to vote”.

So, again, anybody who joined after the ‘Coup’ ringleaders made their move will be locked out.

There are possible ways of fighting these dirty tactics by the empty suits.

For a start, if you joined after January 12, try getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice office. Explain that you joined on the understanding that you would be able to vote in leadership elections but that this right has been retroactively removed without any consultation. They should tell you that the Labour Party is in breach of contract.

Then you notify Labour general secretary Iain McNicol that you intend to take legal action for breach of contract unless the restriction is removed. Make it clear that you are not willing to accept a refund as your party membership is important to you and you believe members should stand up for democracy.

It may also be worth contacting Jeremy Corbyn’s office and asking if he is willing, or preparing, to take legal action against the NEC over these rulings – the first of which was made after he and two other supporters had left the meeting on Tuesday.

Most important of all: BE POLITE! both in your communications with the Labour Party and on the social media.

Unbelievable as it may seem, Labour apparently intends to ban members from voting in these elections if they have used abusive language on the social media.

According to The Canary: “The Labour Procedures Committee have reportedly announced that anyone who uses the words “traitor”, “scab” or “scum” in relation to another member of the party, will automatically be barred from having a vote in the leadership election.

“They are apparently hoping to exclude up to 50,000 members on this basis.”

Apparently it is still entirely permissible to use the words “Trots”, “rabble” and “dogs” – which have been applied to supporters of Mr Corbyn.

And that’s the important sticking-point: These rulings are prejudicial against a section of the Labour Party membership, and beneficial to another. That is not acceptable.

For democracy to prevail, there must be equal opportunity for all – and this is exactly what the NEC has been trying to rule out.

Personally, I can feel a trip to London coming on.

Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has ruled that members who have signed up to affiliate groups – such as trade unions – in the last six months will be banned from voting the party’s leadership election.

The NEC Procedure Committee voted 7 – 2 on Thursday to stop affiliate group members who registered after 12th January 2016 from having a vote in the upcoming leadership contest. This brings the rules for affiliate membership into line with those for party members, and means that supporters who want to register to get a vote in the contest will have to pay £25 – compared with £3 in 2015.

Following the official announcement of Labour’s leadership election on Tuesday and the confirmation that party members who joined after mid-January would be barred from voting – eliminating 130,000 people who signed up after the EU referendum –, those interested were encouraged by some to join affiliated groups to still be eligible to vote.

This was seen as a viable option for Labour supporters or interested parties on lower incomes, with the price for membership of trade unions beginning at around 50 pence per week. More than 3,000 people joined Britain’s biggest union, Unite, in a single day after it offered potential members a cut-price vote.

Following Tuesday’s decision, the NEC has faced criticism from supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership who accused the committee of allowing the post-Brexit Labour sign ups to do so under false pretences – the assumption being that they would be able to vote for the leadership.

Unions are said to have sought urgent clarification over the ruling, while not ruling out potential legal action.

Source: Labour leadership election: NEC bars new union members from voting | UK Politics | News | The Independent


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29 thoughts on “NEC committee moves to stop new Corbyn supporters from having any say in leadership election…

  1. john smith

    If they manage to beat Corbyn, I am done, I will never vote Labour again for the rest of my life.

    These tactics are straight out of a rulebook for a repressive regime, if hilary Benn finds out He will vote to Bomb them

    1. roybeiley

      If they succeed in toppling JC then you wont be able to vote Labour as it will be a political irrelevance. We need to crowdfund the startup of a new Socialist Party with JC as undisputed Leader ready for the 2020 GE. I can not see May calling one before then. The precedents are not in her favour. Callaghan inherited it from Wilson but never got elected in his own right. Same with Brown. Bring it on!

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Sorry but I disagree with this. Labour members need to fight for the party they want, and they can’t do it if they’ve left.

    2. Evan Dovey

      Never say never but should he be outed i’m certainly cancelling my membership and looking to vote another way unless another actual left wing leader steps up at some point in the future and actually manages to hold onto the position.

      1. Florence

        Saying you’re going to resign or cancel membership us just playing into the hands of the NEC who would love Corbyn supporters to go away. They also love that people like myself and Mike have to waste time talking you down from the metaphorical ledge. So don’t resign and don’t post about your intentions. If you want to support Corbyn be positive.

  2. Hairyloon

    Why are you suggesting that people burden an already overworked CAB to seek advice that you are already giving them?

    Trading Standards would seem to be a better port of call.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Unfortunately I cannot predict the circumstances of every single Labour member. It is better to ensure they get good, qualified advice.
      Not only that, but Citizens Advice records contacts if there are significant numbers of the same inquiry, and may take the matter further on its own initiative.

  3. paulmac49

    We the members are bigger than the 172 blairite MPs. it’s them who are making the rules up as they go along, don’t give into them.

  4. Evan Dovey

    “Dear Iain,

    Just to let you know that I intend to take legal action against the Labour party for breach of contract unless the restriction on new Labour members being able to vote in the upcoming Leadership election is lifted.
    I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not willing to accept a refund I have joined the Labour party at this juncture to support the first Labour party leader in my voting life that I have believe it, this is vital to me.”

    Used this picture to emphasise the point.

  5. jeffrey davies

    hmmm blairs arm is long blairs people try to stiffle the peasants votes is there now going to be a show of unity by the peasants has they the blairites use every dirty trick they can use to stop the peoples voice jeff3

  6. Kasey carver

    The deadline for registering as an affiliate is 8 August. To qualify for 6 months membership that means that they should have been in a trade union by 8 Feb. Why is the cut off 12/1 ? In fact if they are invoking a 6 mth rule, the cut off period should be 22 March for everyone ???? Any dates for registering are just arbitrary and no bearing the qualifying period. This is important for me personally as I am the secretary of a unite community group that was set up on 22/1 and current rules will exclude this group.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      To my way of thinking, the cut-off should be July 11 or 12, because that was when it was announced that an election would be taking place, and when the advertising on Labour’s ‘Join’ literature changed to say people would not be eligible to take part if they joined now.

  7. NMac

    The gulf between the Parliamentary Labour Party and the members/supporters is enormous. It seems the PLP are going to ridiculous lengths to stop natural Labour supporters having any say in the leaderships election. I suspect that whatever they do Jeremy Corbyn will still be elected by the overwhelming numbers of Labour Party members. It is creating bad feeling and will eventually cause a split, which is the last thing the country needs. Incidentally, at the last leadership election I did not vote for Jeremy Corbyn, but I certainly will be doing this time.

  8. hilary772013

    As someone who only joined in June I cannot vote. I also joined Unite cannot vote
    Rang CAB to complain told me to complain to NEC to put it in writing to them & send recorded delivery CAB
    gave me a complaint number.
    I was elated JC got on ballot then hopes dashed that I can’t vote then hopes raised joined unite dashed again.I am only on a pension & feel ripped off.
    Hubby is full member & can vote he came home from work last night to me ranting & raving about how unfair it is & getting so worked up caused me to have another TIA mini stroke. Hubby said he would pay the £25 as it meant so much to me.
    This is SO WRONG it is unbelievable.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You had a mini-stroke because of this?
      I don’t want to put you on the spot but that could be a very important element here. You’re saying the unheralded change in the conditions of your membership has affected your health.

      Has anybody else suffered in a similar, recordable, manner?

      I shall be writing to many of the parties involved in these decisions later today.

      1. hilary772013

        Mike I have had mini strokes in the past and take medication for the TIA’s Clopidogrel & Simvastatin but I got so frustrated yesterday & angry that all venues to me voting had been closed that I gave a knee jerk response on twitter that I was cancelling all subscriptions etc then contacting CAB twice & in tears by the time hubby came home from work I was shaking & ranting about how unfair it was & he said your face has dropped again & said if it means that much to you I will pay the £25.00 which is so so wrong.
        Unfortunately we didn’t ring the doctor as it passed and I already take medication, so not a lot they can do, different if it had been a full blown stroke.
        Hubby gave me instructions this morning to stay off twitter & the internet which I am following as you can see BUT having JC as leader of the party means a lot to me, he has given me hope that our Country & Politics can change for the better.

      2. hilary772013

        Mike the answer to your question is YES! don’t think I answered very clearly. I have been told to avoid stressful situations & yesterday was very stressful for me trying to get a vote without having to pay £25.00 & I was on facebook twitter & the internet most of the day.

      3. hanspan

        I have certainly been particularly anxious and stressed and unable to sleep.
        I stayed up pretty much all of Tuesday night as my heart was racing and I was so hot and shaky I couldn’t get to sleep. The last time this happened was when my father died.

  9. hayfords

    In a breach of contract dispute, your legal remedy would be limited to the £3 that you paid. There are no consequential loss aspects to and it would not be possible to enforce the contract.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Labour Party has received £4.5 million between January 12 and July 12 – a not inconsequential sum of money.
      In a breach of contract dispute, it is also entirely possible to demand that your contract be corrected, back to the original terms.

  10. John

    Not entirely relevant to this post, but I felt it to be the most suitable. I’ve just seen this posted on twitter, by someone on FB I believe. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!

    “So…I’m living under a Tory government I didn’t vote for, undergoing a Brexit I didn’t
    vote for, now overseen by a Prime Minister that nobody voted for. That’s OK.
    That’s democracy. But the man I DID vote for – that unelectable one that was
    overwhelmingly elected – I have to vote for again, because those I didn’t vote for don’t
    like him. And they’ve decided I have to pay more money for the right to do so.
    Am I even awake?”

  11. plhepworth

    I have written to Iain McNicol as follows:

    Dear Mr McNicol

    Thank you for the information.

    I shall be able to vote, but not those who joined after 11 January. I can see an argument for a restriction applied to those joining after a contest has been announced, but not otherwise. If it is not in breach of contract retrospectively to alter the terms of membership it is surely in breach of good faith. This action holds the danger of the party losing the support of the c120,000 new members it applies to, and can not have enhanced the image of the party in the eyes of potential supporters among the electorate as a whole

    Yours sincerely

    P L Hepworth.

  12. hanspan

    How do I contact Ian McNicol and Jeremy Corbyn’s office?
    I’ve filled in both of the forms on the Labour party website – one for member enquiries and one for policy enquiries but the email I got saying “thanks for joining” from Mr McNicol has a no-return email address and I can’t find contact details for him or Mr Corbyn’s office.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Jeremy Corbyn is just House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
      Iain McNicol is Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You make contact by writing letters to people like a civilised human being, and then you wait for them to reach yours as they’re going through the pile.
        That, too, is democracy.

  13. Florence

    I know some FaceBook groups are setting up hardship funds for those unable to afford good or other essentials after paying £25 to vote. We cannot of course give money to pay for the fee. But we can alleviate food and energy poverty anytime we like.

Comments are closed.