Labour MPs vote on reinstating shadow cabinet elections – when do I get MY say?

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith did not attend the meeting about Betts’ plan to reintroduce shadow cabinet elections because they were at a hustings [Image: Robert Perry/EPA].

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith did not attend the meeting about Betts’ plan to reintroduce shadow cabinet elections because they were at a hustings [Image: Robert Perry/EPA].

Once again, the Parliamentary Labour Party risks the wrath of rank and file members – this time by ignoring them in discussion of a change of the party’s representative system.

Why should MPs be the only ones to choose members of the shadow cabinet?

The whole party chooses the leader and deputy leader. If the leader is to be blocked from choosing his own shadow cabinet, why should candidates for positions in it not be chosen in the same way?

Why do Labour MPs seem to consider themselves an elite, above the rest of the membership. That attitude is very far indeed from the Labour philosophy; we are all equal.

It is as well that the proposal, if approved, must go before the National Executive Committee, and then the National Conference.

This Writer would suggest that either of these bodies could propose an amendment that the entire membership should be allowed to take part in shadow cabinet elections – and put the final decision to the wider membership.

Or is that too much like democracy for the PLP rebels?

Labour MPs are to vote on Tuesday on whether to reinstate a system of electing shadow cabinet members, in an attempt to promote unity within the badly-split parliamentary party.

The MPs have from 10am to 5pm to take part in a secret ballot on the proposal, put forward by Clive Betts, who represents Sheffield South East for the party.

Betts’ plan to reintroduce the system, which was abolished under Ed Miliband in 2011, was put to a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Monday night, and saw no MPs speak against it, a party source said. Neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Owen Smith were present at the meeting as they were at a hustings elsewhere.

Betts told MPs he had come up with the idea without input from the camps of Corbyn and Smith, who are battling it out for the leadership, and hoped it would bring more unity.

Even if Betts’ motion is voted through, it is by no means certain to come into being. The proposal would need to be approved by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), which is seen to have a pro-Corbyn majority, and then be confirmed by the annual conference later this month.

Corbyn has not backed the idea, suggesting instead that the shadow cabinet could be chosen by Labour members, who are notably more supportive of him than the majority of the party’s MPs, who in June voted 172 to 40 that they had no confidence in his leadership.

A Corbyn spokesman has said the Labour leader “supports democratisation and reform of the party rules and structures”.

Source: Labour MPs to vote on reinstating elections for shadow cabinet members | Politics | The Guardian


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9 thoughts on “Labour MPs vote on reinstating shadow cabinet elections – when do I get MY say?

  1. Jay Goodall

    In principle, we should be happy to leave this to our elected representatives. The problem is they have behaved so bloody badly they have lost our trust and respect. They have gone on a relentless campaign to trash the reputation of the elected leader, demean his supporters with stereotyped tags, and with absolutely no sense of responsibility for the future of the party. Britain needs Labour and Labour policies. It’s a matter of social survival and it’s urgent. Every single member of the PLP who has gone public with declarations that the party is broken, the leader unelectable, the members a bunch of Trotskyites should apologize and retract. Then we might start some adult discussion about who should be entrusted with the responsibilities of a shadow ministry.

  2. Steve Kind

    Betts “came up with the idea himself” did he. Odd then that the Daily Mirror attributed the idea to Tom Watson only a couple of days ago 😀

  3. plhepworth

    New Labour has not died graciously: secret plots, defamation, vote-rigging; there was no limit to the depth it was prepared to sink, and that will be its epitaph.

  4. casalealex

    As things stand at the moment, the newly elected NEC will not be involved in this vote on Tuesday, as they do not take office until after Party Conference; so it looks like this motion will be carried through.

    1. I Crawford

      The ones leaving probably do not want to cause controversial problems just as they are looking to be moving to another posts.

  5. Jessie

    It is obvious that this proposal is only about the majority of right-wing ‘Labour’ MPs voting in a shadow cabinet that would not support its leader and his genuine democratic socialist policies, and so avoid giving us a viable opposition. This scheme, backed by our Corporatocracy, must not be allowed to succeed.

  6. Tony Edwards

    Did you have a say, when this measure was abolished in 2011 or were you like many of the others protesting about democracy or a lack of it not a member back then ?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I was a member.
      I approved of the move because I considered shadow cabinet elections to be a way of hobbling the party leader, if MPs with opposing views were put in to hinder that person. It seems I was right.
      The issue, for me, was one of representation. Labour is weakened in Parliament if the leader doesn’t have the full support of his cabinet/shadow cabinet – we have seen that over the last year. It then because possible for that person’s detractors to say not only that the leader is weak or cannot do the job properly, but also that Labour is weak – as we have seen over the last year.

Comments are closed.