Labour shelve plans for major rule changes after splits emerge on party's left

Posted On: 
19th September 2018

Plans for a dramatic shake-up in the way Labour leaders and MPs are chosen have been shelved after splits emerged between the trade unions and Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn supports moves to moke Labour more democratic.
PA Images

A nine-hour meeting of the party's ruling National Executive Committee failed to agree on moves to give Labour members more say in how it is run.

The powerful body will now meet again on Saturday evening - the eve of Labour's annual conference in Liverpool - in a bid to thrash out a deal.

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Former Labour MP Katy Clark, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, carried out a "democracy review" calling for radical changes in the way the party is organised.

But at the NEC meeting, no agreement could be reached on changes to the rules on how candidates can get on the ballot to be Labour leader.

PoliticsHome has been told that a compromise plan put forward by Mr Corbyn's office was rejected by the unions, who fear it would dilute their influence.

The NEC was also at-odds over plans to make it easier for party members to remove sitting Labour MPs, after left-wing members failed to agree on which alternative they backed.

One source said: "The left should have won everything, but they handled it very badly. They've got the votes if they get their lines right, but they couldn't agree among their own faction.

"What we saw was Jeremy Corbyn siding with Momentum and the unions just not having it."

Darren Williams, a left-wing member of the NEC, wrote on Facebook that he was "deeply disappointed" by the outcome of the meeting.

He said: "I'm sorry to say that the majority of the NEC - including much of the so-called left - has proved itself too cautious and conservative to grasp the opportunity that the democracy review presented."

The NEC meeting also rejected plans to give Labour members the power to directy elect the party's local council leaders.

However, the ruling body did agree that "independent persons" should be have a role in investigations into complaints of sexual harassment against party members following demands by campaigners that Labour's current procedures should be changed.