Tuesday, 16 September 2008

NEC ducks its clear duty

The NEC of the Labour Party has refused to issue nomination forms despite requests to do so. It said in its press release -

"The NEC fully endorses the view of the Labour Party's General Secretary and the party's independent legal advisors. A Leadership election when in Government can only be held if requested by a majority of party conference on a card vote, only Labour MPs can trigger the process and the NEC is confident that most MPs know their responsibilities under the rules.

"The Labour Party has followed this procedure for 11 years, as long as we have been in government under these present rules, and it has not required the issue of nomination forms at any time.

Here are the relevant rules (Labour Party Rule Book 2004):

4.B(ii). Where there is no vacancy [for leader or deputy leader], nominations shall be sought 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.

4.D(ii). When the PLP is in government and the leader and/ or deputy leader are prime minister and/ or in Cabinet, an election shall proceed only if requested by a majority of party conference on a card vote.

I can't see any ambiguity. There is a clear duty to seek nominations each year where there is no vacancy.

If I was a Labour Party member, I'd be pretty pissed off over this.

Incidentally, the BBC item on the Rules doesn't mention the duty to seek nominations at all.

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