Apologies for no April report – I was overwhelmed being the election agent for the Local Government elections. Due to the elections we have not had a Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) meetings since February and our next one is due in July.
However, below are some of the items I have been working on.
Mystery of Motions
Sadly, I am still unable to find out what exactly happens to conference motions which are passed on the Conference floor. I understand that they are sent to the National Policy Forum, but it is still hazy what happens next? And why CLP Secretaries are not informed or kept updated with progress.
I plan to discuss this with Andrew Fisher; Director of Policy and Ann Black; the newly elected Chair of the National Policy Forum. I will also be pushing new proposals about how CLP Secs are informed of status of their motions once passed.
Errors in Rule Changes (Constitutional Amendments)
A number of CLP Secs have contacted me saying there are errors in rule changes they submitted in 2017 which are due to be debated and voted upon this year.
All but one of those that have come my way have now been confirmed as rectified. Please contact me if you have any problems, attaching the original wording is also helpful. You can find the Constitutional Amendments in the Delegates Report 2017 available by Clicking Here
Disability and Mobility Access
Thank you to the members who have contacted me about this, it is still one of the top things I am pursuing. I have asked for a progress update which I will pass on once I receive it.
I have received a new stewarding plan (literally this afternoon). I will read through it and if I need to, then come back to you all or those who contacted me with access concerns, to ask your view.
Over the next few months I will be working on discussions with those holding fringe events outside the conference complex to highlight how they can ensure better access to their events based on your feedback. They are obviously independent from the events held by the Labour Party or inside Labour Party hired spaces, so I will have to rely on the individual organisations hosting the fringe events.
Please continue to send me your access issues, I am learning so much and it’s really helping me push for improvements.
Can we make sure we vote on….
I have received a number of emails and tweets asking if I can make sure we debate and vote on specific topics. The response is no. It is not my decision; it is your delegate’s decision.
I ask people to refer to the Rule Book Chapter 3, Clause III, Section 2.
Once motions are received from CLPs, Affiliates, Young Labour and the ALC, they come to CAC to check competence. The competence test is whether the motion is contemporary and whether they have not already been covered by the NEC or NPF (plus other technical things). It is not about the subject.
They are then grouped into topics (e.g. Transport, NHS, Economy etc.)
Delegates then vote on what topics they want to debate at conference. CLP delegates have 4 topics they can vote on to discuss and Trade Unions/Affiliates have 4 topics they can vote on. This is called a ‘priorities ballot’. In total there are 8 topics
If there are no motions on the topic you wish to see on the agenda, then it won’t be one of the topics delegates can vote upon in the priorities ballot. If the top four subjects from both CLP and Trade Union/Affiliate Delegates does not include the topic you wish to discuss, then sadly that is democracy.
The role of the CAC is to make sure that the process is run properly so delegates shape their conference topics democratically through the priorities ballot.
The S*n Newspaper
Thank you to Garston and Halewood CLP for your motion.
The S*n are not permitted at Labour Party conference. Printed copies of The S*n are not permitted at Labour party conference. This was decided by CAC before my time, so I can’t take credit. But I’m from Tottenham, The S*n hounded Bernie Grant and Tottenhamites for decades – I campaigned at 13 to ban it from my youth centre and glad it is banned at conference.
A couple of people felt this was censorship, I view it as protection. People who The S*n attack because of their race, religion or sexuality should not be coming to places like a Labour party conference and be presented with such hate. This is even more important in a place like Liverpool and the disgraceful way The S*n treated them after Hillsborough.
As the saying goes, you can be The S*n or you can be a newspaper – you can’t be both!
A couple of people have asked me if there is a similar policy in place for The Daily [Hate]mail. I will find out.
CLP Secs Questions:
- How do we elect delegates? This differs from CLP to CLP, it’s one of those things where there is not a standard process. Over the years I have been Secretary I have used different methods (agreed by my EC of course) because elections prohibit us from a longer process of obtaining branch nominations etc.
- We passed our conference motion last week, where do I send it? Technically you could not have passed your contemporary motion last week… You have to wait for the National Policy Forum (NPF) report to come out in early Aug, distribute it to members and only accept motions that are about issues that occurred after the publication of the NPF report.
So if your motion is on housing, the NPF report would have covered this topic, but if since its publication the government decided to refuse all single people the right to apply for council housing – you may want to put in motion about that. Or if since the publication of the NPF report, Shelter release a report that shows single people are being rejected for housing by councils, then you can put a motion in about that.
- Can we ask delegates to pay for their accommodation, pass and travel? This is something you need to discuss with your CLP and possibly your Regional Office. It is not something I advocate as it does mean it excludes people who cannot pay and really CLPs should choose their delegate based on merit not ability to pay.
In my CLP we pay for all delegates, universally for all conferences (including regional, youth etc.) I recognise it is hard for some CLPs to fund conference, my CLP used to struggle. Fundraising is how we overcame the barrier. I do recommend asking other CLP Secs in the CLP Secs forum on Facebook for Fundraising tips, some are really good at crowdfunding, setting up their 200 club etc.
Thank you very much for reading (and for all of the positive feedback you send me).
If you have any questions, please contact me my email is seema [at] seemachandwani.co.uk