Please excuse the spelling mistakes and grammar errors – I am quite tired!
As we countdown the weeks and days until Conference, things have been getting very busy. This month the CAC are meeting four times (17th, 19th and twice on 22nd).
The meeting on Monday 17th September 2018 focused predominately on Contemporary Motions. The role of the CAC is to ensure the motions met the criteria.
We had a total of 272 Contemporary Motions submitted by the deadline and a further 7 which were late. Members of the CAC received the Contemporary Motions on Friday evening, the deadline was the afternoon before. I found it astonishing that Party Staff managed to get this to us in such a short space of time. Every Contemporary Motion had a recommendation from the Labour Party’s Policy team whether it met the criteria.
I read all of the motions on the weekend, and arrived early to the CAC meeting to collect a hard copy to go over it properly. It was a reminder of my student days sitting in a coffee shop with my highlighter pens!
The meeting had consensus on most Contemporary Motions, and a majority on a handful. There were some we agreed with the Party Staff recommendations and some we did not and felt they should be ruled in.
In total we ruled in 183 of the 272.
We decided that all of the late ones should not be accepted.
All CLPs and Affiliates were informed of our decision on Monday evening and those we ruled out were invited to appeal if they wished.
On Wednesday 19th September we heard the appeals. A total of 20 appeals were received, 13 were written appeals and 7 were in person (4 in person and 3 over the phone). We overturned 2 on appeal.
Contemporary Motion Criteria
It was difficult to turn down some motions, we are all human and are in politics because we care but we had a criteria to judge it by and this criteria was sent to all CLPs in June 2018.
There is talk (I have not heard anything directly) that the ‘Contemporary’ criteria will go in the Democracy Review. However, just in case, I’ll try and explain:
Motion 1: There is a housing crisis in Britain. Councils are unable to build due to Government restrictions….
Motion 2: On the 14th August 2018 the Government released their Green Paper on Social Housing. It is clear that the Government plans do not address the housing crisis in Britain and are going to make the situation worse. Labour must challenge …….
Our criteria is ‘contemporary’, something that has recently changed in that policy area which happened after the NPF published its report (6th Aug). Motion 1 did not tell us anything new, members could have submitted a submission to the NPF. Motion 2 informed us that there has been a new policy development in housing, namely the Government Green paper which came out after the NPF published their report. It also told us that this new development meant the party needed to do something.
This is a really rushed, crude explanation. But I hope it helps and if the criteria stays, then I will explain this further in the next few months.
When will the motions be published?
Motions are traditionally published on day one of Conference (Sunday), but these are pre-composited. Delegates will read them, in their subject groups and then vote on which subjects they want to debate on the Conference floor. CLPs are allowed to vote for four and Affiliates are allowed to vote for four.
That takes place on Sunday. Then once we have the 8 subjects we take all of those motions and start compositing. So if the 8 subjects include NHS, Housing, Economy, then all the submittors for the NHS motions attend a composite meeting, all the submittors for Housing attend a composite meeting and so on.
The final motions from the composites will be published for day two and they are the motions the delegates vote on. They will not be available any sooner than Sunday night or Monday morning.
Open Selection Motion
Firstly we need to be clear what the Open Selection submission is, it is a Constitutional Amendment (rule change), not a motion. CLPs were allowed to submit Constitutional Amendments in June (and if they did they could not submit a Contemporary Motion.
- Constitutional Amendments are changes to our rulebook
- Contemporary Motions are on our positions on political policy (i.e. NHS, Housing etc).
There is a gap of a year, so Constitutional Amendments debated at Conference this year were submitted last year.
The CAC can decide whether a Constitutional Amendment is in order – i.e. has that rule been voted upon in the last 3 years? and if so, is the new submission trying to overturn that decision or is it asking for something else to be changed?
The CAC in July ruled that the Constitutional Amendment on Open Selections was in order and can go forward to this years conference.
Over the past 6 weeks, I have received a high number of emails and tweets asking to let it go forward to this years conference. It already has been. It has been since July and the motion submittor was informed of that success.
This is where the role of the CAC now ends. There is no further process for us to rule on.
The NEC can also submit rule changes, they can table those at anytime in their NEC report. Their NEC report is tabled on day one of Conference (Sunday). If they do propose something on Parliamentary Selections, and Conference Delegates vote to pass it – then any Constitutional Amendments due to come to Conference on Tuesday will automatically fall.
We cannot have the same Conference decide two different rules for the same thing.
The CAC have asked for and have been assured will happen, for Consequentials to be added to delegates reports, so they are clear if you vote for A then B is taken off the table.
We envisage there will be a number of these as the Democracy Review also has changes that affect the Constitutional Amendments on the table. The Consequentials for these will be clear in the reports to delegates.
The members of the CAC cannot vote for any Constitutional Amendment or Contemporary Motion, we are not delegates. Our role is to make sure all of the documents tabled are in line with the rules and to advocate that things need to be in place to ensure delegates understand. We have been clear we want Consequentials so delegates are making an informed decision when voting.
The NEC are still discussing the Democracy Review, until they give the CAC the final parts they want to come to Conference, the CAC simply does not know which Constitutional Amendments will be effected.
The NEC are meeting on Saturday 22nd September 2018 at 6:30pm and the CAC are now having to meet straight after to decide how to meet their requests and submissions. It will be a long night for the CAC and Party Staff!
We are still working on a skeleton as we are awaiting on the NEC – It is unlikely we would know the final timetable until Saturday evening. I have received the petition from Labour International asking for time for the Open Selection debate – it has been noted by the CAC and the NEC that 30mins for Constitutional Amendments is not enough.
How do we composite Constitutional Amendments?
You don’t. If you are asking for exactly the same change, then a proposer and seconder from the submitting CLPs is sought. If you are asking for different changes of the same rule, then the one with most CLPs submitting is heard first.
Remember a CLP may have submitted, but sees your version and may decide to withdraw in favour of yours which is more enhanced. The CAC team will regularly contact you with the developments.
Scottish CLP Survey
Thank you to the 40 Scottish CLPs who completed my survey about your involvement in National Conference. I have read all of the submissions and will be compiling my report for the CAC in November. I will email all Scottish CLP Secretaries a copy before November’s CAC meeting.
Meetings Over September
Over September I spoke at the Unite Political School in Norwich/Burston, at the CLPD event in Birmingham, at the Bexley Momentum meeting and at the Enfield Momentum meeting.
I know I have a few requests pending, please bear with me, I do work full time and weekends work better. I will try my best to attend where I can.
Communication Over Conference
My laptop, which I love dearly, does not connect to the internet except when in my house! I have been unable to convince my fiancé to bring his (cheek!) so I am taking my iPad, but updating my website and emailing via Campaign Creator on iPads is a challenge.
I am going to ask the CLP Secs Forum on Facebook if I can book the ‘CLP Secs Online Meeting Room’ on Facebook so I can take queries and answer on my phone.
The CAC did agree that all documents that are sent to delegates are also sent to all CLP Secs. As a CLP Sec I did not receive the Delegates Report but I got it from Membersnet and you can download it direct here.
If you have any questions please email me on seema @ seemachandwani.co.uk