Let the members decide – new model motion calls for Labour democracy


“CLPs and branches are urged to pass the motion calling on the NEC to value local CLPs and let members decide.”

A Labour Party member writes in support of a new model motion on the democratic right of constituency members to choose their prospective candidates.

When Keir Starmer was elected Leader of the Labour Party, one of his pledges was that ‘Local Party members should select their candidates for every election.’ He was right. Not only is it a basic principle of the Labour Rulebook, agreed by our sovereign Annual Conference, it is the best way of ensuring candidates who are embedded in their local communities, are in touch with local voters and can motivate local campaigners.

Unfortunately under Starmer’s Leadership members have too often been denied the option of selecting from a full range of candidates – too many candidates with significant support from trade unions and left members have been not reached a shortlist for often extremely dubious reasons. The list of CLPs this has effected is now long, but includes Broxtowe, Milton Keynes North, Kensington and Chelsea, Camberwell and Peckham, Stroud, Hastings, Sedgefield, Bolton North East and more.

The case of Islington North is also outrageously undemocratic – despite the conclusion of any disciplinary processes Jeremy Corbyn, the much loved MP for 40 years and from 2016-2020 Leader of the Labour Party, has been denied the opportunity to seek re-selection by members in Islington North. Moreover the reason cited by the NEC – that he lost the 2019 election but without any context as to why that happened – is totally inconsistent with any rule, any precedent or any natural justice.  A statement from the officers of Islington North CLP on 28 March noted ‘we reject the NEC’s undue interference in Islington North, which undermines our goal of defeating the Conservatives and working with our communities for social justice.’

Historic precedent under Blair’s Leadership, and demonstrated most recently at the 2023 local government elections, suggests that imposing candidates risks losing support for Labour and makes it more difficult for Labour candidates to win.

It is not too late to learn these lessons and for the Leadership to demonstrate that it values its diverse membership. There are still numerous selections to take place for Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, including in Islington North. Members across the country want the right to select their PPC from a wide range of diverse candidates, including from all wings of the Labour Party. CLPs and branches are urged to debate and pass the motion calling on the NEC to value local CLPs and let members decide.

The full motion text reads as follows:

Let the Members Decide

This CLP notes the Labour Party’s constitution states it is a ‘democratic socialist party’ (Clause IV).

This CLP further notes that Keir Starmer stated in February 2020: ‘The selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic, and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election.’

This CLP agrees with this statement, and strongly believes that it should be the democratic right of constituency members to choose their prospective candidates.

With regards to the selection of Parliamentary candidates, this CLP notes concern across our movement at the imposition of shortlists and/or the exclusion of popular local and trade-union backed candidates in numerous constituencies.

This CLP calls on the NEC to confirm that the selection of candidates is the democratic right of local Labour Party members and must be upheld.

  • The motion can be downloaded as a PDF here and was produced by a group of Labour Party members from across the country as an action point from the recent Let the Members Decide – For Labour Party Democracy event, which can be watched here.
  • Please note, CLPs should be aware that Labour’s Head Office and Regional Offices have form in ruling out motions that refer to Jeremy Corbyn. There is no basis in rule for shutting down discussion in this way but comrades may wish to exercise caution in how they put forward any motion to their CLPs.
Featured image: Labour Party Conference 2019. Photo credit: Labour List

One thought on “Let the members decide – new model motion calls for Labour democracy

  1. Any political party should have no RIGHTS to suspend a serving MP. Instead it should be taken to VOTES by the constituents who had actually elected that MP. The constituent only (and NOT the Party) have an actual right to review the position in special situations. The suspension of CORBYN by the labour party is out of order and that Mr CORBYN should be reinstated with immediate effects, if supported by the constituency voters, which I believe is the case.

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