Selections, environmental commitments and more – Coll McCail and Lauren Harper report-back from the Scottish Executive Committee


“SEC members raised concerns from Party members that local candidates were being squeezed out of the Westminster selection process at the shortlisting phase.”

By Coll McCail & Lauren Harper, Scottish Labour NEC Youth Representatives

On Saturday the 10th of June, the SEC met for the last time before Summer. In the two months since the SEC last met, polling has continued to prove positive for the Scottish Labour Party.

Leaders Report

Anas Sarwar opened his leaders’ report by highlighting the internal turmoil faced by both the SNP at Holyrood and the Tories at Westminster. He added that the English local election results were promising and Labour had won in the places it needed to.

Turning to the Rutherglen and Hamilton-West recall petition, Anas Sarwar said he was confident the party would get the signatures required for a by-election. He highlighted the need for a by-election to take place as early as possible and the additional pressure on Rutherglen following the triggering of 3 further by-elections in England.

Anas Sarwar gave a detailed presentation to the SEC on recent polling at both Holyrood and Westminster. He reaffirmed that the issues of primary importance to the Scottish electorate were the cost of living and the NHS. Over the coming months, he said, Labour’s job is to articulate what it would do differently to current governments.

Sarwar also added that a recent briefing to the Sunday Times trailing a Labour commitment to end new oil and gas extraction had not come from Scottish Labour or LOTO. The paper had sparked criticism from offshore unions and lacked a detailed funding plan. Scottish Labour, he said, has been working closely to improve that policy before it is formally launched.

SEC members asked a number of questions relating to this briefing and welcomed the clarity offered by the leader.

Some members also highlighted the importance of the commitment to end future extraction, noting that the working class bore the biggest impact of climate change. The day before the SEC met, Rachel Reeves announced a delay to Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan. We raised the apparent contradiction between an unfunded promise to end future extraction and a delay to the investment needed to fund the just transition. We highlighted the need for detail from the Party on what its proposals for a just transition looked like.

In his response, Anas Sarwar offered his support to Reeves’ delay but said the details were being worked out just now. These will be announced by Starmer not this week but the following. The Party is working to include Scotland-specific plans in that announcement, including trying to find a place for local community stakes in new energy projects. We also raised the need for Labour to articulate its offer to young people at the next general election.

Other Reports

Reports from the Scottish parliament, Westminster, Local Government and the Scottish Labour Women’s Committee were circulated to SEC members in advance of the meeting.

In the Holyrood report, it was raised that Councillors across Scotland would welcome a greater connection between councils and Holyrood in policy development and other areas. In the local government report, SEC members raised the benefits and drawbacks of COSLA. During the discussion on the Women’s Committee report, SEC members suggested that the Party carry out exit interviews with female Councillors choosing to leave office to inform the work of the women’s committee in encouraging more women to stand for election.

General Secretary’s report

A number of papers had been submitted for discussion or agreement by the general secretary on Westminster selections.

The first paper focused on the next tranche of seats to be selected, some of which will be selected on new boundaries. Those seats which will be selected along the current boundaries face minimal change following the implementation of the Boundary Commissions’ changes. SEC members raised issues with certain proposed boundary adjustments which the General Secretary promised to look into. The GS assured the SEC that the Party was working closely with CLPs on the effects of boundary changes. SEC members also raised concerns from Party members that local candidates were being squeezed out of the Westminster selection process at the shortlisting phase. For example, Rutherglen CLP and Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse CLP had recently penned a joint letter to the Labour Party’s leadership raising concerns regarding the selection procedure in Rutherglen & Hamilton West. Reassurances were given to the SEC that no local candidate was being excluded from the processes without reason.

The general secretary also brought a paper to the SEC regarding non-priority Westminster selections in Scotland. Designed to speed up the rate at which the Party is selecting candidates, this proposal breaks with the twinning process used so far and selecting non-priority seats on their own in a streamlined manner. The paper proposed the General Election sub-committee of the SEC agreed tranches of seats to open for expressions of interest, however, the sub-committee could request that a non-priority seat be selected using the full selection procedure or twinning procedure. We sought clarification regarding how the Party planned to maintain its commitment to diversity in candidate selection. Other SEC members also raised concerns regarding the consequences of abandoning twinning and ensuring gender parity in non-priority seats. The SEC was reassured that due consideration would be given to candidate diversity.

The General Secretary also gave an update on the Rutherglen and Hamilton West recall petition. The SEC was informed that 20% of the electorate is postal and they will automatically receive a petition vote. Those who chose to vote in person will receive a petition card and a specific location for where to sign.


During AOB, we sought clarity as to whether Rutherglen CLP & HLS CLP’s letter to the Party leadership had received a reply. We were told a response had been submitted. Questions were also raised about areas without operating LGCs, engagement with disabled members and vacancies.

The SEC will next meet in September.

  • Coll McCail & Lauren Harper are Youth Representatives on the Labour Party’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC). Any questions or issues young members would like raised at future meetings, please contact Coll and Lauren by email.  
  • You can follow Coll McCail on twitter here; and follow Lauren Harper here.
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Featured image: Scottish Executive Committee Youth Representatives Coll Coll McCail & Lauren Harper.

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