Labour’s National Executive Committee has today voted in favour of a change to the party rules to lower the leadership election threshold to 10%.
The committee also voted in favour of including three new representatives from local parties and trade unions on the NEC, strengthening the left’s hold on the party.
The changes to the party rules will now be drafted and taken to the party conference next week.
The amendment to lower the threshold has been a critical point of debate amongst the party membership. By lowering the threshold it means that nominees for leadership would need to acquire 5% less support from MP’s or MEP’s.
This is a huge win for the left-wing as the rank and file of the party – the membership – is predominantly left-wing and members of parliament are seen to be on the right.
This means that Members of Parliament hailing from the progressive left have a better chance of meeting the required standards to get on the ballot paper.
This is seen as a compromise between the two wings of the party, as the previous amendment, dubbed the “Mcdonnell amendment”, was initially drafted to lower the threshold to 5%.
This was after John McDonnell’s failed leadership bid in 2007.
The NEC also agreed to increase the number of local reps on their own committee from 6 to 9. Also adding an extra union rep. This will increase the number of members on the NEC committee to 39. Which will likely shift power towards Jeremy Corbyn and the left.
There have been clashes between the left and right of the party since the left were emboldened by Jeremy Corbyns election in 2015.
Since Corbyn has become leader, the membership is now over 500,000 strong and much of Labour’s success in the last election was due to the footwork of the rank and file.
Jeremy Corbyn has also survive two failed coups from Members of Parliament and this will undoubtedly strengthen his and the lefts position for years to come.
As The Labour Party membership are on the cusp of not only another party conference but also a potential snap election, this result will be welcome news to those who have worked so hard to transform the Labour Party back to it’s former self – into the fighting democratic workers party we all know it should and could be.
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