POLITICS
16/07/2018 19:46 BST | Updated 17/07/2018 09:40 BST

'Corbynism' Could Become Permanent Under New Labour Party Rules

Members, unions to get more say over national and council leaderships

PA Wire/PA Images

Radical plans to ensure Jeremy Corbyn’s politics are permanently embedded in the Labour party are set to get the go-ahead, HuffPost has learned.

The party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) is expected to endorse the findings of its ‘Democracy Review’ on Tuesday, with key recommendations to make it easier to elect a leftwing successor to Corbyn and to give members more say over council chiefs.

The package will also further entrench a pro-Corbyn majority on the NEC by changing the election of Welsh and Scottish reps to the 39-strong body.

In a bid to curtail the power of party officials, many of whom are seen as part of the pre-Corbyn era and as ‘centrists’, regional directors may also face election by rank and file members.

The Democracy Review, ordered by the Labour leader last year, has concluded that it is time to end MPs’ effective veto over who should be in a future leadership contest.

Under the new plans, a candidate for the leadership can be nominated if they attract just 5% of MPs – below the current 10% threshold – as long as they can get 10% of local parties or 10% of trade union affiliates.  

When Corbyn stood for leader in 2015, he only just managed to reach the then 15% threshold before going on to win a landslide among party members.

Leon Neal via Getty Images
Labour's Local Government rep on the NEC, Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes

In a further controversial move, the current system for allowing only councillors to choose their group leader could also be scrapped.

It would be replaced with a system to allow either local members or members and trade unionists to pick their town hall chief instead. 

The idea has had the strong backing of the grassroots group Momentum, which was set up to defend Corbyn soon after his first leadership election.

But the party’s local government chiefs, including NEC rep Nick Forbes, have warned that the plan is unworkable and possibly even illegal, as councillors are the ones who formally choose their leaders.

To allay fears, the Democracy Review is set to suggest a series of pilot schemes to test greater participation by members in council leader candidate races, sources say.

Among the options are an electoral college with a third councillors, a third trade unionists and a third members.

Another plan would see just members and union members, and another still would be a one-member, one-vote ballot of members only.

The NEC is expected to endorse the Democracy Review conclusions on Tuesday and it will then go before the full party conference for final approval this year in Liverpool.

Reforms to the NEC’s make-up are also expected. These would include giving conference delegates in Scotland and Wales the power to decide how their NEC representative is chosen.  

Another proposal is the creation of a new Disability place on NEC, to replace the current MEP’s leader slot.

Reform of Socialist Societies representation is also floated, to ensure members of those societies are able to elect their representatives on the NEC.

And to end the current system where those defeated in NEC elections don’t automatically get back on when a member quits, by-elections for the NEC are proposed.

A Labour Party Spokesperson refused to comment on the detailed recommendations but said: “This Review is one of the biggest democratic exercises undertaken by any political party.

“We’ve received over 11,000 submissions and hundreds of consultation events have taken place in constituencies across the country about creating a more democratic, member-led Party.”