John McDonnell has revealed Labour will use a debate on House of Lords reform as a step towards handing ordinary members voting power on party policies.
The Shadow Chancellor told HuffPostUK the issue would be used as “a testing ground” for getting members more directly involved with policy making, and to persuade centrist Labour MPs of the idea.
“It will be a good testing ground from which to make a strong argument for moving towards a digital democratic process of representation”, he said.
McDonnell said Labour would use consultations and digital feedback from membership to inform the House of Lords policy. He said this would make sure the party “can see how it works”, and eventually “gear up” to involving members more directly.
“Once people get comfortable with the system, it could be used for other issues”, he said. “This is a good way of engaging those people who don’t go out and knock on doors in the rain”.
Corbyn has made it clear he wants Labour’s large membership to have more power in the party’s decision making, and that this could involve them digitally voting on policies.
He has also said that he wants more grassroots representation on key Labour bodies, such as the national executive committee.
After a surge in membership since Corbyn was elected last year, Labour has a total of well over 600,000 members.