We are promoting the following rule change for Constituency Labour Parties to submit to Labour Party conference 2016. If your CLP has submitted it or you would like help submitting, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
NB CLPs can submit one rule change OR one policy motion to the conference. If successful at conference, the rule change will have to pass again next year to come into effect. But we need to get started!
A disciplinary code that meets standards of natural justice
In Chapter 2 Clause 1 Section 3:
Amend sub-section B to read: “support Labour candidates in elections and assist the Party in its activity”.
Delete sub-section C.
Delete section 4 and renumber subsequent sections accordingly.
Add a new section 8: The NCC may exclude members from the Party for breach of the conditions set out in this Clause. Those members must have written notice of the charges against them, adequate time to prepare a reply, and a hearing at the NCC or a panel of the NCC as set out in Chapter 6 of these rules.
In Chapter 6 Clause 1 Section 2, delete “on whatever basis or by automatic exclusion under Chapter 2.4.A above of the membership rules”.
Several hundreds of exclusions in the run-up to the 2015 Labour Party leadership election and a number since have been carried out by the Compliance Unit, an unelected body with no clear status in the Party rules.
Many have been “automatic exclusions” under Chapter 2 Clause 4 (A). An “automatic exclusion” means that those excluded have no notice of the charges against them until after they are excluded; no hearing; and no right of appeal.
The possible grounds for these “automatic exclusions” are so broad that probably the big majority of Party members can be “automatically excluded” if a Compliance Unit official so wishes. “A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party” can be automatically excluded, which means that any member of CLPD, or CND, or Progress, or Friends of the Earth, is vulnerable.
Natural justice demands that the grounds for exclusion be made more precise (the text that remains unamended in Chapter 1 Clause 1 is sufficient for that); notice of charges; and a hearing in front of a constitutionally-established and accountable body.