My Quick-Notes report from Labour Party NEC Away Day held on 24th November 2020:
The Away Day is usually held a few weeks after annual conference. A key item of business was the election of a new Chair and Vice Chair for the NEC. These are usually elected at the end of conference but there being no conference this year meant this was the first opportunity to hold elections.
I was pleased to support Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP for Chair and Cllr Alice Perry for Vice Chair. Both are longstanding stalwarts of both the Party and the NEC and were elected unopposed. The election returns the NEC to the tradition of the longest serving NEC member being elected Chair – something that had been disregarded for the last few years.
The General Secretary reported the current membership is approximately 540,000. This is a modest reduction which is consistent with the general pattern over the last few years. General Elections and Leadership Elections have always seen a spike in membership with a general decline in between.
The NEC considered the NEC and Sub-Committee Terms of Reference.
The NEC received a very important update and presentation on Safeguarding Children within the Party. The importance of this cannot be understated. I made the points that safeguarding is everybody’s concern and the NEC should reflect this importance through the policy and reporting framework we put in place with regular reporting to the NEC.
The draft Labour Party Annual Report was discussed.
An update report was received and agreed on arrangements and planning for Women’s Conference next year. Further information will be published by the Party shortly.
A report was received and discussed on how the Party deals with Motions. This is an issue I’ve referred to every time I’ve stood for the NEC and is a matter of concern across the Party. The NEC agreed a protocol for how CLP Motions will be treated and dealt with and reported back on.
A draft new Code of Conduct was discussed. Wide ranging views and comments were made by NEC members which were generally supportive of a new Code of Conduct.
The afternoon session saw a report by Leader, Keir Starmer MP who took a very wide range of questions on topical issues. I asked the Leader on his and the Party’s response to the recently published report on islamophobia in the Party by the Labour Muslim Network. The Leader informed the meeting he had already instructed senior staff to prepare an action plan to address the points in the report which he will be sharing with NEC members.
The remainder of the afternoon session consisted of three sessions covering Elections 2021, Engaging our Membership Under Covid and Effective Governance. These received a presentation from Party staff followed by breakout sessions for more detailed discussions. Feedback was received by the NEC from all breakout groups and will help inform future direction and work.
The Away Day ended with an address by Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner MP.