Saturday, December 16, 2006

Emergency NEC Meeting - 14/12/06

Got the message on Tuesday that there was an emergency NEC meeting on Thursday evening – mainly to discuss Hayden Phillips and Party funding.

I had to miss the by-election in Lancaster but felt it important to be there in person (sorry Lancaster!)

Two other items of business:

1. There will be a National Policy Forum in February which, amongst other things, means we can discuss Trident

2. Changes to the Annual Conference, venues will now be:

2007 Bournemouth

2008 Manchester

2009 Brighton

2010 Manchester

This means we are back to being away from the English South Coast every other year.

The main business was the party’s approach to an interim report from Sir Hayden Phillips in which, amongst other things, he has come up with proposals which would require the Party to write to every single trade union member every year reminding them they don’t have to affiliate to the Labour Party. This is a more draconian assault on Trade Union political funding then even the Tories managed after the General Strike of 1926!

Hayden Phillips is clearly exceeding his mandate by delving into Trade Union Political Funds and would destroy Political funds and cost the Party millions – a totally partisan attack on the basis of our Party’s funding at a time when finances are tough enough.

We had a very constructive and unified debate in which we reiterated policy agreed at Conference. I made the point that we needed unity and that the Party/Union link was not up for sale. The NEC unanimously agreed a statement along those very lines.

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