Thursday, July 12, 2007

NEC Sub-Committees

Tuesday 10th saw the first set of NEC Sub-committees since March - the May ones being cancelled due to the Leadership elections.

The Womens, Race and Equalities Committee started with us welcoming Will Martin from Stonewall describing their work on diversity and welcoming the Labour Party as one of its diversity champions.

We then welcomed Harriet Harman and congratulated her on her recent successful election campaign.

Harriet outlined her role as Deputy Leader, Chair of the Party, Minister for Women and Leader of the House. It was good to see that Barbara Keeley, our neighbouring MP, is included in her team.

She outlined what she believed should be our three policy priorities:

- supporting the working family - especially older relatives

- tackling violence against women, both domestic and sex trafficking

- community empowerment

On the first point I stressed the importance of the USDAW campaign on carers' allowances, which Harriet made clear she understood.

We then had reports on the continued, pleasing, growth of the Black Socialist Society and reports on the development of LGBT Labour.

On Parliamentary Selection discussions there were reports on a number of seats and discussion on the importance of ensuring the equality dimension of Women and BME candidates do not conflict.
Disputes Committee followed the WREC meeting and amongst other things I've been delegated to oversee proceedings in Derby and West Lancashire so I'll be on my travels again.

Organisation Committee discussed and ratified a number of decisions taken by NEC Officer in the absence of committee meetings including Ealing Southall and Walthamstow (All Women Shortlist).

We had a very full report on current parliamentary selections - where we are now beginning to make real progress. There is still a real issue about the lack of new BME candidates.

Stress was put on the need to win the two current by-elections in Southall and Sedgefield.
We had a report on the progress of positive action in selecting women in Local Government in 2004, 24% of Labour Councillor were women, by 2006 this had risen to 32% - a significant increase but still not up to the NEC target of 50%. It was good to see that Knowsley, a very strong Labour area, now has 50% women.

We agreed to continue positive action procedures and I managed to move an amendment to ensure that CLPs were involved in drawing up the targets - not just Local Government Committees. Anyone who wants the detailed background papers please e-mail me at

I've got to be honest that by the end of what's effectively six and a half hour meeting the brain begins to melt. So If anyone has any queries about other matters - please contact me.

NEC meeting next Tuesday.

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