Wednesday, June 18, 2008

National Executive Committee

On Tuesday we held the NEC meeting which had been deferred from May 22nd to allow for campaigning in the Crewe & Nantwich By-election.

Prior to the meeting we had a briefing on the financial situation while the position is far from great, you can disregard many of the alarmist headlines in the newspapers. We are close to agreement with the people who have lent us money and expect the accounts to be signed off next week.

The full NEC meeting started with an interview with Ray Collins - the candidate for General Secretary. He gave a very accomplished and confident interview and answered to questions. After being badly let down the last time round, Ray - with a solid background in the trade union movement - is just the candidate we need.

Gordon Brown then gave his latest report concentrating on the difficult economic period we're in and the fact that it's worldwide and affecting governments internationally. What's crucial is that we keep our nerve and protect our people from the worst consequences of the world situation.

I raised the important issue of the current court case concerning Mesothelioma and the insurance companies attempting to weasel out of their responsibilities and the need to take urgent action to protect people from the current housing market problems and reduce the number of repossessions. Most other NEC members had their say and there was an impressive sense of solidarity in difficult times.

Douglas Alexander gave an analysis of both the local elections and the Crewe & Nantwich By-election, outlining our approach to the general election. There was a thorough analysis of where the Tories and Lib Dems are and I made the point that we need to put the Tories under maximum pressure as to what their policies are.

During this part of the meeting we were receiving news of David Davies' resignation - sometimes you just can't believe your luck!

We had a report from Bridget Prentice on the progress of the legislation concerning funding for political parties which should be reaching a conclusion soon.

There was a change of membership on the NEC as my friend Tom Watson replaces Dawn Primarolo as a representative of the Government. That convinces me our finances are safe as Tom is not known to be reckless with his own money!

The meeting finished at about 3:30pm and there is some sense that we are going through these difficult times with more unity and sense of purpose than of late!

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