Tuesday, February 02, 2010
We had a fairly light agenda at the NEC as the Prime Minister had to be in Northern Ireland trying to resolve the problems around devolved policing.
There was some discussion about proceedings at the special selections panel-established to speed up the selection process for candidates. This has come about due to the unprecedented number of late selections we are having to do and the need to get candidates in the field as soon as possible. Whilst the NEC have to ensure we have candidates campaigning for victory, we also need to keep the trust of members that selections are being handled fairly. For that reason I made the point that constituency labour parties should be invited to have an an observer present when the short list for their constituency is drawn up. Unfortunately, despite support from other CLP reps I was in a minority.
However, we have made some real progress in protecting members rights to select their candidates. All short-lists from the special selection panel should have at least four people on them and, at the last NEC I got support for an amendment to ensure that members will always get a vote on who their candidate is unless it is physically impossible so to do e.g.a candidate falling under a bus on nomination day!
We had a report from Harriet Harman on the current political state of play and Ed Milliband outlined some of his ideas on the Manifesto.
I stressed the importance of the minimum wage-the country's biggest collective agreement-and the need to at least maintain its current level.
We received an organisational summary about the General Election and then Lord Mandelson outlined his views on the campaign-a session I had to miss due to the need to catch a train, the meeting having lasted 5 hours by this point. I'm sure someone will fill me in.