Unite to back mandatory selection at Labour conference

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After the appalling behaviour of a number of Labour MPs recently and the closure of the case against Margaret Hodge, who has denied expressing regret when the Labour Chief Whup confirmed twice that she had done so and had received a formal warning and the case was closed on that basis, huge numbers of Labour members have been demanding ‘mandatory reselection’ (MR) of Labour MPs.

Under Labour’s current rules, existing MPs can only be removed by means of a complex ‘trigger ballot’ process, in which members’ influence is hugely diminished compared to that of affiliated unions and socialist societies, who can usually protect an incumbent if they wish to do so.

Under mandatory reselection, members would vote on an ‘OMOV’ (one member, one vote) basis and the process would be refreshed at every general election – empowering members and vastly increasing the accountability of MPs to them.

Now members have received a huge boost with the news that Unite, one of the UK’s biggest unions and one of the most influential in the Labour Party, intends to back moves to introduce MR at Labour’s annual conference next month in Liverpool – and that even if the measure fails, a push is planned to use the trigger ballot process to replace MPs that have been undermining the party’s push for power.

A senior Unite insider told the SKWAWKBOX:

Mandatory reselection is our policy so expect us to push this at the conference. If it didn’t get through I would expect us to be actively looking to use the trigger process.

Unite’s backing will vastly increase the chances of the issue being firmly on the conference agenda – and while Unison is likely to oppose MR, GMB may be cooperative and the smaller affiliated unions may well be evenly divided on the issue.

But with Unite on board representing a sizeable portion of the unions’ 50% conference voting power and most member delegates expected to support the change, the prospect of empowered members able to replace MPs who fail to represent them just became a lot more concrete.

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