Resolution for submission to the WM Regional Committee of Unite the Union passed at Emergency Meeting of WM/7007 CGL West Midlands on 14/7/16 at PCS, Birmingham.
This Unite body:
– notes that with the Tories in crisis and a general election likely by the end of the year, now is one of the best opportunities we have for securing a Labour government;
– notes with disgust the behaviour of the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party in passing the vote of no confidence in the current leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn;
– notes that such a vote has no standing within the rules of the Labour Party and having been carried without any serious leadership challenge for a period of 2 weeks caused confusion within the movement. This has undermined our ability to effectively campaign against the Tories and brings disrepute to the party;
– notes the improvement electorally since Jeremy Corbyn was elected on the first round with a 60% share of the support of the grassroots party membership as leader;
– notes the huge growth of the Labour Party membership in the same period;
– notes the huge groundswell of support in favour of Jeremy Corbyn in the form of meetings rallies marches and resolutions from constituency parties;
– notes that after two weeks of indecision and confusion the opponents of Jeremy Corbyn have finally found a formal challenger for leader;
– notes the lamentable role played by some Unite sponsored MPs particularly Tom Watson Deputy Leader;
– notes the position as leader is in the gift only of the membership on the basis of one person one vote across the whole party membership;
– notes the position of MP is normally in the gift of the constituency party but sometimes has been known to be imposed by party Central office, particularly in recent times;
– welcomes the decision of the NEC to uphold the rule allowing the incumbent on to the ballot of right;
– deplores the maneuvers after several members of the NEC had left the meeting of 12th July by discussing further items not on the agenda, against the rules of the NEC, resulting in the disenfranchising of anyone who joined the Labour Party after 12/1/16; anyone who cannot afford to pay £25 in the 48 hour window allowed; and anyone who joined a TU as an affiliated supporter since 12/1/16. This is known to be in excess of 130000 people, of all persuasions. Many of these will be of poor backgrounds. £25 may represent the amount they have to spend on food for the week;
– deplores the role of Ian McNicol General Secretary as outlined in the letter from Howe & Co Solicitors acting for Jim Kennedy (Unite NEC rep) and others, and also in his role in the gerrymandering as described above;
– notes the suspension of nearly all Branch and GMC business effectively stifling democratic discussion at a time when the party faces its biggest challenge in 80 years
We believe that the expressed view of the membership of the party is paramount. We believe that if members of the Parliamentary Labour Party have no confidence in the current leader the only acceptable course of action open to them is to bring forward an alternative to the leader in the form of a properly nominated challenger, and that there should be no open announcement or briefing to the press until such a nomination has been properly submitted.
We also believe that describing the £25 fee for affiliated supporters as a bargain when £25 is what some have spend on food for a week and the £25 is an increase from £3 is displaying a callous disregard for those who most desperately need a labour government.
We believe that it is not the role of the Labour party to intentionally exclude and possibly alienate newly politicised workers but on the contrary to encourage and welcome them into what should be a mass party. We believe that the Australian Labour party & the Comrades who posted solidarity from India, particularly the Australian Labour party which is crowd funding to enable less well-off British supporters to pay £25. are a shining example of socialist principle which would be well studied by the NEC and PLP.
This Unite body resolves:
– to censure Tom Watson for his failure to uphold basic principles of party democracy, and his complete contempt of millions of trade union members by unilaterally, precipitately and without notice, withdrawing from the reconciliation process he and Len McCluskey and other Trade Union leaders had engaged in;
– to call on Tom Watson to resign from the deputy leadership of the Labour party failing which we call on the appropriate action to be taken to consider both withdrawal of all financial support and expelling him from Unite for action likely to bring the union into disrepute;
– to call for the censuring and removal of Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party;
– to campaign for the deselection of those who undermined the express will of the party membership;
– to support in the current party leadership election and generally while Jeremy Corbyn is leader, the leadership of the party as democratically chosen by the party membership in the person of Jeremy Corbyn;
– to call on the Labour party to amend the ridiculously long exclusion period to the date of the NEC meeting at which it is changed, and to reduce the payment for affiliated supporters to a maximum amount of £5:00;
– to initiate or support any move to reintroduce or introduce the following measures into the constitutional workings of the Labour Party:
a) the selection of candidates for members of parliament shall normally be in the hands of the local constituted constituency Labour Party, who will also have the power to deselect any MP or prospective parliamentary candidate at any time up to the preelection window for reselection, and who will be expected to conduct a reselection meeting as soon as practicable and in any case within 2 weeks of a general election being called;
b) if a Constituency is unable for any reason to conduct a selection, deselection or reselection process, an alternative method on the basis of a meeting or meetings of all members of the Constituency shall be facilitated by the local District Party under the supervision of the NEC;
c) rules for PLP business shall preclude the holding of votes of no confidence in the leader or deputy leader, or any other similar mechanism, or the briefing of the press against the leader or deputy leader until and unless a challenger has come forward and stood properly nominated against the incumbent who will automatically, unless they resign, appear on the resulting ballot without needing to meet a threshold number of nominations from the PLP;
d) MPs who have been deselected shall, unless a General Election is due within 6 months, be expected to resign as MP, failing which the whip shall automatically withdrawn.