Emergency motion – Reclaim Democracy, Recall Conference

Party members and trade unions have come together to demand that Labour’s NEC  respond to the current crisis of democracy in the Party by recalling conference. This is a constitutional entitlement and is justified by the failure of the party to hold a conference representing members and affiliates since September 2019.

An emergency motion is in circulation for CLPs and union branches to debate and submit by March 11, when the NEC’s Organisation Subcommittee is due to meet.

See below for the motion, details of a campaign rally on March 6, and an explanatory video by Young Labour members.


Recall Conference Emergency Motion

This meeting notes the escalating crisis within the Labour Party concerning freedom of debate; freedom of speech and interference in the workings of our CLPs. This meeting believes that the party’s crisis needs to be addressed urgently.

This meeting recognises that the supreme policy-making body of our Party is our national conference composed of delegates from the CLPs, trade unions, & other affiliated organisations. We believe that this is the only body with the necessary authority to resolve this crisis.

We therefore demand that the NEC organises an immediate national recall conference of the Labour Party, under rule *Clause VI:1 of the Constitutional Rules, with the purpose of ending the impasse, restoring party democracy and achieving genuine unity as the only means for the Party to achieve victory at forthcoming elections.

“The work of the Party shall be under the direction and control of Party conference, which shall itself be subject to the constitution and standing orders of the Party.  Party conference shall meet regularly once in every year and also at such other times as it may be convened by the NEC.”

Join a zoom meeting on Saturday 6th March, 11am

Join a range of speakers from the Reclaim Democracy, Recall Conference campaign to hear what we can do to organise and fight to defend the socialist principles that our movement was founded upon.

Speakers include:

  • Richard Burgon, Leeds East MP and secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group
  • Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Streatham MP and Socialist Campaign Group
  • Sarah Woolley, BFAWU general secretary
  • Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary and Labour NEC
  • Solma Ahmed, Momentum NCG
  • Rob Sewell, Labour4Clause4 national coordinator
  • Jen Dunstan, Sheffield Disabled People Against the Cuts

Join on Zoom or watch live on the Reclaim Democracy, Recall Conference Facebook page.

Explanatory video by Young Labour members.


Comments (12)

  • George Wilmers says:

    The phrase “restoring party democracy” in the motion is an unnecessary provocation which adds nothing to the essential content. (Apart from anything else it implies that “party democracy” actually existed at some point, a highly contentious proposition in itself!)
    I would suggest using the less provocative alternative wording:
    “renewing party democracy”

  • MAB says:

    I might be glad for a conference but only if all the warring sub-groupings in the party stop vying with each other for my attention, and start thinking about working together, stop pushing their same-old, same-old “lines” and start thinking about and proposing policies that the people and the country need now, including how to work with other parties to get the Tories — who are privatising and wrecking absolutely everything they can get their hands on — out of power. Instead, I’m being bombarded with one-directional emails about endless bloody webinars, super-socialist dream scenarios and not a word about how to end a pandemic that has been destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods every day for a whole year, plus directives from what the Guardian recently aptly called the high command to shut up and not have an opinion about anything controversial, and at the same time being asked to get on the phone with people “out there” to try and convince them to vote for us when I haven’t got an A5-sized clue what we stand for anymore. Really, I despair.

  • Tony Free says:

    Democracy is the oxygen of freedom, justice and honesty. Let’s start to breathe again.

  • Harry Law says:

    Most of the issues since Starmer became leader have involved breaching the Labour Party rule book, those breaches can only be resolved in court action, unfortunately. What is the point of a recalled Conference or even a new rule book when there is no guarantee the leadership will not ride roughshod over the rules once again? Clobber them in court, one side or the other will be vindicated, then it is up to the membership/electorate to vote with their feet.

  • Ludi Simpson says:

    Where is it evidenced that a recall conference can do something that the September conference cannot? Where are the rules about a recall conference that show this can achieve what we all wish it to achieve? What numbers of CLPs are needed to call for one successfully? Asking for a friend. As many details as possible please, to convince that friend.

    • Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi says:

      The danger in waiting for a regular conference in September is that without a fightback, as offered by the recall conference campaign, many more socialists will have left the party, to the delight of those who are organising to drive us out. CLPs across the country are seeing their leading activists suspended and their local party organisations taken over, often by blatant bureaucratic manoeuvring. Everything is being done to prevent delegates being elected who could go to the regular conference in September (if it happens) and vote against David Evans being ratified as General Secretary. A recall conference would be guaranteed a majority of left delegates – those who were at the last one in September 2019. The more CLPs and trade union branches that support the call, the harder it will be for the NEC to resist.

  • John Thatcher says:

    May I thank MAB above for giving us the Right’s line on a conference, it is a useful addition to the debate. The truth is of course is, the Right dominated NEC and the relevant subcommittee will not allow a recall conference by the simple expedient of ignoring the rule book once again.

  • Linda says:

    It baffles me that Labour’s leadership have done nothing – and continue to do nothing – to seek an end to the escalating war between themselves and large minorities in the rest of the Labour family. It almost seems as if they’re actively looking for new causes of dissent (eg by halting the vote for Labour’s candidate for the Liverpool Mayor).

    Are there, perhaps, unreported moves on both sides looking for the most positive, least disruptive ways of healing the divisions and embittered relationships?

    Surely the Labour leadership can’t be daft enough to believe they can now win this conflict?

    The Labour leadership have caused such affront on so many aspects of principle, policies and procedure they’ve left the rest of us with no choice but to fight. In such circumstances the Labour leadership and ourselves can’t win, we can only lose.

  • John Coates says:

    Our CLP has passed the motion seeking a recalled conference.
    MAB is correct – We are spending our time and dissipating our energies talking to ourselves in a number of disparate left groups.
    Most of those working class people out there have no idea that these discussions about Labour Party democracy, recalled conferences, etc., are taking place. Most of them have little idea that their party is being bought and paid for by the rich and powerful and is being stolen in plain sight.
    Certainly the main-stream media is not helping them to understand what is happening.
    Unless we can move on from left-wing navel-gazing and hand-wringing, and start to take the message to the millions who need a socialist Labour government, then our enemies can sit back in comfort while we thrash about in despair.
    I hope we get our recalled conference. I know that every bureacratic trick in the book will be rolled out to prevent it from taking place.
    It’s just one step along the road of getting rid of Starmer and Evans and reclaiming our party …. while it’s still there to be reclaimed.

  • Margaret West says:

    I am following the discussion and agree that the real
    issue is getting the factions to unite. However the new
    Labour leadership appear to be spoiling for a fight!
    They must know that we are coming up to the very
    important local Elections as well as the Mayoral
    Elections – their reasoning is beyond me .. This is classic
    “divide and rule” and the Tories must be delighted.

    If we are successful in getting what is effectively an
    Emergency Conference – this is something the MSM
    cannot ignore. As it is the arguments put forwards by
    the left are effectively being no-platformed and much of
    the general public must be puzzled and concerned.

  • Doug says:

    Going back to the Gang of Four, the tragedy is the left accepted the Broad Church argument
    Since the internal report it’s now set in stone if we want a socialist Labour government then we have to clear out Red Tories

  • julius griffin says:

    This is a chance to have a national conversation on the policies we want to be discussed and mobilise those willing to support such bold policies that are needed. Starmer lied in his leaderhip election, people talk about reconciling the factions, do you remember the second leadership election of Corbyn? Have you seen the amount of CLP’s where dissent and debate has been clamped out by messing with democratic processes and kicking out anyone in the party that shows solidarity with socialist ideas? If we want a way out of the pandemic and capitalist austerity politics that is to increase we’ll only achieve this by empowering democracy in the party, empowering a process where representative MPs can be bought in through mandatory selection, otherwise we have these careerists who will pander to the rightwing press, alienate any activists who will stand behind a socialist Labour government and impose austerity as an establishment tory lite party in the coming period of unemployment and such. I don’t think its high-flying dreams of the left but a reality we have to face up to unfortunately.

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