A quick question on Labour’s National Policy Forum
I’ve been quite busy in recent months so haven’t paid as much attention to arcane detail as I should, but I have one simple question about the current Labour National Policy Forum membership: how long does it go on?
The most recent Labour party rule book (2014*) seems unequivocal:
Elections to all divisions of the NPF shall be conducted to guidelines laid down by the NEC. The term of office shall be for two years. (Clause III, D, iv)
So why, if members were elected in 2012, isn’t there an election in 2014. A member of the NEC – the body responsible for the NPF elections – seemed unconcerned when I asked when the elections will take place, replying:
Next year I think – detailed timetable hasn’t been discussed yet .
An exemption was agreed 4 current term on basis of changed procedures -would have to look out my notes re: when agreement reached.
That’s fair enough in terms of not knowing the detail off-hand – NEC members can’t be expected to remember everything – but it’s a worrying reply even so, because I’m just not sure that the NEC has the power to agree such an exemption to the rule book.
Conference remains the overall authority on party rules, including rules on how the NEC conducts itself, to the extent that even where the NEC has the initial power to alter conference arrangements for practical purposes, it must seek ratification from that conference of the changed arrangements (Clause IV, 2).
This may all seem very petty**, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the idea of an executive which appears to consider/assumes its own authority to be greater than that of the body that gives it the authority it does possess. There lies badness.
But perhaps, as I’ve said, I’ve simply missed something.
* I link here to the 2013 rule book on Labourlist, as the 2014 post-Collins Review rule book (April 2014) is passworded on the Labour party site, but the wording and clause numbering are the same (though a different page number).
** Except inasmuch as I’d actually bothered to get nominated by my own CLP in January, to go forward for what I thought would be an election this summer, although my role as agent meant I didn’t have time to go around getting other nominations.