Gary Gibbon on Politics

Channel 4 News's political editor gives his take on the latest news and gossip from the corridors of power in Westminster and beyond.

September 26, 2016 No Comments

Labour’s new balance of power gives hope to anti-Corbyn MPs

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale greets newly re-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during Labour's women's conference on the eve of the Labour Party annual conference, in Liverpool, Britain September 24, 2016.   REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool - RTSP9S7

Some on the NEC had another go at unpicking the deal agreed last week that puts Carwyn Jones and Kezia Dugdale on the committee.

It failed, as did another attempt at the beginning of the full conference session to unpick the grouped rule changes that give effect (inter alia) to these two new members getting full voting rights on the NEC.

This matters because it gives hope to the disinherited centre/right MPs who otherwise have little cause for optimism. Some are calling themselves “long marchers” after the Chinese Communists’ year-long retreat through hideous terrain.

In NEC votes until now, the swing votes have been the 4 representatives from the GMB and Unison. If Mr Corbyn can pull them to his side on an issue then he wins the vote. If he can’t, he loses it.

After the victory of pro-Corbyn candidates in the 2016 NEC elections, the NEC that takes over at the end of this Conference was going to tilt his way. With the Scottish and Welsh Labour leaders on the NEC, Labour’s governing body returns to a state of being finely balanced.

The leadership is also trying to make the party sign up to the 10 policy principles that Jeremy Corbyn outlined in his second leadership campaign this August.

It commits Labour to £500bn public investment (this is in addition to any expenditure increases on services like the NHS and schools and is focused on infrastructure – John McDonnell said today on Radio 4 that he was “on the same page” as the Institute of Directors, the Chambers of Commerce and the CBI on this).

The 10 principles commit Labour to “end health service privatisation,” put peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy and bring leisure centres and private bus services back into local government control.

One senior opponent of Mr Corbyn’s on the NEC said it was “motherhood and apple pie stuff” and he had no problem letting it through. Mr Corbyn’s allies will see it as a significant moment in re-shaping Labour as a party closer in aims to Syriza and Podemos than the party of Blair and Brown.

This morning’s NEC was attended by Albert Cryer. He’s not yet elected to the NEC but his mum and dad do attend and given the meeting was at 7.30 before the conference creche opens they felt they had not choice but to bring him along.

The toddler looked less than impressed with what he’d heard but is refusing to comment in detail on the proceedings.


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