Letter No 55  by Mike Allott:  email | back to directory
 

9 July 2013

Labour's electoral responsibilities

John Harris (8 July) sees equivalence between the activities of "people once centrally involved with the New Labour regime" and those involved in Unite, in that they both sought to influence the selection of parliamentary candidates.

Yet he fails to recognise that our national party officers have a clear duty to ensure that quality candidates are selected not only on the basis of local preference but also to find those best equipped to perform on a national stage and those who show leadership potential.

They have a further duty to manage the party brand and its key assets (its safest parliamentary seats). Such strategising is a necessarily centralised function and is certainly not the job of union affiliates or any individual party units.

Clause VII of our party constitution defines the role of officers and their statutory responsibilities to the Electoral Commission. In this, they are not only accountable for national activity but also for the activities of each party unit.

Therefore there is nothing inherently "rotten" within our system. Any temporary procedural difficulties can best be resolved by a conformance to, and an enforcement of, these party rules. Not by knee-jerk changes.

Mike Allott
Eastleigh, Hampshire

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This letter was published as part of sequenced debate concerning Labour's relationship with the Unions: See the online version of this letter at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/08/labour-electoral-responsibilities

The Guardian, Thursday 8 July 2013 21.00 BST