Labour First And Progress Launch ‘NEC Regions’ Slate
As the contest for the membership representatives on Labour’s National Executive Committee heats up, the two big organisation on Labour's right - Labour First and Progress - have announced their slate of candidates, under the banner of the ‘NEC Regions’ grouping.
The NEC Regions group argues that it’s purpose is to “bring about regional representation and gender balance to the members’ section of the Labour party National Executive Committee”, although at present the regional makeup of the membership section is broadly dispersed around the country, with only two membership representatives coming from London, while Wales and Scotland both have representation amongst the membership category, with the party leaders also sitting on the NEC after party reforms in 2016.
As the NEC Regions website states: “This site is operated jointly by Progress Ltd and Labour First.” It is likely that the petition is being used as a data harvesting operation, as factional organising shifts away from personal networking and towards big data.
The current NEC Membership makeup is 2 from London, 2 from the South East, 1 from Wales, 1 from Scotland, 1 from East Midlands, 1 from North West and 1 from East. Six out of the nine CLP representatives currently are women.
Indeed, if Labour proportioned membership representatives on the basis of party membership, the NEC would look more like this:
Greater London (20.54%): 3
North West (13.07%): 1
South East (12.22%): 1
Yorkshire & Humberside (9.34%): 1
South West (8.86%): 1
East (7.82%): 1
West Midlands (6.82%): 1
East Midlands (6.41%): None
North (5.15%): None
Wales (5.06%): None
Scotland (4.71%): None
(Percentage of the total Labour Membership in brackets).
To achieve representation of every region proportionate to membership, the members section on the NEC would need to number 20 people, though the ‘NEC Regions’ campaign does not explicitly propose this, or indeed mention proportionality at all.
In contrast to the ‘Independence and Diversity’ slate of last year however, the NEC Regions group admits openly that it is organised by the Labour First and Progress factions, dropping the pretence of ‘Independence’ from factions, that was a key part of their last campaign.
Amongst those who have run before as Progress or Labour First backed candidates for the NEC are Luke Akehurst, Johanna Baxter, Jasmin Beckett, Eda Cazimoglu, and Gurinder Singh Josan, making up more than half of their total candidates.
Both the major factions’ slates have candidates from Scotland in Ann Henderson and Johanna Baxter.