NEC Candidate pledges to disempower members

Johanna Baxter, an NEC hopeful backed by Progress and Labour First said she would restore the old electoral college system, in which MPs had as much say over who elected the leader as party members. 

Abolished under Ed Miliband, the electoral college gave MPs votes worth tens of thousands of ordinary party members and trade unionists. 

As part of Baxter's campaign materials, she pledged to "Fight for the restoration of the electoral-college to reduce barriers to involvement for affiliate organisations and preserve the value of party membership."

Despite the new system being proposed and supported by MPs associated with Tony Blair after the fallout of the Falkirk scandal, Progress and Labour First now believe that the new system gives too much power to party members, who overwhelmingly back Jeremy Corbyn. 

Labour First in particular views the current 'One-Member-One-Vote' system as a detriment to replacing Jeremy Corbyn with a successor from Labour's right-wing. 

In their submission to Labour's democracy review, Labour First said that "The Leader and Deputy Leader should be elected by an Electoral College that[...] should be MPs 30%, Members 30%, Affiliates 30%, Councillors 10%."

A Labour source critical of Baxter said: "disempowering members is not preserving or protecting the party membership. On the contrary, and this type of dishonest spin is what led to the demise of New Labour in the first place. It does seem like the likes of Johanna Baxter have learnt nothing from the past."

"Baxter has a track record of curtailing democracy. After all she was on the NEC when it made tens of thousands of our members pay £25 to get a vote in the last leadership election and was a key advocate in trying to keep our democratically elected leader off the ballot paper when the coup was initiated against Jeremy in 2016" they said.

Currently Welsh Labour is the only section of the party that retains the old electoral college system, which saw Carolyn Harris MP win the party's Deputy Leadership, despite gaining only 34.8 percent of votes from party members. 

The Red Robin reached out to Johanna Baxter for further comment, but did not receive a response.

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