Do not set a short leadership election timetable

Letter from the Oval Branch of Vauxhall Constituency Labour Party

This is the letter I drafted that Oval branch has sent to the Labour Party NEC. It calls for a decent time period for the Labour Party leadership election. It aslo calls for the election to be clearl, open, and fair and to be seen as such. A long campaign running to the end of the year was discussed but there was no support for that proposal either. The letter can also be downloaded here.

To: Labour Party National Executive Committee
12 May 2015

Dear NEC members

The responsibility for overseeing our leadership election and setting its timetable rests with you. We look to you to ensure that the Party has sufficient time to scrutinise leadership candidates before making its decision. We urge you not to set a short election timetable.

A defeat on the scale of this General Election requires a full debate within the Party and among our supporters and affiliates about what went wrong, and about how we can reconnect with a majority of the electorate to win in five years’ time. Those who seek to be our next leader need time to show members that they have a clear agenda for the future of our Party and country.

They also need to be fully tested in hustings and other events so we can judge whether they have the qualities required to lead the Labour Party and be the next Prime Minister.

The case for a short election period centres on the argument that Labour would be distracted from opposing the new Conservative government as it was getting established. However, the situation is different from that of 2010, when we allowed a false narrative about our 13 year record in government to prevail, with many of our most experienced MPs having stood down or been defeated at the ballot box.

We have complete faith that our acting leader, Harriet Harman, and her experienced front bench team will be more than able to expose the record of the Coalition government and scrutinise the new Conservative administration while we consider the long term direction of our party.

The manner in which this leadership election is conducted will set how the electorate perceives the new leader and our Party as a whole. The election must be conducted in a clear, open, and fair manner, and be seen as such. Otherwise, we risk sending a message to the country that we have no intention of learning from its decision at last week’s General Election.

Resolution of Oval Branch (Vauxhall Constituency Labour Party) 11 May 2015

Stephen Beer, 13/05/2015


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