Sunday, 17 May 2009

Countdown to the NEC on Tuesday

I've written two pieces on the expenses scandal on LabourList here and here But with every new frontpage, the extent of the moral decrepitude of some of our MPs becomes clear. Quite rightly Labour Party members are now voicing their right to have their say.

We understand from the Guardian that the National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday 19th will consider whether Constituency Labour Parties should be given the right to push their Labour MP through a reselection process. This has inspired a letter which has been drawn up by a number of Labour activists, including Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and Councillors, calling on the NEC to take strong action to:

  • Organise a thorough review of suspected excessive and abusive claims - regardless of whether they were eventually signed off by an over-worked Fees Office.
  • Support the immediate removal of the whip from individual MPs who have brought the party into disrepute over this issue and allow CLPs to trigger reselection ballots against them.
Liberal Conspiracy has more comment here.

If you are interested in signing the full letter, send an email to the main signatories: Cllr Richard Bingley, Fred Grindrod (National Policy Forum and Former Parliamentary Candidate)
Beryl Milnes (Former Chair of Hemel Hempstead CLP) and Tom Flynn (Labour Parliamentary Candidate) at

Meanwhile, Ann Black, a conscientious NEC member has sent out the following email:
Hi all

Thanks to everyone who has already mailed about this. Like other NEC members I recognise and appreciate the hundreds of hours of unpaid time put in by volunteers on the ground, most of whom do not even claim expenses for travel, postage and telephone calls, but give them freely to help in electing Labour representatives. I know that campaigners now also have to deal with outright hostility to politics and politicians.

The NEC meets on Tuesday 19 May and, according to yesterday’s Guardian, will discuss automatically deselecting any Labour MP found to have made improper expense claims. I am not clear whether this means only MPs who have actually broken the rules, or extends to those whose claims were authorised but appear to have stretched the rules beyond reasonable limits. I would welcome your views on this, and on the criteria for deciding what is reasonable.

Some members have suggested that all Labour MPs should be subject to a formal or informal reselection process by their constituency party. Others believe this would create doubts about MPs whose integrity is not in question. Again I’d appreciate your thoughts on whether and how constituencies should approach this, particularly if you live in a Labour seat.

I’d also be grateful for any other ideas on how to rebuild trust within the party and with the country, and on what the NEC should be doing in addition to the actions and statements from the prime minister.

I anticipate a lot of replies, and will read and take them all into account, though may not have time to respond to them individually before Tuesday.

Thanks for sticking with the party.

Ann Black
NEC constituency representative /
I would encourage all Labour women to have their say. These are unprecedented and horrible times, but we have to ensure that our voices are heard loud and clear.


  1. How come the Guardian seems to have a better idea of what the NEC will discuss than NEC members do? :s

  2. err, not sure. I guess they have a better hotline to Downing St! Not great I agree...

  3. I'm glad to see Ann asking for views prior to the NEC - I've already sent mine to Ellie Reeves, Peter Kenyon and Peter Wheeler, but will now send them to Ann - or you can read what I've said at on Cleaning the Crooks out of the Commons.

    Decisive action is essential otherwise voters trust may never be restored in politicians of any party, at any level.