Because of the understandable sensitivity around any disciplinary issue I have sought advice from the General Secretary of the Labour Party. I wrote:
“Dear Ms Formby, Please can you give some advice. The following is a motion submitted for debate and decision at our General Meeting. I am concerned as it touches on potential disciplinary matters which are, or course, the sole responsibility of you are your team. Is it proper and acceptable for such a motion to be debated and decided upon at a general Meeting? Thank you in advance“
The advice received from an officer in the General Secretary’s Office is as follows:
“I can confirm that there is already national and regional procedures in place within the Labour Party to deal with disciplinary processes, so it is likely that this motion would be ruled out of order. For further reference, Chapter 6 of the Labour Party Rule Book clearly sets out and defines disciplinary procedures that can be undertaken internally within a CLP and changes to those rules are not within the remit of an individual CLP.”
[My emphasis] Therefore I believe it is a matter for the Chair to decide if the motion seeks to change those rules or not and hence if it is proper to be debated by members at the
9th March, 11 May General Meeting (postponed), 18th June, 13th July GM.
Should the Chair rule the motion out of order that ruling can be challenged but must be done so by 4 members present and put straight to the vote. A 2/3 majority is required to overturn the Chair’s ruling. Standing Order N 1. refers;
N. Chair’s ruling
i. Any breach of or question to the rules or standing orders may be raised by a member rising to a point of order. The chair’s ruling on any point arising from the rules or standing orders is final unless challenged by not less than four members; such a challenge shall be put to the meeting without discussion and shall only be carried with the support of two thirds of the members present.
13 April 2019 – The member who submitted the Motions has requested that the following be added to the CLP Website and their name removed:
Rule 7 Clause 2 D: To provide the opportunity for all individual members of the Party within the constituency to contribute to the development of the aims and policies by ensuring that a full range of Party activities are available to them, including local policy forums, and that they may participate fully in discussion to broaden the political education of members of the Party and to increase their influence over the formulation of the Party programme.
Rule 7 Clause 9 D2: The General Meeting shall be responsible for establishing objectives for this CLP in the constituency through political debate and policy discussion, setting targets for development of CLP organisation and campaigning in the area and promoting links with the wider community.
Appendix 9. Section 2: Debates amongst party members should be comradely, acknowledging that whatever our diverse views, we are one party with shared goals.
The Secretary has added:
Please also note that a full copy of the Labour Party rule book is available at http://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-RULE-BOOK.pdf. An updated rule book for 2019 (http://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Rule-Book-2019.pdf) has been published but but I do not believe materially affects the following.
So that members can find the extracts quoted by Mr O’Connor above, the references given are (in the 2018 rule book) actually:
- Chapter 7 – Rules for CLPs – Clause II. – 2. Constituency – D on page 35
- Chapter 7 – The General Meeting – Clause XI (that is 11 not 9) Duties of the General Meeting – item 2 on Page 40
- Appendix 9 NEC Codes of Conduct – 2. Code of Conduct: Antisemitism and other forms of racism – 5th unnumbered paragraph on page 100.
The 2019 Rule book updated as a result of the decisions taken at the 2018 Conference has just been issued and I will update this with any necessary changes when I have time to study and check it. At 112 pages that will take a while!
Philip Williams 4 July 2019