Tag Archives: Manor Park

Take it to the limit

13 May

A small earthquake happened in Newham last night. Five local Labour party branches voted for a motion to impose term-limits on directly elected mayors.

Members in Forest Gate North, Forest Gate South, Stratford, Canning Town and Manor Park (Sir Robin’s own ward!) supported a proposition put forward by the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy to amend the national rule book:

The Labour Party Rule Book 2016 Chapter 5 Selections, rights and responsibilities of candidates for elected public office.Clause I. General rules for selections for public office. Sub-Clause 1. G. i. Alternative Procedures, reads as follows:

‘For any mayoral selection the NEC may consider the use of primary elections, subject to the absolute power of the NEC to cancel or amend procedure, and subject to:

a. Procedural guidelines set by the NEC.’

Amendment

Add new sub-clause:

b. If a selected candidate is elected for two consecutive terms he/she cannot apply for selection as the Labour candidate for the same mayoral post for the following third term.

Directly-elected mayors were introduced in 2000 and, from the first mayoral elections in 2002 until 2008, the Labour Party rules stipulated that Directly-Elected Mayors who were Labour Party members could not stand for re-election after having served two terms. This time limit was removed on the recommendation of the NEC Local Government Committee in 2008 – in good time to allow the likes of Sir Robin and Hackney’s Jules Pipe to be re-selected for a third term.

As we know to our cost in Newham, directly-elected Mayors have presidential-type executive powers. These are not always balanced by adequate scrutiny from councillors – in Newham they are barely subject to any at all. 

Sir Robin has been in charge of our borough since 1995. First as leader of the council and since 2002 as mayor. In the interests of healthy democratic local governance, a single individual should not hold these powers for so long. 

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No mayor, no Christmas

21 Dec

Labour party members in Manor Park had to cancel their Christmas social at short notice last week because the mayor couldn’t attend.

The ward party chair sent round an apologetic email, explaining that the social couldn’t go ahead because of Labour party “rules”:

I have to inform you, regretfully, that after an emergency meeting, the Manor Park Social Event for next week (17th), has been cancelled. 

This is due to three rules: firstly, one of our guests cannot attend. (If our Mayor cannot attend then we cannot proceed with the social). Secondly, branches are not allowed to officially socialize as part of the Labour Party, only CLP. Finally, no guests outside of Newham are allowed to be invited to a Labour Party social event and there was some doubt about the music and choir at a Labour Party event.

This is very disappointing, as it was discussed and agreed at our branch meeting three weeks ago. 

However, I have asked the Chair of East Ham CLP if we can have a social event in 2016 for all of East Ham branches and this can go ahead. So we can look forward to this event.

I am very sorry for any inconvenience this cancellation may have caused. 

My sincere apologies.

Anyone searching the Labour party rule book will, of course, come away empty-handed. There are no such rules. It is straightforwardly an attempt to control and stop East Ham members meeting up and working together ahead of the trigger ballot to confirm Sir Robin, yet again, as the mayoral candidate. Divide and rule!

The ward chair was instructed to cancel the event, but maybe she should have seen it coming. She is also East Ham’s social secretary and has previously complained to the CLP secretary, Mariam Dawood, about the impossibility of organising activities without access to the full list of party members.

These shenanigans are an interesting contrast to the West Ham party, which has held many events open to all Labour supporters, mostly without the mayor. Some have included non-Newham guests – and even non-Labour people (disclosure: I’ve been to a couple).

Members in East Ham ought to be asking themselves about the motives of the people running their local party. Whose interests are they looking after?