Tuesday 7 January 2020


Labour's National Executive Committee met on Monday to decide how best to stitch up the forthcoming leadership election and ensure the hard left maintain control.  While they decided against anything too obvious, there were a couple of caveats clearly aimed at swaying things in their favour.  Long gone is the £3 membership fee that allowed so many lefties to swamp the membership ahead of the 2015 contest.  Registered supporters must now stump up £25 to be able to vote in the election and furthermore - they only have a very specific 48 hour period in which to do so.  This compares to the two month period in 2015 during which thousands of communists flooded the membership and ensured outsider Corbyn defeated the clear favourite Andy Burnham.

The £25 fee has angered many who have called it an attack on the working class and a mockery of Corbyn's 'For the many not the few' slogan.  The restrictions are identical to those introduced when Corbyn was challenged for the leadership by Owen Smith in 2016.  They are designed to stop moderates joining the party en masse and voting for the likes of Starmer, Nandy and Phillips, but primarily Starmer who is seen as the biggest threat.

The voting period itself has also raised a few eyebrows.  In 2015 and 2016 it was four weeks.  Now, despite the increasing prevalence of electronic voting, the 2020 election period will last for six weeks.  Where have these extra two weeks come from and more importantly - why are they required?  Four weeks seems like an incredibly long period to vote, let alone six!

The election officially kick starts today with MPs and MEPs able to nominate their favoured candidates.  Candidates must obtain at least 22 of these endorsements, plus 5 per cent of Constituency Labour Parties in order to stand.  If they cannot obtain the 5 per cent of CLPs they can still qualify if they receive endorsements from three affiliated bodies, two of which must be trade unions.  It's complicated, but the initial nominations should eliminate the weaker candidates.  With Long-Bailey having entered the race late on Monday it's highly unlikely that all six will be able to garner 22 nominations.  Expect Emily Thornberry and possibly Clive Lewis to fall at this stage.

The full election timetable is as follows.

Jan 7-13:  Nominations from MPs and MEPs
Jan 14-16:  Registered supporters can apply to participate (£25 please!)
Jan 15-Feb 14:  Nominations from CLPs, affiliates and trade unions
Feb 21-Apr 2: Voting period
April 4:  Result announced