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Today Labour Students National Committee received a report from the Labour Party regarding Labour Students membership data requirements. The Director for Membership and Party Services at the Labour Party explained the content of the report to committee, and the implications of these for this years Labour Students’ elections.

This report follows our concerns with the way that the Labour Party determines a valid student member. Until this point, there has been no checks done by the Party to establish that Labour Students members are actually students, and no guarantees for those members who are students but don’t appear on our membership list.

This has resulted in a situation where an unknown number, potentially tens of thousands, of our members won’t get a vote in an online ballot, and thousands of non-students will. Therefore, it was advised that using those members designated as Labour Students in our membership system to verify eligibility to vote in an OMOV ballot is not a viable option at this stage.

It goes without saying that we are extremely disappointed in the Labour Party, and frustrated to be informed so late in the academic year of this widespread problem. It is simply not good enough that the Labour Party membership database is not consistent with the requirements of our new constitution which was adopted at National Council in December 2016.

The fact that we cannot be sure exactly how many Labour Students will be disenfranchised, and the overwhelming majority of our electorate are currently non-students, is staggering. That is why we agreed today for the Membership and Party Services department to carry out an in-depth investigation to assess the scope, timescale and resource implications of such a change to the Labour Party’s membership database.

Labour Students National Committee also discussed the next steps of our democracy in the interim, and how we can elect a new National Committee before the end of the academic year. We agreed to incorporate the election into a special stand-alone Labour Students Transitional Conference, to be governed by the rules outlined in Article 11 of our constitution. Under these rules, each Labour Club will be able to send up to four delegates to conference, of which at least two must be self-defining women members, in line with our new constitution.

We decided that the flat-rate delegation allowance as prescribed in our constitution is the fairest and most constitutional outcome. It would not be appropriate to weight a delegation against the membership of an individual Labour Club as it is concerns with our membership system that prompted the Transitional Conference. Concerns were raised around the infiltration of Labour Clubs by members of rival political parties, thus contributing to the size of any weighted delegation entitlement. It was agreed that the possible imbalance created in our membership of thousands of non-students meant the 4 delegate entitlement was the most constitutional and most feasible arrangement. This was further discussed by members of elections committee in attendance who are satisfied that internal obligations have been met.

Following the meeting we agreed the elections committee convene as soon as possible to approve the timetable for National Committee elections. After this has been decided, it will be circulated to National Committee, Club Chairs and all members will be notified over the next few days.

Statement on Labour Students' Elections

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In the final blog of our Liberation in Labour Students blog series, our new LGBT+ Officer, Rhys Purtill, writes about his plans for the year.


Hey everyone, I hope you all had a fantastic LGBT+ history month! For those who haven't met or spoken to me yet, my name is Rhys and I am your new LGBT+ officer. It was such an honour to be elected at National Council in December, and I am so excited for the year ahead!

My central priority for the next year is to create a well structured Labour Students LGBT+ network across the UK, with a range of resources that can be easily accessed. Currently, the Labour Students LGBT+ campaign has not reached its potential in how it communicates and supports its members, as well as the opportunities it gives for LGBT+ officers of Labour clubs to network with each other. I intend to reach out to you all over the coming months, collect your contact details and use this to build regional networks, allowing you all to collaborate easier on future events. Further, I am hoping that I will be able to provide some form of training to all new LGBT+ Officers from Labour clubs in the near future.

When I was elected, I made it clear that I would run the caucus as a group effort and this is a promise that I intend to keep. I will be running a series of consultations, both physically and online, in order to get as much information from you all on what you want this campaign to look like, and how we can create a more inclusive Labour Students movement. These consultations will be split into LGB+ and Trans/Non-binary+. The reason for this is that as we are yet to get a Trans officer, I want to consult with the Trans community as much as possible to ensure that their voices are heard in the meantime. I will be fighting for a Trans officer this year and I hope you will join me in that endeavour.

I am going to be working alongside the other liberation officers on a whole host of projects; one in particular that we are excited about is a liberation roadshow. This would entail touring different student unions to deliver liberation talks and workshops to your Labour clubs. Further to this, we will be working together to create more online resources for you to all access and use in the running of your Labour club.

Finally, I have already received feedback from some of you in regards to having pronoun badges or stickers at future events, and concerns about how gender neutral toilets are allocated. I can ensure you that I will make sure these changes are put into place for every Labour Students event going forward.

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg for the year to come, and I am so looking forward to working with all of you to create an even better Labour Students movement. If you have any concerns or want to talk to me about your Labour club then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

 

Rhys x


Rhys is the LGBT+ Officer for Labour Students.

t: @RhysPurtill
e: r.purtill@uea.ac.uk

Building our LGBT+ Network

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Labour Students

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