Unite to tell Labour MPs: nominate more candidates

Unite’s policy conference has this morning overturned the recommendations of its own executive council, and passed an unusually strong motion calling on MPs who are members of Unite to nominate a broader range of candidates for the Labour leadership. Currently, the only candidates with enough nominations to run are the two Milibands and Ed Balls. Pressure is building from unions for more left-wing candidates (i.e. John McDonnell and Diane Abbott) to get on the ballot paper. Not necessarily because they want them to be leader, but to influence the debate.

It’s significant: if those two get on, the other candidates will probably be challenged on how much they support giving more rights and freedoms to trade unions, and rolling back privatisation – what some sections of the media might be inclined to call a lurch to the left.

This is in line with the executive council member who told me that a Labour leadership contest restricted to “those three fuckers” wasn’t good enough.

That motion in full, as Private Eye would say:

Sadly our Party, the Party of working people is now in opposition after losing the General Election in May. One of the big issues used by both the Tory Party and the Media that support them is that our then Party leader had not been elected as either the leader of our country or even as leader of our Party.

We must never again allow the Labour Party to be in the position of being portrayed as undemocratic or secretive. We must ensure that there is an open and transparent debate encompassing all the political views from within the party. To do this we must ensure that all declared candidates for the Labour Party leadership receive sufficient nominations to be on the ballot paper so that the next leader can be chosen by all those who are entitled to have a say in the future of the Labour Party and not just by 255 people in Westminster.

Conference call on the EC to request that members of Unite’s Parliamentary Group use their nominations in a way that ensures all candidates receive sufficient nominations. To be able to stand in the leadership election and thus allow the members and affiliates a say in the democratic election of the next Party leader.

Now will the parliamentary group – which includes such renowned rabid leftwingers as, er, Tony McNulty [update: actually he lost his seat], Shaun Woodward and Douglas Alexander – take heed? Even if they don’t, I suspect the right wing blogosphere won’t be impressed.

Hat-tip: Ian’s Unite Site

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