This CLP notes that Ray Collins is reviewing the use of primaries in the selection of Labour’s candidate for London Mayor and for other elections.
This CLP notes from the experience of the US that primaries: drive up the cost of seeking selection; favour wealthy candidates; reduced the input of grassroots members; and strengthened the influence of right wing media in candidate selection.
We also note the Labour has a long standing membership structure that unites individual members with affiliated organisations in an effective party able to promote Labour candidates in elections at all levels of the democratic process.
We note this structure gives the Party a relationship with millions of trade unionists and helps to root Labour across widespread communities and workplaces. It is a relationship which has helped our party through its greatest crises and to our greatest triumphs.
We also note the party’s individual membership is another invaluable base within society – and the aim should be to build that into a mass membership. Should it become possible to have a say in Labour’s candidate selections without being a Labour Party member an important incentive for joining the Party will be removed. Recruiting members is facilitated by linking participation in Labour’s selections and internal elections with membership, as was successfully promoted during the 2010 Leadership election.
This CLP believes that primaries (in giving voting rights to non-members) would devalue party membership and therefore hinder the development of the committed activist base – essential to winning elections.
We believe that both the affiliates and individual members play a valuable role in our candidate selection processes, which should retained.
We also believe the method of selecting the London Mayoral candidate should be removed from the remit of the Collins review as it should be a devolved matter for the London Labour Party to determine.
We note there is no great demand from either the electorate or party membership for primaries.
We therefore oppose the introduction of a primary for the selection of Labour’s candidate for London Mayor or for any other election and call on Ray Collins to recommend that Labour’s selections processes continue to involve Labour’s membership (both affiliates and individuals) and to recommend they are not replaced with primaries.
CLPs can forward their suggestions on the Collins review to the NEC and to the Better Politics Policy Commission (via http://www.yourbritain.org.uk).