Saturday, 21 March 2015

Left-winger Katy to challenge power of Labour's 'party managers'

North Ayrshire & Arran MP Katy Clark is seeking election to an internal Labour Party committee that oversees the selection of issues to be debated at the party’s annual conference.

Ms Clark is being supported by two groups of Labour members, Left Futures and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy.

The groups have raised concerns that “party managers” have been ruling-out motions submitted by ordinary members in constituencies across the UK, which, they argue, “leaves delegates as little more than spectators at their own conference”.

Katy Clark has now written to Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), asking for their support in her move to be elected to the Conference Arrangements Committee. 

The North Ayrshire & Arran MP recently challenged for the position of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, but was unsuccessful.  Ms Clark presented a ‘old Labour’ left-wing agenda, but lost out to Kezia Dugdale MSP who is seen as a supporter of the centre-right, New Labour party created by Tony Blair.

In her letter to CLPs, Katy Clark says, “I am standing [for the Conference Arrangements Committee] because members need a far stronger voice in our Party.  Too many CLPs no longer attend Conference because they don’t see the point.  Yes, Conference should be a showcase for our Party and a chance to sell ourselves, but it has to be more than a PR event.  There must be more opportunity for debate and members must feel that they can influence policy.”

Arguing that members, trade unions and affiliated societies should be more involved in decisions made by the party, Ms Clark states, “One of my aims would be to try and ensure that more ordinary members get to contribute in the main debates.  We need to make sure that all parts of the country are represented in our democratic structures.”

Labour members will decide who is elected to the powerful Conference Arrangements Committee in an internal ballot to be carried out in late July.  

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