STV it is!

STV it is then!

Today the NEC passed a motion to elect the Constituency Representatives by Single Transferable Vote. A policy passed by Open Labour a year ago in June 2019 and which we have campaigned for ever since.

Open Labour welcomes the decision of the NEC to support Single Transferable Vote (STV) for future NEC elections, a form of proportional representation. It will make sure that members are more fairly represented, and thereby increase member democracy.

It is also good for Labour’s political culture. From our inception, Open Labour have campaigned for STV as a means to ending the winner takes all variety of factionalism that has dogged the NEC Constituency Labour Party (CLP) vote for years, where we had a seesawing from one dominant faction to the other.

Our history with #STV4NEC

We included a call for democratic reform to internal elections in our submission to the Party’s Policy Review under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and we passed a motion at our Annual Conference 2019 in favour of STV for open selection NEC places, and at other policy conferences before that, (latest policy attached).

Only a few weeks ago Open Labour members Tom Laing and Tess Milligan, also an NC member, collaborated to launch the joint Open Labour and Fair Internal Labour Elections (FILE) Campaign with an article in LabourList extolling the virtues of STV:


They pointed out the key benefits of STV; promote a more cooperative environment, empower and represent members, improve accountability and end the worry of split votes. They argued “Our Party already uses STV for candidate selections and elections for the Party’s Leader and Deputy Leader, so why dont we use it to elect our NEC?”.

Why not indeed! We are so glad our NEC members agreed with us!

We also included support for STV as one of the 10 Pledges we asked candidates for the leadership and deputy leadership 2020 to sign up to. Speaking on STV at the Open Labour hustings event earlier this year, Angela Rayner praised Open Labour for consistently fighting for this reform: “We need to blow open our democratic structures …. Open Labour have been really crucial in trying to do that, to unify us …. we have to find ways of giving people a voice and doing what we think is fundamentally right … I think one way of doing that is making sure our NEC is representative of all parts of the Labour Movement.”

Where next?

Fundamentally, fair voting is the ONLY route to democratise internal elections and the result today means that future NEC CLP results will reflect and align with the will of the Party … as it should be. We hope this is only the beginning of reform within the Party and we would like to see further democratisation of the other Party positions too.

We will keep campaigning for structures that make the party more democratic and more collaborative.

For the open left, it means that victories will be hard fought, but we have the talent and the people to succeed under STV and we must go into future NEC elections with the confidence that we can win the arguments in a fair system. The reform will force a greater willingness to negotiate with trade unions and others on the NEC, which should help us forge more united ways forward. For those contesting NEC elections, STV means representing the full spectrum of member opinion. For candidates and slates, it makes wins in elections more sustainable, and their legitimacy unquestionable.

We would like to thank all of the NEC members who supported our campaign, which included many comrades who would traditionally be seen as being to our left or to our right as an organisation.

Even though there are real differences in our Party, there are some common beliefs and policies that just make sense for all of us, when the values and principles behind them are right.

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