Open letter to Birmingham Board of the Labour Party:

Regardless of your views on the leadership election and the movement around Jeremy Corbyn, it is clear that the Labour Party faces a huge task locally and nationally. The polls are unlikely to be that out of kilter with reality and if there was a general election tomorrow in all likelihood the Labour Party would lose, and badly.

More specifically, here in Birmingham we also face big challenges. With the Midland Metro Mayor election next year and “all-up” council elections in 2018, we will need a large, motivated and dynamic ground operation to achieve the results we want. In particular with the Metro Mayor, the Conservative candidate, Andy Street, is clearly no fool and the contest will be a very tough one. Without a significant Labour presence on the streets and in our communities, we won’t win.

The Tories have vast amounts of money and plenty of friends in the media to help put their case. The Labour Party has the overwhelming case that exists for a democratic socialist society, obviously, but more prosaically, it’s huge membership, which has more than trebled nationally in just over a year.

That membership will need to be mobilised. And in order for it to be mobilised it will need to have a say in how the party is run.

It was therefore with huge disappointment that we learned that the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party voted to exclude all members who had joined in or after July 2015 from selecting our candidates for the 2018 local elections.

Two thirds of Labour Party members have been disenfranchised at a stroke. It is also worth bearing in mind that the next local elections after 2018 will be in 2022, so selection will take place in 2021. Therefore if you joined the party in July 2015 you will face a six year wait to select a council candidate. The national Labour rule is 6 months.

This cannot be right. There needs to be a freeze date, but the one imposed by the Birmingham Board is ludicrously excessive and smacks of cynical gerrymandering.

It is also self-defeating.

How do we expect to have a motivated membership knocking doors, delivering leaflets and taking the case for Labour candidates into our communities if we won’t even let that membership select those candidates? How will we build the big, lively, well-resourced campaigns that we will need to get Sion Simon elected in 2017?

Momentum South Birmingham calls on the Birmingham Board of the Labour Party to overturn the decision and instead have the usual six month freeze date. It is in our party’s interests to do so.

In solidarity



15 thoughts on “Open letter to Birmingham Board of the Labour Party:

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  5. Charlie Mansell

    Since this was published 4 months ago do we have any real evidence of this as the West Midlands Regional Party would need to approve the Freeze date and they will follow party rules in the rule book


    1. Reply from MSB member:
      Members of MSB have seen the minutes of the Birmingham Board meeting July 2016 that decided the freeze date and we can confirm that the information in our statement is correct.
      In point of fact any deviation from the national rule of a 6 month cut-off would need to be approved by the NEC, as per Clause 1A (i) of Chapter 5 (Selections, rights and responsibilities of candidates for elected public office) of the national rules of the Labour Party:
      “All individual eligible members of the Party with continuous membership of at least six months (who reside in the electoral area concerned) are entitled to participate in selections. Any exceptions to this must be approved by the NEC.”
      We have seen no evidence as yet to suggest that NEC approval was sought or provided.


      1. Charlie Mansell

        I’m an LCF Procedures Secretary in London and have just got my freeze date for th2 2018 local elections signed off as 3 Jan this year. Our LCF aim if to ensure lots of newer members can stand. I’ve also served on the London Regional Board. The gneral process is that once a freeze date has been agreed a letter is sent to all members (even just joined ones) telling them the date. Has the Birmingham party sent such a letter with this freeze date out yet as this would be puzzling if the freeze date was agreed 6 months ago

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Charlie

    No such letter has been sent out. Sadly the kind of thing you describe (which sounds excellent) simply doesn’t happen in Birmingham. There has never been any kind of communication sent out about the freeze dates, and activists locally only found out by accident. It is hugely frustrating and damaging when we need to be mobilising activists in support of Sion Simon

    Best wishes


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