The East Midlands Regional Board Report is put together by Councillor Alison Martin, Derbyshire CLPs’ Representative and took place in Nottingham, on 5th December, 2015.
This was the first meeting of the Board following the election of its members at the Regional Conference in Leicester on 24th October. The purpose and function of the Board is described at the end of this report.
The following were elected:- Chair: Andy Furlong; Vice-Chairs: Tony Tinley and Nikki Brooks.
The five Working Groups and their convenors are: Local Government (Rory Palmer); Women’s (Kathy Salt); Youth (Heather Worman); BAME (Hemant Bhatia/Merlita Bryant); Membership (Alison Martin).
All Board members will be potentially involved in Appeals.
Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) Report
John Mann MP gave the report. John spoke of contentious votes and legislation, including the recent vote on Syria and future Bills such as the City and Regions Bill and the Trade Union (TU) Bill as well as the vote on Trident. The TU Bill is likely to be passed and will have an extremely detrimental effect on TU and Labour Party funding, notably because all bodies in receipt of government and local government funding will need to end ‘check-off’: the collection of dues through their payroll systems. He also gave an account of his engagement with members.
European Parliament Report
Glenis Willmott MEP reported on a wide-range of European activity including: staff reps from Rolls Royce meeting the European Union Commission to lobby for R&D jobs to be kept in the UK; the Commission taking action in response to the Dying to Work campaign, and the steel industry crisis: the government could use state aid and use EU funding for workers but is not doing so.
EU Referendum: the Regional Launch of the Labour In campaign, led by Alan Johnson, was imminent; Cameron wants the Referendum to take place in 2016 thus is it is important to have EU champions to lead the In campaign in every Constituency Labour Party (CLP). There is no official Labour Out campaign. Party policy following Conference is to support Britain’s continuing membership of the EU. Workers’ Rights will not be protected by a Britain that is isolated from Europe.
Regional Director’s Report
Gordon Pattison gave an overview of the EU Referendum strategy, and he also stressed that an EU Champion and referendum co-ordinator is needed is every CLP. Council motions in support of the In campaign are needed. The franchise for the Referendum is different to the General Election franchise. Just under 20% of the electorate is still undecided.
Regional office: staffing has been reduced to core staff; Naomi Lawrence is the new Regional Events Organiser.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election candidates: Emma Foody (Deputy Regional Director) reported that the timetable for Labour selections was in place and Derbyshire is the only county in the country where the Labour incumbent is standing down. Hardyal Dhindsa, Chris Williamson and Gary Godden had been put forward to contest the Derbyshire candidacy. All selection results for candidates in every county should be completed by 14th February. It was then still not clear if the PCC role will be subsumed in the devolution process but that was seen to be very unlikely.
Membership: the total for the East Midlands was reported as 24, 820 and still rising. 800 new members had joined since the October Regional Board meeting. 200 people attended the TULO-organised (Trade Union & Labour Party Liaison Organisation) new member events across the Region. The survey forms revealed that most new joiners gave as reasons for joining:
‘It’s [the Labour Party] a proud expression of my values’
‘I want to help elect a Labour government in 2020’.
The importance of engaging the new members and offering training and ways to be involved was outlined.
Forthcoming and Future Events – Provisional Dates
Women’s Euro Dinner 18th February
Pie & Pea Quiz Night 25th February
Stand Up for Europe March
International Women’s Day Dinner 8th March
New Members’ Dinner Derby 18th March
Local Government Conference 4th June
Women’s Conference July
Regional Awards event July
National Annual Conference 26 – 29th September
Regional Conference 29th October
Gala Dinner 25th November
East Midlands Regional Board, functions and duties:
To advise on regional campaigns, national campaigns at regional level, and European election campaigns, in line with Labour Party policy; and to provide a focus for national campaigns at regional level.
To liaise, in conjunction with the Regional Director, with the MEPs for the East Midlands, and to ensure that adequate provision is made for them to report back to the Region through the Regional Board.
To liaise, in conjunction with the Regional Director, with the East Midlands Group of Westminster MPs.
To help promote the development of local parties and forums, as well as open, inclusive and pro-active local structures and activities.
To maintain an Appeals and Disputes Panel to hear constitutional appeals, to receive reports of such appeals, and to carry out other constitutional duties as the NEC or the Rules and Constitution of the Party from time to time require. The Board shall have the power to co-opt members to the Appeals and Disputes Panel, though members so co-opted shall not be full members of the Board, unless specifically co-opted to that also.
To support regional Party staff in providing training, campaigning, constitutional and other services to members in the Region and help develop a full-time organising service in the region.
To raise funds to assist with achieving regional and national objectives.
Cllr Alison Martin