At their recent meeting, around 100 NI Labour Party members debated and unanimously passed a motion on contesting Northern Ireland elections. The motion which had previously received the unanimous support of the local Executive Committee puts the mechanisms and resources in place to fight the Assembly election in May 2016.
It’s the current policy of the National Executive Committee (NEC) in London not to allow LPNI to put forward candidates at Northern Ireland polls. Asked at Féile’s West Belfast Talks Back event, Jeremy Corbyn said it would be a decision he could make as leader.
Reflecting on LPNI’s decision to ignore London, local secretary Boyd Black said:
The overwhelming feeling of the members of LPNI was that the people of Northern Ireland are crying out for a credible alternative to the sectarian silos of Northern Ireland politics.
Our 1700 members and supporters made it clear last night that they are fed up accepting the things they cannot change and that they want to start changing the things they cannot accept.
The successful motion reads in full:
The NI Constituency Labour Party (CLP) noting: that the intentions of those who join the Party is to secure Labour representation at every level of government and political decision making affecting the people of Northern Ireland; and recognising that the influx of new members and supporters is a further sign of the disillusion of the Northern Ireland electorate with the dysfunctional political structures of Northern Ireland and the political parties that populate them; instructs our Executive Committee (EC) to ensure that the Party is equipped to engage in elections at the earliest date at which it is appropriate to do so.
Accordingly the CLP instructs our EC to:
Prepare and train members who would be suitable candidates; Establish a fighting fund to pay for offices and staff; Prepare a political programme to put to the electorate; Alert the National Executive (NEC) and the Party leadership to the evolving political situation in Northern Ireland and engage with them in the process of promoting Labour’s challenge to the sectarian status quo.
Furthermore the CLP instructs the EC to circulate a strategy to the Party membership no later than 7 days before the next General Members Meeting on 29 January 2016 to give effect to this motion.
Our 1700 members and supporters made it clear last night that they are fed up accepting the things they cannot change and that they want to start changing the things they cannot accept.’
If anyone sees Tom Watson at a Belfast airport, he’ll not be bringing gifts of goodwill and good cheer!
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.