Labour Party/Conference

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The Labour Party Conference, or annual national conference of the Labour Party, is formally the supreme decision-making body of the Party.

Annual conference 2016

Preceded by the one-day National Women's Conference on Saturday 24 September 2016, the 2016 national conference will take place in Liverpool from Sunday 25 September to Wednesday 28 September.[1]

Delegates to the conference are elected by Constituency Labour Parties, affiliated trade unions and socialist societies. Some 40% of the votes are wielded by the three largest trade unions (Unite, GMB and UNISON).

Resolutions for debate are put forward by CLPs and unions before the conference begins. In recent years, party members have had less say in what is debated at the annual conference, as the party leadership has tried to move policy-making increasingly into the new National Policy Forums, which meet in private.

Role of the NEC

The National Executive Committee leads the conference (although the details of the conference, including what is debated, are managed by the Conference Arrangements Committee) and if it does not agree with a resolution, the NEC may put pressure on the backers to withdraw or remit it. Remittance means that the resolution's backers agree to "send back" the resolution to the NEC so that it can consider the matter in more detail; this is viewed by some as a mere delaying tactic. The resolutions voted upon are normally composites, meaning that they have been compiled by combining several resolutions put forward by different bodies into a single wording agreed beforehand.

Blairite conference plot

On 12 August 2016, a Facebook post alleged that there was a Blairite conference plot to seize the Labour leadership:[2]

Tony Blair’s former special adviser John McTernan has clearly set out how Jeremy Corbyn is going to be toppled simply by following the rule book, which states: "When the Parliamentary Labour Party is in opposition in the House of Commons, the election of the Leader and the Deputy Leader shall take place at each annual session of Party conference."[3]

Preceded by the National Women's Conference on Saturday 24 September, this year’s Party conference takes place in Liverpool from Sunday 25 to Wednesday 28 September 2016.[4]

On 7 August 2016, Jeremy Corbyn wrote to Iain McNicol requesting that the special conference when the leadership ballot result is announced should be held one day early – on 23 September 2016 – to prevent a “regrettable clash” with the Labour women’s conference.[5]

On 10 August 2016, Kate Green (chair of Owen Smith’s campaign) wrote to McNicol “formally” requesting a 2-week delay in holding the special conference to Saturday 8 October 2016, so that “our new Leader will be able to have a united team in place ready to fight the Tories before Parliament returns.”[6]

Such a delay will allow the embattled Deputy Leader Tom Watson to save his job, and at the same time to hijack the Labour Party conference with accusations of Trotskyist infiltration like that of Militant tendency in the 1980s.[7] Watson’s ultimate aim is to have the whole leadership election annulled and ensure the Party conference follows the rule book by electing someone as Leader who is not Jeremy Corbyn.[8]

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