Kezia Dugdale to take seat on Labour NEC after reforms passed at UK party conference

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 27 September 2016 in News

Reforms give Scottish Labour control over the selection of all UK parliamentary candidates in Scotland

Kezia Dugdale with party leaderhsip - credit: PA

Kezia Dugdale will take up a seat on Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) after a package of reforms were passed at the UK party conference.

The Scottish Labour leader pushed for the changes, which include giving the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee (SEC) control over the selection of all UK parliamentary candidates in Scotland, in an attempt to give her party greater autonomy.

The party said the changes also give the SEC “overall responsibility” for the management of Constituency Labour Parties in Scotland and full control over policy making, including in reserved areas.


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Dugdale has been handed the power to nominate a member to represent her party on the NEC, with the Scottish leader choosing to take the place herself.

It follows reports that Jeremy Corbyn attempted to delay the move, which will also give the Welsh party a place on the NEC, until next year.

Holyrood’s sister site PoliticsHome revealed how Dugdale - who backed Owen Smith in the Labour leadership race - had accused Corbyn of trying to "undermine" her at an ill-tempered NEC meeting on Saturday night.

Dugdale said: “These reforms will be the biggest changes we’ve seen to how the Scottish Labour Party is run in a generation, and is the culmination of years of work.

“These reforms are important – they mean that Scottish Labour will be better placed to stand up for Labour values in Scotland, something we need now more than ever.”

She added: “Given the vital importance of this role, I will join the NEC. I will be a loud and passionate voice for Scotland’s interests within our UK wide Labour family. This is a key moment in the history of our party, and our movement.”

Dugdale and Corbyn released a statement in October 2015 aiming to set out the relationship between Scottish and UK Labour.

It said: “The Labour Party in different parts of the UK already has unique identities and organisational structures, but we need to go further. The last Labour government devolved so much power across the country, but we didn't do the same with our party. That will change under our leadership.

“We agree that Scottish Labour will become a more autonomous party.

“We will ask Labour’s NEC, the Scottish Executive Committee and other bodies of the party to agree new arrangements that will deliver a more autonomous Scottish party and also more democratic institutions across the UK. As Labour develops its constitutional convention in opposition to take account of the many things that must change to deliver a new kind of politics, so this approach must apply to our own party.

“There will be co-operation between Scottish Labour and UK Labour on reserved policy areas.

“This will be a major change in the way we operate and will put beyond doubt the fact that decisions about Scottish Labour will be taken by Scottish Labour.”

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