National Executive Committee
The National Executive Committee (NEC) is the governing body of the UK Labour Party, setting the overall strategic direction of the party and policy development.
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Its composition has changed over the years, and includes representatives of affiliated trade unions, the Parliamentary Labour Party and European Parliamentary Labour Party, constituency Labour parties (CLP), and socialist societies, as well as ex officio members such as the Party Leader and Deputy Leader and several of their appointees.
During the 1980s, the NEC had a major role in policy-making and was often at the heart of disputes over party policy. In the Tony Blair era, the committee's role declined and its membership was reformed, but it remains the administrative authority of the party. Its former policy development function is now largely carried out by the National Policy Forum. One of its committees has disciplinary powers including the ability to expel members of the party who have brought it into disrepute or to readmit previously expelled members.
Up to 1997 members of parliament could stand for CLP section seats on the NEC, but thereafter MPs and MEPs could not stand in this section.
The 2017 Conference saw the creation of 4 additional NEC seats, 1 in the trade union section and 3 in the CLP section. Although the additional union seat was elected at Conference, the extra CLP seats were not elected until January 2018.
The current Officers of the NEC are:
- Leader of the Labour Party – Jeremy Corbyn MP
- Deputy Leader of the Labour Party – Tom Watson MP
- Chair of the NEC – Andy Kerr (CWU)
- Vice-Chair of the NEC – Wendy Nichols (Unison)
- Treasurer of the NEC – Diana Holland
- Chair of Organisation Committee – Jim Kennedy (Unite)
- NEC Co-Convenor of the JPC – Cath Speight (GMB)
- Chair of the Disputes Panel – Claudia Webbe
- Chair of the National Policy Forum (when a member of the NEC) – Ann Black
Joint Policy CommitteeEdit
The Joint Policy Committee is a joint committee and is the steering group of the National Policy Forum. The JPC has strategic oversight of the party's policy development through the rolling Partnership in Power programme.
Chair: Cath Speight (GMB)
The following are sub-committees of the NEC:
The Equalities Committee responsibilities and roles include:
- Women’s recruitment, retention and participation in the Party in elected office and the development of women’s forums at local level
- Black, Asian and ethnic minority recruitment, retention and participation in the Party
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender representation and participation within the Party
- Disability access and increased representation and participation of members with disabilities
- Considering effective Party responses to Employment Framework Directive based on Article 13 (Treaty on European Union) and the European Union Action Programme to Combat Discrimination
- Responsibility for driving the Party’s equality agenda and the development of an inclusive organisation at all levels
- Link with Organisation Committee and Young Labour Co-ordinating Committee on issues of age discrimination
- Biannual women’s forum
- Biannual ethnic minorities forum
Chair: Keith Birch (UNISON)
The Business Board is responsible for overseeing the business functions of the organisation including the management of the finances.
Chair: Diana Holland (Treasurer)
Audit, Risk Management and Compliance CommitteeEdit
The Audit, Risk Management and Compliance Committee has responsibility for audit and compliance oversight, and is accountable for internal audit procedures providing a systematic approach to risk management in all of the Party’s activities. The Committee ensures that the Labour Party’s financial activities are within the law, and that an effective system of internal control is maintained.
Chair: George Howarth MP
The Organisation Committee is responsible for party rules and constitution; ensuring parties are operating effectively throughout the country to the highest standards and has overall responsibility for membership, investigations, selections, Conferences, electoral law, boundaries strategy and internal elections.
Chair: Jim Kennedy (Unite)
The NEC Disputes Panel is a panel of the NEC Organisation Committee which hears membership appeals; re-admission applications; party disputes and conciliation; minor investigations and local government appeals where referred to the NEC. It operates in a quasi-judicial fashion, conducting hearings and interviews around the country where necessary.
Chair: Claudia Webbe
As of Annual Conference 2017, the NEC has 39 members elected from the following constituencies:
- 1: Leader of the Labour Party
- 1: Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
- 1: Treasurer
- 3: Opposition Front Bench (MPs nominated by the Shadow Cabinet)
- 1: EPLP Leader
- 1: Young Labour
- 13: Trade Unions
- 2: Socialist Societies and BAME Labour
- 9: CLPs
- 2: Labour Councillors
- 3: PLP/EPLP (Backbench MPs and/or MEPs elected by all Labour MPs and MEPs)
- 2: Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour
The General Secretary of the Labour Party acts as the non-voting secretary to the NEC.
- Leader of the Labour Party
- Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
- Tom Watson MP
- Opposition Front Bench
- EPLP Leader
- Young Labour
- Lara McNeill
- Trade Unions
- Keith Birch (UNISON)
- Joanne Cairns (USDAW)
- Andi Fox (TSSA)
- Jim Kennedy (Unite)
- Andy Kerr (CWU)
- Paddy Lillis (USDAW)
- Pauline McCarthy (BFAWU)
- Ian Murray (FBU)
- Wendy Nichols (UNISON)
- Sarah Owen (GMB)
- Cath Speight (GMB)
- Mick Whelan (ASLEF)
- Vacancy- following the appointment of Jennie Formby as the party’s General Secretary (to be filled at the next Party Conference).
- Socialist Societies and BAME Labour
- James Asser (Socialist Societies)
- Keith Vaz MP (BAME Labour)
- Ann Black
- Yasmine Dar
- Rachel Garnham
- Eddie Izzard
- Jon Lansman
- Claudia Webbe
- Darren Williams
- Pete Willsman
- Rhea Wolfson
- Labour Councillors
- Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour
Chair of the Labour PartyEdit
The chair of the party is elected by the NEC from among its own members, and holds office for a calendar year, chairing both NEC meetings and national party conferences.
The name of this post has become confused since 2001 when Labour Party leader Tony Blair appointed Charles Clarke to the courtesy position of "Party Chair" without the NEC or the national conference authorising such a position. The office's name remains "chair of the party" in the Labour Party Constitution, but elsewhere the party presents the position as "Chair of the NEC". Prior to 2001 the position was called "Chair of the Labour Party", and before that "Chairman of the Labour Party".
List of Chairs of the PartyEdit
(Information taken from British Political Facts 1900–1994, Butler & Butler 1994, pp. 144–5, the period down to 1993)
Chairmen of the Annual Conference of the Labour Representation Committee
- 1900: William Charles Steadman MP
- 1901: John Hodge
- 1902: William John Davis
- 1903: Joseph Nicholas Bell
- 1904: John Hodge
- 1905: Arthur Henderson MP
Chairmen of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Representation Committee
- 1900: William Charles Steadman MP
- 1901: Allan Gee
- 1902: Richard Bell MP
- 1903: John Hodge
- 1904: David J. Shackleton
- 1905: Arthur Henderson MP
- 1906: Arthur Henderson MP
- 1907: J. J. Stephenson
- 1908: Walter Hudson MP
- 1909: John Robert Clynes MP
- 1910: Keir Hardie MP
- 1911: William Cornforth Robinson
- 1912: Ben Turner
- 1913: George Henry Roberts MP
- 1914: Tom Fox
- 1915: No conference held
- 1916: William Crawford Anderson MP
- 1917: George Wardle MP (acting)
- 1917–18: W. F. Purdy
- 1918–19: John McGurk
- 1919–20: William Harold Hutchinson
- 1920–21: Alexander Gordon Cameron
- 1921–22: Fred Jowett MP
- 1922–23: Sidney Webb MP
- 1923–24: Ramsay MacDonald MP
- 1924–25: Charlie Cramp
- 1925–26: Robert Williams
- 1926–27: Frederick Roberts MP
- 1927–28: George Lansbury MP
- 1928–29: Herbert Morrison MP
- 1929–30: Susan Lawrence MP
- 1930–31: Stanley Hirst
- 1931–32: George Lathan MP
- 1932–33: Joseph Compton
- 1933–34: Walter R. Smith
- 1934–35: William Albert Robinson
- 1935–36: Jennie Adamson
- 1936–37: Hugh Dalton MP
- 1937–39: George Dallas (no conference in 1938)
- 1939–40: Barbara Gould
- 1940–41: James Walker MP
- 1941–42: Walter Henry Green MP
- 1942–43: Alfred Dobbs
- 1943–44: George Ridley MP
- 1944–45: Ellen Wilkinson MP
- 1945–46: Harold Laski
- 1946–47: Philip Noel-Baker MP
- 1947–48: Emmanuel Shinwell MP
- 1948–49: Jim Griffiths MP
- 1949–50: Sam Watson
- 1950–51: Alice Bacon MP
- 1951–52: Harry Earnshaw
- 1952–53: Arthur Greenwood MP
- 1953–54: Wilfrid Burke MP
- 1954–55: Edith Summerskill MP
- 1955–56: Edwin Gooch MP
- 1956–57: Margaret Herbison MP
- 1957–58: Tom Driberg
- 1958–59: Barbara Castle MP
- 1959–60: George Brinham
- 1960–61: Richard Crossman MP
- 1961–62: Harold Wilson MP
- 1962–63: Dai Davies
- 1963–64: Anthony Greenwood MP
- 1964–65: Ray Gunter MP
- 1965–66: Walter Padley MP
- 1966–67: John McFarlane Boyd
- 1967–68: Jennie Lee MP
- 1968–69: Eirene White MP
- 1969–70: Arthur Skeffington MP
- 1970–71: Ian Mikardo MP
- 1971–72: Tony Benn MP
- 1972–73: William Simpson
- 1973–74: James Callaghan MP
- 1974–75: Fred Mulley MP
- 1975–76: Tom Bradley MP
- 1976–77: John Chalmers
- 1977–78: Joan Lestor MP
- 1978–79: Frank Allaun MP
- 1979–80: Lena Jeger
- 1980–81: Alex Kitson
- 1981–82: Judith Hart MP
- 1982–83: Sam McCluskie
- 1983–84: Eric Heffer MP
- 1984–85: Alan Hadden
- 1985–86: Neville Hough
- 1986–87: Syd Tierney
- 1987–88: Neil Kinnock MP
- 1988–89: Dennis Skinner MP
- 1989–90: Jo Richardson MP
- 1990–91: Tom Sawyer
- 1991–92: John Evans MP
- 1992–93: Tony Clarke
- 1993–94: David Blunkett MP
- 1994–95: Gordon Colling
- 1995–96: Diana Jeuda
- 1996–97: Robin Cook MP
- 1997–98: Richard Rosser
- 1998–99: Brenda Etchells
- 1999–00: Vernon Hince
- 2000–01: Maggie Jones
- 2001–02: Margaret Wall
- 2002–03: Diana Holland
- 2003–04: Mary Turner
- 2004–05: Ian McCartney MP
- 2005–06: Jeremy Beecham
- 2006–07: Michael Griffiths
- 2007–08: Dianne Hayter
- 2008–09: Cath Speight
- 2009–10: Ann Black
- 2010–11: Norma Stephenson
- 2011–12: Michael Cashman MEP
- 2012–13: Harriet Yeo
- 2013–14: Angela Eagle MP
- 2014–15: Jim Kennedy
- 2015–16: Paddy Lillis
- 2016–17: Glenis Willmott MEP
- 2017–18: Andy Kerr
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- 'British Political Facts 1900–1994', Butler & Butler 1994, pp.144–5 for the period down to 1993
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