Posts Tagged ‘PLP’

Shadow Cabinet elections: the astonishing technical complexity of writing x

17/09/2010, 04:21:04 PM

PLP secretary, Martin O’Donovan, is worried that Labour MPs are going to be thrown into disarray by the stressful business of receiving, completing and returning their shadow cabinet ballot papers. All crazy-crammed, break-neck and irresponsible, into a mere, madcap seven days of voting.

In his email below, you can hear the fear in O’Donovan’s voice. He just knows – for sure – that he’s in for massive grief.

Because the best and the brightest are going to forget to vote. And they’re going to vote for people they didn’t want to vote for by mistake. And they’re going to change their minds three days after they’ve cast their votes and want another go. And several will want to cast their votes after the ballot has closed.

And it’s all going to be his fault. All of it. So he’d better be able to explain himself. That’s why he’s writing to them every 25 minutes explaining the rules. Poor Martin. Most sophisticated electorate in the world? Yeah, right.


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Shadow cabinet elections are stupid enough without voting stupidly too, says Lesley Smith

17/09/2010, 11:37:01 AM

Has anyone thought to ask why we are having shadow cabinet elections? Is it to achieve the best possible team to lead our parliamentary party? Is it because elections unite the mass base around their demonstrably popular and talented leaders? Is it a sure fire way of finding a brilliant team that will row in harmony behind whomever a different process elects leader? Is it guaranteed, or even likely, to select people who will work well as a team and share the objectives of that leader?

Well. Nope. ?Or is it, as some say (idiotically) “to act as a counter balance to the leader”? So we go through three months of agony (when we could have been building a strategic and effective opposition to the Tories) to elect someone whose authority we wish the PLP, many of whom have only been there for three minutes, to be able to undermine? If you wanted to sabotage a new leader’s chance of running a half way decent strategy, this is how to do it. (more…)

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Shadow Cabinet bun fight begins

14/09/2010, 11:32:02 PM

Following on from last week’s ballot of the PLP on the process for selecting the shadow cabinet, its make up, and whether to elect the chief whip, the decisions have all been accepted in a yes/no ballot today.

After the PLP voted in favour of a  minimum 31.5% of the shadow cabinet being women, it has been set out today that each MP must vote for a minimum of 6 women and 6 men for their ballot to be valid.

The nominations for the shadow cabinet will kick off from the Sunday of conference, with the coronation of the leader likely to be a side show to those MPs plotting and scheming to ensure they make the final shoot out for the big jobs. Many are already hard at it, canvassing support, buying pints and calling in past favours – Paul Waugh appears to owe John Healey one or two.

The winners and losers will be announced on the 7 October, when the real fun will start for the new leader as they try to make the best of what they’ve been given.

From: O’DONOVAN, Martin
Sent: 14 September 2010 17:32


The result of today’s ballot was as follows:

YES – 113

NO – 24

The PLP has now AGREED the changes from last week’s ballot and the standing orders will be updated accordingly.

We will now proceed to a postal ballot to elect our Shadow Cabinet, as set out in the below timetable. As agreed at the PLP last night, the election of 19 members of the Shadow Cabinet and the election of the Chief Whip will be held simultaneously.

Please bear in mind that all ballot papers need to be returned to the PLP Office by Thursday 7 October at 5pm.


A reminder that, in order to cast your vote in the Shadow Cabinet election, PLP members must cast a minimum number of 6 votes for women and 6 votes for men otherwise it will not be a valid vote.


(Saturday 25 September   pm         New Leader elected)

Sunday 26 September      11am      Nominations open for Shadow Cabinet

Weds 29 September        5pm        Nominations close

Thursday 30 September  9-12        Ballot papers available in PLP Office at Conference. After this time they will be sent in the post to the same address as your ballot paper for the Party Leadership election.

Mon 4 Oct–Thurs 7 Oct    10-5     PLP Office open for MPs to vote in person.

Thursday 7 October       5pm         Start counting votes in PLP Office

Thursday 7 October       9pm         Announce results of election

Monday 11 October                       Parliament returns

Weds 20 October                            Comprehensive Spending Review

If you have any questions on the above please email me or call me on the numbers at the bottom of this email.

Best wishes


Martin O’Donovan
Director of Unit and PLP Secretary

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The quiet campaign for the Chief Whip

09/09/2010, 12:08:19 PM

Last night the results of the PLP ballot on the method for selecting the Shadow Cabinet were announced.

The top line is that the Shadow Cabinet will remain fully elected. The variations on the method for selecting the shadow cabinet were rejected. Harriet Harman’s suggested 50:50 gender balance was also rejected, with the PLP settling for 31.5%.

However the most important decision taken by the PLP was the resounding vote in favour of electing the chief whip at the start of each Parliament.

The vote wasn’t even close, with 150/100 voting in favour.

The Whip’s are cock-a-hoop. Telling anyone who will listen that this is an overwhelming endorsement for Nick Brown. The leadership candidates are likely to be less enthused.


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Thursday News Review

09/09/2010, 07:30:13 AM

What did he know?

Ex-News Of The World editor Andy Coulson’s ‘position is becoming very difficult indeed’, Mr Burnham said after the issue was raised at PMQs. ‘The question I had in my mind during prime minister’s questions, when I saw Nick Clegg answering on the issue, was that Andy Coulson could have had a hand in preparing the lines that government ministers are using,’ he said ‘If he isn’t voluntarily suspended I think the prime minister should ask him to step back from his role.’ Shadow health secretary Mr Burnham also said the NHS was facing ‘its biggest threat in its 62 years’ from a government White Paper proposing to axe health trusts. – Metro

The police are to reopen their investigation into the News of the World phone-hacking next week and plan to interview former journalists from the newspaper for the first time to discover who else was involved in hacking the voicemails of public figures. The pressure on David Cameron’s spin doctor Andy Coulson will be intensified by the fact that Scotland Yard detectives are preparing to speak with Greg Miskiw – the former head of news and so far the only senior executive at the newspaper to be conclusively linked to Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed for tapping phones on behalf of the Sunday tabloid. – The Independent

A senior former News of the World journalist goes public to corroborate claims that phone hacking and other illegal reporting techniques were rife at the tabloid while the prime minister’s media adviser, Andy Coulson, was deputy editor and then editor of the paper. Paul McMullan, a former features executive and then member of the newspaper’s investigations team, says that he personally commissioned private investigators to commit several hundred acts which could be regarded as unlawful, that the use of illegal techniques was no secret at the paper and that senior editors, including Coulson, were aware that this was going on. “How can Coulson possibly say he didn’t know what was going on with the private investigators?” he said. – The Guardian

Here come the cuts

Mr Cameron can ill afford to have the man in charge of organising the Government’s message appearing on the ten o’clock news night after night, with cameramen on his doorstep. At some point, resisting such attention is no longer worthwhile. Yet all this turbulence is nothing compared with what will hit the Coalition next month when George Osborne unveils his Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) – at that point, all hell will break loose. “We are in a canoe paddling down the Zambezi, and Victoria Falls lie dead ahead. Once we’ve gone over the edge, none of this will matter,” one leading Cameroon told me. The edge, for those at Westminster who worry about it, is the moment we discover just how bad the cuts are going to be. To judge by what Cabinet ministers and officials are saying, many worry that the Coalition has not done nearly enough to warn the public of the abyss into which the country is about to plunge. “If we have had a collective failure,” one Cabinet minister says, “it is that we have underplayed the scale of the problem.” – The Telegraph


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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

30/07/2010, 01:59:21 PM

As reported earlier this week on Uncut, the PLP is considering the formation of a back benchers committee, along the lines of the Tories 1922 Committee.

As George Eaton argued back in May in the New Statesman, this would give a forum where MPs can discuss and debate issues without fear of ministerial interference, stating that:

The creation of a 2010 Committee would go some way to reversing the progressive centralisation of the party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

 The letter from Margaret Beckett which outlined the proposals for the shadow cabinet elections seemed to agree with Eaton’s view, stating:

 We believe the PLP standing orders should be re-drafted to recognise the Parliamentary Committee as a body that sits irrespective of whether we are in government or opposition, as a specific vehicle for the views of backbenchers to be put to the leadership on a regular and sustained basis.

In a follow up to Beckett’s letter, Tony Lloyd contacted the PLP again last night with a further proposal for change, based on an existing Tory system. This time setting out a proposal for a Labour parliamentary research unit, based on the Conservative Parliamentary Research Unit (PRU), which according to their website is:

 a non-profit making, shared service based in the Houses of Parliament, and provides briefing, research, correspondence and related support to 150 Conservative MPs and front bench peers wholly, exclusively and necessarily in support of their Parliamentary duties.

The party machine seems to be settling in, gearing up for opposition. Looking to ensure Labour MPs are ready to fight the good fight. Making sure the leadership doesn’t get carried away. Ensuring the voices of backbenchers are heard. 

All we need now is a leader to hear them.

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Tony Lloyd’s letter to the PLP on the future of the shadow cabinet

28/07/2010, 05:06:37 PM


Dear Colleague

You will see from Margaret Beckett’s letter that the working group on the PLP Standing Orders is proposing that we proceed with a meeting to discuss how we choose our Shadow Cabinet at a special PLP meeting on Tuesday 7 September at 12 noon, followed by a ballot of the PLP on Wednesday 8 September from 10am-5pm.

It is important that we agree this approach as a parliamentary party, as well as thinking about how we amend any element of this if we decide that is the right thing to do. (more…)

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Margaret Beckett’s letter to the PLP on the future of the shadow cabinet

28/07/2010, 05:05:18 PM


July 29 2010

Dear Colleagues

Further to my most recent letter I am writing to set out some proposals and choices on how our Shadow Cabinet is chosen from the autumn.

The working group established by the PLP has now met on a number of occasions, we have taken evidence from many members of the PLP, and we have received a number of written submissions, for which many thanks.

As I set out last week there are a number of issues we will continue to consider into the autumn but it is clear that we need to agree as a matter of urgency the basis on which the Shadow Cabinet will be chosen. This will be completed before parliament returns in October, as agreed at last Monday’s PLP meeting. As set out in my last letter, this is because the Spending Review will follow very quickly, i.e. 20 October. (more…)

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Uncut’s open letter to PLP chair, Tony Lloyd

29/06/2010, 12:47:26 PM

Dear Tony,

At last night’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party you told MPs off for leaking information to websites. Passing information to websites, even Labour-friendly websites, is not in the comradely spirit, you said.

A particular example you gave was the reporting of Labour MPs who didn’t vote in the select committee elections. You said that this was definitely not in the comradely spirit.

You framed the point in general terms. We thank you for your delicacy. But Labour Uncut is the website in question. The select committee non-voters was our story. And it is only Uncut which has been publishing reports from PLP meetings and leaked round robin emails sent to Labour MPs. (more…)

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Second tranch of PLP select committee elections

29/06/2010, 12:20:37 PM

FAO Labour MPs

At 7pm this evening the deadline passed for nominations to the Labour vacancies on the select committees.

Please find below three key pieces of information:

– the list of nominations where we are proceeding to ballot.

– details of how you submit a short statement (200 words) to the PLP Office so that we can send all statements out together

– information about proxy voting (more…)

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