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Claudia in the chair for historic debate

29 September, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

Cllr Claudia Webbe with Cllr Alice Perry

BUNHILL ward councillor Claudia Webbe chaired a “historic” conference debate on rule changes which mark a major power shift away from MPs to ordinary members.

The Town Hall’s transport and environment chief, who represents rank-and-file Labour members on the ruling national executive committee (NEC), was in the chair when members debated a reduction in the number of signatures required for leadership contenders to win a place on the ballot, down from 15 per cent to 10 per cent of MPs and MEPs.

Delegates overwhelmingly voted in favour of the rule change in the afternoon, when in the chair was another Islington councillor, Alice Perry, who represents local government on the NEC.

The vote means that on the current count, a candidate would need only 28 nominations from MPs and MEPs, which massively increases the prospects of a left-wing successor to Jeremy Corbyn.

Cllr Webbe, a Corbyn ally, said: “It was a historic debate. It’s tremendously significant because we lowered the threshold [for leadership nominations] and the role of the Parliamentary Labour Party will be less. I think that’s right, recognising that the huge membership will get more of a say.”

Councillors take in the sea air

LABOUR councillors had to watch the party conference from a balcony this year because of the sheer number of delegates – with 13,000 the highest ever. Holloway ward councillors Diarmaid Ward and Paul Smith weren’t able to access the floor, but Cllr Ward said: “The more people get involved, the better.”


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