Friday, October 28, 2016

Paid Mayoral advisors should not be also Officers of local Party: West Ham CLP AGM (Part 2)

This is a great "slow action" picture from last nights packed West Ham Labour AGM (part 2). Our MP Lyn Brown is giving her Parliamentary report and answering questions.

We ran out of time at our first AGM to conclude all business so had to resume yesterday and then also hold a normal General Committee meeting. It was a slow and frustrating process but surprisingly good natured (ish).

Delegates that I supported were elected into the Local Campaign Forum and other positions (I was also re-elected) by clear majorities.

I was also pleased that following a robust debate the motion below on paid Mayoral advisors from Forest Gate North and Stratford Branch was passed with a big majority.

We had some very disturbing news last week on certain proposals which I will blog upon over the weekend but yesterday, West Ham Labour Party, made a clear commitment to honest, decent and principled politics.

Can people please just read the motion and understand that this is intended to protect paid advisors as well as the local Party. If you are one of the 24 Newham Councillors who receive anything between £6-34,000 (plus pensions) to be personal advisors to the Mayor, then this motion will actually protect you against some widely perceived conflicts of interest.

Motion: Restrictions on Cabinet Members, Mayoral or Executive Advisors serving as CLP Officers

This AGM notes:-

1. That there is a potential conflict of interest for Newham Councillors who are paid mayoral advisors and officers of a CLP.

2. That currently the Mayor appoints and dismisses all mayoral advisor positions.

3. The Mayoral adviser protocol means that they must accept collective responsibility for the Mayor’s (Executive) decisions.

4. The huge and welcome increase in our membership means that there are potentially more members who may wish to participate in the democratic processes of branches/CLPs.

5. That East Ham CLP has changed its standing orders to bar all Newham Councillors from being CLP officers. We understand this has had mixed outcomes and we do not think that such an extensive bar is necessary. However, it would be good governance for some changes to ensure that this potential conflict is removed.

This AGM resolves that:- It should be the convention that no Newham Council Cabinet member, Mayoral or Executive advisor#1 in receipt of Special Responsibility Allowance #2 should be allowed to be nominated or elected as a Branch/CLP officer.

This does NOT include unpaid Mayoral advisors, elected Labour Group Officers, Committee and Scrutiny Chairs.

If a Branch/CLP officer becomes a mayoral advisor s/he should resign immediately.

#1 or any other name given to such a role

#2 or any other monetary payment, salary, pension or allowance above the basic allowance paid to Councillors. 

The Labour Party compliance unit has confirmed that changes to standing orders can only take place at AGMs; therefore this amendment if carried will only be implemented for AGMs from 2017.

Proposed by Stratford and Newtown Branch, Forest Gate North Branch

(the motion has also been passed I understand by Manor Park branch in East Ham)

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