Rank and file MPs would be shut out of the “Clause V” meeting that agrees on a manifesto at each election, with representatives of the Scottish and Welsh Labour Parties set to be excluded too.
The meeting is named after Clause V of Labour’s constitution which sets out how the party agrees policies and draws up a manifesto ahead of each general election. The rules state that the Parliamentary Committee of the PLP, currently consisting of PLP Chair John Cryer and 17 departmental chairs drawn from the backbenches, must take part in the meeting. The current rules also require the leaders of Scottish and Welsh Labour, the NEC, the Shadow Cabinet, four chairs of the National Policy Forum and eight trade union representatives to be present.
Under those rules, Labour convened a group of 80 to agree the detail of the 2017 manifesto.
Now the party’s democracy review has proposed amendments to Labour’s constitution so that only the NEC, the Shadow Cabinet and trade union representatives are present at Clause V meetings.
The change has so far gone unnoticed, but MPs are likely to react furiously to the prospect of being forced to stand for election on a manifesto they have not been consulted on.
Proposals from the democracy review will only enter the party rulebook after they are voted on at party conference, but the left-wing majority amongst the membership all but guarantees that they will be approved, with many proposals having been put forward by the far-left in the first place.