Katy Clark, the former Corbyn aide who took charge of the party’s Democracy Review, has privately delivered a withering verdict on the way it was implemented by the Labour leadership.
In a candid assessment of what was billed as the most radical and far-reaching overhaul of party rules ever undertaken, Clark told members of Vauxhall CLP in south London that most of her recommendations were not included in the final document.
She said the she was unhappy with the set of proposals presented to conference and that they didn’t meet the objectives the democracy review was given, according to three separate sources who attended the meeting, which took place last week.
The proposals, which included raising the bar MPs must meet to avoid a full selection battle from 50 per cent of branches to 66 per cent of branches or affiliated union branches, were condemned by many Momentum members. The Corbyn-supporting group pushed for open selection contests for every Labour MP but that was opposed by unions.
The decision by the NEC to water down Momentum’s proposal prompted shouts of ‘shame’ from delegates on the conference floor and resulted in an angry exchange between Unite boss Len McCluskey and Chris Williamson, the outspoken backbencher who spent the summer calling for the deselection of many of his parliamentary colleagues.
At the Vauxhall meeting, Clark – herself a former MP – also criticised the party for not giving CLPs more time to consider the proposals. She said an unsatisfactory package was rushed through and that members were expected to rubber stamp it.
Clark’s criticism of the review’s implementation underlines growing tensions on the hard-left between those who want the party to be controlled by its members and many union officials and leaders, who refuse to relinquish their historic role as the party’s largest financial backers and main power-brokers.