The British Labour Party is holding a Special Conference to consider historic reform to the party’s structure.
In this speech, the party’s leader, Ed Miliband, argues the case for reform of British Labour’s links with the trade unions. The Special Conference is considering a plan to end the automatic affiliation of trade union members and the introduction of “one member, one vote” in leadership elections.
Miliband’s proposal would see an end to the 3-part electoral college system in which the votes of MPs, trade unions and rank-and-file members are weighted equally to elect the party leader. Union members would be able to opt-in to join the party.
The election method adopted by the Australian Labor Party in 2013 involved an electoral college in which MPs and party members had a 50-50 say. It is likely that there will be an attempt by unions to add a union component to this structure at the next National Conference.
The Miliband proposal is a bold attempt to broaden the base of the party with an influx of new members.
Some quotes from Miliband:
- How do we persuade the people who have left the stadium to think about coming back?
- How do we persuade other people that Labour Party members are normal?
- We’ll be voting for the biggest transfer of power in the history of our party to our members and supporters.
- The depth, the diversity, the reach of a movement is the true measure of its strength and its ability to make change.
Text of UK Labour leader Ed Miliband’s speech to the Labour Party’s Special Conference.
I want to thank all of you – local parties, trade unions, socialist societies – for being part of our discussions on party reform.
Some people worried this debate would simply cause deep division and discord. But we have shown our discipline.
And month by month we have grown more united, stronger, more ready to fight and win the general election.
Today I ask you to vote for the report of Ray Collins, overwhelmingly endorsed by Labour’s National Executive Committee.
Today I ask you to support the biggest changes to our party since 1918.
Today I ask you to seize the chance to change our party so that together we can change the country.
Friends, Britain needs us to do this. Because somebody has to mend our broken politics.