This month’s SEC was a first. The downside, it was Sunday morning – the upside, a joint meeting with the NEC.
Jeremy was in good form giving the Westminster report and his campaign plans, which include regular visits to Scotland. He welcomed Richard Leonard as the new Leader of Scottish Labour. Richard set out his vision for Scottish Labour and presented a paper on winning in Scotland that outlined his initial thoughts on an organisational and political strategy for Scottish Labour.
In the afternoon, both committees returned to their normal business. Cathy Peattie kicked off the SEC by welcoming the excellent result in the Rutherglen by-election. The swing to Labour demonstrates the progress we are making at all levels. She also thanked the staff for their round the clock efforts during the leadership election.
Katy Clark introduced the UK Party Democracy Review. She will be looking at all aspects of the party structure, from CLPs to conference, so that it better reflects the mass membership party Labour has become – the largest in Europe. There will be Scottish events and member surveys, although it is of course a matter for the Scottish Labour Party, which recommendations it adopts in relation to our rules. She plans to report in the summer of 2018, with any rule changes going to conference.
The Women’s Working Group gave an update on their work to develop the women’s organisation in the party. This includes the Scottish Women’s Conference on 17 February 2018.
Richard gave his first Leader’s report welcoming the fair degree of consensus in the leadership campaign on policy and his priorities. He would be discussing with colleagues before announcing any changes to the shadow cabinet. There was the inevitable question about events in the ‘Jungle’. Richard set out the process of events and said the Group would deal with matter on Kezia’s return.
Lesley Laird reported on Westminster issues which included the dismal UK Budget and Brexit.
Richard’s attendance at the COSLA Labour Group meeting on Friday was welcomed by David Ross in his report. The Group wanted to strengthen relations with MSPs and trade unions as they tackled the difficult budget position and campaigned for fair funding in the forthcoming Scottish budget. SEC members welcomed this and the trade unions indicated that STULP would be reviewing its campaign plans. The staffing support for Labour councillors also needed to be deployed effectively.
The General Secretary’s report included the leadership election and the youth section ballot. There was a detailed discussion on sexual harassment procedures and it was agreed to establish a working group to look at strengthening them.
There was an update report on the investigation process into the suspended Aberdeen City councillors. The Constitutional Committee will monitor any change in circumstances to see if the Group could become compliant with the SEC requirements for arrangements with other parties, including how the Budget is handled. The conduct of individual members would still be a matter for the NEC Disputes Panel and the NCC.
There were two motions from Shettleston CLP on SEC procedures which will be given further consideration at the SEC away day in January.
Overall, a very positive set of meetings with a new Leader and constructive discussions with our comrades in the UK Party.