This was the first meeting of the SEC after conference, so we started with the election of officers. Cathy Peattie was elected Chair, Cara Hilton Vice-Chair (keeping it in the family!) and Ian Millar as Treasurer.
Richard’s report covered his initiatives on public procurement and the scandal of poor employment practice being funded by the taxpayer. He had reluctantly supported the call for the Health Secretary to resign given the catalogue of failings in NHS Tayside. Labour supported the Continuity Bill, given the failure of the UK government to respect the devolution settlement.
There was an emergency motion on Syria that supported the position taken by Jeremy and Richard. It calls for a War Powers Act, which does not stop emergency action, but does restore parliamentary democracy to decisions in relation to military action.
Lesley Laird also covered the debates on Syria in her Westminster report. Brexit continues to dominate the agenda and the House of Lords decision on a customs union will ensure the issue is debated again in the commons. The group was supporting the Unite campaign on RBS closures and CLPs are encouraged to join in local campaigns to save branches. The Windrush debates on immigration has shown how the Tories have lost any sense of decency – with even the Daily Mail attacking them. There had also been a debate on anti-semitism and the new UK General Secretary had updated the PLP and Shadow Cabinet on measures to progress outstanding internal cases.
David Ross reported on the COSLA Labour group’s position on pay, but the SNP and the Tories combined in a vote that undermines collective bargaining. There had been some progress with the government on funding early years expansion and education reforms. A development paper on Labour in local government was welcomed.
Catherine Stihler also covered Syria in her report and well as the EU position on Brexit. The Windrush debate highlighted potential issues in future for EU nationals living in the uK.
The General Secretary covered the appointment of a new local government officer and new organiser posts. The next Campaign Day on 12 May would focus on council cuts. Campaign plans are being reviewed by a new group led by Neil Findlay MSP.
The timetable and procedures for the Deputy Leader election were agreed. It is a much longer process than members would have liked, but it made sense to coordinate the timetable with other party elections – resulting in a significant financial saving. This means nominations will close on 28 May and the freeze date for membership will be 22 June. Ballot papers will be distributed after the hustings on 26 July and the result will be announced on 1 September.
The timetable for the election of places on the Scottish Policy Forum was also agreed. The closing date for CLP nominations will be 25th June. Ballot papers will be issued on 26 July and the results announced on 3 September.
The organisational sub-committee report on the Aberdeen Labour Group suspension was considered. There had been progress and further discussions will be held with a further report to the June meeting.
The General Secretary updated the SEC on Westminster selections. Most were now under way and timetables will be set for the remainder of the target seats, if the CLPs concerned have not done so.
There was a motion on anti-semitism from Eastwood CLP calling on the NEC to speed up the disciplinary process in outstanding cases. This has already happened and the CLP will be advised of the action taken at UK and Scottish levels.
Finally, the SEC received an interim report on tackling discrimination and harassment that was tabled at conference.