Jeremy Corbyn Supporters Win Key Vote To Allow Conference To Unpick Policy Documents

Delegates were furious on Tuesday when the NEC decided that all of its rule changes had to be voted on as a package, rather than subjected to individual votes.

But on future policy, they will now be able to do just that. On defence policy, for example, conference will be able to single out Trident renewal or other details, without rejecting the rest of the policy package.

Centrists fear that the shift will mean future party conferences will be dominated by rows and get bogged down by the ‘trench warfare’ Corbyn says he wants to avoid.

The main business of conference speeches could be derailed daily by lengthy debates on policy if delegates push their concerns, some insiders claim.

Some 58% of unions voted for the rule change, and 42% against. Among constituency Labour parties, 46% were for and 54% against. Under the complex ‘block vote’ of conference, that led to a wafer-thin result in favour overall.

The Liverpool conference has been dogged by battles between ‘centrists’ and the Left, both behind-the-scenes and in the conference hall.

The ‘moderates’ were pleased that the new NEC chair chosen on Tuesday was MEP Glenis Willmott, despite speculation that leftwinger Christine Shawcroft would run for the top spot.

It won the vote on the overall package of NEC rule changes – which included ensuring a sitting leader does not need MPs in a leadership challenge and new moves to prevent illegal council budgets – by a huge margin in the end, by 80% to 20%.

And on another internal vote, Corbyn ally and former MP Chris Williamson lost his bid to get onto the NEC’s National Constitutional Committee. GMB veteran Maggie Cosin was re-elected instead.

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