In the struggle to catch the public's attention, the Labour Party National Executive Committee could do worse than adopt a simple good governance practice at the start of all its meeting from now on. It should maintain a register of members' interests and require declarations of pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests at its meetings relating to the agenda.
Sometimes it is necessary to be even more demanding of members representing the different sections of the Labour Party
Next Tuesday's bi-monthly meeting of its National Executive Committee will have the first set of minutes from the newly-established Special Selections Panel (SSP) on the agenda. Candidate selection is an important right of party membership, and that was set out explicitly in the NEC November resolution concerning the final prospective parliamentary candidate selections. Any suggestion of impropriety aroses passion, as was evident in the Erith and Thamesmead selection last year.
I have already suggested to NEC chair Ann Black that any member of the SSP who has either expressed an interest in a parliamentary seat or is even thinking about it should resign from the SSP immediately. That would be for the avoidance of any doubt about why a particular seat has been designated an 'open' selection or an all-woman' selection, or why a particular individual had voted in a particular way when short-listing starts in earnest using the 'fast-track procedure'.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, at receiving an eMail at the end of last week from a journalist pal suggesting that a certain well-know member of the NEC, who sits on the SSP, was expected to declare his interest in Leyton and Wanstead early this week. Last week the SSP declared an open selection for L&W. I hope that's just a misunderstanding. If we want to restore public trust in our Party, we have got to clean up our own act first.