Newly launched hub for forward thinking for the democratic Left - Left Futures today carries a timely reminder about the 'other' elections inside the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) written by Jon Lansman titled, " 'Democracy' returns to the PLP". Dates have not been set, but the PLP shadow cabinet elections should take place well before those for the Labour Leadership.
What the PLP standing orders either on timing or the conduct of the elections themselves, I don't know. Getting information about how the Labour really functions remains a challenge. But it occurred to me on Saturday listening to Ed Miliband, unable to give a crisp answer to a question about diversity, that the PLP as early as tonight (Monday, assuming it's meeting tonight) has a wonderful opportunity to transform the diversity agenda inside the Party overnight.
There are 19 places for the Shadow Cabinet on the Parliamentary Committee when in Opposition if my sources are correct. If it isn't already embedded in the Standing Orders (SOs) I hope that the PLP brothers and sisters will propose and vote for the Shadow Cabinet places to be subject to the following quotas: 9 places for women, 8 places for men and two places for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority candidates (one woman, one man) - these would be extra to any places secured by BAME candidates in either the female or male 'colleges' getting enough votes to secure a shadow cabinet place anyway.
I'm sure the NEC would not have any problem agreeing to such a change tomorrow without further ado.
I promise an update as soon as I can get confirmation about the current SOs and hopefully a proposer for the quotas, if necessary.
I wonder how many toes will be trodden on and careers launched, if such modest changes were adopted.