Did the Labour Party 2011 Conference have the power to change its Rule Book in the manner in which did in Liverpool?
That is a question posed by former-MP Harry Barnes commenting on my previous blog proposing a constituency labour party (CLP) boycott of next year's event in Manchester, unless the national executive committee agrees to a radical change in the format to enable proper debate.
I can't see in the old or new rules where the NEC has the authority to put these changes to Conference in the way that it did - and without the proposals being circulated in advance to CLPs and affiliated bodies for proper consideration. The method of changing the rules seems to me to be a violation of the natural rights of the membership and are probably in conflict with Human Rights legislation. Furthermore, I do not remember us being informed at the time that the endorsement of the conclusions to the Refounding Labour exercise (which was itself untaken in a entirely undemocratic way) would immediately be crowned by rule changes. We could do with a sympathetic Labour Lawyer looking into these matters.