Walkout at Princes Street Labour AGM

I blogged last week on the ructions within Princes Street .

I’ve now had multiple reports from the Princes Street Labour AGM last night. Around 40 people turned up but half of them were ruled ineligible to vote by no less a personage than the Labour Party General Secretary, Mike Smith.

Smith ruled that only those registered as at 10 March could run for office or vote. This is based on their rule that the electorate committee has to actually admit or refuse new members. Now in National (which has similar rule) like Labour this is never done in practice. You never ever actually vote to accept new members – they are deemed valid from the time they pay their sub, unless they are specifically declined. But this is a common political trick within parties. Generally the rules are not followed in spirit rather than letter on a day to day basis, but when there is a contest it gets all legalistic.

It seems this fairly arbitrary ruling went down pretty badly at the AGM, as it reeked of using procedural tricks to avoid a close fight. A move to delay the AGM so everyone could vote was denied, and in the end over a dozen members walked out in protest, and the Chair’s election ended up being uncontested.