Labour review recommends members vote on leadership

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald:

The Party is considering a major change in the way it elects its leader to allow party members to force a handover of power through a no-confidence vote, or to block an attempt by caucus to roll the leader.

The group set up to review the Labour Party after its poor election result has recommended party members vote on the leader. At present only MPs elect the leader.

Party president Moira Coatsworth said it was “a significant shift” for the party.

“At the moment, because it is a caucus decision, caucus at any time can walk in and have a vote. So this would decide on mechanisms for triggering [a leadership vote.]”

New Zealand and Australia were the only Westminster countries in which the equivalent of the Labour Party did not allow members to vote on the leader. 

It is unclear to what extent it is recommended that Labour members get a say on the party leadership, but this looks to be a step in the right direction.

Of course it may create tension, if implemented, as it seems most party members backed Cunliffe for Leader, while the caucus backed Shearer. So would Cunliffe’s supporters be able to trigger a leadership vote against the wishes of caucus? It will be interesting to see the detailed proposal.

What will also be interesting if whether unions will get a block vote for the leadership. This could give them even more power within the party.

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