Kezia Dugdale is on Labours’s NEC after more than 80 per cent of delegates vote in favour of full autonomy for Scottish Labour
SCOTTISH LABOUR leader Kezia Dugdale has appointed herself onto Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) after reforms allowing more autonomy for the Scottish arm of the party passed with a majority at the Labour conference.
After a fiery session at conference, Dugdale nominated herself to take up the Scottish seat on the NEC after the creation of the role was voted through by 82 per cent of delegates.
The changes, which were agreed last Tuesday at an NEC meeting in London, will give more autonomy to the party north of the border including full membership on the NEC and full control of policy making for both devolved and reserved policy.
Ninety-two percent of unions voted in favour of the package of reforms, although the Unite union abstained as a result of not being happy that the Scottish leader could appoint someone onto the NEC.
Dugdale said: “These reforms will be the biggest changes we’ve seen to how the Scottish Labour Party is run in a generation and is the culmination of years of work.
“These reforms are important – they mean that Scottish Labour will be better placed to stand up for Labour values in Scotland, something we need now more than ever.”
Ninety-two percent of unions voted in favour of the package of reforms, although the Unite union abstained as a result of not being happy that the Scottish leader could appoint someone onto the NEC. Sixty-eight percent of the constituency party voted in favour of the proposals.
The addition of Dugdale – and Welsh First Minist Carwyn Jones – will pose a challenge for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Dugdale supported Owen Smith in the recent leadership election, and her place on the NEC means Corbyn has lost majority support on the committee.
A senior source from Labour told CommonSpace that the party leader in Scotland had delivered what the party membership had wanted for years and which she had won support from the Scottish Exective Committee (SEC) to pursue.
“Nobody else has emerged from this conference in Liverpool with so many victories under her belt.” Senior Labour source on Kezia Dugdale
They said: “She won again at the meeting of the NEC. She came to Liverpool and stood steadfast at against attempts by some to unpick the proposals.
“Nobody else has emerged from this conference in Liverpool with so many victories under her belt, and it demonstrates the respect that she has amongst the wider UK family.”
However, Dugdale has faced criticism from some within Labour who say the decision to appoint herself to the NEC rather than have a representative elected for the post is undemocratic.
The reforms came about after former leader Johann Lamont resigned weeks after the referendum on Scottish independence stating that the Labour leadership was trying to undermine her reforms and treat Scottish Labour “as a branch office of London”.
Last October, both Dugdale and Corbyn signed a joint agreement to ask the Labour’s NEC, SEC and other stakeholders to agree on new arrangements that would deliver “a more autonomous Scottish party”.
After a summer consultation following proposals from the SEC, the NEC voted in favour of making the Scottish Labour Party more autonomous earlier this month.
“I will be a loud and passionate voice for Scotland’s interests within our UK-wide Labour family.” Kezia Dugdale
Dugdale said: “I am delighted that myself and Jeremy Corbyn have delivered what we set out to do a year ago, some of the measures passed today were first discussed back in 2010.
“It is right that as devolution strengthens across the UK that Scottish Labour changes to reflect that – that means Scottish Labour having a seat on the party’s rule-making body, the national executive committee
“Given the vital importance of this role, I will join the NEC. I will be a loud and passionate voice for Scotland’s interests within our UK-wide Labour family.
“This is a key moment in the history of our party, and our movement.”
The NEC will meet on Tuesday evening for the first time since the reforms passed.
Picture courtesy of Scottish Labour
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