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Council Deputy Leader blasts Starmer’s move to change Labour leadership election rules

23 Sep 2021 3 minute read
Picture by U.S. Department of State (public domain).

Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter

The Deputy leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council has hit out at proposals by Labour leader Keir Starmer to change the way the party elects its leaders.

Labour councillor Jamie Pritchard labelled the proposals as “anti-democratic”.

Mr Starmer has proposed return to an electoral college to elect the party’s leaders – a move away from the current one member one vote system in which Mr Starmer was himself elected on.

But Cllr Pritchard said Mr Starmer “must halt his damaging and divisive” proposals.

“This is a highly unwelcome distraction that will be music to the ears of Labour opponents across the UK. The move will launch a highly divisive battle at one of the worst times possible.”

The electoral college system sees the party split into three distinct groups – Members of Parliament; trade unions and affiliated organisations; and party members. The votes of each of these groups will be equal to each other.

Mr Starmer, who replaced Jeremy Corbyn as leader in 2020, is arguing that the change to election rules will strengthen the Labour Party’s relationship with unions.


This system was abolished by Ed Miliband in 2014. Critics argue that a return to the electoral college system would give MPs more power and party members would have less.

A vote on the proposal will be held at the Labour Party’s conference in Brighton on Sunday, September 26.

Welsh Labour changed the voting system for the election of the leader in 2018. The current one member one vote system was secured with a two-to-one majority at the special conference.

Cllr Pritchard added: “Welsh Labour had it right to demand equal votes for all members. This regressive proposed move backwards would create an extremely unequal voting system where MP’s demand at least a 1000/1 majority over the party member.

“The principles of moving to the former system were rejected by the vast majority of members in Wales no less than three years ago.

“A return to the discredited electoral system would be anti–democratic and this is something that should be rejected.”

Mr Starmer revealed the proposals to his shadow cabinet earlier this week.

The Labour leader said: “Our rules as they are right now focus us inwards to spend too much time talking to and about ourselves and they weaken the link with our unions. I know that this is difficult, change always is, but I think these changes are vital for our party’s future.”

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Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
2 years ago

That’s Ok then. Carry on with a leadership selection system that chose people like Corbyn. Thus making sure the Labour party perpetually stays unelectable. Just what the tories want.

2 years ago

Time then for a truly autonomous “Welsh” Labour raising its own finance and a First Minister who doesn’t take orders from an opposition party leader in another country.

2 years ago

Good for you Jane Pritchard

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
2 years ago

If UK Labour Party change their leadership election to an electoral college.
Let them! It proves that Welsh Labour is better independent from the UK, and a member of the European Socialist/Social democrat group in its own right.

Or you can choose a more democratic party:

Plaid Cymru elects their leader by One member one vote.

Liberal Democrats elect their leader by One member one vote.

The Green parties also elect their leader OMOV.

All using 1st/2nd/3rd… choice system.

Grayham Jones
2 years ago

Kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

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