c l p d - the campaign for labour party democracy

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c l p d - a potted history

CLPD was formed in 1973 by a group of rank-and-file activists, with support from about ten Labour MPs. The first President was Frank Allaun. The main motivation for the Campaign was the record of the Labour governments in the sixties and the way that Annual Conference decisions were continually ignored on key domestic and international issues. The immediate cause was Harold Wilson's outright rejection in 1973 of the proposal to take into public ownership some 25 of the largest manufacturing companies, covering the major sectors of the economy.

CLPD's first demand was therefore for mandatory reselection of MPs so that they would be under pressure to carry out Conference policies. This demand was achieved in 1979/80 through the overwhelming support of CLPs and several major unions, especially those unions where the demand for reselection was won at their own annual conferences (e.g. TGWU, AUEW, NUPE).

CLPD also sought to make the Leader accountable through election by an electoral college involving MPs, CLPs and TUs. Hitherto Labour leaders were elected by MPs alone. This demand was achieved in January 1981.

CLPD also promoted a range of reforms to give Labour women and black members greater representation within the Party. The main demand for a woman on every parliamentary shortlist was achieved over the period 1986 - 1988.

CLPD will sometimes promote seem ingly non-democracy issues such as the significant extension of public ownership, defending the welfare state and the first- past-the-post electoral system (PR would mean no majority Labour Governments). All such policies derive from our commitment to socialist values and socialist advance.

The major focus of CLPD's work in recent years has been to win back power for the rank-and-file, which has been surreptitiously transferred to the centre under the pretext of "modernisation" and, ironically, "extending Party democracy". For example, recently CLPD campaigned for, and achieved, OMOV for the CLP section of the National Policy Forum. At 2014 Annual Conference we won OMOV for the CLP Section of the Conference Arrangements Committee.