Keir Starmer vows to scrap Labour complaints body in radical shake-up if he becomes leader

Posted On: 
4th February 2020

Keir Starmer has vowed to scrap the body which deals with complaints against Labour members if he becomes party leader.

Keir Starmer has vowed to overhaul the party's internal machinery if elected leader

The move is part of an eight-point plan to deliver an "open, respectful, creative and engaging" culture within the party.

In what will be seen as a thinly-veiled attack on Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir said he wanted to deliver "unity and reconcilliation" within the party in the wake of its election defeat in December.

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Under his plan, the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), which is currently responsible for handling complaints, including allegatons of sexual harassment, bullying and anti-semitism, would be replaced by an independent body.

In a post on his campaign website, Sir Keir said the new body would be staffed by "experts on racism, sexual harassment and poor personal conduct" as he vowed to extend "auto-exclusion" procedures for anti-semitic members.

It comes after the party faced heavy criticism over its handling of disciplinary complaints under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

In particular, the NCC has been accused of failing to crack down on Labour members accused of anti-Jewish racism.

Sir Keir added: "All members and communities must have confidence in the rigour and independence of our disciplinary procedures. We should extend auto-exclusion to include expressions of clear cut racism including anti-semitism."

'Imposing candidates'

Other proposals include a commitment to shake-up selection rules to ensure future Labour candidates "reflect modern Britain in every way" as he vowed to push for new legislation to allow the party to run BAME shortlists in seats.

The Holburn and St Pancras MP also vowed to remove powers from the party's ruling body, the National Executive Committee, to impose candidates on seats, saying that local members should "select their candidates for every election".

"The current system is impenetrable with too much reliance on who people know rather than whay they can do," he said.

"It costs too much and takes too much time, effectively ruling out potentially excellent candidates.

"We must make sure that our selection and accountability processes improve the interactions between candidates and local parties and help promote good relationships within our party."

The leadership hopeful also pledged to do more to provide better access for disabled memebers, as well as introducing a new assembly for members and trade unionists to develop party policy in a "more democratic way".

His comments come after his closest rival in the contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey, took a swipe at the party's "mismanagement annd bad organisational culture".

The Shadow Business Secretary said the party's social media campaign "fell back in some areas" during the general election, and blamed party bosses for sending activists to the wrong target seats due to "partial data".