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Saturday, September 21, 2019

How Hartlepool Labour Party Works: A Beginner's Guide

INTRODUCTION

As a democratic, socialist party we welcome people to join the party from all walks of life, have their say and influence policy. We welcome membership applications from individuals, families, young people, students, workers, the unemployed and older people – anyone with an interest in building a better Britain – For the Many, Not the Few.

CORE PRINCIPLES

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party that believes that by the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone.

We bring together those who thirst for a fairer, ever more equal, democratic, proud and patriotic country.

We have joined together to battle for the power needed to turn our idealism into action.

We seek office for a purpose: to fight inequality and injustice, to make real the rights of each of us to become skilled and knowledgeable; to have a good job and a fair income, a decent place to live and aspirations for the future; where our citizens can move and travel freely and live free from fear; where we support a strong family life in strong, active communities, and where we conserve the beauty and health of our environment for generations to come.

We seek to build a better society where we insist on our responsibility of government to do its best with the least it needs.

JOINING THE PARTY

Joining a political party can be very daunting for some of us. Everyone seems to know the rules and understand strange new words and abbreviations. Working out how to be an effective member can take a long time without some help and guidance.

WHAT IS THE CONSTITUENCY LABOUR PARTY (CLP)?

Everyone who joins the Labour Party is automatically granted membership to their local Labour Party, called the ‘Constituency Labour Party’ (CLP). A CLP is based on the electoral district of an MP - luckily in Hartlepool our constituency boundary is shared by the local authority keeping things nice and simple.

CLP's act as a hub for all Labour Party activity and community organising. Through our CLP Labour Party members can select local authority candidates, select members from our area to attend Annual Conference and can also help select Labour's parliamentary candidates for Hartlepool. Debate and discussion within local parties is also important to Labour Party policy with CLP's sending representatives to regional and national policy forums where members have direct means to help shape the policies the Labour Party would seek to deliver in government.

Some CLPs function as one group and hold meetings that are open to all members, known as ‘All Member Meetings’ (AMMs), whereas other CLPs are divided into branches or wards and elect delegates to a General Management Committee. Hartlepool CLP operates a branch structure with monthly branch and GC meetings (at which all members are welcome to attend but only delegates may vote). For details of branch and GC meetings, check our Events page or contact the CLP here.

WHAT IS A WARD?

A ward is a local area which elects local councillors who are responsible for representing the views of electors on the local Council. They often have names which relate to the immediate area. Many of the wards in Hartlepool are host to a functional branch party which hold their own meetings and social events - this means local members are invited to meetings of all Labour members within their ward each month as well as our monthly GC meetings. There are eleven wards in Hartlepool:

Most branch parties in Hartlepool meet on a regular basis but in some wards branches are only just beginning to get back up and running after our recent influx of new members. You can find out which ward you live in by looking at the Ward map here.

WHAT HAPPENS AT LOCAL CLP MEETINGS?

Local meetings try to be friendly and welcoming, especially to new members. At party meetings, members are asked to propose motions suggesting suitable subjects of debate or to propose actions and reforms they feel the party should enact; meetings are often held on specific topics oor play host to expert speakers.

Local Councillors are expected to attend the branch meetings within their wards making Branch Meetings an excellent opportunity to report any local issues directly to our Labour representatives as well offering a forum where potential answers and policies can be explored.

Our local MP attends our townwide General Committee meetings offering an equally important and valuable opportunity to ensure the concerns and issues of members and residents are communicated directly to our national representative.

WHAT IS THE GENERAL COMMITTEE (GC)?

The General Committee is the sovereign decision-making body of the CLP and is made up of delegates elected from the branch parties, local branches of affiliated trade unions, and delegates from affiliated socialist societies. All CLP members may attend and speak at GC meetings but only appointed delegates may vote.

HOW DO YOU BECOME A GC DELEGATE?

GC delegates are elected by the membership of the branch, society or union they represent. There are different quotas which apply to each of these bodies which dictate how many delegates they are entitled to appoint with branch parties being able to appoint one GC delegate for every ten members they hold - there's also special provision for youth members. It's important to note that all bodies are obliged to appoint an equal number of men and woman delegates when possible. Members wishing to become a GC delegate need only to attend their branch/organisation's AGM and make their intention known - it's worth noting that members who regularly attend branch and GC meetings, as well as fundraising and campaign events, are more likely to be elected to delegate positions by their fellow members.

WHO RUNS THE CLP?

Hartlepool CLP's day-to-day business is run by an executive committee (EC) of officers elected each year by local members at our Annual General Meeting (AGM). The principal officer roles are:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair Campaigns
  • Vice-Chair Membership
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Women's Officer
  • Youth Officer
  • BAME Officer
  • Fundraising Officer
  • Communications Officer
  • Trade Union Liaison Officer
  • Political Education Officer

These officers, as well as elected EC members, put the decisions of the party into action - they create a programme of activities, run campaigns and undertake the regular admin. The Executive Committee is accountable to the CLP through the sovereign General Committee.

HOW IS HARTLEPOOL CLP FUNDED?

In a number of different ways – a percentage of local member’s subscriptions refunded from the national Party; local fundraising events; standing orders and donations from members, the affiliation fees of local Trade Unions branches and recognised socialist societies; and modest donations from local Labour councillors from their annual councillor's allowance.

Hartlepool Labour Party try to use our fundraising events to provide occasions where members can relax and meet in a social setting in order to get to know one another and build a community of like-minded people alongside the party's structures.