Conference Report 2017

Report by Beverley Thomas - joint Women's Officer Sheffield Heeley Labour CLP

It was a historic Conference. In addition to having an inspiring Women's Conference, the keynote speaker was Naomi Klein. It was clear that more women than ever were at the forefront of this new style of Labour leadership, in the Shadow Cabinet we heard from the likes of women such as, Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, Rebecca Long Bailey, Angela Rayner and Emily Thornberry, to name a few.

Delegates voted overwhelmingly to transform Labour into a members-led party.

NCC Ballot

The NCC Ballot saw a massive victory for Emina Ibrahim and Anna Dyer. They got 70 per cent of the overall votes between them, showing the desire of party members to be well represented on this committee. This Conference marks a major step forward for the ongoing transformation of the Labour Party.

Rule Changes

Rule changes were passed that will ensure a more democratic choice for members in future leadership elections, increase membership representation on the NEC, and address discrimination in our party. All other rule changes were remitted by delegates on the assurance that they will be addressed in the upcoming party review, except for the rule change on contemporary motions by Brighton Pavilion, which was defeated despite having two thirds’ of support from the CLP Section.

Composites and References Back

In addition, Conference passed composites on the NHS, Social Care, Housing, Rail, and the Grenfell Fire, and there were two successful references back on the National Policy Forum Report in the sections covering education and health policy. As with the reference back on Monday of the Conference, these sections will be returned to the NPF for redrafting. Most importantly of all, they have sent out a strong signal that Labour Party members want to see radical, progressive policies embedded in the Labour Party, and want a greater say in policymaking.

Jargon Buster

Sometimes Labour Party terminology feels like a language of its own. Below you will find some of the key terms explained to make the report more accessible.

To set up an account on Membersnet in order to be able to access documents from conference and for much more go to

Labour Party Conference

The formal decision-making body of the party held as an annual event for which Constituency Labour Parties, Trade Unions and Affiliated Socialist organisations across the country elect delegates who vote on the memberships’ behalf.

Next year Conference will take place in Liverpool.

National Constitutional Committee (NCC)

Committee which deals with disciplinary matters within the party.

Compositing meetings and Composite Motions

Compositing meetings are held following the results of the priorities ballot on Sunday evening. Delegates from CLPs, Trade Unions and Affiliated Organisations whose respective bodies have submitted motions on the topics chosen in the priorities ballot are invited to these meetings to collectively decide on the content of a Composite Motion. A composite motion is an amalgamation of individual contemporary motions on a given policy topic on which the conference takes a vote in the conference sessions that follow. While individual contemporary motions are short, composite motion are known for their length.

Reference Back

Well done Heeley CLP for passing a motion two years ago, and to Jack Dunn who took it to the last year’s conference. For the first time this year the conference was able to “reference back” or “refer back” individual elements of National Policy Forum’s report. Previously to this rule change, the report could only be dealt with on a “take it or leave it basis” meaning that important pieces of policy had to be accepted alongside more problematic ones, or lost all together.

To reference back, a delegate has to identify a specific page and paragraph/line of the NPF report and briefly explain their reasoning for wanting that policy item to be reconsidered from the podium. The result of a passed “reference back” is that the NPF has to reconsider the party’s approach to the relevant policy, with reference to the issues raised by the delegate who proposed it, and report back on their findings at the following year’s conference.


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