This post is based one written in 2017 on my personal blog page. It’s fair to say I’ve a little more experience in the process now, having gone through it. This certainly covers “the easy bit” and doesn’t cover any of the campaigning / getting elected part. Hopefully it’s still useful.
In 2015 I attended some of my first meetings with the Labour Party. A few of these early meetings involved selecting the candidates for the Nottinghamshire County Council. I found the process confusing and opaque, some people seemed to know what was going on but I certainly wasn’t one of them!
For the 2019 Rushcliffe Borough Elections I was determined to know what was going on, and put together the procedures for standing as a Councillor with the Labour Party. I hope by publishing them here I can help others understand the procedure too, meaning more people will put themselves forwards. These were ultimately the steps I put myself through, and were the start of the process of being elected as a Labour Councillor.
According to the Labour Party Rule Book 2019, you should have been a continuous member of the Labour party for twelve months.
The first stage is to self-select as a candidate. To do this you need to contact the Regional Office, or more specifically the Local Campaign Forum (LCF), who will send you a number of forms to fill in. In 2019 in Rushcliffe these were:
1. Declaration – agreeing to terms of being a Labour candidate
2. Nomination form – why you think you would make a good Labour candidate
3. Register of interests – to ensure transparency with Labour candidates
4. Candidate contract – committing to campaign for Labour as a candidate
Once you’ve returned them to LCF, they will review them and you’ll be invited to interview.
This will be with a panel of the LCF. In my interview there were three interviewers, who were local party members, who did not know me well, and they asked 3-4 questions which seemed to be aimed at my judgement and understanding of the role as a councillor. If you’re successful you’ll be added to a list of candidates who can be selected by your local branch.
The second stage is a shortlisting meeting. (This was where I spent time being confused in 2015. I had missed any reference to the first stage outlined above!) At a shortlisting meeting Labour Party members are separated into the areas in which they live. For the Borough Elections this is the Borough Ward divisions. Members can then select approved self-selected candidates from a list provided by the LCF. These shortlisted candidates are then invited to a hustings and selection meeting.
The third stage is a husting and selection meeting. In this each of the shortlist candidates has a turn to be asked a set of questions by the members of the area they have been selected to represent. Once all have been quizzed, the members present can decide to move to a ballot – or indeed to go back to shortlisting. A secret ballot can be taken and the successful candidate selected. Each candidate in West Bridgford gave a short speech, even though most were unopposed.
There are some finer details to all the stages, but I think this is essentially the process. The forth stage is the election campaign, this is somewhat longer and more involved and deserves some posts of its own.
Hopefully this will help anyone wanting to stand in future. Please get in touch with me, or any of the other councillors if you’d like to know more about the process or position.