SOME of Labour’s branches in Camden have this week been debating motions which they hope can progress to discussion by the full constituency membership and then, if really on a roll, make it all the way to the party’s conference in Liverpool later this month.
For example, in Highgate last night members passed a motion calling for a £50 billion spend on new social housing, “including a major programme of council-built homes”. The motion said the party would “recognise the need to be clear and realistic about how such a programme will be paid for” before suggesting, in part, this could be funded by “increasing taxation on high value residential property through removal of caps on council tax bands”.
I think that’s what shorthand writers call a ‘mansion tax’. Flies on the wall at the meeting, by the way, suggested that familiarly rebellious locals, some of them presumably living in, what’s the word… not cheap… homes in Highgate, went a little quiet at this part of the proposal but it was voted through anyhow.
One motion that hit the cutting room floor, however, was a call for mandatory re-selection of Labour MPs, which was raised down in Holborn and Covent Garden last night. Nobody seemed to have complaints with Keir Starmer’s performance; he has maintained quite a fanclub in his home constituency since taking over from Frank Dobson regardless of some members’ Brexit frustrations and it is hard to see him losing out in a re-selection contest.
But that’s not to say that those agitating for change are as happy with MPs in other areas, although more formally their desire for change is based on wanting to end the ‘job for life’ element to being an MP in safe constituencies and the principle of politicians being able to stand on their record after each election cycle.
The branch was having not any of this and voted it down, but expect it to crop up elsewhere.