Trigger ballots

The Labour Left Alliance campaigns for the implementation of trigger ballots everywhere, as a step towards mandatory reselection of all parliamentary candidates. The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) needs to better reflect the pro-Corbyn views of the vast majority of members. Last year’s conference voted to make trigger ballots slightly more democratic (as a way to stop the much more democratic and popular system of mandatory reselection going through, which was presented under the title of ‘Open Selection’).

Trigger ballots are now supposed to take place everywhere with a sitting Labour MP (though MPs who are pregnant or who have returned from maternity leave within the last 12 months cannot be triggered until that year is up). If you have not heard from your CLP or branch secretary, we recommend you get in touch with them and urge them to ask region to organise trigger meetings asap: As soon as a general election is called, the whole trigger process will be scrapped, so time is of the essence.

How trigger ballots work

Labour Party conference 2018 voted to introduce two separate trigger ballots: one for all the Labour branches of a CLP, another one for all local affiliates (trade unions, socialist societies, cooperative organisations).

1) On Monday June 25, general secretary Jennie Formby wrote to all sitting MPs, asking if they want to stand again in any new general election.

2) If the MP replied ‘yes’, the CLP will organise two trigger ballots:

  • Local party members will meet in their branches and are asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP as the only candidate. A simple majority decides if the branches is counted as a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote.
  • Local affiliates (unions and other organisations) also have one vote each. The party currently has no input into how they decide but if you are a member – and even more so a delegate – from any such organisation – please push for them to go through as democratic process as possible to decide how they vote.

3) If a minimum of 33 % of a CLP’s branches or 33 % of the CLP’s affiliates vote ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP, a full selection process starts – ie, a democratic contest between different candidates, including the sitting MP. Please note that, “the third of branches is calculated based only on the branches that do cast a vote” – which is excellent.

4) Only full Labour Party members have a vote in this stage of the process.

For example:

  • A CLP has 10 branches and 10 affiliates and they all vote. To start a full selection process, EITHER 4 LP branches OR 4 affiliated organisations have to vote ‘no’ when asked if they want to retain the sitting MP.
  • However, if only 3 LP branches vote and one of them votes ‘no’, a full selection process will also take place.