LCER pre Conference 2017 Briefing

LCER invite you to join us at Labour’s Women and the 2017 Conference.  We are working with Make Votes Matter in Brighton from 23 until 27 September.  Some events are open but if a pass is necessary we say so. 

·         If you are there in any capacity come to our fringe rally on Tuesday 19.00 – 22.00 (details below);

·         Ensure your place by going to Eventbrite: and line up, see below;

·         We have a stall, no 74 on the ground floor, so come to see us, use our touch-screen computer to find out the positions on electoral reform of all our Labour candidates, successful or not, on our Map of England Scotland and Wales (pass necessary);

·         Help us leaflet fringes you are attending anyway and conference particularly on Tuesday morning early;

·         Attend and leaflet some of the allied meetings which cover democratic reform or cultural change, see below; 

·         Pick up your copy of The Many and Not The Few which will go live on our website, on Sunday 24 September;

·         If you are a delegate speak about your support in the plenary or policy meetings which only delegates can attend. Last year a delegate asked the platform at the meeting covering constitutional reform and those there as delegates to show their support for PR and most hands went up (pass necessary). This is what we are finding in Labour meetings up and around the country. 

Sunday 24 September 18.30 at the Durham Hall – Wentworth, Hilton Brighton Metropolitan (pass necessary) Our Fringe, The Many, Not the Few: Proportional Representation and Labour in the 21st with Make Votes Matter, Compass, Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform and the Rowntree Reform Trust, with John McDonnell MP, Tulip Siddiq MP, Clive Lewis MP, Rupa Huq MP, Stephen Kinnock MP, Klina Jordan.  

Tuesday 26 September at 19.00 to 22.00

Our 2017 Fringe/Rally and Reception with Make Votes Matter

Proportional Representation for the next Labour Manifesto?

This is not in the Conference Diary but judging by last year will be well attended so you need to book a ticket at Eventbrite:


Paul Blomfield MP in the Chair will be joined by: Howard Beckett, Assistant Gen Sec UNITE the Union (personal capacity), Richard Burden MP, Mary Honeyball MEP, Sandy Martin MP, Lord Jeff Rooker, Stephen Twigg MP, Chuka Umunna MP, Julie Ward MEP, Alan Whitehead MP, Daniel Zeichner MP, Jess Garland, Research Advisor, ERS, Owen Jones, George Monbiot, Polly Toynbee, with our sister Norwegian Labour Party General Secretary, Odd-Inge Kvalheim and Jonathan Reynolds MP joining us at the end for the reception.  


Meetings you might like to attend and could help us by leafleting:

Saturday Women’s Conference – 11.00–17.00 We have a leaflet with some of the arguments so that women’s forum and women in general get involved in this important discussion. 

18.30 Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) Conference Lift Off! Not all the platform is supporting First Past the Post, Main Hall, Friends’ Meeting House. Clive Lewis and Billy Hayes are pro PR. 

Sunday 24 September

German Elections   

9.15 Conference Service 2017 Waste not, want not? The economics of the kingdom? – Christians on the Left with Jonathan Reynolds MP (Chair CotL), Cat Smith MP at One Church, Gloucester Place, BN1 4AA

13.00 The Labour First rally at the Sandringham Suite, Queen’s Hotel, 1-3 Kings Road, Brighton BN1 1NS with electoral reforming speakers: Luke Akehurst, Richard Angell, Stella Creasy MP and Wes Streeting MP.

18.00 Young Labour Rally Cambridge Hilton Brighton Metropole with Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Registration & Youth Affairs

18.00 Progress Rally with Stella Creasy MP, Alison McGovern MP, Stephen Morgan MP, Jonathan Reynolds MP, Wes Streeting MP, Richard Angell

18.30 Our fringe with MVM, Compass, JRRT see above.

18.30 Open Labour Rally with Alex Sobel MP and Owen Jones invited. 

20.30 CLASS evening reception and review of the year with Clive Lewis MP plus

Monday 25 September

At the World Transformed

9.30 – 11.00 PR, Progressive Alliances and Patisserie at Fabrica, 39 Duke Street, BN1 1AGHosted by Compass, Sussex Progressives and Make Votes Matter. 

18.00 Why Labour needs PR now Stephen Kinnock MP, Seb Dance MEP, NUS President Shakira Martin and ERS Research Director Jess Garland to discuss why it’s time for Labour to back fair votes.  Holiday Inn Brighton-Seafront. (Conference Pass necessary).


19.30 Votes at 16 Rally at St Paul’s Parish Church

Christians on the Left are hosting a Votes @ 16 rally supported by the Electoral Reform Society featuring young people from Brighton as well as Jeremy Corbyn MP, Ed Miliband MP, Chuka Umunna MP, Cat Smith MP, Marsha de Cordova MP and Darren Hughes, ERS.

20.00 to 21.30 at the Lancing Suite, Holiday Inn, 137 King's Road, Brighton, BN1 2JF

Compass on Alliance Building for a Progressive Future – What Next? with Caroline Lucas, Lisa Nandy, John Harris and Francesca Klug to work out where next for alliances on the left.

Trade Union 4 Electoral Reform

Nearly 40 people joined the LCER fringe at the TUC Conference on 12 September.  Billy Hayes former CWU General Secretary in the Chair, introduced the following with apologies given from Clive Lewis MP: Howard Beckett, UNITE Assistant General Secretary in his personal capacity; Nancy Platt, former Trade Union Manager to Jeremy Corbyn MP; Sam Tarry, Transport & Salaried Staff Association; Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party; Klina Jordan, Make Votes Matter; Mary Southcott, Parliamentary and Political Officer, LCER.  You can read Getting it in Proportion: Trade Unions and Electoral Reform, the TUC contribution to the debate, TUC/Touch Stone Publication, 2016, 

A victory for PR

LCER Trade Union officer, Billy Hayes, has won the ballot to become half of a team of two constituency representatives on the Standing Arrangements Committee with Seema Chandwani.  Commiserations to Mike Cashman (Peer) who also supports electoral reform and gave us this statement: “I am a supporter of Proportional Representation.  I was elected on it for 15 years.  We need a voting system that reflects the actual choice of the electorate.  Include me as a supporter.” 

David Edgar – you can read his thinking here:

Developments culminate in a debate on 30 October

Looking back to the 2015 General Election, the only positive thing was that in various directions younger people got involved in pushing for PR for General Elections.  First there was Kate who started up @Labour4PR, then various contacts came together in the House of Commons in July 2015 and went away and did things.  LCER now has a website.  Various people came together in Westminster at the end of July and what emerged was Make Votes Matter.  They started a parliamentary petition for Proportional Representation. Getting 100,000 signatures meant PR was considered for parliamentary debate.  The Electoral Reform Society, Unlock Democracy all joined in and many of the LCER members and contacts signed up.  And now we are to have that parliamentary debate on 30 October this year.  Well done all concerned!

Another victory for PR:  Lewisham selects another electoral reformer

Councillor Damien Egan will be the Labour candidate for Lewisham Mayor at the elections being held in the London Boroughs in May 2018.  He is a member of LCER as was the current Mayor, Steve Bullock, who was a one-time LCER Executive Member and Treasurer.  Well done and good luck, Damien!

If you want to bribe the electorate – first past the post is your system

In the 19th century people were bribed on market day, a Thursday.  Other countries do things differently and most have rest day voting.  But Polly Toynbee links this with the need for electoral reform.   Simply, you just have more people to bribe in a PR systems where most votes count and people matter, see:

Last words

Several LCER members and supporters active in the 1980s and 1990s are now ageing but still supporting our work.  A big thank you.  This year former MPs Nigel Beard and Kevin McNamara have died.  They were both electoral reformers.  Not so Mary Turner, GMB who was implacably opposed but contributed to many a conference plenary, the NEC as well as the National Policy Forum. Kesia Dugdale has resigned and in the next month a new leader will be elected for Scottish Labour.  There are now seven MPs in Scotland half of which support electoral reform – at least, there are leading councillors in Dundee, Richard McCreedy and in Glasgow, Frank McAveety and Stephen Curran, and MSPs for instance perhaps, Neil Bibby, Pauline McNeill, Alex Rowley and Anas Sarwar.  Paul Sweeney is pro Alternative Vote, Ian Murray confirmed he was pro PR, and others thought to be pro are Ged Killen and Martin Whitfield. 

You and what you can do to change the way we elect MPs?

Come and see us at Conference at our stall (number 74) or our fringe meetings, book a speaker or initiate a debate at your constituency, women’s council or trade union branch, submit your support to the National Policy Forum or Home Affairs and Justice Commission and remember our Annual General Meeting on 27 November.  If you want to be active in our exciting work, do consider standing for our Executive.  Send to the following email,, your name, constituency and 100 words illustrating what you have to offer and why you want to be a part of changing Labour’s policy from first past the post to living up to our values and vision of democracy and equality applied to our voting system.   

Contact Mary Southcott (077 125 11931) or John Doolan (07584 934552) at conference to find out where we are leafleting and how you can help, particularly on Tuesday morning.  Let us know if you will be there on our email with your mobile so we can contact you.

John Doolan