Long-Bailey gives her campaign a big boost with bold ‘democratising’ pledge

Rebecca Long-Bailey
Ed Sykes

Rebecca Long-Bailey has launched a bold ‘democratising’ pledge which could give her Labour leadership campaign a big boost.

“I support open selections”

In a Daily Mirror interview, Long-Bailey – the most left-wing candidate in the leadership race – said she was “proud to stand on the policy platform that we’ve had” but that she’d take Labour “in completely different directions”. And one of those directions would be a “democratic revolution” in both the country and her party.

Speaking to a “packed” room of hundreds of diverse supporters last night, she said Labour needed to “rip up the rulebook” and “empower” members in its heartlands by introducing open selections – which many groups on the UK left have championed in recent years. These would see each Constituency Labour Party vote on who should run as a candidate, regardless of whether the sitting MP intended to stand again.

“I support open selections,” she said. “And that’s because many MPs and members feel the compromise that we’ve reached so far produces a culture where members have to negatively campaign against a sitting MP.”

“It doesn’t offer the opportunity for new candidates who want to come through to emerge without a stigma in being part of that negative campaigning.”

A “democratic revolution”

Long-Bailey insisted that her role as leader would be to “democratise” the party and “examine new ways to empower our members”.

“That means having a frank conversation about open selections with our movement, about where we go next, ripping up the outdated rulebook that has held back our members for too long and throwing open the door to a new generation of MPs and candidates.”

“I’m clear that our members should have the power to support their MPs, the power to choose candidates with positivity and the opportunity to become one.

“If our party is to reconnect with those sick of the political establishment, then we’ve got to stop acting like them and empower our members in all of our heartlands,” she said to applause and cheers from supporters.

She added: “Being an MP or any elected representative is a privilege that must be earned and I want to open the discussion now on how our candidates should be selected, how we nurture and bring through talent in our movement, whilst recognising and valuing the experience of the MPs that we have.”

“So, we need a democratic revolution both in the country and in our party, and our party has to lead by shining example. Because if we can’t democratise our own party, we won’t be trusted to democratise our workplaces, our economy and the country.”

“A major step for any leadership front runner”

Long-Bailey’s announcement went down very well among supporters:

Deputy leadership candidate Richard Burgon – the most left-wing candidate in the deputy leadership race – has also backed open selection:

There are still a couple of months to go in the leadership race. And there are still some concerns on the left about some of Long-Bailey’s positions. But if people’s reactions are anything to go by, her support for open selections could be a big vote winner.

(PA Graphics)

Featured image via YouTube, with additional content via Press Association

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