Hang on a minute – you may still be able to vote in the Labour leadership election

The rules around who can and cannot vote in the Labour leadership election have been confusing to say the least. But it now appears that union members and other affiliated groups can vote if they became a member of that organisation on or before 12 January 2016.

According to information on union websites such as those of GMB and Unite, which is backed up by the Labour party’s official site, affiliated supporters can vote if they are:

Members of affiliated trade unions, socialist societies and other affiliated organisations who individually sign up as an affiliated supporter to the Labour Party. They must have been a member of that organisation on or before the 12 January 2016.

The deadline to sign up as an affiliated supporter is 8 August 2016.

This image from Unite also makes it clear:


When Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) first made its decision to change the rules over who could vote in the election, including the controversial decision to increase the £3 fee for supporting membership to £25, joining an affiliated union was initially seen as being a workaround for people wanting to vote.

Read on...

But once the rules on the leadership were published, it appeared that the same six-month time limit applied for members also applied for registration as an affiliate member. In other words, even if you’d been a member of a trade union for years, it seemed like you’d no longer be able to sign up as an affiliate and have a vote if you hadn’t done so six months ago.

It was therefore widely presented that the only way new members could vote was to cough up the £25 demanded by the NEC. And people did this in their thousands – with over 180,000 people signing up. It is unknown how many of these people would have been eligible to vote via their union if the rules had been clearer. And it is even more doubtful that they’ll get a refund if this is the case.

So just to reiterate, if you’ve been a member of an affiliated union or socialist society since either 12 January 2016 or before – the full list of eligible organisations is here, then you have until noon on 8 August to join Labour as a supporter for free and have a vote in the leadership election.

In 2015, around 6.5 million people were registered members of a trade union. While large numbers of these people will not be members of one of the affiliated unions, many will be. And these people can still have a voice in the election without paying any money.

Even for people following the ins and outs of the leadership contest and its rules, it has been incredibly confusing. It’s tempting to say this has been a deliberate obfuscation on the part of the NEC to disenfranchise people. But it may be that, having changed the rules at the last minute, they have also been confused about how they should be interpreted.

Regardless, the results have been the same, and people have felt disenfranchised. It has made a mockery of what should have been a straightforward democratic process. But this news should be welcome to many people who thought they may not have been eligible to vote.

Get involved!

If you are a member of an affiliated union or socialist organisation and have been since before 12 January 2016, then you can sign up to be a supporting member here. As long as you register by noon on 8 August, this should give you a vote in the leadership election.

Featured image via Wikimedia and Wikimedia

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed