Labour counts

This extract posted in 2004 explains the rules for electing the leadership of the Labour party as at Jan 2004 (not updated):

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4B.2  Election of leader and deputy leadeR

4B.2a The leader and deputy leader shall be elected separately in accordance with rule 4B.2c below, unless 4B.2e applies.

4B.2b Nomination

(i) In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be supported by 12.5 per cent of the Commons members of the PLP. Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

(ii) Where there is no vacancy, nominations shall be sought each year prior to the annual session of party conference. In this case any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the Commons members of the PLP. Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

(iii) Affiliated organisations, CLPs and Labour Members of the European Parliament may also nominate for each of the offices of leader and deputy leader. All nominees must be Commons members of the PLP.

(iv) Nominees shall inform the General Secretary in writing of the acceptance or otherwise of their nomination at least two clear weeks before the commencement of the procedures for voting laid out in 4B.2c. Unless written consent to nomination is received, nominations shall be rendered null and void.

(v) Valid nominations shall be printed in the final agenda for party conference, together with the names of the nominating organisations and Commons members of the PLP supporting the nominations. In the case of a vacancy under  4B.2e this information shall be included with the documentation circulated with any ballot.

(vi) Nominees who do not attend the relevant party conference shall be deemed to have withdrawn their nominations, unless they send to the secretary on or before the day on which the conference opens an explanation in writing of their absence satisfactory to the CAC.

4B.2c Voting

(i) Voting in the election of leader and deputy leader shall take place so that the results are declared at an annual session of party conference; except in the case of a vacancy occurring under 4B.2(e) of this rule when the timetable for the ballot shall be as determined by the NEC.

(ii) Voting shall take place consecutively in three sections as follows:

Section 1 shall consist of Commons members of the PLP and members of the European PLP. Each such member shall be entitled to one vote in each ballot held under this section of the rules.

Section 2 shall consist of a vote of all eligible individual members of the party on the basis of one member one vote. This ballot shall take place on a national basis and shall be counted and recorded as an aggregate vote broken down by CLP. Eligible members shall be those currently on the national membership list who are endorsed and have not lapsed from membership.

Section 3 shall consist of those members of affiliated organisations who have indicated their support for the Labour Party and that they are not members or supporters of any other party or otherwise ineligible to be members of the Labour Party. Voting shall take place under the procedures of each affiliated organisation, but on a one-person-one-vote basis recorded by affiliated organisations and aggregated for a national total. The ballot paper shall provide for the declaration of

support and eligibility required under this rule if no prior declaration has been made.

(iii) The votes of each nominee in each section shall be calculated as a percentage of the total votes cast in that section and shall then be apportioned as follows:

Section 1 (members of the Commons and European PLPs) one third

Section 2 (individual members of the Labour Party) one third

Section 3 (members of affiliated organisations) one third.

(iv) The votes apportioned as provided in 4B.2c(iii) above shall be totalled and the candidate receiving more than half of the votes so apportioned shall be declared elected. If no candidate reaches this total on the first ballot, further ballots shall be held on an elimination basis. The redistribution of votes shall be according to preferences indicated on the ballot paper.

(v) The votes cast for each nominee in each section shall be recorded and published in a form to be determined by the NEC as soon as possible following any election.

4B.2d Timing of an election

(i) When the PLP is in opposition in the House of Commons, the election of the leader and deputy leader shall take place at each annual session of party conference.

(ii) When the PLP is in government and the leader and/ or deputy leader are prime minister and/or in Cabinet, an election shall proceed only if requested by a majority of party conference on a card vote.

(iii) In any other circumstances an election shall only be held when a vacancy occurs, subject to 4B.2e below.

4B.2e Procedure in a vacancy

(i) When the party is in government and the party leader is prime minister and the party leader, for whatever reason, becomes permanently unavailable, the Cabinet shall, in consultation with the NEC, appoint one of its members to serve as party leader until a ballot under these rules can be carried out.

(ii) When the party is in government and the deputy leader becomes party leader under (i) of this rule, the Cabinet may, in consultation with the NEC, appoint one of its members to serve as deputy leader until the next party conference. The Cabinet may alternatively, in consultation with the NEC, leave the post vacant until the next party conference.

(iii) When the party is in government and the deputy leader, for whatever reason, becomes permanently unavailable, the Cabinet may, in consultation with the NEC, appoint one of its members to serve as deputy leader until the next party conference. The Cabinet may alternatively, in consultation with the NEC, leave the post vacant until the next party conference.

(iv) When the party is in opposition and the party leader, for whatever reason, becomes permanently unavailable, the deputy leader shall automatically become party leader on a pro-tem basis. The NEC shall decide whether to hold an immediate ballot as provided under 4B.2e above or to elect a new leader at the next annual session of party conference.

(v) When the party is in opposition and the leader and deputy leader, for whatever reason, both become permanently unavailable, the NEC shall order a postal ballot as provided under 4B.2e above. In consultation with the Shadow Cabinet they may choose to appoint a member of the Shadow Cabinet to serve as party leader until the outcome of that ballot.

January 2004 extract from Labour party rule book ( Subject to Labour party copyright).