Constituency Labour Parties

From Academic Kids

A Constituency Labour Party ('CLP') is an organisation of members of the British Labour Party who live in a particular parliamentary constituency in England, Scotland and Wales.

The CLP selects the local Labour Party candidate for a national parliamentary General Election, although the National Executive Committee has powers to overrule this decision in certain circumstances, which has on occasion proved contraversial. The CLPs consist of individual Labour Party members, some of whom may represent affiliated organisations at local meetings.

A CLP's two main decision-making bodies are normally its General Committee (or General Management Committee), referred to in Labour circles as the GC, and its Executive Committee. Some CLPs have merged the GC and EC into a single committee. In many cases, the members of the GC and EC are the same people in any case. A few CLPs have abolished the GC and organized all-member meetings to take decisions. Others follow the traditional system, where the GC and EC retain the decision-making powers, and the members of those committees are elected by Branch Labour Parties (BLPs - local Labour parties, often organized at ward level) and a smaller number by affiliated organizations: local affiliated trade union branches, socialist societies or the Co-operative Party which have affiliated to the CLP.

There are seven full officers in a CLP - the Chair, two Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Women's Officer and Youth and Student Officer. CLPs may appoint additional officers, such as Trade Union Liaison, Membership or Fundraising officers.

For much of Labour history, including during the 1980s, CLPs were perceived as the more leftwing faction in the Labour Party, with the unions being a more moderate or pragmatic force.

The CLP, or more specifically its GC, elects representatives to national Party structures, including Labour Party Conference, the National Executive Committee and the National Policy Forum, plus their equivalents in Scotland, Wales and the English Regions.

At present no CLPs are recognised in Northern Ireland, though there is the unofficial South Belfast Constituency Labour Party.


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