Labour scratch heads over rule vote
Delegates to the Labour Party conference were scratching their heads in bemusement when they were asked to vote on a rule change which many people struggled to understand.
A single 135-word sentence in the order of business for the conference in Manchester defeated many people ahead of a debate on a number of rule changes.
Under Rules for CLPs (constituency Labour parties) and BLPs (branch Labour parties) - Management, Clause VII and Chapter 8 Clause VII, the rule change read: "Every CLP and BLP affiliated to this Party and as a pre condition to continued affiliation thereto shall with effect from forthwith do and execute such acts and deeds to transfer the beneficial ownership of their respective freehold and leasehold properties legal title to which is presently held wither by individuals or by Labour Party Nominees Limited to and for the benefit of The Labour Party subject only to the CLPs' and BLPs' existing rights of occupation thereof and to their continued receipt of all rents and profits there from and the right to license and to lease the said properties from time to time subject to the prior written consent of The National Executive Committee but subject to the CLPs' and BLPs' continuing respective obligations in respect of any borrowings secured on such properties."
The rule change added: "Chapter 7 Clause VII paragraph 4 of Rules for CLPs and Chapter 8 Clause VII paragraph 4 of Rules for BLPs shall be amended accordingly."
Outgoing Labour treasurer Jack Dromey explained the rule change, telling the conference: "What the rule change does, and it's there in black and white, is it guarantees that local parties will retain their rights of occupation.
"They will retain the receipt of all rights and profits, they will retain the right to lease and borrow against their premises with the permission of the National Executive Committee as is the position right now."
But delegate Mike Hicks, from Bournemouth, said it was "gobbledegook" and added: "I can't work this one out at all."