Standing orders committee report for Left Unity Founding Conference

Standing orders committee report for Left Unity Founding Conference

Code of conduct for Lefty Unity Founding Conference

Refer to standing orders committee:

  1. for advice on standing orders including procedural motions and in case of complaints;
  2. for order of debate;

Furthermore, SOC recommends that conference attendees:

  1. should respect authority of the chair during session (except in case of vote of no confidence);
  2. ensure that debate and discussion should be respectful (for further information on this see safe spaces policy and standing orders);
  3. should refer to conference arrangements committee for logistics and access issues arising;
  4. in the event that due to access and time restrictions motions need to be referred to other bodies SOC will advise.


The current Standing Orders Committee (SOC) is composed of:-

Tom Ramplin (Bristol) Elected Chairperson of SOC

Rachel Archer (Hackney) Elected Deputy Chairperson of SOC

Caroline Stevenson (Bristol)

Ray Goodspeed (WalthamForest)

James Youd (Cambridge)

We considered all amendments and motions that were received by Saturday 16th November.

We agreed on an agenda for the day, which was to go as follows:

1)     Welcome

2)     SOC report and recommendations to conference. Conference must also agree chairs as recommended by conference arrangements committee.

3)     Election of tellers

4)     Safe Spaces Policy. SOC recommends policy to be taken as a straight vote. Either ratified or sent back to be remitted to NC to work out interim policy. 3 mins  (moved by representative from the Safe Spaces Policy commission)

5)     Amendments from Coventry and Leamington Spa regarding election of new NCG. If amendments pass then a new NCG would need to be elected by the end of the day. We decided that a preemptive message would be communicated to membership, that anyone who would like to nominate themselves for the new NCG (if passes) then could do so by 28/11/13) 3 minutes from each mover of amendments and two 3 minute speeches against. SOC will recommend, however, in advance to Coventry and Leamington Spa to composite. If they agree we will adapt timings and speeches against accordingly. We will also produce document in advance recommending how to carry out said election. 15 minutes



4.1 Section 2 of constitution moved from Internal Democracy Commission. 4 mins to move aims as is.

Lambeth procedural motion to be moved from the floor. 2 mins

Camden ‘resolution’ needs to be taken as procedural to be moved from floor 2 mins

Huddersfield amendment has been ruled as procedural motions so they will have to appeal to the chair from the floor.

Amendments to aims:

Please note: if platforms were unable to verify that 10 of their signatories were founding members by Saturday 23rd of November then their platforms will not be heard.

4.2 Platform 9 ¾ 3 mins (point 4 ruled out of order as it would commit the organisation to an open ended financial commitment.) SOC recommend it is moved formally.

4.3 Left Party Platform (3 mins) + Camden amendment (2 mins) + Manchester (2 mins to move both)

Socialist Platform (3 mins)

Class Struggle (3 mins)

Communist Platform (3 mins)

Republic Platform (3 mins)

Hackney/Tower Hamlets (3 mins)

20 minutes discussion.

All platforms get 2 mins summary + Camden + Manchester 1 min summary at the end.

Vote on platforms.

4.4 Leicester amendment. 2 mins. Vote. Added to whichever platform wins.

As each platform is voted for it becomes the substantive motion. Called in order of signed support.


Break at 12 for 10 mins.


Party Name

5      Selection of party name

‘Left Party’ 2 mins (Crouch End)

‘Lefty Unity Party’ 2 mins (Rugby)

‘Left Unity’ 2 mins (Manchester South and Central), (Northampton Left Unity)

‘Democratic Voice’ 2 mins (Huddersfield)

To be conducted using the Supplementary Vote system.


12.45 finish

1.30 resume


We were keen to reflect the concerns of many members and representations that have been made to us regarding the danger that this section is rushed or too difficult to follow, or both.

While it is undeniable that many of those attending will not find debates on the constitution compelling, it is nonetheless clearly recognised that these issues are vital to the future success of the “Left Unity” project. They are also more urgent than considerations of detailed policy and electoral strategy. We have therefore allocated 2 hours to this part of the agenda.

Please note that the success of this section of the agenda depends on the self-discipline of members, in terms of a) keeping to time limits b) not insisting on the full time allocation to move simple and clear amendments, c) willingness to move motions formally (ie without speaking) if the meaning of the amendment is self-evident and a minor matter, and most importantly d) willingness before the conference to get together with branches that have moved very similar motions to present a unified, composite motion. The Standing Orders Committee members are willing to assist this process as much as they are able, and will look more kindly on such motions.

Furthermore, discussion are being held to determine if as many as possible of the amendments can be ACCEPTED by the Internal Democracy and Constitution Commission, provided that they are satisfied that the amendments are matters of “tidying up” or otherwise uncontroversial. If delegates feel that such amendments should NOT be accepted, their comments can be feelings can be made known at the conference.  In this event, the accepted amendment would be classed as an INTERIM measure, remitted to the National Committee and more proposals brought to a later conference.

Many of the constitutional issues have been extensively discussed in the last few months, and the fine detail of these discussions cannot sensibly be repeated at length at a conference of this nature. The decisions are the important matters at this stage.


It has been decided to start with a general introduction to the draft constitution from the Internal Democracy and Constitution Commission (IDCC), followed by a discussion divided into 4 main subjects. This may, if time allows, be followed by a “sweeping up operation” of those amendments considered to be less vital or less controversial. While every attempt will be made to vote on each amendment, this cannot be guaranteed. If time is short there may only be time for formal moving of amendments. Some amendments may fall due to lack of time have to be remitted.

In each section the amendments to be included are itemised.


Intro from IDCC – 5 minutes

1. Method of changing the constitution in the future (c 10 mins)

Section 21 West London and Harringey amendment. These two branches need to sort out who is to move.

2 mins to move and three other speakers if necessary.  1 minute response from the IDCC.


2. Gender representation (c.25 mins)

3 mins to move IDCC.

Section 4 amendment from Loughborough

S.4 amendment from Leamington Spa.

S.7 amendment from Crouch End (together with the parts of their s.12 amendment which specifically refer to this issue)

2 mins for each mover.  8 minutes open discussion. 1 min IDCC to respond. Vote.

3. The National or regional structures and the composition of representative national/regional bodies. (c35 minutes)

5 mins IDCC

s.8c amendments from Islington (excluding the part specific to gender)

s.12 amendment from West London

s.12 amendment from Crouch End (can Crouch End and West London possibly composite re this issue?) EXCL. adding a Media officer which is accepted by IDCC.

s.13 amendment from Crouch End re Executive committee(moved with s.12 amend.)

s.12 amendment from Lambeth

s.12 amendment from Lewisham/Greenwich (could this resolution possibly be remitted to National Council in order to work on the detailed system??)

2 mins for each mover. 10 mins open discussion. 2 minute response from IDCC. Vote.

4. The rights of individual members (including age limits), branches, sections, platforms, caucuses etc. (c.35 minutes).

5 mins IDCC

s.5 amendment from Rugby Amendments re individual members submitting resolutions to conferences.

s.7a, 7c and s.3f and s.12d Islington Amendment on ‘sections’ and also including the issue of age limit.

s.7b amendment from Sheffield

s7b ii – amendment from Cardiff

s.7 amendment from Lambeth (can Lambeth talk to IDCC re this being accepted)

s.9 and s.12 and s.21 amendments from Tower Hamlets (all re groups of 20 members having right to submit motions etc. S.7 amendment has been withdrawn). All TH amendments moved together.

All movers 2 mins (16mins (max) in total). 10 mins open discussion. 2 min response from IDCC. Vote.



Please note the following specific cases

s.8 amendment from West London/Waltham Forest (please sort out between you) re Northern Ireland.

s.4 Wigan amendment on the dangers of London-centric organising (asked to remit as the principle has already been accepted but the Wigan wording is both prescriptive in some parts and too vague in others)

s.16 re what to do with salaries of MPs etc over the median wage. Can Islington, West London, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets please negotiate a way out of this complexity! If not they may all fall.

These Amendments will be discussed if there is time. They may have to be moved formally or, if time is very short, be remitted.



Appendix 3 Coventry (and Leamington Spa) Amendment re New elections of the 10 NCG members at founding conference is to be discussed first thing in the morning for logistical reasons (organizing nominations, voting etc).



The following Amendments have been ACCEPTED by the movers of the draft Constitution. They will not be moved or discussed at the conference.

[Please note that if any founding member at the conference objects to any of these amendments being accepted, then SOC are proposing that the affected  clause/amendment will remain provisional until next conference and the two thirds rule will not apply in votes on that matter at that conference.]

s.4 Cardiff re publishing minutes of executive meetings likely to be accepted by IDCC. Hence also s.13 Cardiff amendment (re rights of ALL members to attend Executive Committees) also accepted (alongside Islington s.13)

s.6e Rugby amendment re size of branches reduced from 10 to 5.

S.6 Cardiff, regarding joining where you work or live.

s.7c amendment from Manchester on age limits and rights of young members

s.7b amendment from Hackney re platforms campaigning against policy.

s.8 Islington amendment – ONLY the part relating to gender of delegates (replacing [one man and one woman] with [at least one of whom must be female] Also accepted – follow on amendment to 9d i. on same issue.

s.8 heading and 8d and 8e from Cardiff (and all related amendments regarding the national status of Scotland and Wales). (9a, 9e, 12j,)

s.12d Islington Amendment  on role of special sections to organize aspects of work (provided amendment to delete 7a iii is passed)

s.12 National Office Holders and spokespeople ONLY section re Media Officer.

s.13 Islington re members attending Executive meetings (see 4a Cardiff)

s.14 Huddersfield re having a “re-open nomination” option for all internal elections.

s.15 Tower Hamlets  (re recording votes, and minimum and maximum wages for “Left Unity” staff.

s.16a West London ONLY re possible suspension of LU members elected to public office for not following the rules policies etc of LU – change [will] to [may]

S.16c West London regarding deletion of 16c) vi regarding Elected members resigning if they are no longer LU members.

s.16c re adding new point vi regarding payment from lobbyists etc.

s.17 Tower Hamlets on Expenses


The timings add up to 2 hours.

Any motions that have not been discussed or voted on in time may be either moved and voted on without debate or remitted, depending on the time available. Composite motions will be given priority.

Debate due to finish at 3.30

Priority Campaigns

We agreed that we would partition this into the following sections. We have attempted as much as is possible to open out space in the priority campaigns and electoral strategy sections to dedicate as much time as possible to open discussions with regard to current and future activity.

7.1 Austerity & NHS

Southwark motion 2 mins

West London motion 2 mins

Sheffield amendment 2 mins

Loughborough amendment 2 mins

Islington & West London composited motion 2 min

Discussion 10 mins

(Max 20 mins)


7.2 TU and work

Sheffield motion 2 mins

Lambeth amendment 2 mins

Birmingham amendment 2 mins

West London motion 2 mins

Manchester motion 2 mins

21 hour working week 2 mins (motion from Hackney arguing that this was out of order was deemed procedural so will have to be challenged from the floor)

Discussion 10 mins

(Max 24 mins)


7.3 Housing

Waltham Forest motion 2 mins

Loughborough amendment 2mins

Birmingham amendment 2 mins

Discussion 10 mins

(Max 16 mins)


7.4 Climate Change & Internationalism

Glasgow motion 2 mins

Cardiff amendment 2 mins

West London amendment 2 mins

Southwark motion 2 mins

Wigan amendment 2 mins

(Proposers of motion in Climate change, Internationalism & Housing sections to be encouraged to move formally where possible to support space for open discussion.)

The following motions have been ruled out of order:-

  • Glasgow Edward Snowden motion referred to policy conference.
  • West London ‘Branch Activity’ ruled out of order as was judged neither a campaign priority nor constitutional.
  • West London ‘Party Organisation’ rules out of order as fails to meet agreed agenda topics and to be replication of constitutional clause.


As above, any motions that have not been discussed or voted on in time may be either moved and voted on without debate or remitted, depending on the time available. Composite motions will be given priority.

Electoral Strategy

8) Crouch End motion 2 mins

Huddersfield & West London composited amendment 2 mins

Discussion 10 min

In case of over run see priority campaigns section for guidance.

Debate due to finish at 17.00

In the event that any queries or appeals occur with regard to the above the standing orders committee may be contacted by email at and we shall be in attendance on the day of conference to assist with the resolution of any issues which may arise.


16 responses to “Standing orders committee report for Left Unity Founding Conference”

  1. Neil Foss says:

    This entire process is out of order.
    Many members or would be members have had email ignored and not been able to join a local group or branch so denied representation and participation in moving motions or making submissions or participating in a branch making said motions or submissions.
    Is is exclusionary and denies all such persons a voce.
    Furthermore only persons physically attnding conference will be able to participate and vote. This is discriminatory and xcludes those who cannot make a confernce in London and are thus denied a voice twice over.

  2. Philip Clayton says:

    I have only just managed to read through the order of debate briefly and have two observations. First, I would like to point out that the time allowed for housing is absurdly short.It is by far the most important immediate subject about which we should campaign, in my opinion, for the following reasons.

    The lack of affordable rented, stable, accommodation is now the biggest driver of poverty, unemployment, educational failure, mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism, general ill health, family breakdown, racism and attacks on immigrants.

    Homelessness cuts across every other problem faced by the poor, working and otherwise, and the need to eradicate it completely would do a great deal towards resolving, or alleviating, many of the other problem we face. It would do a great deal to dent unemployment, reduce the huge public deficit, reduce NHS use, etc.

    Second, I find it peculiar that in our rapidly ageing sopciety there is nothing about any policies specifically for older people, addressing the specific problems they face not just medically, but socially and financially.

    I look forwars to the conference.

    Philip Clayton

    • Robboh says:

      Well don’t look forward too much Phillip, looking at this program and already this organisation is heavily inward looking. Just two hours to talk about the themes that are affecting ordinary people? What are you going to do with the rest of the day?

  3. John Collingwood says:

    Whether or not the whole process is out of order, it certainly misses out on a whole lot of relatively easy ways to make Left Unity more democratic than previous left parties.

    A simple example would be the name of the party. Why did we not ballot the whole membership (ie paid up founder members) on this, rather than limit it to those able to get to the conference?

    Much of the material for the conference concerns member preferences – why not make an effort to survey members’ views directly? Yes, it does take a bit of effort, and you can’t contact every single person by email, but this should not be a show-stopper in the 21st century.

  4. Clive P says:

    I think comrades should appreciate the amount of work that is involved in organising this event and the very slender resources that Left Unity currently enjoys. When my Standing Order was not processed for some time I did not think ‘incompetence’, or even ‘conspiracy’, but guessed correctly that the amount of work that needed to be done was causing delays (as confirmed to me in an eventual reply). I appreciate this and I am grateful to those doing this work.

    So whilst it would be good if we had all the ways of discussion some of the others above suggest, it must be asked who could manage all this until such time we are bigger? Likewise the time for issues on Saturday are short but then so is a one day 9-5 conference to set up a new political party.

    It can be argued that we should have an email vote on matters like the name (although fair numbers are not online) but that is a different process to attending a meeting and voting where you have a chance to be swayed by arguments in a way that no amount of reading online can ever inform you – for example, I find the platforms much of a muchness (well, save the ‘joke’ one) and if I vote for one, that decision is likely to be determined by what I think of the arguments made on the day, as well what I think are the capabilities of those behind these statements.

    I think to get 500 (I’m sure I read that) registered to attend a conference from a membership of 1000 is excellent – well done.

    • John Collingwood says:

      Clive, you make important points about resource limitation, but the real issue here is surely that of one-person-one-vote. Regarding email voting you note that ‘fair numbers are not online’, and then applaud the fact that conference registration is about 50%; but this means that about half of the membership do not get any voting opportunity at all on those matters that are to be settled at conference.

      It is certainly true that there are qualitative differences between voting at a meeting and voting on your own after private study of the arguments, and there are pros and cons for each. However, I do not think it fair to consider the opinion of a conference attendee to be automatically superior, to the extent that it justifies ignoring those who for all sorts of reasons are not able to spend one particular day in London. The analogy for national politics would be to drastically reduce the number of polling stations so that people had to travel tens or hundreds of miles to vote, and I cannot see that being acceptable.

      If we are to live up to the general principle of one-person-one-vote (or – even better – one-person-one-voice) then we need either a means of email or postal voting on substantive matters, or a properly organised branch/representative-based system in place.

  5. JIM HOYLE says:

    Can I just ask 3 questions and hope someone will reply. Sorry , if this is obvious to rest of you 1. Why can motions etc only come through branches and why can statements be only made by organised platforms- I speak as someone not in a branch or subscribing to an organised platform? 2. What has happened to the Hackney/ Tower Hamlets platform- if you insist on voting on platforms now, as it was the only sensible one in my view- the rest appear to be angels dancing on the head of a pin or being written by Dave Spart and 3. Are we not even having a floor debate on name of organisation and considering the views of those who want to look at other options, which are less inward looking, with a vote at a later date ,if necessary, via email or do you have to be in a branch or on a platform even to have this view aired.
    This isnt rhetorical – I would like replies please.

    • Guy H says:

      Hi Jim, the Tower Hamlets/Hackney one has been put back in – there was a mix-up – thankfully we don’t stand for mix-ups in east london…

    • Ray G says:

      1- Motions can only come through branches or groups of ten people getting together. This is to ensure that motions have some level of suport before they occupy the time of conference. Branches can – and have – moved statements.

      2 – The HAckney TH motions is on the agenda.

      3 – We are debating the name but voting will between those names sent in before the deadline.

  6. Robboh says:

    Politicking, politicking, trait of the self sabotaging far left. Well I hope the brewery can manage to arrange the pi$$ up. Democratic Voice is a good name, much better than LU. I hope you do the sensible thing and vote for a name that reaches out to ordinary people and not “Lenin’s Disciples, not Bolshevik, council or the Ural soviet, camp 524” or “Stalin’s Storm trooper front”. I still harbour the faintest hope that someone on the day can talk some sense.

    • Ray G says:

      Oh Ho – Well Robboh – Fed up with Milibandism already. Or are you jjust looking forward to a good gloat

      • Robboh says:

        Hi Ray, I’m looking forward to a good laugh. Miliband? well he’s not a Tory and thats good enough for me. I haven’t noticed him much to be honest with you.

  7. JIM HOYLE says:

    Thanks for your replies to my queries.

  8. Patrick Black says:

    The most important thing is who or what does the warm up comedy routine at the beginning, the middle and the warm down at the end.First aiders will be on standby for the communist platform presentation (are these people for real ?) once we have ended capitalism and moved swiftly into a moneyless society !Incidentally The Osmonds, Showaddywaddy, David Essex and The BAY CITY ROLLERS are back on the road.

    It should be an interesting day out

  9. Miliband isn’t a Tory? Neither is Nigel Farage, but I still suffer from involuntary projectile vomiting at the sight of both.

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