The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy and Yorkshire Regional Council of the Labour Party



Admin History:

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy started in a very small way in 1973/74, when it had just six affiliated organisations and about 60 individual members. At its height in the late 1970s and early 1980s it had nearly 300 affiliated organisations and some 450 individual members. Key figures included Stephen Boddington (Chairman), Vladimir Derer (Secretary), and MPs such as Joan Maynard (President), and committee members Ernie Roberts, Jo Richardson and Audrey Wise. Other parliamentary members at times included Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Mullin, Harriet Harman, Neil Kinnock and Margaret Beckett.

Major support and membership came from constituency Labour parties and trade unions, and the CLPD was active in increasing the role of such groups within the national Party. The main stated objective of the group was 'To campaign for greater participatory democracy within and between all sections of the Labour Party'. In practice this involved such things as amending the procedure for selection of Labour parliamentary candidates (including the regular re-selection of sitting MPs), as a means of making them more accountable, and calling for a greater role for constituency parties, trade unions and other affiliated groups in the election of the Party leader and other officials.

The group eventually had some success, beginning in 1979 with the adoption of an electoral college for the selection of the party leader. In 1981 CLPD strongly supported Tony Benn in his bid to become Deputy Leader of the Party, and was nearly successful. Later, in the mid 1980s CLPD, whilst continuing to campaign for an increasing role for constituency Labour parties, also supported measures in support of positive discrimination for women and black people, and for Party control of the manifesto. The 1985 CLPD 'slate' at the Labour Party Conference included David Blunckett, Michael Meacher, Dennis Skinner, Dianne Abbott, Margaret Beckett and Clare Short - several of whom later went on to become leading government ministers. Dave Merrett was the CLPD's 'Yorkshire Regional Key Person' for a number of years.

Material relating to the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (1973-1991) and Yorkshire Regional Council of the Labour Party (1978-1991) including Conference Papers and Regional Executive Committee