Oxford University Labour Club has threatened to disaffiliate from the student organisation Labour Students.
Their decision comes after Labour Students’ refused to allow a debate on the use of One Member One Vote (OMOV) at the national Conference last Friday.
The motion was submitted by the University Labour Clubs of York, Salford and Hull, and urged the adoption of OMOV, a proposal to use the direct vote of party members to select party leaders and determine policy.
In response to Labour Students’ decision to turn the motion down, OULC joined with ten other University Labour Clubs in writing to express objection to the decision. Other objecting Clubs included those of the Universities of Leeds, Warwick, Sheffield, and UCL.
The joint letter stressed that OMOV would allow every member a voice in Labour Students, stating: “It is only through recognising and valuing our members on the ground who give up their time to pound the streets each week that we can motivate a strong and sustainable campaigning team.”
The letter also pointed out that the committee does not possess the power to disallow the discussion of motions. It claimed that the report which advised against OMOV consulted just 134 Labour Students members (two percent of the 6000-strong membership), and that it was voted through by around 30 people. “Can we inspire young people to fight alongside us for fairness,” the Labour Clubs asked, “when our own committee can’t follow the rules?”
They went on to say: “Blocking York, Salford and Hull’s motions is arbitrary, it is unconstitutional, it is undemocratic, and it flies in the face of what Ed Miliband is attempting to achieve in his reforms to the Labour Party.”
The letter concluded: “If the committee’s decision is not reversed, our Clubs will reluctantly be forced to seriously consider disaffiliation from Labour Students after National Conference.”
Co-chair of OULC Daniel Turner reiterated that the move not to hear the motion had no apparent constitutional backing, calling it “typical of the sort of closed, elitist approach Labour Students appears to take nationally”.
On the general state of Labour Students, he commented: “We want to see more transparency: a published constitution; minutes; free and fair elections. These should be common sense, but Labour Students continues to ignore the wishes of its members.
“As the national Party moves towards OMOV, Labour Students has to change. We will continue to agitate for that change.”