Labour Party Glossary

 

Term Abbreviation Meaning

(Terms in bold are defined elsewhere in this glossary)

Further Details

(Terms in bold are defined elsewhere in this glossary)

Activist A Labour member who actively assists with campaigning for the party.
Affiliated Organisation Trade union or socialist society with established formal links to the Labour Party Affiliated organisations pay a subscription to the Labour Party on behalf of their members, and are entitled to send representatives and vote in various party meetings and bodies.
Affiliated Supporter Member of an affiliated trade union or socialist society who has actively chosen to be a supporter of the Labour Party.
All Members Meeting AMM Meeting at which all members are entitled to attend, speak, and vote. Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) can have an all member or a delegate structure. If they have an all member structure then CLP meetings are held as all member meetings which any member can attend, speak, and vote at; if they have a delegate structure then only delegates elected by branches can speak and vote at CLP meetings.
Annual General Meeting AGM Yearly meeting held by a branch or constituency Labour Party (CLP) at which elections are held for officers to sit on the branch or CLP executive committee). All members are entitled to attend and stand for positions if they wish.
Black and Minority Ethnic BAME Collective term for all members of non-white communities.
Borough of Colchester Local government district which is represented by Colchester Borough Council. There are 17 wards in the borough, including all of the wards in Colchester constituency and some of the wards of Harwich & North Essex and Witham constituencies (population approximately 190,000). Each ward in the borough is represented by 3 councillors.
Branch/Branch Labour Party BLP Subdivision of a Constituency Labour Party (CLP), representing part of the area covered by the CLP. Usually based on existing ward boundaries used for local elections. Colchester CLP has 5 Branches (North, South, East, West, and Central) each comprising several wards. Branches elect their own officers to take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Branch.
Campaigning Any activity conducted for the purpose of promoting the party and the issues it champions, and getting representatives elected. Includes things like: leafleting, canvassing, running street stalls, promoting the party on social media, etc.
Canvassing Knocking on doors throughout the constituency/branch area to ask residents which issues matter to them, who they intend to vote for in upcoming elections, and to persuade them to vote Labour if possible. Information about voting intentions is used to get out the vote (GOTV) on polling day.
Card Vote A vote at the annual party conference which is not conducted by a simple show of hands (as the vast majority are), but where every delegate’s vote is recorded and counted. Used for especially important, contentious, or close votes. Rule changes are always voted for by card. In a card vote situation the vote of each CLP is divided among all of its delegates, and the individual measures being proposed are considered one-by-one, instead of as a whole package.
Colchester Borough Council CBC Local authority responsible for provision and administration of a range of services in the Borough of Colchester, including refuse collection and recycling, collecting local taxes, providing welfare payments, running  elections, housing, planning applications, etc. There are 51 seats on the council (3 for each of the 17 wards in the borough), which is currently led by a Lib Dem-Labour coalition (Lib Dems  13 seats, Labour 11). Elections are held in three out of every four years, with a third of the seats up for election each time (1 from each of the 17 wards)..
Committee Room The headquarters of the get out the vote (GOTV) operation on polling day, where voting data collected from polling stations is analysed and instructions (and refreshments!) are given to activists.
Conference The annual national conference of the Labour Party. Party conference is held over 4 days in September each year, and is formally the supreme decision-making body of the party, though its decisions are often not adhered to by the party leadership). Delegates from trade unions and socialist societies (50%) and constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) (50%) debate and vote on whether the Party should adopt constitutional amendments (changes to party rules) and motions (policy positions).
Conference Arrangements Committee CAC Body which oversees the agenda and sets the timetable for conference. The Conference Arrangements Committee decides whether to accept motions submitted by constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) and trade unions. It groups those it accepts into broad topics, and conference delegates then choose four topics from trade unions and four from CLPs to debate and vote on. The CAC is made up of 7 members: 2 (at least 1 woman) nominated by CLPs and elected by a one-member-one-vote (OMOV) ballot of all members; and 5 (at least 2 women) nominated by affiliated organisations or CLPs and elected by a card vote by delegates at conference.
Constituency Name for the electoral district represented by a Member of Parliament (MP).
Constituency Labour Party CLP The local division of the Labour Party based on the boundaries of the parliamentary constituency. All members registered as living within a particular constituency are members of that CLP. Where branches have been established, the CLP encompasses all the local branches within the constituency.
Delegate A person elected by members of an organisation to speak and vote on their behalf at meetings of another organisation. For example, constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) elect delegates to take part in debates and votes at party conference. Some CLPs also operate on a delegate structure, where only delegates are allowed to speak and take part in votes at CLP meetings; as opposed to all members meetings, where any member can attend, speak and take part in votes.
Division Name for the electoral district represented by a county councillor. Electoral divisions are usually made up of several wards.
Essex County Council ECC Local authority responsible for provision and administration of a range of services in the County of Essex (population approximately 1,800,000), including state education, transport, planning, social care, roads, libraries, registration of births/deaths/marriages/civil partnerships, etc. There are 75 seats on the council, elected from 70 divisions. The council is currently controlled by the Conservative Party with 53 seats, (Labour are 3rd with 6 seats, and Colchester is well represented with 3 of these). Elections are held once every four years.
Ex-officio Latin term meaning “by virtue of one’s position”. Used to refer to people who are entitled to sit on a body because they hold another position, rather than because they have been directly elected to that body. Many Labour Party committees include ex-officio members and attendees. For example, the Labour Leader and Deputy Leader are ex-officio members of the National Executive Committee; likewise the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group may be invited to attend meetings of the executive committee (EC) of a constituency Labour Party (CLP) in an ex-officio capacity.
Executive Committee EC The administrative body responsible for the day-to-day running of a constituency Labour Party (CLP) or branch Labour Party (BLP). EC officers are elected at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the CLP or BLP, and are guaranteed voting rights at EC meetings.
Front Bench A government minister/opposition shadow minister, or a local councillor with portfolio responsibility.
General Secretary GS The most senior employee of the Labour Party, who sits on the National Executive Committee (NEC) as a non-voting secretary. The General Secretary is responsible for employing staff, campaign and media strategies, running the Party’s various administrative committees, organising the party conference, ensuring legal and constitutional propriety, etc. Since 2020 the post has been held by David Evans. The General Secretary is elected by the National Executive Committee (NEC) and ratified by a vote at party conference. In practice, the General Secretary has a large degree of power and influence over the Party as a whole, and the final say over many bureaucratic decisions.
Get Out the Vote GOTV Operation on polling day to get people who have said they will vote Labour (Labour promises) to go to their polling station and cast their vote. GOTV generally involves cross-referencing data on people’s voting intentions which has been collected prior to the election through canvassing, against data on who has voted collected by tellers sat at polling stations on the day, to identify potential Labour voters who have not yet voted. These people can then be knocked up by activists to encourage, remind, and/or help them to visit their polling station and vote for us. Many elections are won or lost on voter turnout, so GOTV is a hugely important part of electoral strategy.
Knocking Up The polling day practice of knocking on the doors of people who have said they’ll vote Labour (Labour promises) and encouraging, reminding, and/or helping them to go to the polling station to vote Labour!
Labour Group Collective name for all of the Labour councillors on a particular local authority. For example, the Labour councillors on Colchester Borough Council (CBC) form the Labour Group for that local authority.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer LGBTQ Collective term for all members of non-heterosexual communities. LGBTQ officer is a standing position on CLP executive committees.
Local Authority   Local government body responsible for providing certain services within a given area (commonly known as a “council”). There are 5 types of local authority in England: county councils, district councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts, and London boroughs. (Essex County Council is a county council, while Colchester Borough Council is a district council.)
Local Campaign Forum   Grouping of representatives from all constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) in the same local authority, responsible for overseeing local election campaigning and identifying candidates for selection in local elections.
MembersNet Official party website holding a range of information and resources relating to your membership, campaigning, training, roles/activities/structures within the Party, etc. Every member can set up an online profile and get access to MembersNet. The address is: https://members.labour.org.uk.
Motion A formal proposal presented to a constituency Labour Party (CLP) or branch Labour Party (BLP) meeting to be debated and voted on. A motion must first be “moved” by someone who wants it debated, and then “seconded” by someone else, to open up a debate on whether it should be passed. Once there has been a debate the chair calls a vote, and the motion is either passed or rejected depending on the result of that vote. Passing motions in meetings is an important way adopting policies, expressing collective positions, and holding governing structures to account. For example, members can pass motions calling on their executive committee (EC) to do something; or motions can be passed at branch (BLP) level as a first step towards holding a debate on an issue at constituency Labour Party (CLP) level, or at CLP level to express a view to national party structures.
National Constitutional Committee NCC Central party body which deals primarily with disciplinary matters in the Party. The NCC is made up of 11 members: 6 trade union representatives, 4 constituency Labour Party (CLP) representatives, and 1 socialist society representative, each serving a 3 year term of office. Its members are elected by card vote by delegates at party conference.
National Executive Committee NEC Highest administrative body of the Labour Party with extremely broad powers over internal selections, external elections, membership issues (suspensions/appeals/etc.), party disputes and investigations, disciplinary matters, strategic direction, etc. The NEC is made up of ex-officio members: the Leader, Deputy Leader, and Treasurer of the party, the Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, and 3 members of the Labour Front Bench appointed by the Party Leader; and directly elected members: 12 representatives from affiliated trade unions, 3 from the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), 6 from constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), 2 from elected Labour councillors/police, fire and crime commissioners/directly elected mayors, and 1 each from socialist societies, BAME Labour, Scottish Labour, and Welsh Labour. Each elected member serves a term of 2 years. CLP representatives must secure the nomination of their own CLP and two others, before being elected via a one-member-one-vote national ballot.
National Policy Forum NPF Body which oversees policy making outside of the party conference, including representatives of various sections of the party. The NPF is made up of 186 representatives from constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), affiliated trade unions, local government councillors, socialist societies, MPs, peers, minority groups, and others. It runs 8 policy commissions co-chaired by members of the Front Bench and the National Executive Committee (NEC) covering different areas of policy, which meet throughout the year and develop policy. Members can make submissions as individuals or collectively via the NPF website, and NPF representatives choose whether to take them up. The NPF produces policy documents which it presents to conference each year, and which are intended to form the basis of the Party’s manifesto. All members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) have a seat on the NPF. The NPF was set up in 1998 as part of a set of party reforms, taking over much of the responsibility for formulating party policy that had previously been held by party conference.
Officer A person who holds a position in their branch or constituency Labour Party (CLP) which gives them responsibility for certain aspect of the activity. For example, chair – responsible for writing agendas, organising and leading meetings, etc.; or BAME officer – responsible for advocating for, and working on the engagement and recruitment of, BAME members.
One-Member-One-Vote OMOV System of voting whereby every individual member gets one vote, and each vote has the same weight. OMOV stands in contrast to other systems where the votes of different types of members are given different weight, and where some members may get more than one vote. For example, since 2014 the Party Leader has been elected by OMOV, whereas they were previously elected via an electoral college system whereby MPs and MEPs’ votes, party members’ votes, and the votes of members of affiliated organisations each counted for a third of the final result, despite the large difference between the number of people in each of those groups.
Parliamentary Labour Party PLP The collective name for all of Labour’s current members of Parliament.
Polling Day The day an election is held.
Portfolio Responsibility A specific set of services which a council or government is responsible for (such as housing or care) that a front bench councillor or MP is responsible for overseeing.
Promises People who when canvassed have said they intend to vote Labour.
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate PPC Candidate chosen to stand in an upcoming General Election. From the time that they are selected to the start of the official election campaign the PPC is referred to as the prospective parliamentary candidate; once the election campaign officially starts they are referred to as the parliamentary candidate.
Rule Book The official document which governs the activity of the Labour Party, its members, and all its structures. All members are bound by the rules laid out in the party rule book, and it is in principle the final authority in party disputes.
Selection Process of choosing candidates to stand in local, regional, and national elections.
Slate A group of candidates who stand in a multi-seat or multi-position election on a common platform. Candidates in internal elections to the party’s governing bodies – such as those to the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) – often stand on a slate to indicate shared aims or principles.
Socialist Society Independent organisation affiliated to the Labour Party. For example, the Socialist Education Association, the Socialist Health Association, or the Fabian Society.
Telling The practice of sitting at a polling station in order to request and record people’s voting numbers as they come to vote on Polling Day. This is an important part of the get out the vote (GOTV) operation, because it means data for who has voted can be cross-referenced with data for people who have said they will vote Labour. This then allows activists to identify which potential Labour voters have not yet voted and knock them up to get them to vote.
Trade Union An organisation representing the interests of workers in a particular sector, industry, or workplace. Workers pay a membership fee to the union to become members and gain various benefits such as legal support and advice and the right to attend union meetings and influence the position of the national union and the local branch for their workplace. Trade unions were instrumental to the establishment of the Labour Party and the Party is often considered to be the political wing of the trade unions or labour movement.
Ward Name for the electoral district represented by a borough councillor. Each constituency is made up of a set of wards with roughly the same number of electors in each. For Colchester Borough Council (CBC) elections, each ward elects three councillors.
Women’s Forum Part of the Labour Party’s equality structures. A constituency-wide body open to all women members in the area.

 

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