Holborn and St. Pancras Labour Party
Foreword by the Chair
Dear Labour Party member,
Welcome to Holborn & St. Pancras Constituency Labour Party (CLP). We are a very active and vibrant CLP where all members have the opportunity to make a contribution and support the objectives of the Labour Party.
It is up to each person how much of a contribution they make – you can contribute by coming along to your local branch meeting or our constituency meetings to discuss local and national issues, by joining our regular campaigns sessions on the doorstep, or by coming to our social occasions and special events that are put on by the CLP throughout the year.
Whether you are a member who has recently joined, or someone who has been a member for several years, we hope this guide will provide you with all you need to know to make the most of being a member of the Labour Party in Holborn & St. Pancras.
We are always keen to hear from you and would welcome suggestions and ideas as to how we can encourage more people to join and participate in the activities of the CLP – please do get in touch!
Chair, Holborn & St. Pancras Constituency Labour Party
A bit about Holborn & St. Pancras…………………………………… 4
Local party organisation………………………………………………….. 5
Getting involved………………………………………………………………. 9
Glossary ………………………………………………………………………….. 11
A bit about Holborn & St. Pancras
The Holborn and St. Pancras parliamentary seat has existed since 1983 when the seats of Holborn and St. Pancras South and majority of St. Pancras North were merged to form a single constituency. Holborn & St. Pancras Labour Party is one of the largest in the country with over 3,000 members.
The constituency stretches from Covent Garden in the south, to Hampstead Heath in the north, and from Primrose Hill in the west to Islington in the east. Holborn & St. Pancras is made up of 11 London Borough of Camden wards which are, from north to south; Highgate, Kentish Town, Gospel Oak, Haverstock, Cantelowes, Camden Town with Primrose Hill, St Pancras and Somers Town, Regent’s Park, King’s Cross, Bloomsbury and Holborn and Covent Garden. The remaining 7 London Borough of Camden wards, in the west of the borough, are in the neighbouring constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn. If you wish to see which ward you live in or want to see a map of all Camden wards, please follow this link https://www.camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/council-and-democracy/twocolumn/find-your-ward-by-street-name-or-postcode/
Holborn & St. Pancras, since its formation, has been represented by two Labour Members of Parliament (MP). Frank Dobson was MP from 1983-2015 (having previously served as MP for Holborn & St. Pancras South from 1979-1983) and in May 2015 Keir Starmer was elected MP with 52.9% of the vote, a majority of 17,048 votes. In June 2017 Keir Starmer was re-elected MP with 70.1% of the vote, a majority of 30,509 votes and in December 2019 with 27,763 majority with 64.5% of the vote. Since April 2020 Keir has been leader of the Labour Party.
Each London Borough of Camden ward is represented by three councillors. Currently 32 out of the 33 councillors in Holborn & St. Pancras are Labour and Labour currently holds 43 out of the 54 seats across the whole Borough.
The structures of the various different committees of the Labour Party are sometimes difficult to navigate and some of the terminology and acronyms used in local party meetings can be a little obscure. You should never be embarrassed to ask what an acronym means or what a particular committee does: there is almost certainly at least one other person in the meeting who also doesn’t know!
However, this section of the guide seeks to explains some of the structures and officer positions that you are most likely to come across.
The structure of the Labour Party mirrors the electoral map of the UK. The smallest unit is the ward which is represented by local councillors. Together a number of wards combine to form constituencies for the purposes of national elections and boroughs who manage local government. The Labour Party has groups and forums that support both these levels.
Branch Labour Parties
The first, and in many ways most important, layer is that of the Branch Labour Party (BLP). Every member of the Labour Party will be a member of their own local Branch, which will normally be an area which matches a local government ward represented by councillor(s).
Sometimes more than one ward area will be grouped together for all local activity such as Bloomsbury and King’s Cross. Others where the wards are very small or there are relatively few active Labour Party members have occasional joint meetings to share guest speakers or hold social events. Other wards have their own meetings.
Each BLP will have a committee who are responsible for many of the functions of the party in that area. This will always involve a chair, who heads up the local party and chairs meetings; a secretary, who ensures meetings are publicised and well run, write the minutes, and often have other responsibilities; a treasurer, who is responsible for the bank account and sometimes fundraising; and a vice-chair who runs meetings if the chair is absent.
Beyond this, there is flexibility about what other positions (if any) are appointed. Other positions which are frequently elected are: campaigns officer, who leads on organising campaign sessions; a membership officer, who is responsible for recruitment and making sure members are involved in the party; and a youth officer, who leads on engaging with young people and a BAME officer who is responsible for increasing the participation of local BAME members.
These positions will be elected (or in some cases appointed) at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), and all members of the Labour Party in that branch area can stand for election and take part in them. Every effort must be made to ensure that women are represented at every level in the party.
The BLP and its committee members will often be the main point of contact for members, and how they become actively involved in the Party. Each BLP makes its own decisions as to what activities it will undertake, but it will normally involve a mixture of discussion meetings, campaigning sessions (particularly in the run-up to elections), social events and fundraising. Another key role of the BLP or the ward (in the case of there being a branch made up of more than one ward) is in selecting who the Labour Party puts forward as its candidates to be ward councillors in local elections.
Sending delegates to the Constituency Labour Party General Committee
The other positions which are elected by Branch Labour Parties are their ‘delegates’ to the General Committee (GC) of their Constituency Labour Party (CLP). They are elected at the Branch AGM. The number of delegates each ward gets will depend on the number of members they have, and each branch delegation must be gender-balanced. The Secretary of the BLP is also automatically a member of the General Committee, to make sure they are aware of decisions made there. The branch secretary is usually a member of the Executive Committee (a sub committee of the Constituency Labour Party).
GC delegates are not bound by the views of their fellow branch members in how they vote, but they will normally take account of them.
Constituency Labour Party
Every member of the Labour Party is also a member of their Constituency Labour Party (CLP), which in England mirrors the area represented by a Member of Parliament.
The structure of the CLP is in many ways similar to that of the BLP, except covering a wider area and with more members. The General Committee of this CLP has a chair, two vice-chairs, secretary treasurer, women’s officer, youth officer and BAME officer – of which at least three must be women. There are a number of other officers to assist with key functions, and often more than you would find at the BLP level.
These positions are also elected, with the election happening at the CLP Annual General Meeting among the delegates sent by branches, but also those delegates sent by unions and socialist societies and the Co-operative Party. You have to be a delegate to the General Committee to stand for a position as a CLP officer.
While many day-to-day operation and administrative decisions are made by an ‘Executive Committee’ (EC) (made up of the officers of the CLP and representatives from the branches, unions, socialist societies and the Cooperative Party), major decisions and positions as to policy would normally be made by the General Committee – the primary decision-making body of the CLP.
In Holborn & St. Pancras, and in most other constituencies, all members can attend meetings and participate in discussions, but only General Committee delegates can take part in votes.
Issues decided by all members of the Constituency Labour Party
However, some decisions are made at CLP meetings by all members of the Labour Party who live in the CLP. This includes who the CLP ‘nominates’ as their chosen candidate for national party Leader and Deputy Leader. This is more often than not an endorsement, and the final decision will be made in a postal and online ballot of all members. In many instances, prospective candidates must pass a threshold of constituency nominations in order to be on the ballot paper. For the leadership election it is 5% of CLPs (33 in total)
All members of the CLP are able to take part in votes about who the party selects as its candidate for Parliament when there is a vacancy.
Attending Annual Conference as a Visitor or Delegate
Holborn & St. Pancras GC members usually elects four delegates to the Labour Party’s Annual Conference; one woman, one man and a youth delegate (under 27). The CLP delegate is invited to report back to the GC on their experience at conference. Members are also able to buy a pass to attend conference to observe conference proceedings and to participate in fringe events.
A list of the current key officers in the CLP is provided below
|Chair||To chair constituency meetings. To provide leadership to the officer team and the constituency. Spokesperson for the party||
Sagal Abdi-Wali email@example.com
Ensures the smooth running of the constituency party by setting meeting agendas and manages communication with branches, members and external bodies
Manages the finances for the constituency ensuring that we have the required resources
Leads all campaigning activity within the constituency working with the organiser, local MP, MEPs and councillors
Leads membership development activity
To encourage the involvement of women in all aspects of the constituency
To encourage the involvement of BAME members in all aspects of the constituency
To support the CLP to take part in Labour policy-making and understand the issues
To encourage the involvement of LGBTQ+ members in all aspects of the constituency
To encourage the involvement of youth members (under 27 years old) in all aspects of the constituency
To encourage the involvement of disabled members in all aspects of the constituency
To lead on fundraising activity
|Jennifer Hugh and Gill Black|
|Trade Union Liaison||
To lead on trade union engagement activities in the constituency ensuring that we have ongoing relationships with the trade union movement
To support the work of local members as School Governors
Local Campaign Forum
The Local Campaign Forum is made up of delegates from CLPs, Constituency Campaign Officers and other elected positions. The LCF’s primary aim is to organise for local elections in Camden. It co-ordinates the campaign activities of Camden branches to secure the election of local Labour candidates, recruits party members to stand for local elections and compiles the panel of candidates for those elections. It also works with the local Labour Group to encourage a role for branches, members and affiliates in local government policy and to feed ideas into the Party’s local manifesto and policy-making process.
The Camden Labour Group is made up of all Labour party councillors and is the forum for discussing council issues and developing local council policy.
There are many ways you can get involved in the party, but the three most common activities are campaigning, attending local meetings and coming to socials or fundraisers. The constituency always tries to ensure that we have a programme of activities that interest everyone. Look out for emails from the local party and from our MP Keir Starmer as the best way to stay up to date.
The most important responsibility for the local party is to organise campaigns to elect Labour candidates in local, regional and national elections. In addition, the local party organises a wide variety of campaigns from big borough or London wide campaigns on issues that are going to affect our constituents to smaller more focused campaigns within each ward. Campaigns can include a number of activities from leafleting, to street stalls to knocking on doors and community surveys.
One of the most important activities is canvassing, especially in the period in the run-up to an election. This involves talking face to face with voters by knocking on doors and allows us to identify existing Labour supporters to encourage them to vote and so we can speak to undecided voters about Labour’s platform and our candidates. Knowing where our supporters are means that there is a greater chance of getting them out to vote on election day.
Campaigning is a great way to support the local party and meet fellow members. If you have not campaigned before you will usually be paired with someone more experienced for your first couple of sessions. Most people find they quickly get the hang of it and find it a fun and interesting way to speak to voters.
There are, however always other ways members can support local campaigning. We have plenty of opportunities for people to deliver leaflets in their own time or to take part in phone bank sessions to call potential voters. And, outside of election time, there are also chances to get involved in local community campaigns or national campaigns.
If you want more information about upcoming campaigning sessions or want more information about how you can be involved, contact our Organiser Asra Marja at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Branch meetings: The first port of call for many members is attending their local branch meetings. These will typically be held every month and all the members of that branch will be invited. These meetings will often involve a mix of local politics and smaller policy debates. They will also cover local activism and campaigns. Any member of the ward is invited to attend and participate in a ward meeting. These meetings are currently being held virtually.
How to make suggestions and raise issues for discussion with your Branch Labour Party
If you have practical suggestions about what your branch or the constituency should be doing, you should contact the most relevant officers.
If there is something you think that your branch should be discussing, it is best to contact the chair and the secretary who between them are responsible for deciding the agendas of meetings. Branch meetings can in theory consider any matter, and in practice there often a mixture of local matters and national policy which are discussed alongside more practical matters like planning fundraising and campaigning activities.
It’s usual for ward councillors to attend the branch meeting both to give a report and to follow up and advise on how to take local issues forwards. e.g. it might be possible to invite a councillor with specific responsibility or expertise to talk to the branch at a future meeting.
You should consider whether what you want is simply to discuss the issue among other party colleagues, or whether there is a particular action that the Branch could take (whether ‘hands on’ or, for example, through the chair writing a letter on behalf of the Branch). Both are entirely reasonable matters for branch parties, but you may find that those issues where the branch can (or has to) take a particular action or make a decision get given priority by the chair.
It is often not necessary to submit a formal motion for debate for a matter to be discussed in your branch meeting, but if you do submit a formal motion this should be done in good time before meetings – a week in advance is often asked – so the text can be provided in advance to people attending the meeting. It is often still best to set out in the motion what you want the branch to do if the motion is agreed, rather than simply voting to agree with it and then moving on to the next item of business!
If you want advice, it might be helpful to discuss it with your chair and/or secretary.
GC: Once a month, all Holborn & St. Pancras constituency members are invited to attend GC. These meetings are much bigger than branch meetings and often have speakers or debates about policy. They are usually attended by the local MP Keir Starmer who will provide a report back from Parliament and take questions, and by the leader of the council Georgia Gould who reports back on Camden Council activity. They are a great way to meet other members from across the constituency. These are currently held on the 4th Tuesday of the month. Although all members are invited to attend, only delegates that have been elected to represent their branch are able to vote on constituency business.
CLP Social & Fundraising Events: Throughout the year the CLP runs a variety of social and fundraising events, such as dinners, barbeques, quiz nights, drinks and other special events. Smaller, local social events are organised by branches. Social and fundraising events are a great way to meet and get to know other members of the local Party. Money made from fundraising efforts goes towards the cost of campaigning and towards running the local party.
|Constituency Labour Party
|This is the area represented by your local MP made up of a number of local authority wards.
|A delegate is someone chosen by members (at their branch AGM) to represent them at conferences or at committee meetings.|
|Annual General Meeting (AGM)
|This is the meeting held by each branch once a year to elect its officers. This must take place before the constituency AGM where constituency officers are elected.
|Executive Committee (EC)
|This is made up of Constituency Principal Party Officers such as the Chair, Treasurer and Secretary and a delegate from each branch (usually the branch secretary).
They meet as needed to discuss arrangements for important meetings, the constituency’s financial affairs or the maintenance of assets, such as the office in Crowndale Road.
|Functional Officers, also elected by GC delegates at the AGM, support the work of the EC. Functional Officer include: Education Liaison, Fundraising Officer, Trade Union Liaison etc.
|This refers to the group of elected Labour councillors in the local authority (not Council officers).
|Labour Group has a cabinet system. The leader of the Council is elected by all Labour members of the Labour Group. Nine other Labour Group members are appointed by the leader to the cabinet. Further Labour group members are elected or appointed by their peers to serve on Scrutiny Committees which oversee a particular area of local Government, e.g. housing, education etc.
|General Committee (GC)
|The GC is made up of delegates from all branches and meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month (there are no meetings in August and December; meetings can be earlier in September to account for the national conference schedule).
It is the main decision-making body of the CLP, as well as being a forum for political debate.