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Leader of the opposition Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer has announced this morning in a meeting of the shadow cabinet proposed changes to the way the Labour Party elects its leaders, how sitting MPs can be de-selected by constituency associations, and how motions are heard on the floor of the party conference.

  • Starmer has suggested the party revert to its 'electoral college' system of electing party leaders, where Labour MPs, trade union affiliates, and party members get a say, rather than the current 'one member, one vote' system brought in under Ed Miliband. This system is seen as the primary reason behind the leadership election win for left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. A reversion to the old system would give MPs (generally a more centrist bloc than unions or the grassroots membership) a greater power in electing leaders.
  • For moderates, the return of an electoral college would calm fears of another far-left candidate emerging to take control of the party. However, for the left of the party and many of the trade unions, it could be seen as a centrist stitch-up intended to keep power in the hands of the moderates.
  • The proposals also seek to raise the threshold for triggering a de-selection process as the constituency level and among the parliamentary Labour party.
  • These proposals have already been criticised by some of the UK's largest trade unions, and set the stage for a feisty and bitter party conference in Brighton from 25-29 September.