In August, I and fellow members of the Policy Committee were asked by the Chairman and Advisory Council to carry out a consultation of the membership about possible changes to the Constitution, with particular reference to two areas – the governance of the Party nationally; and the rules for internal elections.
The Policy Committee would be asked to consider all of the contributions and then to write our own proposal/proposals which would be put to the members at the Annual Conference. The Annual Conference would not be empowered make the constitutional changes but only to decide whether or not to call an Emergency General Meeting to consider one or more of these proposals.
At this stage, the proposals have been written in ordinary prose. If the Annual Conference should decide to call an Emergency General Meeting to consider proposals for constitutional change, they will have to be written by reference to the present Constitution, stating which passages of the present Constitution would be amended, deleted or supplemented.
I opened a special e-mail account and received some proposals on there. Others were sent to my private and to my Europarl email addresses.
We have examined all of the contributions, including some that were received after we had already written our own proposals. I have opened this ‘blog’ so that members of the Party can read our suggestions and those of others. All are included on this blog, provided that the contributors had no objection. Needless to say, the inclusion of proposals does not imply that the Party or the Policy Committee endorses those that have been included.
In the end, the Policy Committee is suggesting two distinct sets of proposals called:
Option Two (fairly modest reforms); and
Option Three (more far reaching reforms).
Option One would be to leave the present Constitution as it stands.
We suggest that the order in which members should be asked to express their opinions would be the most far-reaching first (Option Three), followed by the next most far-reaching (Option Two), followed by a proposal to leave the Constitution as it stands (Option One).
If Option Three is approved, the others fall. If Option Three is rejected but Option Two is approved then Option One falls. If both Option Three and Option Two are rejected, there should be a vote on Option One (leave the Constitution as it stands). If Options Three, Two and One are rejected, then I think that the Conference should be invited to vote on a motion to refer the matter back to the Policy Committee for further consideration.
I would ask you to view the proposals flexibly. It is unlikely that you will approve of everything in Option Three, Option Two or Option One (the present Constitution). I would ask you to vote for the option that accords most with your ideas. It would still be possible to make further amendments in subsequent years.