Monday, 15 November 2010

Submission from A. Kemp

Proposed Constitution of the British National Party (3rd Draft: December 2010)

Chapter 1: Name and policy

1.1 The name of this organisation is the “British National Party” (the “Party”).

1.2 The Party’s policy shall be determined by the principles and guidelines laid down by a full and properly constituted Annual General Meeting (the “Conference”).

1.3 Policy decisions taken at the Conference shall be binding unless revoked or amended by subsequent Conferences.

Chapter 2: Party Structure

The party hierarchy will be structured as follows:

2.1 Members

2.2 Local structures (“Contacts”; “Groups”; “Branches”; and “Organisers”);

2.3 Regional structures (“Sub Regional Organisers”; “Regional Councils”; “Regional Organisers”);

2.4 National structures (“National Executive”; “Party Officials”; “Chairman”; “Executive Board”);

2.5 National Leader.

2.6 Details of structure.

2.7 Members. Any British citizen over the age of 16 may join the Party upon completion of a membership application form and payment of membership fees. Party membership may be extended to non-British citizens upon request. The membership fee is determined by the National Executive.

All members are subject to the Code of Conduct (Annexure A).

Party membership lists are to be kept by the Party Chairman and deployed only with his or her consent for the purposes of contacting members on a national or local level.

In this regard, the Party Chairman must keep three sets of lists: (1) those members who have more than three years’ membership; (2) those members who have more than one years’ membership; and (3) all members.

The Party Chairman is empowered to refuse any individual membership application deemed not to be in the interests of the party. This decision must be ratified by the National Executive.

2.8 Local structures.

2.9 Contacts

A “contact” is a person who serves as a primary point of contact for new enquiries or activism in which there are currently no Party groups or branches in existence.

2.10 Groups

A “group” is an organisation of members within a local area of fewer than 10 but more than five individuals. Each group shall elect from its midst, by popular and secret ballot, a group leader and other officials deemed necessary (treasurer etc.).

2.11 Branches

A “branch” is an organisation of members within a local area of more than 10 members, and whose level of activism is deemed sufficiently high by the Regional Organiser to warrant branch status. Each branch shall elect by popular and secret ballot, a branch chairman and other officials deemed necessary (treasurer etc.).

All Groups and Branches have the right to elect, from within their own ranks, new leaders at any time they deem fit.

2.12 Organisers

An “organiser” is appointed by the Regional Organiser in order to kick start or set up a group or branch. An organiser can also be chosen by a group or branch as its group leader or branch chairman.

2.13 Regional Structures

2.14 Sub Regional Organisers

A “sub regional organiser” shall be elected, where practical, in regions too large to be administered by a single regional organiser. The duties of the sub regional organiser include, inter alia, the growth, nurturing, logistical aid, organisation and communication means between the groups and branches and the regional organiser.

The sub-regional organiser will report directly to the regional organiser. Each sub-regional organiser will be elected by popular and secret ballot by the groups and branches within that sub-region.

2.15 Regional Council

A “regional council” is tasked with the coordination, planning, growth, logistical aid, organisation and all other matters pertaining to a particular region. Its members shall consist of:

2.16 The elected chairman and one other member from each Branch;
2.17 The elected chairman of each Group.
2.18 All Regional Councils have the right to elect new officials at any time they deem fit.

2.19 The Regional Council shall be empowered to appoint a regional treasurer, press officer and other officials, not necessarily from within its own ranks. These officials shall sit on the regional council, but will not have voting rights ex officio to elect delegates to the National Executive, unless they themselves are elected branch or group delegates.

2.20 Regional Organiser

A “regional organiser” is tasked with the day-to-day coordination, planning, growth, logistical aid, organisation and all other matters pertaining to the Party in his or her particular region. The regional organiser will be elected by a popular and secret ballot from amongst the members of the regional council.

2.21 National Structure

2.22 The National Executive

2.23 The National Executive is tasked with the running of the party. Its members shall consist of the regional organisers and one other delegate elected from each region by the regional councils.

2.24 The National Executive shall appoint, by popular and secret ballot, from within its own ranks, subcommittees to deal with specific topics, including but not limited to finance, discipline, policy, party structure and constitution, staff appointments, training and education and any other subjects of importance which lies within its powers to determine.

These subcommittees will have advisory ability to the National Executive, whose full vote is required to action any of the suggestions or proposals which are produced by such subcommittees.

2.25 The total membership of the National Executive shall not exceed 37 persons.

2.26 This will allow for a minimum of two delegates from each region, and a further eleven which must consist of the following:
- The Party Chairman;
- The National Leader;
- The National Treasurer;
- The National Nominating Officer.

2.27 The remaining nine persons will be party officials or other individuals, nominated by three subcommittees of the National executive, namely the Staffing Subcommittee, the Finance Subcommittee and the Policy Subcommittee. Each of these three subcommittees can appoint a maximum of three persons to the National Executive.

2.28 The National Executive can meet as often as required, but at a minimum of once every eight weeks.

2.29 For ordinary meetings of the National Executive, a quorum of 60 percent is required.

2.30 Party Officials.

2.31 All Party Officials and staff must be Party members.

2.32 Prospective officials must submit their Curricula Vitae to the subcommittee dealing with staffing for review, and all appointments must ideally be made with due regard to with experience in the role for which the applicant seeks appointment.

2.33 Once the subcommittee tasked with staffing has considered all applications, it must report to the National Executive which must ratify, by popular and secret ballot, any appointments.

2.34 Party Officials will include any offices either required by law (treasurer and nominating officer, with the exception of National Leader) or any others as decided by the National Executive, such as press officer, national organiser, fundraiser etc.

2.35 Party Chairman and Executive Board.

2.36 The National Executive shall elect, not necessarily from within its own ranks, a Party Chairman and an Executive Board. This election will take place by popular and secret ballot.

2.37 The Party Chairman and Executive Board shall have a term of office equivalent to that of the National Leader.

2.38 The Chairman and the Executive Board shall be entrusted with the day-to-day running of the administrative side of the Party, subject to ratification of all their actions by the full National Executive at the earliest feasible opportunity.

2.39 National Leader.

2.40 The National Leader of the Party is entrusted with the guiding the political direction of the movement in its day-to-day interactions with the public, all with the aim of increasing support.

2.41 To this end, the National Leader may appoint spokesmen, based on prior suitable experience, and develop the political theory of the party within the confines of the policy laid down by the Annual General Meeting.

2.42 The National Leader will also sit on the National Executive and Executive Board with full voting rights.

2.43 Election of the National Leader

2.44 The National Leader is elected by a popular and secret ballot amongst Members who have been paid up members for a year or more.

2.45 Eligibility to stand for leadership: In order to qualify to be a candidate for leadership, a member must have more than three years’ continuous membership.

2.46 In addition, a candidate must have obtained at least 100 signatures from members with more than one year’s membership. These 100 signatures must be on an official nomination form which must be available to all potential candidates from the Party Chairman.

2.47 The Party will not provide membership lists to prospective candidates under any circumstances. Candidates will have to use their own resources, such as meetings and appeals, to gather the requisite signatures.

2.48 Election Process

2.49 The Party Chairman shall be Acting Leader of the Party in-between the declaration of a vacancy and the election of a new leader.

2.50 If the Party Chairman is a candidate in the election, the National Executive must elect an Acting Chairman for the interim period.

2.51 Completed official nomination forms must be submitted to the Party Chairman within deadlines specified by the circumstances, but always at least six weeks after the official declaration of a vacancy by the Chairman.

2.52 After checking and verification that all signatures are from members with more than one year’s membership, the Party Chairman shall announce the candidates via all official Party organs.

2.53 All candidates shall have equal time and space allocated to them in all the Party organs. Time and word limits shall be determined by the National Executive, with a guideline of 500 words each for written manifestoes and four minutes each for BNPtv or Radio RWB appearances.

2.54 Once the candidates are declared, all members with one year’s continuous membership shall receive, by mail, a voting ballot with all the names of prospective candidates printed thereon. This shall take place no less than three weeks from the date of the official declaration of candidates by the Party Chairman.

2.55 Prospective candidates may campaign in their own right, by using meetings and websites, on condition that they do not engage in mass email spam which is a breach of the Data Protection Act (in other words, mass emails may only be sent to people who have specifically granted permission thereto) and that no breach of the Code of Conduct (Annexure A) takes place.

2.56 A breach of the Code of Conduct (Annexure A) by any candidate will result in automatic disqualification, a decision which can be taken by the Chairman and Executive Board (excluding, if present, an incumbent standing for election), on condition that it be ratified by an emergency meeting of the National Executive.

2.57 An official can support who they choose. No official can use their position or the data they hold to declare support for any candidate.

2.58 Party members will have two weeks from date of posting of the ballots in which to return the papers marked with their choice. The returned ballots will remain sealed until the two week period is over, whereupon they will be opened and counted in the presence of the candidates and their representatives.

2.59 The candidate with the most popular votes will be declared duly elected and take up the role with immediate effect.

2.60 Election Timeframes and Extraordinary Circumstances

2.61 The position of National Leader shall be valid for four years, subject to the right of recall by the National Executive as outlined below.

2.62 If at the end of this period, no nominations are received, and the incumbent indicates his or her desire to retain the post, he or she will duly be considered to be re-elected unopposed.

2.63 If the National Leader should fall ill, be incapacitated or otherwise be unable to fulfil his or her duties to any reason whatsoever, the Party Chairman, subject to ratification by the National Executive, may declare a vacancy at any time and implement an election procedure subject to the time frames laid out above.

2.64 In exceptional circumstances, the National Leader may be removed from office by a vote of 75 percent of the full National Executive in terms of a no-confidence motion. The quorum required for such a decision is 90 percent.

2.65 In order to ensure that a decision taken in terms of section 2.64 is representative of the majority of the party structure, any National Executive taking such a decision will also instantly be dissolved and will have to seek re-election from its constituent bodies (the Regional Councils).

Chapter 3: The Annual General Meeting (“Conference”)

3.1 The Party must hold an Annual General Meeting (“Conference”) each year during the first week of November. The National Executive has the right to determine precise dates and other arrangements.

3.2 Attendance at the Conference is open to all members, restricted only by space.

3.3 Voting on Conference motions is limited to those members with more than one year’s continuous membership.

3.4 Voting on motions which determine party policy require an 80 percent quorum at the Conference, which in turn must be representative of at least 80 percent of all the active groups and branches.

Chapter 5: Candidate Selection Procedures

5.1 All candidates for local and national elections are to be selected by local organisations.

5.2 The guideline as outlined in paragraph 5.1 can only be interfered with under the following circumstances:

5.3 An 80% quorum of the National Executive agrees to deselect a local candidate after hearing all the details surrounding any such contentious nomination, or

5.4 There is no local organisation capable of choosing a candidate, in which case the Regional Organiser must take on the role of candidate selection.

Chapter 6: Revisions to this Constitution

6.1 Changes to this constitution may only be made by a 75 percent majority vote at the Annual General Meeting (“Conference”) of the Party.

6.2 Such a conference must be representative of at least 80 percent of all active groups and branches.

Code of Conduct (Annexure A)

A.1 Disciplinary Procedure

A.2 All elected Party officials and Party Officers must bring beaches of the code of conduct to the attention of the National Executive’s disciplinary subcommittee within two weeks of the breach occurring.

A.3 The disciplinary subcommittee must immediately make a recommendation to the Party Chairman to either expel or suspend the member in question, subject to appeal, or to place the member on disciplinary charges. All decisions by the Party Chairman in this regard must be ratified by the National Executive.

A.4 The National Executive shall arrange for any hearings or appeals to be heard and concluded within four weeks of any complaint, suspension or expulsion.

A.5 The disciplinary tribunal must consist of the Regional Organiser concerned, and at least two other members appointed by him. The decision of the hearing is final and no appeal is allowed after that.

A.6 If the Regional Organiser is the accused, another Regional Organiser must act in his place.

A.7 Offences.

A.8 No member of the party shall be a member of another political party. No party official may be a member of any other party.

A.9 All Members and Party Officials are obligated to treat all other Members and Party Officials with due courtesy and respect, even in the event of disagreement on fundamental issues.

A.10 All Members agree to abide the majority vote decision of any party body.

A.11 All Members are under an obligation to always act in a way which will not bring the party into disrepute. The National Executive’s disciplinary subcommittee and Party Chairman, subject to ratification by the National Executive, have the right to determine the definition of “disrepute.”

A.12 All Members are obligated to raise concerns on any aspect of Party activity or behaviour in the correct hierarchal channels, either to Group leader, Branch Chairman, Regional Organiser, Regional Council member, National Executive member or Chairman, in that order.

A.13 The distribution, by any electronic or printed means, of dissatisfaction, allegations of any sort, true or false, outside of the official channels, is expressly forbidden. In leadership election challenges, no material which brings the party into disrepute shall be distributed via any of these means.

A.14 All Party Officials are entrusted with access to confidential information and any unauthorised distribution of such material is an offence.

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