Scottish Labour conference ‘open to ordinary members’

Kezia Dugdale has insisted that nothing should be 'swept under the carpet' in debates. Picture: John Devlin
Kezia Dugdale has insisted that nothing should be 'swept under the carpet' in debates. Picture: John Devlin
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SCOTTISH Labour has thrown open its party conference to ordinary members who can attend for just £5 and debate whatever they like.

New leader Kezia Dugdale said she is determined “nothing should be swept under the carpet” in the debates that could shape the future policy of the party, which has suffered a series of electoral defeats in recent years.

We shouldn’t be afraid of the views of our members and supporters. We want you to have your say. Nothing should be swept under the carpet because it’s too difficult

Kezia Dugdale

She pledged to end the “conference control freakery” of previous party leaders, who are understood to have suppressed contentious issues in favour of more consensual debates at conference.

Members will be balloted on the issues they want to discuss on Friday October 30, with the selected issues to be debated the following Sunday.

Ms Dugdale has already advised that a debate on Trident is on the table following renewed splits created by UK leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance, which has been backed by Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley.

In an email to local constituency Labour parties announcing the changes, Ms Dugdale said: “During the leadership contest, Alex Rowley and I said we want to open up the Scottish Labour Party to members and supporters across the country. We want people to find a home in Labour once again.

“The role of members isn’t to just vote for a new leader, something you’ve been asked to do all too often in recent times.

“It should be to put forward ideas about how we can transform our country to make it a better place to live for everybody.

“We shouldn’t be afraid of the views of our members and supporters. We want you to have your say. Nothing should be swept under the carpet because it’s too difficult.

“The days of conference control freakery in all political parties in Scotland must come to an end.”

The move came as Scottish Labour unveiled it had attracted more than 3,400 new members since the general election.

The party now has more than 28,000 people in Scotland signed up to help its campaign, made up of more than 17,000 members, almost 3,300 registered supporters and almost 8,000 affiliated supporters.