2018 South East Regional Conference

Pavilion Labour sent four delegates to 2018 South East Labour Party Regional Conference, or #LabSE18, which was held in Southampton over 3 – 4 November 2018.

Denise Friend reports from 2018 South East Regional Conference:

Some months ago I was asked if I would be a delegate to the South East Regional Conference and present a motion similar to the one that I had put forward to our CLP earlier in the year, on the issue of trans rights.

Amongst other things, our motion to the Conference said “We call upon the Regional Board and NEC to consider how trans people can be supported to fully participate in our Party, and to ensure that Labour is inclusive of all”.

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Disappointingly though, despite the motion having been submitted 6 weeks earlier, we were informed only three weeks after the submissions deadline for conference that it had been rejected.

We decided that this was too important an issue to be dismissed and so we took action.

Claire produced some flyers and Gabriel, Sarah and myself set off with the intention of leafleting those going into the conference about the situation with our motion.

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Pavilion Labour’s Sarah Pickett, Denise Friend and Gabriel McCook leafleted delegates as they arrived at #LabSE18 asking their support to table our CLP’s motion for debate.

We also intended to raise a ‘point of order’ during ‘motions’ and ask for an explanation as to why our motion had been rejected; we wanted it re instated, discussed and voted upon. The Regional Board and its CAC had unfairly rejected our proposal.

To cut a long story short, we felt that the dismissal of our motion was turning a blind eye to the discrimination that trans people face. We could not stand by and allow for the Trans community’s chance to find support from our Local Labour Party, to be simply pushed aside.

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Our stand-up protest begins at #LabSE18 with support from Unite, GMB and other CLPs.  In just a few minutes, many more delegates had joined in.

And so, we felt we had to disrupt the proceedings until the Chair put it to the floor whether the motion should be reinstated. When that happened, the support for the reinstatement of our motion was almost unanimous and it was entered onto the following day’s agenda.

On the same day, as if by chance, the importance of our motion was brought home at the conference. An attendee caused an unpleasant scene at the Unite stand, simply because our flyers advocating ‘Transgender Rights’, were being displayed on their stall!

However, in spite of this, it was a wholly empowering and uplifting day, where we and so many others felt that Labour had listened to us, and responded in a democratic way.

The next day our motion was proposed by Gabriel, seconded by Unite, discussed and adopted overwhelmingly by South East Labour Party Regional Conference.

Friends, there is never an inappropriate time to make a stand against injustice. 

 

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