Labour Left Takes Control: Tony Benn and the 1981 Wembley Conference

Tides Of History

Labour Conference at Wembley to decide rules for electing the leader. With the party on the verge of a historic split, the left – led by Tony Benn – demand greater grassroots influence over the leadership election

A thread on the party debates and its impact:

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After many years organising on the left, a commission was set up by the NEC to change the way in which the leadership of the party was elected.

An electoral college with a 50:25:20:5 weighting for the PLP, trade unions, CLPs and affiliated societies was proposed

The electoral college was agreed in principle at the 1980 Labour conference with the precise weightings of the college to be decided at a special conference in January 1981.

Michael Foot was elected leader under the old rules of PLP votes before it could be introduced

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Dubbed ‘Suicide Saturday’ by the press, the run-up to Wembley was dominated…

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