Congress ‘postponed’

Scargill blames SLP members

September 23 1998

To: Constituency Socialist Labour Party secretaries, National Women’s Section, Socialist Labour Youth and affiliated trade unions

Dear Comrade(s):

SLP Congress 1998

Saturday November 14 1998

The SLP’s national executive committee, meeting in Blackpool on Saturday September 12 1998, noted that there have been a number of major political developments over the past few months, the mass Reclaim Our Rights demonstration on May 1 1999, local authority elections, Welsh assembly and Scottish parliament elections and European parliamentary elections, all of which are to be held on the same day in May 1999.

The NEC has received a number of letters seeking a postponement of the annual congress to a later date (a) because those writing felt they should have been circularised earlier, although it was acknowledged that the timetable for congress is clearly set out in the party’s constitution and the NEC did set the date of November 14 at its meeting of April 18 1998; and (b) because the circular reminding CSLPs, sections and trade union affiliates of the congress deadlines was not initially circulated to 53 CSLPs because the party’s national office did not have at the time any listed secretary or contact for those CSLPs to whom the party could write. As a result, 53 CSLPs could only have motions, amendments and nominations accepted subject to the agreement of the NEC and congress.

Following discussion, the NEC agreed that the Socialist Labour Party’s energies must be fully utilised in campaigning for the Scottish parliament, Welsh assembly and the European elections - all of which are to be held under a list system of proportional representation. In addition, the party must do all it can to ensure that the national Reclaim Our Rights demonstration scheduled for May 1 1999 is a complete success. In order to accomplish this, and in response to the requests to postpone congress, the NEC unanimously agreed:

“That a special one-day congress be convened on Saturday November 14 1998, from 11.00am until 4.30pm in Manchester, at the Mechanics’ Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD, and that attendance will be limited to one delegate from each CSLP, National Women’s Section, Socialist Labour Youth and affiliated trade unions, representation which will provide for over 200 delegates.”

The NEC unanimously agreed that the agenda for this special congress be limited to:

1.  SLP 1998 congress:

“This Special Congress agrees that the 1998 Party Congress be postponed until November 1999.”

2.  Constitutional amendments:

(a) Clause VI - Party congress: (18)(b) add at end: “and who are financial members 13 weeks prior to any card vote being taken at a congress, or at a special congress.”

(b) Clause VI - Party congress: insert new (18)(c): “Members of constituency parties for the purposes of a card vote shall also include any members who are financial members 13 weeks prior to any card vote being taken at a congress, or at a special congress.”

3.  Reclaim Our Rights national demonstration on May 1 1999.

4.  Elections for European members of parliament, the Scottish parliament, Welsh assembly, local authority elections and possibly the mayoral election for London.

5.  Election of national officers and national executive committee for the year 1998/1999.

I have been asked to emphasise that the decision to recommend the postponement of the 1998 annual congress in light of the current political situation was taken unanimously by all three national officers and by all members of the NEC present at the meeting.

Attached is a full list of all comrades who have been nominated and accepted nomination for election as either national officers or members of the national executive committee.

Would you please notify me in writing as quickly as possible of your delegate’s name, full address and telephone number in order that credentials can be prepared and dispatched at the earliest date. Please mark your envelopes: SLP congress 1998. If comrades acquire [sic] accommodation on the Friday night (November 13), please notify me at the same time, and we will arrange for our Manchester comrades to make the necessary arrangements.


Arthur Scargill
general secretary