Aims and History
Our aims are to…
- Promote the aims, values and objectives of the UK Labour Party.
- Provide a focal point for the social and political needs of Labour Party members and supporters living or working abroad either permanently or temporarily.
- Develop electoral support for the Party among British citizens abroad.
- Work with sister parties in different countries where these share the aims, values and objectives of the UK Labour Party.
- Develop the unique set of international competencies and talents of LI members for the benefit of both the Labour Party and the UK.
- Support the Labour Party, as and when appropriate, through the raising of funds.
And this is the history of our organisation…
In 1973, shortly after Britain joined what is now the EU, a group of enthusiasts formed what was then called the British Labour Group (BLG) to bring together Labour Party members and supporters in Brussels, now known as Brussels Labour.
The Labour Supporters’ Group was founded in Javea in 1992, as a point of contact for Labour members living on the Costa Blanca, Spain. At almost the same time another group of Labour Supporters was established in Andalucia, Spain, based around Benalmadena. There was also an active group in Rome, Italy, established by veteran “Votes for Life” campaigner, Harry Shindler.
Labour International was formed within the Labour Party in 1997 and the existing groups became formal branches under the umbrella of LI. Rules and procedures were introduced to be compatible with those in the UK, but some allowances were made to reflect the circumstances of being abroad.
The broad aims of the Labour Party were retained, to attract supporters of Labour, with the aspiration of their joining the party. To this end, three types of local membership were established:
- Ordinary members – members who have transferred out of a UK CLP to LI, or simply joined LI
- Extraordinary members – those who retain their membership of a UK CLP but spend long periods of time outside the UK
- Associate members – those sympathetic to Labour but not yet ready to join or those who cannot join because they do not satisfy the UK Party membership conditions.
The 2010 rules: In those early days very few of the members used email. A proposal was made around 2007 to extend the period of office for LICC members to save on the high cost of postage for elections. There were some objections to this proposal and the NEC stepped in and suspended LICC for a period whilst the rules were re-written.
Those LI rules were defined by a group comprising the NEC and the existing LICC members. They were finalised in July 2008. These rules were amended in 2009 and 2010, to be more specific about the timing of LICC elections, tighten up financial procedures and remove some ambiguities. All changes had NEC approval. You can read the LI Rules (2010).
After long discussions with the NEC, a new set of rules and a new structure were approved for LI on 2 April 2019. We have now changed over from an AMM structure to a General Committee (GC) structure. Instead of the LICC we now have a new Labour International Executive Committee (LIEC) with 14 posts, elected by members. Our branches are choosing their delegates for the GC meetings, and their representative for the LIEC meetings. There are now also three non-voting regional coordinator posts.