Protocol for Reselection of the Incumbent holder of a Large Single Seat
Article 19.6 of the Federal Constitution states:
The rules shall provide that, if a sitting MP indicates a wish to stand at the next General Election:
(a) a general meeting of the Local Party shall be called and, if the MP is endorsed at the meeting by a majority of those members present and voting by secret ballot, the MP shall thereby be re-selected; and
(b) if the resolution is defeated, the MP may request a ballot of all members of the Local Party, and shall be re-selected if the proposition is supported by a majority of those voting.
Although not explicitly provided for in the Federal Constitution, it will be pragmatic for a similar procedure to be followed for the re-selection of the Incumbent holder of a Large Single Seat.
A Large Single Seat was defined by the English Candidates' Committee (ECC) at its meeting on 13th November 2021 as follows:
A Large Single Seat is one for which the electoral area is greater than one parliamentary constituency, for example a Police (Fire) and Crime Commissioner or directly-elected mayor.
The English Council meeting on 18th December 2021 amended sections 7.5 and 7.9 of the English Party constitution to endorse the authority of the ECC to make rules for approval and selection of candidates for Large Single Seats.
Electoral area: the geographical area covered by the Large Single Seat.
Executive Group: the Chairs of each of the relevant local parties.
Incumbent: The elected holder of the Large Single Seat.
Relevant Local Parties: all the local parties within the current electoral area.
After two years of the Incumbent's elected term of office have elapsed, the Executive Group may require the Incumbent to indicate within one month whether or not they wish to stand at the next election for that seat.
The procedure for reselecting the Incumbent of a Large Single Seat is as follows:
- Once two years have elapsed after the General Election the Executive Group should contact the Incumbent to establish if they wish to re-stand.
- The Executive Group, having established that the Incumbent wishes to re-stand, will ask the Regional Candidates Chair to appoint an RO who is not a member of any of the Relevant Local Parties to oversee the ballot.
- The Returning Officer will request a list of eligible voting members for the electoral area from Membership Services. Valid voting membership status is determined in the same way as for a PPC selection process; the cut-off date for eligibility is the date of appointment of the Returning Officer.
- A meeting of the eligible voting members of the Relevant Local Parties must be held. The meeting may be in person or virtual, as circumstances dictate.
- A minimum of three weeks' notice of the meeting must be given. The meeting agenda must include a resolution to re-select the Incumbent; other items may be included at the discretion of the Executive Group.
- The meeting invitation must be sent to all eligible voting members, including those whose membership has lapsed for less than three months before the date of the meeting and who will be eligible to vote if their subscription is renewed at or before the meeting.
- The Incumbent may be invited to address the meeting.
- If the meeting is in person, the Returning Officer will issue a ballot paper to each eligible voting member who attends. The ballot paper will contain the option to re-select or not re-select the Incumbent. The Returning Officer will conduct and count a secret ballot and announce the result at the meeting. In the event of a tie the Incumbent is not re-selected.
- If the meeting is virtual the Returning Officer will note the names of all eligible voting members in attendance and will arrange for them to be sent voting instructions and a unique link to an electronic ballot administered by Liberal Democrat HQ, a third-party organisation approved by the Liberal Democrats or someone trained by the Regional Party to use approved third-party software. The ballot will contain the option to re-select or not re-select the Incumbent. The ballot will remain active for two weeks from the date on which the link is sent out. The Returning Officer will notify the result to the Executive Group and the Incumbent once the count has been completed. In the event of a tie the Incumbent is not re-selected.
- If the Incumbent loses the vote they may request a vote of the full eligible voting membership, which will be conducted electronically or by postal ballot at the discretion of the Executive Group. In the event of a tie the Incumbent is not re-selected.
- If the Incumbent is not re-selected by the protocol set out above and has retained their status as an approved candidate for the type of seat, they may apply in the same way as any other candidate when the selection is in progress.