Labour party jargon buster

The Labour Party uses a lot of jargon. If you’re in the know it can be a useful shorthand, if you aren’t it can leave you feeling excluded and unsure of what’s going on. There is a jargon buster on the Labour Party national website and you can read our own jargon buster below or download a copy 

Hopefully this list, and the one on the national website, is helpful, but you shouldn’t have to memorise them to know what people are talking about. We should all remember to use plain, jargon free language that everyone can understand.

This version produced for Wallasey Branch from an original produced by Reddish branch. Sources include Unite the Union, Labour Party Website and various CLP Websites.

Affiliate Trade union or socialist society with established formal links with the Labour Party based on common values. Affiliates pay a subscription to the Party on behalf of their members.

Affiliated Supporter Member of an affiliated trade union or socialist society who has actively chosen to be an individual supporter of the Labour Party.

Agenda A list of what it is planned to discuss at meetings, notified in advance, and made available at the meeting.

All Member Meeting (AMM) Meeting of the Constituency Labour Party open to all members.

All Women Shortlist (AWS) Process to increase representation of women when selecting candidates at local and national level. At local level, the decision to make the selection of any ward’s candidates be an All Women Shortlist is made by the Local Campaign Forum and ratified by the Regional Office.

Annual General Meeting (AGM) Yearly business meeting at which the financial accounts are presented, reports of the past year’s work are given, officers are elected and standing orders are amended.

Backbencher MP or Councillor with no Cabinet responsibility.

BAME Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic.

Branch Labour Party (BLP) Division of the Labour Party usually based on ward  boundaries for local councillors. All members and supporters are allocated to a branch based on where they live or are registered to vote.

Cabinet Committee of senior government ministers/shadow ministers. Also the main decision making body of a Council, consisting of the Leader/elected Mayor & councillors with portfolio responsibilities.

Calling Cards (or “Out Cards”) Leaflets posted when door knocking if someone is not in to talk to, to let people know the local Labour Party called round. They usually have contact information and, for example, details of Councillors to contact with any issues.

Canvassing Asking for voter’s support at election time and issues-based campaigning done throughout the year, so that when it comes to election time, the party knows what matters to people and voters know why they should vote for Labour.

Collective Affiliation Formal link between affiliated trade union and the Labour Party.

Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) The committee which determines the shape of the agenda for Annual Conference, rules on the validity of contemporary and emergency motions, and acts as the steering committee for the conference. People are elected to the CAC by members periodically.

Constituency Labour Party (CLP) Division of the Labour Party based on the electoral district for the MP, comprises Labour Party branches and locally affiliated trade unions and socialist organisations.

Co-operative Party Political voice of the co-operative movement. It is a separate political party which has an electoral agreement with Labour.

Councillor Candidate Someone selected by members in a Labour party branch, after shortlisting and selection meetings, to stand as a councillor in the local ward.

Delegate Person elected to represent a Labour Party or trade union branch at other meetings, such as General Committees. Local parties also send delegates to National Conference.

Door knocking When members and candidates knock on people’s doors to talk to voters face to face.

Executive Committee (EC) Sub group of the Constituency Labour Party and/or Branch, consisting of key officers and representatives from affiliates that oversees local party business.

Front Bench Government Minister or Opposition shadow spokesperson. Also a Councillor with Portfolio responsibilities.

General Committee (GC) A meeting of the Constituency Labour Party formed of delegates from local branches and affiliates.

Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Campaign to identify Labour Party supporters and encourage them to turn out to vote, using canvassing and mailings.

Get Out The Postal Vote (GOTPV) – as above, for Postal votes.

Labour Group Grouping of all the Labour Councillors in a local authority.

Local Campaign Forum (LCF) Grouping of representatives from all CLPs in the same local authority with responsibility for overseeing local election campaigning and identifying candidates for council elections.  In our case, this is the Wirral Local Campaign Forum – we elect 3 representatives at our Annual General Meeting.

Mandating Those being represented requiring a representative to vote in a particular way on their behalf, on any particular issue

Minutes A record, produced by the Secretary, of who attends a meeting, what is discussed and agreed at a meeting. Completed minutes are agreed and ratified as correct following any necessary amendments.

Motion A formal proposal put to a meeting or committee, which is not yet agreed.  Any member of the branch can bring a motion to the branch, by sending their motion to the Secretary for a branch meeting.

National Executive Committee (NEC) Governing body of the Labour Party, provides strategic direction. Works in partnership with the party’s representatives in parliament, the European parliament, the devolved  administrations in Scotland and Wales and local government to secure the party’s objectives across the country. It’s made up of the Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Leader and Treasurer together with representatives from all sections of the party.

National Policy Forum (NPF) Body that oversees policy development outside national Labour Party Conference with representations from all sections of the Labour Party.

One Member One Vote (OMOV) Ballot system used for Labour Party elections, where all members receive one vote and all votes carry equal weight.

Panel Pool of candidates from which branches can select who they wish to stand in their ward in local elections.

Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) Collective body of Labour MPs.

Phone banking Talking to electors over the phone, usually carried out by a group of volunteer members working to a Voter ID or other script, and gathering responses.

Point of Order When someone raises the issue that the rules appear to be broken in a meeting. This may interrupt a speaker during debate, or anything else if the breach of the rules warrants it. The point is resolved before business continues. The Labour Party Rule book has information on how to make a Point of Order, and how it can be voted on or resolved.

Policy Commission Subject specific body that develops detailed policy, comprising members of the National Policy Forum, NEC and Cabinet/Shadow Cabinet.

Policy Forum Local or regional meeting of Labour Party members to discuss issues and feed views into the policy process.

Portfolio responsibility A specific council service such as housing or social care, that a front bench councillor has responsibility for overseeing.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPC) Candidate chosen by the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) to be the Labour candidate in a general election.

Quotas Policy to ensure gender balance, e.g. at least 50% of CLP delegates to Labour Party Conference must be women.

Registered Supporter A supporter who paid £3 for a vote in the 2015 leadership contest; this expires a year after the date you joined unless you re-join as an Affiliated Supporter or full Member You can re-join at

Resolution When a motion is accepted and adopted, it is then referred to as a resolution.

Rounds A round is a set of streets covered either by leafletting, or door-knocking sessions. One round is intended to take about an hour for 4 people, if door-knocking.

Rule Book The Labour Party Rule book contains the general rules for the Party and its units. It is updated after changes are made at Labour Conference.

Selection Process of choosing candidates to stand in local, regional, and national elections.

Shortlisting Process of deciding how many candidates to put forward to choose from to stand in local, regional and national elections.

Socialist Society Independent organisation affiliated to the Labour Party, e.g. Socialist Educational Association & Socialist Health Association.

Standing Orders Set of rules governing local Labour Party structures. They are based on the Labour Party Rule Book, but they can be varied from one area to another to suit local needs.

Trigger Ballot Process where Labour Party branches and local affiliates to a CLP decide whether to confirm that a sitting MP can stand for re-election or should face a full selection process.

The Board This is the log of who to talk to and where to record what people say when going out canvassing. It is compiled from data available from the Central Labour Party, and updated with data gathered in person – who the voters are, what their voting intentions are.

The Board Runner / Running the Board The person who “runs” the Board and will tell you which house to go to if you are door-knocking. They will give you some information about each individual, such as their previous voting intentions, or whether they have a postal vote. You report back what you find to the Board Runner, and they record it to update the data.

Young member If you are under 27 you are automatically a member of Young Labour

Voter ID The process of gathering people’s voting intentions, whether face to face or over the phone. It’s simply asking people who they intend to vote for.

Ward A local authority electoral district, the voters in which elect local councillors. A Labour party branch will cover one or more local authority wards.

Women’s Forum Part of the Labour Party’s equality structures, a Constituency-wide body open to all women members in the area, run by the Constituency Women’s Officer.


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