Labour prepares for general election with office move

Updated: 

Labour is to move into bigger offices as it beefs up staff numbers in preparation for a possible general election.

The party's ruling National Executive Committee will be briefed on the move from its current offices in Victoria Street, London, at a meeting on Tuesday, at which they had been expected to discuss proposed changes to Labour's internal democracy, including elections to the shadow cabinet.

MPs voted overwhelmingly in September for the restoration of their right to elect shadow cabinet members, in a move which was seen as an attempt to restrict Jeremy Corbyn's control over the direction of the party.

However, a decision on the change was deferred until November 22 by a meeting of the NEC at Labour's conference in Liverpool.

A source close to the leadership denied that the issue had been "shelved" but said that the focus of Tuesday's meeting would instead be preparations for a general election which Mr Corbyn has repeatedly suggested could come before the scheduled date of May 2020. It is understood that the leadership is still seeking to build consensus on reforms which could include improved NEC representation for members and shadow cabinet elections.

Shadow cabinet member Jon Trickett will tell the NEC that significant progress has been made in preparations for a possible early general election. The party has commissioned polling company BMG and taken on Krow Communications, the advertising and branding agency which promotes Team GB athletes.

It has also enhanced its digital campaigning tools, including a Labour Promote system which allows activists to upload campaign adverts onto Facebook.

A Labour source said: "The prospect of an early general election has accelerated our progress in bringing the Labour Party's campaigning techniques up to date. Some of the things that have been developed are pioneering.

"We know that when people are asked about our policies they like them, and the improvements we have made to our campaigning infrastructure will help the party gets its message out more effectively."