I think this has gone on more than long enough. Let's all calm down, and work towards a solution.
Simonclifford has every right to express his concerns. I think he's highlighted a potential problem, and I see a clear cut need to clarify the constitution so it defines exactly what constitutes notification of the members, to ensure we don't have this issue next time.
Having said that, the ballot does already have a 'reopen nominations' option, for exactly this reason.
Another fact to bear in mind is that the Officers have a history of trying to be as democratic as possible, a prime example being this very election. The previous vote for Officer roles specified a term of two years. The Officers themselves decided to voluntarily hold new elections after just 1/4 of this term, so that they party could be seen to be even more democratic.
Thirdly, we are due to hold ballots on contsitutional amendments before the end of next month, so we already have a procedure in place for resolving this sort of issue.
Fourthly, we already have a mechanism to remove an officer who has lost the confidence of the members. From the constitution "At any time, members or the NEC may propose a vote of no confidence in any elected officer. Such a vote will be triggered if 25% or more of the fully paid-up membership or over 50% of the NEC members make their desire for a vote of no confidence known to the NEC. The NEC will then organise a vote of party members to retain or dismiss the officer..."
I propose the following as a solution, and invite your constructive comments:
In just 4 days time, we will have the election results, and we will have hard figures on how much demand there is from the members to reopen nominations. At that point we will know if we should treat this as a small technical issue, or as a major constitutional crisis. If the 'reopen' option wins on any officer vote, then Simonclifford's concerns about lack of options can be dealt with by holding the new election with the member mailout calling for candidates that he suggests, and I am happy to commit as either leader or as temporary leader pending a new election, to doing it that way in those circumstances.
If the reopen option narrowly loses any officer vote, then I will treat this as constitutional crisis, and as either leader or as temporary leader pending a new election, I will commit myself to moving the officer's focus away from pressing issues such as the Digital Economy Bill, organising the manifesto, selecting candidates, and so on to work out an emergency constitutional fix, get it approved by the membership and then hold a new election, as our top priority.
If the reopen option loses convincingly all round then we safely can treat this as a technicality, and I will invite Simonclifford to write a constitutional amendment that would remove the problem in future to his and my satisfaction, and I will encourage the members to vote for it. If members do not agree with my post-election assessment of the seriousness of the issue, or my methods of dealing with this, then they are, as always, welcome to gather a 25% quorum and hold a vote of no confidence as provided for in the constitution.
I realise the words 'convincingly' and 'narrowly' in the above proposition are open to interpretation, so I would welcome everyone's input on what percentage levels we should assign to them.