Tonight sees the official launch of a new internal party group, the rather loftily titled “Labour for Democracy” (for what’s worth I doubt we’ll be getting a “Labour against Democracy” any time soon). The group is fronted by Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, who will act as their Chair. Announcing the formation of the group, Blomfield said:
“We’re committed to the radical change for Britain that Ed Miliband has set out in his One Nation agenda. We believe that it needs a new approach to the way we do politics, reaching out to those who share our values across parties. It’s not about coalitions or compromise, but building on popular support for progressive change that is shared by voters who do not always support Labour.”
As for the aims of the group, their website states that:
“All Labour members will work hard for every Labour vote. But whether we win the outright Labour majority we all seek, or end up with a less conclusive result, the change Britain needs will require the support of all who share our values.”
Many of those involved in Labour for Democracy were supporters of the Yes to AV campaign, with some of the early press coverage suggesting that the group is part of extending an olive branch to the Lib Dems ahead of a possible coalition. For those who are wondering to what extent this is being endorsed by the party leadership, it’s worth noting that John Denham (Ed Miliband’s PPS and one of his closest advisers) is backing the group, saying:
“Pluralism is simply a commitment to work with others, including members and supporters of other political parties if that increases our chances of achieving progressive change. While Labour values are most strongly supported by Labour voters, many supporters of other parties also share some of our values. No party today speaks exclusively for progressive opinion; none will do so in the future.”
The launch event is tonight at 6pm, Committee Room 17 in the commons. We’ll be watching with interest, as – I imagine – will be Labour minded members of the Lib Dems.