Labour backbencher sets out key questions over Momentum’s affiliation bid

12th January, 2017 9:37 am

Momentum rally

A Labour backbencher has called on party officials to answer a series of questions over Momentum’s controversial bid to win affiliation to the party.

Tom Blenkinsop has written to Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, expressing concern over the attempt by the Corbynite group to develop a formal tie with the party, similar to that enjoyed by trade unions.

The MP for Middlesborough South and East Cleveland asks whether the public pronouncements of some members of Momentum – which have occasionally prompted embarrassment for the group when they have made personal attacks on MPs – would be judged to represent it nationally.

Blenkinsop added: “I would think that given the controversy surrounding this organisation, as well as the fact it has openly welcomed members of proscribed organisation into its leadership, not to mention former members of our party who have been expelled or suspended by the NEC, any consideration of a proposal to affiliate this organisation to our party must be scrutinised with great care.”

Momentum, which has always said it does not tolerate any form of abuse, said this week it would seek formal affiliation to Labour as it tried to draw a line under a series of internal disagreements over its structure. The move was seen as a victory for chair Jon Lansman over Trotskyist activists.

“Over the coming months, Momentum will continue to grow, building our movement to encourage more people to participate in politics and help Labour harness its new mass membership to win power and rebuild and transform Britain,” a spokesperson for the group said this week.

When asked about Blenkinsop’s letter a spokesperson for Momentum told LabourList: “Momentum is focused on helping Labour to harness its 600,000 strong membership, as a dynamic campaigning movement that can build support for Labour’s plans to rebuild and transform Britain, in communities across the country. In order to best support the Labour Party, Momentum’s constitution states that affiliation to Labour is an organisational aim.”

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