The GMB and Progress – what happened, and what might happen next?


There has been lots of chatter today about the GMB and Progress, but perhaps due to the relative lack of journalists here in person (whither the industrial correspondent?) with the creditable exception of the Guardian amongst others it seems like there’s some confusion about what actually happened.

One motion today did discuss Progress. You can read the whole motion here. But it didn’t resolve to seek the “outlawing” of Progress (although as Sunny Hundal rightly notes, it did compare Progress to Militant). What it resolved to do was:

“work to maintain unity within the Labour Party, but that the Labour Party can only succeed when we promote policies that benefit working people”


“that the national political officer should monitor the factional activity of Progress, and report to the CEC with recommendations.”

However in a speech summing up the debate, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said:

“On Progress let me say this. I know that at this very moment a resolution is written and will be delivered to the Labour Party shortly. It is a rule amendment which will go before this year’s Conference for next year which, effectively, will outlaw Progress as part of the Labour Party, and long overdue it is.”

So GMB didn’t pass a motion to outlaw Progress, but it seems that a resolution coming to this year’s party conference in Manchester will seek to do just that. And although the GMB didn’t vote on such a motion today, the support for it from the union seemed clear both from what Kenny said, and the applause for the sentiment in the room.

The question is – will other unions follow suit?

And who, if not the GMB, who is bringing the Labour Party resolution to try and “outlaw” Progress?

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