Progress and Labour First are set to jointly launch a new umbrella organisation called ‘Labour to Win’ as a response to Keir Starmer’s call for party unity.
The two groups are separate and represent different traditions in the party, though they have both been home to Corbynsceptics over the last four-and-a-half years.
Their fresh collaborative project is being established to celebrate the election of new leader Starmer, who has their “100% support”, as a historic turning point for Labour.
Labour to Win will aim to bring together groups within Labour that agree the party must now “change radically if we are to regain our ability to win elections”.
It is intended to be a show of unity by the so-called ‘moderate’ wing of the party – and also to help highlight Starmer’s key messages of electability and competence.
Their stated objectives are as follows:
- “To rally support within the party for its new leadership and support them in the mammoth effort now required to bring about fundamental change in the party’s culture and organisation so as to defeat this populist and nationalist Tory government at the next general election;
- “To provide our supporters with the information, arguments and organisational support they need to win internal party debates;
- “To create a forum for the debate and dissemination of new ideas and policies essential to demonstrate that the party has a new popular and winning policy platform to offer the country;
- “To build networks for a new and diverse generation of activists, councillors and parliamentary candidates to gain experience and learn from each other; and
- “To provide a space in which old members, new members, rejoiners and those let down by Jeremy Corbyn can find support and encouragement.”
A statement released to announce the launch stresses the importance of “compelling and effective leadership” during the Covid-19 pandemic currently taking people’s lives in the UK.
It reads: “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Keir in our commitment to work with government – at all levels, of all political persuasions, and in all parts of the country – to beat this and protect our fellow citizens.”
The statement adds: “We greet Keir’s election with a huge sense of relief that what has been a lost decade in our party’s history is coming to an end. We must now all focus on ensuring Labour is once again seen as a party of government.”
Labour First, led by its secretary Luke Akehurst, was originally founded in 1980 before being relaunched by Labour MP John Spellar in 1988. It is associated with the party’s ‘old right’.
Progress started in 1996 to support New Labour and the leadership of Tony Blair. It was not closely linked to Labour First, but the two organisations grew closer during the Corbyn era.