Jon Lansman is stepping aside as chair of Momentum, LabourList revealed over the weekend. In a comment piece, the founder of the Corbynite organisation said he would continue in post until new members of Momentum’s national coordinating group are elected on June 30th, at which point he will “hand over to a new leadership”. And those contests are being hard-fought.
The latest platform is ‘Momentum Renewal’, which launched on Sunday with a statement exclusively published on LabourList. Big names have signed up: several MPs including Ian Lavery and Jon Trickett; members of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC); Tribune and Novara editors; activists such as Grace Blakeley. It will be interesting to see whether this approach is more successful than that of ‘Forward Momentum’, which launched early last month.
Going for a grassroots vibe, FM focused on pushing the democratisation of Momentum and itself held open primaries to put together a slate of candidates (to be announced today). This has already led to controversy over whether members linked to the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) should be allowed to stand, and so on. Implementing democratic processes without creating further internal divisions is difficult. Then again, FM activists might say a top-down approach only serves to temporarily cover up such disunity.
We’ll have more Momentum news over the coming days. Its future is significant in forging the direction of Labour as a whole – particularly in terms of whether a united left slate can be established for the NEC. Who sits on the ruling body is crucial, of course. Tomorrow the NEC will discuss conference and its own elections, due to be held this summer. Yet local parties have not had the chance to meet, nominate candidates, pass motions. It will also debate the introduction of a single transferable vote (STV) system for NEC elections. More on that soon.
The immigration bill returns to the Commons this afternoon. Unfortunately for the Tories, a big political move against migrants in the UK has become trickier thanks to Covid. Labour’s new Shadow Home Secretary has accused the government of “rank hypocrisy” as the plan will “make workers in the NHS and the care sector feel unwelcome in this country”. The proposed legislation “creates a threat to our national interest”, Nick Thomas-Symonds says. But an 80-seat majority means it should pass easily.
And finally, we have a piece from Unite the Union assistant general secretary Steve Turner today. It is a message for the Chancellor. He is urging Rishi Sunak to again get ministers round the table with trade unions and employers, this time with the aim of agreeing a post-Covid plan. As Keir Starmer so often says, the country can’t go back to business as usual.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.