Labour left activists are set to launch open primaries as they prepare to run candidates in the upcoming internal elections of Corbynite network Momentum, which revealed a timetable earlier this week.
Forward Momentum, a new campaign aiming to “refound” and “democratise” the organisation chaired by Jon Lansman, has confirmed that it will run a slate for the national coordinating group (NCG).
It has announced today that candidates for its slate will be selected through a process of open primaries, with organised hustings, in an effort to show they “practice what they preach” on internal democracy.
Members have argued that these plans stand in contrast to the ones established by the current NCG of Momentum, which has decided not to hold digital hustings for the elections.
Forward Momentum’s Deborah Hermanns said: “Momentum’s officers have said they want to listen to and empower members. And while it is understandable that physical hustings may not now be possible, their decision not to hold even digital hustings closes down the vital debate over Momentum’s future.
“This denies members a chance to engage with those who want to represent them, calling into question this commitment. Forward Momentum will be holding hustings to decide our slate of NCG candidates and we urge Momentum’s leadership to reverse their decision and give all members the opportunity to make an informed decision about who they want to lead Momentum.”
It has been pointed out that Momentum held “online activist meet-ups” involving over 400 members last weekend, which shows that hustings are viable according to some activists.
Ahead of the NCG contests due to kick off at the end of May, Forward Momentum has opened nominations for prospective candidates who must be members of Momentum and the Labour Party.
To have a chance of securing a place on the slate, hopefuls need to be nominated by 15 people from their region or nation who have signed up as supporters of Forward Momentum.
Nominations for the Forward Momentum slate will close on May 9th, with voting set to start taking place in the following week. A one-member-one-vote system will be used.
Almost 2,000 people have so far signed up to support the campaign, which aims to change the direction of Momentum and has been backed by John McDonnell and the party-affiliated Fire Brigades’ Union.
It is expected that there will be at least two slates for the Momentum NCG, as well as independent candidates. Sources say it is not yet certain whether Jon Lansman, currently chair, will stand again himself.
There has been speculation that a slate could be formed around the Tribune magazine, which recently published an editorial setting out its ideas for the future of Labour left and Momentum.
As revealed by LabourList earlier in the week, the newly launched Momentum Internationalists group will seek to promote its own candidates via the Forward Momentum slate.
Momentum NCG elections will see nominations open from May 28th until June 11th, and a one-member-one-vote ballot held from June 16th to June 30th.