‘Compass Labour Network’ launched to promote new cross-party alliance

Sienna Rodgers

The ‘Compass Labour Network’ is being launched to promote “positive collaboration” between Labour and other parties and form a “centre and left alliance” capable of defeating the Tories, LabourList can reveal.

The freshly established organisation will focus on building support within the Labour Party at every level in favour of cross-party working, with similar Compass groups being launched for the Lib Dems and Greens.

“The aim will be to build trust, develop shared policy ideas and campaign together both for future progressive change and to thwart one of the most regressive governments in living memory,” Compass has said.

Led by Labour activists and supported by the Compass office, the network intends to help find the “best form of electoral cooperation” that will lead to securing a Labour-led government at the next general election.

The group will be open to any Labour member or supporter, and is set to hold informal discussion meetings, run fringe events, publish articles and campaign on “issues relevant to a progressive alliance”.

It has the support of journalist Paul Mason, former Momentum national coordinator Laura Parker, author Jeremy Gilbert, Labour peer Ruth Lister, Global Justice Now’s Nick Dearden and 2019 parliamentary candidate Gerry Mitchell.

Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Jon Cruddas will join the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, Liberal Dem Layla Moran and the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard for a rally on Monday around building a “progressive majority”.

In a statement on the network, Compass declared: “We believe there is a progressive majority out there to created and mobilised – not just to win an election but to be a big part of the transformation of our country.

“But it demands our political parties are won over to collaboration. We have four years. We have to start now, on the anniversary of the 2019 election, and build from here.”

A new report by Compass, ‘If Labour struggles to win alone, what is to be done?’, stresses the scale of the challenge facing Labour at the next election. Keir Starmer’s party would need to gain 124 seats to win.

“The electoral facts point to one conclusion: Labour will struggle to win alone,” the report concludes. It argues that, as well as helping to win office, an alliance could give rise to a “new politics”.

The report reads: “Trusted relationships and a common agenda will take time and patience to establish. Unless that work begins now, we won’t be ready to dial up cooperation when it’s needed.”

Compass believes that winning “takes an ecosystem”, as shown by the US presidential election, and that Labour must firmly commit to backing proportional representation as a replacement for first-past-the-post.

“Starmer has opened the door to PR – and it’s up to us to stick our foot in there,” the report contends, referring to comments in the leadership race when he said millions voting in safe seats should be “addressed”.

Under the group’s plans, electoral reform would be one aspect of a “common agenda” in support of constitutional reform, universal basic services, a form of basic income, a four-day week and a green new deal.

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