Momentum launch policy primary to agree Labour conference motions

Sienna Rodgers

Momentum is launching a policy primary process today that will see members of the organisation vote on the eight motions supported and put to Labour Party conference later this year.

The democratic exercise will allow Momentum members to offer a “socialist vision for Labour” and “shape a platform of left policy to campaign for at Labour conference in 2021”, according to the group.

The activist network “aims to leave this year’s party conference with Labour democratically committed to transformative socialist policies that can meet the challenges of the current crises of Covid-19 and climate change”.

The ‘policy primary’ will be undertaken as part of efforts by the Momentum leadership first elected in July last year to deliver on promises of making the organisation more internally democratic.

It will allow local Momentum groups, unaffiliated campaigning organisations, affiliated groups and trade unions to submit policy motions, which will then go through a compositing and shortlisting process.

Following these steps, the motions will be subject to a one-member-one-vote ballot by Momentum members who are expected to vote for or against motions and rank the proposals by preference.

“The most popular eight motions will be chosen for Momentum’s 2021 conference mobilisation,” the group said. It is expected that activists will seek battles over policies based on Keir Starmer’s ten pledges.

As a leadership candidate, Starmer unveiled a list of pledges including an increase in income tax for the top 5% of earners. Labour left activists have expressed interest in testing his ongoing commitment to the policies.

Co-chair Andrew Scattergood said: “Labour needs a socialist vision for the future. By harnessing the creativity and knowledge of our membership, Momentum is going to help shape a serious left platform to transform Britain.”

Momentum has already announced its intention to campaign for an elected Labour general secretary as a rule change (rather than policy) motion, giving all party members a say in who takes the top job in future.

The controversial move – which is unlikely to secure the support of Labour left trade unions such as Unite – would scrap the current system of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) appointing its most senior official.

Labour’s 2021 conference is planned for September, along with contingencies for a hybrid or online conference. Last year, conference was replaced by online event ‘Connected’, which did not allow for policy-making.

NEC member Alice Perry has revealed that there have been discussions around suggestions for online policy motion compositing meetings, which she said “sound like they will be very challenging”.

But the NEC vice-chair and member of the equalities sub-committee added that an online conference would “reduce costs for delegates and potentially make conference more accessible”.

Labour is not compelled to include policy motions passed at annual conferences in their election manifestos, but the process allows members to express views, debate ideas and put pressure on the leadership.

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