Report of Momentum NC 28 January 2017

by Nick Wrack

Eighteen members of the Momentum National Committee attended its meeting in London on Saturday 28 January 2017. I attended as a delegate from London, elected from the London Regional Committee. There were 13 regional delegates, two from the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), one from Red Labour, one LGBT+ rep and Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU. There were a further 30 observers from around the country.

We met in defiance of the coup carried out by the previous Steering Committee chair Jon Lansman and five allies who, without any discussion or prior notice, purported to impose a new constitution on Momentum, abolishing the existing regional committees/networks, the national committee, the steering committee and cancelling the national conference being planned by the Conference Arrangements Committee which had been elected at the National Committee held on 3 December 2016.

The meeting was called by members of the Steering Committee who opposed the coup.

Much has already been written about the coup. No doubt many Momentum members would like not to discuss it any more. But such a scandalous, undemocratic manoeuvre cannot simply be accepted or ignored – ostrich-like – so that we all just move along as though nothing of any import has occurred.

In forty years activity in the Labour movement I have not experienced anything like it. Can you imagine if a trade union had suffered a similar event? Imagine one morning you wake up and read that the president of your union has decided to cancel the annual conference; abolish the national committee and the regional committees; and to impose a new way of electing a new, different national leadership body. There would be uproar. There would be a revolt from below.

And rightly so. Anti-democratic acts are incompatible with the socialist movement. They will destroy it. Trade unionists and socialists aim for a new form of society – a society in which the limited democracy we now enjoy is extended to full democracy.  Such a society cannot be built unless the movement that aims to achieve it is itself democratic. Any attempts to cut corners, on the argument that the end justifies the means, will inevitably undermine our cause.

The socialist movement requires the mass engagement of the working class. But most people will not tolerate actions that undermine their ability to participate fully, expecting them to do as they are told. We need the Labour Party to be fully democratic, so that its members can argue for change and achieve it without bureaucratic obstacles preventing it. How can Momentum argue, without embarrassment, for the Labour Party to be democratised, if it tolerates what has just occurred?

Those who have organised and carried out this coup deserve no support whatsoever. Those who have welcomed the imposed constitution deserve the same. How can anyone who endorses such undemocratic practice be trusted to act democratically if elected to positions of authority within the Labour Party or trade unions? There is a layer that agrees that the coup was undemocratic but, for the sake of peace, argues that we should now just accept it and move on. I can’t agree with this approach either. Momentum is rotting from the head and it will soon affect every aspect of the organisation. The coup is no small matter, to be brushed to one side. When faced with such outrages people have to take a stand. Democracy is fundamental. Without it our movement cannot succeed.

It has been extremely encouraging to see so many local groups condemn and reject the coup. The LRC and Red Labour have refused to participate in the elections to the newly created National Coordinating Group (NCG).

It should be remembered that the members’ ‘survey’ issued by the national office, which has been used to justify the coup, was not trailed as being anything more than a survey. There had been no discussion over the content or formulation of the questions. There was no prior indication that it was to be used to alter the existing structures overnight. The constitution was imposed, not put to the members in the local groups, at a national conference or in an OMOV vote of all the members. It contains little OMOV. The constitution that I drafted with Matt Wrack contains far more OMOV but has been completely ignored. The new NCG will contain a minority of OMOV elected members’ representatives. It will be virtually impossible to change the new constitution. Those members who have argued for OMOV have been sold a pup.

It was very good that this NC meeting started with a political discussion, addressing national and international developments and the need for clear socialist policies to respond to the rising right-wing ‘populism’. We need more discussions like this at local level, addressing seriously how we deal with Brexit, trade wars, nationalism, racism, free movement, austerity and cuts and, more fundamentally, what sort of society are we striving to achieve.

Two motions were proposed and agreed with some minor amendments. In short form the NC rejected the coup and agreed that it would not dissolve. A new ‘coordinating committee’ was elected comprising Matt Wrack, Jackie Walker, Jill Mountford, Josie Runswick, Alec Price, Delia Mattiss and Michael Chessum.

Most importantly, the NC agreed to support a national meeting of representatives from local groups to take place on 11 March 2017. All local groups should discuss this and agree to send delegates.

There was some discussion about how to approach the current elections to the new NCG. My own view is that these elections should be boycotted. Opponents of the coup should not stand for election, nominate or vote. To do so, in my opinion, will only serve to give some legitimacy to the new constitution, when it deserves none whatsoever. However, some members of the NC had already put their names forward and there are anti-coup candidates standing, so I did not support the NC taking a position on whether to boycott or not. I believe that those who are standing are mistaken to do so; they are naïve to stand and are overestimating their ability to effect change.

I see no way of stopping or reversing the coup. Jon Lansman and his allies have effectively used their control of the database, the office and the means of communication to shut down any meaningful democracy within Momentum. Those who call for compromise should set out the detail of the compromise they believe possible. Every time a compromise has been reached Jon Lansman has acted to undo it. But, as a last-ditch effort to see if any compromise is possible, the NC agreed to my proposal that we invite Jon Lansman and his key supporters to meet with a delegation from the NC, under the auspices of John McDonnell, to see if we can find a way forward.

The crucial struggle to fight for democracy and socialist policies in the Labour Party has suffered a setback with recent developments in Momentum but that struggle will continue. We are not fair-weather friends of Jeremy Corbyn. We will continue to support him, critically when necessary, and we will not join those who voice a desire for a new leader. A new leader at this moment means a victory for the right and we must oppose that.

Much more must now be done to build a network of local groups, so that they can share experience and ideas, develop policy at a national level and coordinate activity. The meeting on 11 March will be a crucial staging post. That meeting must assert its commitment to democracy and socialist policies and develop a way to organise independent of those responsible for the coup. We need to build the activist socialist base in every Constituency Labour Party so that we have the numbers and the ideas to change the Labour Party from bottom to top.

An email from Jon Lansman to the Momentum Steering Committee

From: Jon Lansman
Date: Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 7:39 PM
Subject: Proposal to Steering Group: A new constitution for Momentum

To: Marsha Jane Thompson, Christine Shawcroft, Sam Tarry, Jacqueline Walker, Martyn Cook, Michael Chessum, Matt Wrack, Sam Wheeler, Professor Cecile Wright, Jill Mountford, Maggie Simpson
Cc: Emma Rees, Adam Klug

Dear Colleagues

I am writing to explain why, in consultation with a number of others in Momentum, the Leader’s office and trade unions that have supported Jeremy Corbyn, I have decided to propose today that we immediately act to put Momentum on the proper footing that those dependant on the success of Jeremy’s leadership need it to be and our members want it to be.
Most of our members joined Momentum because they support Jeremy Corbyn and want to help him achieve what he is trying to do. We must put behind us the paralysis that has for months bedevilled all our national structures, and focus on our most urgent task – winning the general election that could come within months, by turning Labour into an effective force committed to that task, and to the transformative government that would follow.
I have also taken legal advice, based on a review of a substantial body of Momentum records, which is that in order to operate effectively as an organisation with members, Momentum needs written rules or a constitution with which all its members agree, and in our current circumstances, the only way of agreeing such a constitution which is binding on the relationship between the organisation and our members is to seek the individual consent of each of our members and affiliates.
The papers which are included in this mailing set out:

  1. The results of the survey initiated by Jeremy Corbyn’s pre-Christmas message to Momentum members, which indicate members’ overwhelming support for the type of organisation we will continue to build, action-focused, rooted in our communities, wholly committed to the Labour Party, and involving our members directly in decision-making;
  2. A constitution which establishes a sustainable democratic framework for the sort of organisation we need – an outwards-looking, campaigning organisation to change and strengthen the Labour Party, not to mirror its structures. This constitution would apply from now but would be reviewed in due course and be subject to amendments;
  3. A paper on interim governance
  4. A paper on election process for the new National Coordinating Group to replace existing regional and national structures.

The Constitution may not be perfect in everyone’s eyes, but, whatever process we follow, it is common ground that we need one, and it is surely better to have it now and amend it later by a process that is indisputable. As well as setting out the essential elements of our aims and objectives as they have always appeared on our website and in our public statements, the constitution:

  1. Reinforces our wholehearted commitment to the Labour Party by restating our aim of working towards affiliation, and requiring all members to be party members;
  2. Provides for elections and key decisions including changes to the constitution to be made by our members themselves;
  3. Provides for a structure with minimum bureaucracy reflecting members desire to focus externally on organising and campaigning through our local groups, liberation networks and the Labour Party rather than internally on making policy for ourselves.

If this constitution is agreed, the effect would be to wind up the SC, the NC and CAC, with immediate effect, though the conference would go ahead but under the new rules, no motions would be considered.
If you are happy with all these proposals as they stand, please indicate by email. If there is a majority – I think we all recognise that we shall continue to disagree on this matter – I propose that we seek the approval of members immediately.
In solidarity

Jon Lansman
Momentum National Steering Group






A constitution for Momentum combining delegates & OMOV

This is a draft constitution for Momentum written by Matt Wrack and Nick Wrack.

It is hoped that this will be considered at the Momentum conference which is scheduled for 18 February. 

It aims to take the debate away from the false polarisation of delegates vs OMOV (one member, one vote). It seeks to bring together elements of delegated democracy and online voting by all members. In fact, online voting by all members for national officers and members of the National Committee is proposed across the board.

This constitution aims to embed accountability, transparency and democratic membership control into the DNA of Momentum. Without these essential ingredients, Momentum cannot develop.

We recognise that there are many policy and campaigning issues that local groups will want to discuss but Momentum also needs a workable set of rules to give it some structure. We believe that this constitution begins to do that.

We hope that it will be discussed in Momentum’s local groups and special interest/liberation groups in the run up to conference.

  1. Momentum is a network of Labour Party members and supporters which:
    1. Campaigns for the Labour Party to adopt a socialist programme and to campaign for socialist policies in society generally;
    2. Campaigns for the democratisation of the Labour Party;
    3. Campaigns for the election of those who support socialist policies to officers’ positions within the Labour Party and for the selection of those who support socialist policies as Labour Party candidates in public elections.
  2. Membership of Momentum is open to all who support the aims of Momentum and who do not support candidates against Labour. Members must pay the relevant membership subscription.
  1. The basic unit of Momentum is the local group. This can be defined by local authority, constituency or other geographical area where appropriate.
  2. Momentum will have groups for the following members:
    1. Women
    2. LGBT+
    3. BAME
    4. Disabled
    5. Youth
  3. Trade Unions can affiliate to Momentum at national level.
  4. Momentum is organised on the basis of accountability, transparency and democratic membership control.
  5. Local groups, regions and groups recognised under paragraph 4, can determine their own campaigns and other relevant business in keeping with the aims of Momentum.
  6. There will be an annual national conference. Conference is the sovereign body of Momentum, i.e. the highest decision making body. Conference will be organised in such a way as to maximise membership participation. This will include delegate structures as well as wider (including on-line) engagement with all members.
  7. In between annual conferences decisions on the running of Momentum, national policy statements and campaigning will be taken by the National Committee.
  8. In between meetings of the National Committee decisions on the running of Momentum, national policy statements and campaigning will be taken by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is a sub-committee of the National Committee and is subordinate and accountable to the National Committee.
  9. Local groups, regions and groups recognised under paragraph 4 can publish their own policy statements and take their own campaigning initiatives in line with the aims of Momentum.
  10. There will be Regional Committees (based on regions as organised by the Labour Party) made up of two representatives per local group. Where there is a properly functioning and recognised (by the National Committee) regional group of any of the groups recognised under paragraph 4 it will be entitled to two representatives on the Regional Committee.
  11. Representation at and to higher committees and national conference must be gender-balanced, with at least 50% being women.
  12. The gender-balance principle will be applied throughout Momentum.
  13. The minutes of the National Committee and the Steering Committee will be published as soon as practicable for all members to read.
  14. The National Committee shall be elected yearly and will comprise:
    1. The National Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, which shall be elected by a vote of the whole membership. Candidates must obtain the nomination of at least one local group. Election will be by Single Transferable Vote.
    2. Representatives from the regions on the basis of one per 800 or part thereof. Election will be by a vote of the whole membership of the region concerned. Candidates must obtain the nomination of at least one local group within the region. Election will be by Single Transferable Vote.
    3. Two representatives per group recognised under paragraph 4. Election will be by a vote of the whole membership of the special group concerned.
    4. Two representatives per affiliated union. Representation will be determined by the Trade Union concerned.
  15. Membership of the Steering Committee shall comprise:
    1. The National Chair, Secretary and Treasurer;
    2. One representative per affiliated trade union;
    3. Eight members elected by the National Committee by Single Transferable Vote.
  16. Any member of the National Committee may be subject to recall in the following circumstances:
    1. In respect of the National Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, a new election will be held upon a vote of No Confidence by a simple majority of the National Committee, or by a call for a re-election backed by the number of members equal to half of the number of those who voted in the national election for the respective officer.
    2. In respect of the regional representatives to the National Committee, a new election will be held upon a vote of No Confidence by a simple majority of the Regional Committee, or by a call for a re-election backed by the number of members equal to half of the number of those who voted in the national election for the respective officer.
    3. In respect of the groups recognised under paragraph 4, a new election will be held upon a call for a re-election backed by the number of members equal to half of the number of those who voted in the national election for the respective representative.
    4. In respect of the trade union representation on the National Committee, that will be left to the trade union concerned.
  17. Regional representatives to the National Committee shall be accountable in between annual elections to their Regional Committee. Elected NC representatives from the Region shall be voting members of their Regional Committee.
  18. A new election in respect of the eight members of the Steering Committee who are elected by the National Committee shall be held on a motion supported by a simple majority of the National Committee. A motion calling for such a re-election must be on notice to the National Secretary at least two weeks before the meeting at which the vote is taken.
  19. Every local group, group recognised under paragraph 4, trade union and Regional Committee shall be entitled to submit one motion to the annual national conference.
  20. The outgoing National Committee shall be entitled to submit two motions to the annual national conference.
  21. Except where provided by paragraph 23 (a) motions from local groups to the annual conference must be agreed at a properly convened members’ meeting of the local group.
    1. Any local group may decide at a properly convened members’ meeting that voting on its motion to annual national conference is to be by a vote of all members conducted electronically.
    2. Where a local group agrees to hold an electronic ballot of all its members in respect of its motion to annual national conference, it must notify both the Regional Committee and the National Committee, which must ensure that all necessary safeguards are in place to ensure that all entitled members are able to vote and that the integrity of the vote is guaranteed.
  22. The annual national conference shall be organised by a Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC).
  23. The CAC shall comprise of seven people (gender-balanced).
  24. Four members of the CAC shall be elected by the NC from among its members by STV. Three members of the CAC shall be elected by a vote of the whole membership by STV.
  25. The CAC shall have the responsibility of arranging conference business.
  26. Votes at the annual national conference shall be determined by a simple majority.
  27. Following the annual national conference there will be a post-conference ballot in which all motions passed at the conference shall be sent to all the members with the purpose of asking the members to indicate whether they
    1. Agree, or
    2. Disagree, or
    3. seek Continued Debate
        with the decisions taken at the National Conference and to also list them in terms of priority for importance and campaigning.
  28. The National Committee, Steering Committee and Regional Committees must take the views of the membership votes in the post-conference ballot into account when determining campaigning initiatives.


A positive outcome: Report of Momentum National Committee

The Saturday 3 December 2016 meeting of the Momentum National Committee (NC) made a series of important decisions which enable the whole Momentum membership to build for a successful first national conference in late February/early March 2017.

It will help your understanding of this report to have the compendious papers prepared for the meeting before you.

There have been quite a few reports of the meeting; some have been quite negative and, in my opinion, completely misrepresent what took place. Some will have caused consternation among Momentum’s impressively large 20,000 members, especially as some very negative and destructive comments have been widely reported in the mainstream press. While there was some poor behaviour on both sides there was nothing to justify the outlandish, toe-curling accounts given in some reports.

It is important to note that, despite the meeting being fractious at times, a lot was achieved. The NC agreed, albeit by small majorities, a set of procedures for taking motions and electing delegates for the important first Momentum national conference. No decisions have been made in respect of electing a new National Committee. I assume that will be a decision made by conference.

Although the procedures agreed will not be to everybody’s satisfaction – and clearly they upset some of the NC delegates who voted against them – they give us all  clear guidance for the size and composition of conference, how motions can be sent and how delegates will be elected. We can now focus on the debates we want to have, while building the local groups. In my opinion, Momentum must look outwards to recruit new members to Labour and to Momentum itself, and turn in towards the ward and constituency Labour Party to strengthen support for Jeremy Corbyn and the socialist left.

Failure to re-elect the Steering Committee

Disappointingly, the NC failed narrowly to assert control over the Steering Committee (SC), which has repeatedly ignored or by-passed the NC. The SC had cancelled a previous meeting of the NC and decided a method of organising conference. Both decisions had to be rescinded following an outcry from the membership. The SC had then proceeded to introduce the MxV website for inviting proposals to conference, without waiting for this NC to consider the matter. As it was, the MxV system was rejected by the NC.

Further, three of the SC members were no longer members of the NC. Two – Michael Chessum and Marshajane Thompson – had stood for re-election to the NC twice and lost both times. Sam Wheeler did not seek re-election. Nearly all of the delegates to the NC had been re-elected recently, yet the SC had not had its mandate renewed. By the decision of the NC the SC has been allowed to continue in office despite its lack of any meaningful mandate.

Despite this, the balance sheet for the NC is positive, even though getting through the full agenda was at times difficult. Even those whose proposals and arguments were defeated should accept that the decisions have been made and should now help to ensure that the conference is successful. It is important that conference decides on how Momentum is to be structured and what its aims and objectives are.

I have no desire to fall out with those who voted against the propositions I supported, or who supported propositions I opposed. Voting is how we resolve differences. We move on. We all, I hope, want to see Momentum continue to grow and deepen its influence inside the Labour Party.

Changing the order of business

I spoke at the beginning of the meeting after a video message from Jeremy Corbyn was played welcoming us all to the National Committee, and after introductory remarks from Matt Wrack (General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union) who chaired the first session. I moved an amendment to the agenda to take parts 2 and 3 of Motion 10 from London as the first item. This motion called for the NC to hold an election for the SC.

This proposed change to the agenda was so that, if the parts from Motion 10 passed, there would be enough time to hold elections for the Steering Committee, count the ballot and announce the results. I should stress that several of us had agreed to make this proposed change to the agenda as soon as we had seen it. It had nothing to do with people being absent due to lateness, as has been suggested by some. I had no idea at the time that not everyone was present.

I also moved that Item 6 (on conference arrangements) and Item 7 (motions from regions) were taken next. Members in many local groups, or at least regional committees/networks, had discussed the various options regarding the structure of conference at some length. It was important that we did not run out of time and fail to make the essential decisions on how conference was to be conducted. I argued that it would also mean we could discuss the less contentious issues as a last item and leave the meeting in a spirit of unity. As it turned out, we did run out of time and could not deal with everything on the agenda.

As part of my motivation I firstly noted that we all agreed on the significant achievements of Momentum – helping to re-elect Jeremy Corbyn, building across the country and recruiting 20,000 members. I argued that we should aim to play our part in building a million-strong Labour Party with socialist policies and aim to double and triple Momentum’s membership, as an essential step in transforming the Labour Party. That is why we need effective, democratic and accountable leading committees. Any disagreements between us at the NC had to be seen against our common venture. I also explained that any criticisms of the Steering Committee were not personal, but political, and were certainly not directed at the staff or volunteers, whose work is valued and appreciated by all.

I had written a series of observation and recommendations on how to vote, which I distributed to the NC delegates. I will admit that I heard much stronger arguments than mine from other delegates on many of the issues, for example on the importance of the conference being able to discuss policy, as set out in Option B [Purpose and powers of conference, see below]. And I was persuaded by the debate to change my mind on at least one occasion.

The decisions made

  • The NC voted 27-26 to take London’s motion 10, parts 2 & 3 at the beginning of the meeting. This was a a proposal to hold an election for a new Steering Committee.
    I moved the proposal and voted for it.
  • The NC voted 28-24 to then take Items 6 (conference procedure) and 7 (motions from regions) and move other items on the agenda to follow.
    I moved the proposal and voted for it.
  • The NC then voted 30-29 against holding an election for a new Steering Committee.
    I moved the Motion and voted for it.

    There were issues about the credentials of some of the delegates and whether they were all entitled to vote. I will deal with this in a separate article.

Item 6: Conference

  1. The Purpose and powers of conference:
    The NC voted 29-28 in support of Option B, moved by Matt Wrack, as opposed to Option A, moved by Jon Lansman. Option A limited the scope of motions to be submitted to conference. Option B made it clear that conference was the sovereign body of Momentum and allowed policy making motions to be submitted to conference.
  2. Timing of conference:
    Option B (to hold the conference in April) was withdrawn. Option A was agreed, with the conference to be held one week either side of 25 February 2017. The date was remitted to the newly elected Conference Arrangements Committee.

[We had a lunch break and then reconvened. Here something quite extraordinary occurred. The delegate from Left Futures called for a recount on the vote taken on The purpose and powers of conference despite the fact that we had moved on to the next item, voted on it and then taken a lunch break. Some forty or so minutes had passed and it appeared that some delegates had arrived late. Perhaps it was thought the original narrow vote could be overturned.

[Christine Shawcroft, in the chair, called for a vote on the motion to take a recount and her ruling was challenged. The motion to challenge the chair’s ruling was tied at 29-29, so was not carried. The motion to recount was then put and was defeated 32-29, with one abstention.]

  1. How proposals get to conference

Option A (Jon Lansman) received 27 votes. This was a complicated set of hurdles involving MxV.

Option B (London, North East, West Midlands) received 32 votes; with one abstention. This set out the basis of a delegate conference based on local groups and liberation groups and a clear time-table, alongside an e-forum for all members and an online priorities ballot.
Two amendments to Option B were overwhelmingly defeated.

I voted for Option B.

  1. Composition of conference:
    Consideration 1

    It was agreed by 33 votes – a majority, so the votes against were not counted – to agree that delegates to conference be on the basis of 2 per every 100 members or part thereof.I voted for this basis of representation, as I thought it would be easier to book a suitably sized venue.

    Consideration 2

    Option A was agreed by 35 votes. This proposed that there would be delegates elected by one-member-one-vote (OMOV) from areas without a local group on the same ration as for local groups.
    As this was a majority, Option B from London (delegates only, no top-up lists) fell.I had originally intended to vote for Option B but in fact was persuaded by the discussion to change my mind and I voted for Option A, the OMOV election.It was further agreed that motions could be sent to conference with the support of 30 members from areas where there is no local group.
    I had not intended to support this but changed my mind and voted for it.
    Consideration 3

    Option A was withdrawn.
    It was agreed by 30 votes (Option B) to 27 votes (Option C) to have further discussion between the NC and the various liberation strands and Youth & Students about the number of delegates they should have to conference. There will be at least one further NC before conference.I spoke in favour of Option B and voted for it.
  2. Who organises conference?

    It was overwhelmingly agreed that a Conference Arrangements Committee of 7 be elected at this NC. Later, following one-minute speeches from (I think) 13 candidates the following seven were elected: Delia Mattis, Jackie Walker, Alec Price, Josie Runswick, Huda Elmi, Lotte Boumelha and James Elliott.
  3. How voting is done?

    There were four mutually exclusive options so voting was done by exhaustive ballot:

Option A (Jon Lansman) which proposed conference delegates voting for six proposal is each of three categories, followed by an OMOV STV ballot. It received 28 votes.

Option B (Michael Chessum) which was a sort of hybrid of delegate debate and OMOV followed by a 7-stage process. It received 0 votes.

Option C (London) which proposed a delegate conference with decisions made at the conference. It received 28 votes.

Option D (Yorkshire & Humberside) which proposed a simpler hybrid system. It received [I am not sure that it was counted, as it obviously fell]

As Options B & D fell there was a second ballot between A & C.

Option A received 28 votes.
Option C received 31 votes – Carried.

I spoke in favour of Option C and voted for it.

  1. How local groups elect delegatesIt was agreed that local groups would elect delegates by face to face meetings open to all members; where there is no local group, election will be by OMOV.

Item 7: Motions from Regions etc

  1. National housebuilding (South East) – eco-homes: Carried on a show of hands.
  2. Defend Migrants, defend free movement (Youth& Students, Lewisham) – An amendment to remove ‘privately’ from the last sentence was carried. The motion was then carried on a show of hands, with two abstentions.
  3. Motions/Items 5 & 6 were remitted to the SC.
  4. Motion 4: Suspensions and annulments (North West) was moved formally and carried without debate on a show of hands.

There was no time to take the remaining motions, nor to discuss the mapping exercise. The Treasurer’s Report was ‘Noted’ and will be considered at the next NC meeting to be held in January.


Some comments on social media have expressed disappointment at the decisions to proceed with a delegate-based conference. I can understand this. Many see OMOV as a better, more inclusive way of making decisions. I don’t see it as such a blanket panacea. It has its place and, as you can see above, I voted in favour of it for certain aspects of the conference arrangements.

I have made some general observations about OMOV in an article, which I encourage you to read. But the debate at the NC was not about OMOV in the abstract. It was the particular OMOV proposals that were presented to this NC that had to be considered. In my opinion they were convoluted, overly complicated and would have caused confusion. They could have led to different conflicting decisions, some backed by conference but rejected by the membership, causing uncertainty and a lack of clarity at the very least. Please take the time to read the proposals in the NC papers. Conference can still make decisions to introduce OMOV for some or all of Momentum’s decision making. For the reasons in my article, I don’t think that would be sensible, but conference is sovereign.

I can’t accept the criticism that those of us who voted for a primarily delegate-based conference are somehow acting against the interests of Momentum or “care little for reforming and democratising the Labour Party and even less so about getting it elected into government”, let alone the more outrageous and scurrilous accusations made against me and others. Such criticism is nothing more than spiteful and exaggerated factionalising after losing a series of votes. It is a large bunch of sour grapes. We will always have differences; if it is not over OMOV it will be about something else. Differences are inevitable in politics. It’s how we deal with them that is important. We disagree. We vote. We shake hands or have a pint. As I said above, we move on.

Moving on

I hope we can now have some productive discussions in the run up to conference, debating what we want Momentum to stand for and to campaign for alongside some serious campaigning. I hope to see the local groups grow and proliferate.

If we are to transform the Labour Party from top to bottom, as is required to strengthen the new leadership, then we need to build our activist base, with a commitment to socialist policies. That, surely, has to be one of the main things to come out of conference.

Motion on the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and Jackie Walker

The following motion was passed by 16 votes to 0, with 14 abstentions at the meeting of the London Momentum Regional Committee on Saturday 19th November.

“Motion on the anti-Semitism witch-hunt and Jackie Walker for London Momentum

London Momentum condemns the anti-Semitism witch-hunt against the Labour Party left.

London Momentum opposes all forms of racism including anti-semitism. We believe that combating oppressive and discriminatory behaviour in society and in the labour movement is integral to socialist activity. However, the report of the Chakrabarti inquiry found the allegations of widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to be unfounded and criticised the way in which the investigations and suspensions by the Labour Party disputes panel violated the principles of natural justice. Nevertheless, both the witch-hunt and the suspensions of Labour Party members have continued.

Unjustified attempts are now being made to undermine the credibility of the Chakrabarti report.

The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left by a united front of the mainstream media, the Conservatives, and the Labour right demonstrate the high stakes involved. The anti-Semitism witch-hunt is part of a wider assault and purge designed to discredit, isolate and destabilise the Labour leadership, as well as closing down the space for debate about the politics of the Middle East by equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

London Momentum calls for:

* all suspensions by the Labour Party disputes panel (or any other unaccountable body) to be lifted immediately and all expulsions to be speedily reviewed with the intention of reinstating those subjected to the politically-motivated purge;

* the establishment of an open and democratic Labour Party disciplinary process that should be under the control of the elected bodies of the Labour Party;

* Momentum nationally to fight back against the witch-hunt and campaign for the rights of Palestinians.

[Motion to be forwarded to the Momentum national committee.]

Submitted by Haringey Momentum”

Motions from North West Momentum for 3 December National Committee

Motion from North West Momentum for the Momentum National Committee on 3 December

We believe that

  • Momentum is a campaigning political movement which represents a spectrum of views among people who want to see progressive change in the Labour Party. It should be inclusive and respectful of differences. It must not seek to become a quasi political party with a fully worked out political programme.
  • However Momentum needs to be able to act quickly and effectively on issues as they come up, with a strong, clear national voice. This requires an element of central leadership and direction.
  • An effective national leadership can also promote activism though initiating campaigns, making resources quickly available, and sharing examples of successful local campaigns.
  • As an organisation whose goals include democratising the Labour Party, Momentum has to be member led, has to allow local groups a high degree of autonomy, and has to be genuinely responsive to members’ views.

It is therefore resolved that

  • There shall be an annual delegate conference which shall be the sovereign body of Momentum, which will decide to put key issues to a vote of all members.
  • Momentum will retain a regional structure. Each recognised region will be free to organise and structure itself as it sees fit, subject to conference decisions.
  • Conference will elect a National Committee (NC) with a minimum of 50 members, with gender balance and representation from each region.
  • Conference will also elect national officers as required, including Secretary, Chair and Treasurer. All elected officers will be on the NC.
  • The NC will determine how conference should operate, subject to any prior conference decisions. In particular the NC will consider whether further rules are needed to ensure that all internal elections achieve outcomes that are both inclusive and gender balanced. Conference will hear resolutions received from local groups which have at least 20 registered members.
  • Examples of appropriate subjects for resolutions may include the aims and constitution of Momentum, the way in which Momentum is organised, campaigning methods and priorities, and questions of strategy and tactics relating to our involvement in the Labour Party.
  • The NC will meet at least quarterly, and will confer regularly in between meetings through secure electronic channels.
  • The NC’s functions will include email communications with members and supporters; national website and social media; any official Momentum publications; oversight of any official online forums or chatrooms that it’s agreed to establish; producing resources eg posters, leaflets, newsletters, t-shirts, badges and stickers. The NC may delegate any of these functions to volunteers from within Momentum or to paid staff.
  • Other functions which may not be possible to delegate will include establishing a political line on the events of the day, press and publicity, membership and finance, responding to issues raised by local groups, disciplinary matters.
  • The NC should aspire to be a springboard for activism : a group that generates ideas, initiates campaigns, and ensures that these are properly followed through. It should actively seek ways of enabling the sharing of ideas and positive campaigning experiences across the different Regions.


Motion to Momentum National Committee from the Momentum North West regional meeting

This Momentum National Committee expresses its solidarity with:

Party members in suspended Labour Parties including Wallasey;

Party members where their democratic operation is under attack, such as Liverpool Riverside whose AGM is being delayed;

Brighton and Hove DLP whose elections have been annulled, and

Members who have been unjustly suspended and expelled across the country.

The National Committee agrees to:

  • Support activists in Wallasey CLP, Liverpool Riverside CLP and Brighton and Hove DLP in quickly re-establishing their Parties under the democratic control of their members;
  • Investigate which other CLPs and Party Branches are suspended and why, trying to make contact with activists and offer help and support;
  • Issue a national email to the Momentum database with a model motion urging supporters to put it to Party Branches, CLPs and affiliated Unions, to raise this issue across the country.
  • Work with Labour Party units and Trade Unions to convene a meeting of activists to consider what further practical steps can be taken at all levels in the Party and the unions to get suspended CLPs functioning again, establish fair and proper procedures for considering complaints, and ensure that individual members are fairly treated. The meeting should be a working event, involving Momentum Steering Committee members, left wing NEC members, activists from suspended Parties, and people from the various groups which are campaigning on these issues. It should aim to draw up an agreed plan of action to assist suspended Parties and unjustly expelled or suspended members.


Motion to Momentum National Committee from the Momentum North West regional meeting

Momentum needs clearer channels of communication at all levels so that we can be informed in proper time in order to be able to send delegations and motions.


Motion from London to 3 December National Committee re National Conference

The following motion was passed by 24 votes to 1, with 3 abstentions at the meeting of the London Momentum Regional Committee on Saturday 19th November.

“The Momentum London Regional Committee agrees to send the following motion to the National Committee.

The Momentum National Committee agrees that:

1. Momentum’s national conference in February 2017 should be a delegate-based conference with decision-making by delegates voting at the conference.

2. The delegates will be from local branches and affiliated groups.

a. Each local group may send 2 delegates per 50 members or part         thereof, up to a maximum of 10, at least 50% of these to be women and these to be elected at a meeting where appropriate.

b. Momentum Youth & Students and liberation groups may send a number of delegates to be agreed by the National Committee in consultation with these groups, subject to the verification of structures and election processes by the National Committee.

c. Each affiliated unions may send 5 delegates if their membership is less than 250,000, and 10 otherwise.

d. The outgoing National Committee may attend as ex officio non-voting delegates.

3. The conference invite and accept motions, amendments and nominations not only from the current national committee and regional committees, but also from recognised Momentum branches. Motions are to be geared towards broad policy discussion.

a. Each local group may send 1 motion.

b. Momentum Youth & Students and liberation groups may send 1 motion each.

c. Each affiliated unions may send 1 motion.

d. The National Committee may send 1 motion or constitutional amendment.

e. Each Regional Committee may send 1 motion or constitutional amendment.

4. Motions to be submitted 3 weeks before conference (i.e. from 5 Dec to X Jan / Feb).

5. All motions to be shared on X date online and groups encouraged to composite motions (motions composited by more groups will move higher up the agenda as incentive to composite). Amendments to be circulated before the conference.

6. An open e-forum for all members should be set up, where motions can be discussed, amendments can be mooted and compositing processes can be arranged.

7. There should be an online priorities ballot.

8. The conference to be open to observers to attend as much as is practically possible.

9. The outgoing National Steering Committee to ensure that it has provided full reports for consideration and acceptance by the conference.”

Motion for 3 December National Committee from London Momentum Regional Committee

The following motion was passed by 27 votes to 1, with 2 abstentions at the meeting of the London Momentum Regional Committee on Saturday 19th November.

“The London Momentum Regional Committee agrees to send the following motion to the National Committee:

The National Committee agrees that:

  1. Local groups are the basic unit of Momentum. All members of Momentum should be encouraged to join and get involved in their local group. For those members where groups don’t presently exist the Momentum office and the regional committees/networks should encourage and support the establishment of new local groups. We should use FaceBook and e.groups as tools to bring members together to establish new groups. All unnecessary impediments to setting up local groups should be removed.
  2. In between National Annual Conferences, the National Committee (NC) is the highest elected body. The Steering Committee is a sub-committee of the NC elected from the NC.
  3. This meeting of the National Committee (3 December 2016) agrees to elect a new Steering Committee to hold office until the national conference, unless removed by the National Committee beforehand. The new SC will comprise of a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer elected directly by the NC by exhaustive ballot for each post, along with 8 other members to be elected by the NC by Single Transferable Vote, plus one representative from each affiliated Trade Union.
  4. In the interests of good communications and transparency, there will be a page on the national website that sets out and explains what the structures are in Momentum and who serves on the various committees (giving, with permission, contact details for our elected representatives). Minutes and decisions from all SC and NC meetings will be posted on the national website.
  5. This NC agrees to elect a sub-committee of three members from the NC to conduct a review of the current Momentum companies’ structure, with administrative support from a staff member. This sub-committee will make proposals to the next NC.
  6. This NC believes that Momentum needs a simple Rule book. This NC agrees to set up a working group made up of 5 members from the NC, with support from a staff member, to produce an initial draft for consideration at the next NC with a view to it being presented for adoption by the national conference.”

Informal meeting of Momentum NC members

by Nick Wrack

Yesterday there was an informal meeting of members of the Momentum National Committee (NC) in Birmingham, following a call from FBU general secretary Matt Wrack and several other NC members.

It was a meeting to discuss recent events and find a common way forward to help make Momentum a more effective campaigning socialist organisation. It was not to set up a rival NC or to entrench divisions within Momentum. Far from it. No one really wanted to spend a day discussing problems in Momentum when we have so many campaigns to build and so much work inside the Labour Party to carry out. We are all committed to building Momentum and are involved at local level.

All those who attended did so with the best interests of Momentum in mind. We have a unique opportunity to build Momentum as a massive socialist force in the Labour Party, which can turn out to recruit new members and turn in to the Labour Party to effect change from top to bottom. No-one wants this opportunity to be squandered.


The meeting was called to discuss the decisions of the Momentum Steering Committee (SC) on 28 October to cancel a long-scheduled NC meeting which was to take place on 5 November, and to hold the February national Momentum conference on the basis of OMOV (one member, one vote).

These decisions caused a lot of consternation across the country with four regional meetings (London, Eastern, South East and Northern) passing motions of censure on the SC over the weekend of 29/30 October.

On Wednesday 2 November the SC met and unanimously agreed a very good statement that went a long way to acknowledging that things should have been done differently and allowed Momentum members to breathe a sigh of relief.

Eighteen members of the NC and three members of Momentum Youth and Students’ group who had been delegated specifically to this meeting attended. There were apologies from three other NC members. A further thirteen observers were present, from Manchester, Yorkshire, West Midlands, East Midlands and London. Had the SC not issued its 2 November statement other members of the NC would have attended.

The meeting began with a discussion about recent events. Steering Committee members Jill Mountford, Michael Chessum, Jackie Walker and Matt Wrack all commented. There was general agreement that the democracy within Momentum’s leading bodies needed to be dramatically improved, and urgently. The criticism voiced was directed at a small number in the leadership, not at the staff and volunteers who, it was felt, do a great job but are poorly managed and directed.

Room for improvement

We then discussed proposals for how things could be improved. Among the suggestions put forward were:

  1. The need to restate that the NC is the highest body in Momentum, not the SC.
  2. A new SC should be elected at the next NC (which is on 3 December).
  3. The main officers of the SC should be elected by the NC, rather than by the SC.
  4. Local groups should be the basis of Momentum.
  5. Every member should be encouraged by the national office to join a local group.
  6. The national office should assist in setting up new local branches where they do not currently exist (the recent mapping exercise carried out by the office to see where the members live shows that 33% of members are not in a local group).
  7. We need to complete the mapping exercise.
  8. It should be made easier to establish a local group. There are too many hurdles to jump over before a group can be ‘verified’.
  9. There should be a page on the national website to set out the various proposals about structures.
  10. We should have a conference based on local group delegates.
  11. There should be clearer ‘routes of communication’ between the office and the members.
  12. We need to take a serious look at the Momentum companies’ structures and consider ways to democratise them. There was a concern about who controls the data about members and supporters.
  13. There should be a Momentum Rule Book.
  14. We need clear lines of accountability. Who is responsible for what?
  15. The role of the staff and volunteers should be better defined, with the elected leadership responsible for decisions taken and directing the staff on the basis of decisions taken by the SC and NC.
  16. The SC and NC must produce and circulate minutes. There should be an identified member of staff responsible for administering the running of the SC. Every decision should have identified the person who will implement the agreed action.
  17. Decisions about money and resources have to be taken democratically by the relevant officer/committee and those responsible must be accountable.

Structures: what sort of democracy?

Lastly we discussed the issues of OMOV and delegated democracy for the conference. There was a range of views. No one argued for a complete OMOV system. It seemed that most were in favour of a delegate based conference but quite a few argued for a mixed delegate/OMOV system. However, it is difficult to assess the merits of OMOV or of a mixed system without them being set out in black and white. We urgently need proponents of the varying systems to write them down for consideration.

I am strongly in favour of a delegate based conference, for the reasons set out in my article, but I am still open to persuasion. I argued, however, that those of us who want a delegate conference and a Momentum based on local groups cannot just insist that our proposals are right. We need to persuade patiently by careful argument and example.

In my opinion we need a constitution, structures and a conference that put primacy on creating activists who will turn out to campaign on issues affecting the working class as well as working to create a bigger, stronger and more effective socialist Labour party. That means going to ward and constituency meetings.

The meeting was a positive contribution to the building of a democratic and socialist Momentum and I hope that some of the ideas raised will feed into the NC on 3 December and the national conference in February.

The meeting raised £109 to assist three people with their travel costs.

If you would like any further information, please contact:

London Momentum Regional Committee, 29 October 2016

Minutes NC meeting 29 October 2016 

Delia Mattis (Chair)

 Proposal to move the discussion on NC cancellation to the end of the agenda.

Motion from the Chair to discuss NC first. Passed overwhelmingly

[Session 1] Cancellation of the NC

Jill explained what happened at the emergency SC meeting on 28 October.

Beth read out a statement from the staff about their concerns over legtimacy of some local groups.

Mike proposed Jon Lansman be allowed to speak earlier on the list – Chair overruled.

Nick Wrack moved a Censure motion on the SC.

Motion 1

“This meeting of the London Momentum Regional Committee censures the national SC for cancelling the meeting of the NC that was scheduled for 5 November and for agreeing a method of organising the national conference without waiting for the NC to discuss it.

We call for these decisions of the National Steering Committee on the conference and the National Committee to be rescinded and for the NC to proceed as originally scheduled on 5 November.”

Lorraine proposed “We do not accept the legitimacy of the SC decision and reject it”.

Sacha proposed inserting that if the next meeting was in December then it would definitely happen.

Nick agreed to insert after first paragraph insert “We do not recognise the legitimacy of the SC to make these decisions.”

Proposal to take the motion in parts.

“This meeting of the London Momentum Regional Committee censures the national SC for cancelling the meeting of the NC that was scheduled for 5 November and for agreeing a method of organising the national conference without waiting for the NC to discuss it. We do not recognise the legitimacy of the SC to make these decisions.

We call for these decisions of the National Steering Committee on the conference and the National Committee to be rescinded and for the NC to proceed as originally scheduled on 5 November.”

To delete the first paragraph:

6 in favour.

Against 23

Abstentions 3


31 in favour of motion unamended.

Abstentions 2


Motion was passed.


[End of session 1]




[Session 2]


Momentum Hackney statement

Meeting agreed to discussing Hackney’s statement separately from the process documents.

Charlie spoke on the Hackney statement

Discussion on the role of the London Regional Committee.

There was no proposal to vote on.

Structures debate

Michael introduced the first document

Mike introduced on Camden’s document

Stan introduced Hammersmith and Fulham’s document.

Sacha spoke on the composite Wrack/Mountford proposal


A Discussion from the Committee took place. No Structure paper was voted on. Chair advised more discussion with Local Groups.


National Committee delegates Election

Proposal from Nick Wrack  and Mike Tait for STV voting. Proposal from Chris Ford for more simple method.

The Committee voted overwhelmingly for STV.

Open Election

Candidates spoke

Rosie Woods on behalf of Jill Mountford in her absence.

Sara Callaway

Delia Mattis

Stan Keable

Nick Wrack

Charlie Clarke

Michael Chessum


National Committee Delegates Elected


Jill Mountford

Sara Callaway

Nick Wrack

Delia Mattis



London Region Steering Committee elections

Open elections

Simon proposed a position of vice-chair: accepted

The new Steering Committee for London Region is


Delia Mattis (Chair)

Mike Tate (vice chair)

Lee Griffiths (Secretary)

Jan and Linda (Secretary job share)

Rosie Woods (organiser)

Pasqual Mitchell (organiser)

Leigh Griffiths (organiser)

Simon Hannah (organiser)

Sara Callaway (organiser)