Why Momentum members would not be affected by legal ‘other organisation’ expulsion

Some readers have contacted the SKWAWKBOX with concerns that the legal precedent set by the Labour party – which directly contradicts General Secretary Iain McNicol’s attempt to avoid taking responsibility for the behaviour of groups such as Progress and Labour First – might also result in the expulsion of Momentum members.

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While this possibility did of course occur to this writer, the letter from a Harrow West member was already on its way to McNicol, so the SKWAWKBOX article was not going to put the idea into his head.

However, in any case it’s extremely unlikely that the same legal precedent would apply to Momentum members, for at least two reasons:

Not a ‘political organisation’

Momentum, as it stands, would not qualify as a ‘political organisation’ in the terms of the Labour rule that the Party recently used to expel a Socialist Voice supporter – and is bound by its rules, which have the force of law according to a highly-qualified barrister, to apply to the likes of Progress.

Firstly, unlike the other groups, Momentum does not take ‘policy positions’, which is a key defining characteristic of a ‘political organisation’. A senior Labour figure told this blog:

This rule is the exact reason why Momentum had to impose the new constitution. The existing structures were taking Momentum down the path of having official policy positions, these are clear markers for the definition of an independent political organisation, policy debates and work should be done in the Labour party and not a separate organisation.

We had clear indication that the Right were organising in the party structures and laying the ground work for when Momentum had its initially proposed conference before the new constitution. As soon as Momentum started pushing through policy positions that conflicted with Labour Policy they would have been proscribed and all supporters (not just members would have been banned).

However the institutional Left faction ignored most of this imminent threat. To most taking the lead on that side they’d had already been working outside the realm of Labour and they were ready to break off and form TUSC 2 (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) or whatever.

The leadership were in danger of being forced to withdraw support from what was looking more likely an organisation about to be proscribed – that’s the reason for the urgent imposition of a new constitution.

Second – and in conjunction with the new Momentum constitution – Momentum are working toward formal affilitation with the Labour Party – a move that ProgressLabour First et al have always strenuously avoided because of the limitations it would put on their behaviour. An organisation in the process of affiliation could legally argue that it should not be subject to the same ‘other political organisations’ strictures.

While this news will be of comfort to members and supporters of Momentum, it would probably not apply to the Grassroots Momentum group that was set up after the new Momentum constitution was put in place. In view of the legal precedent and the information about the right-wing action plan provided the senior Labour source quoted above, it may be that those running and supporting the newer group need to reconsider their direction.

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  1. What about the Labour Representation Committee – LRC? Can Labour party members be members of that and not fall foul of this ruling, please? Pension Credit 60 Now

  2. Was gunna give Tom your message but i don’t think he wanted it.@tom_watson

    You are blocked from following @tom_watson and viewing @tom_watson’s Tweets. Learn more. haahahahahhahah!

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