Hell breaking loose at CLPD AGM over ‘Ann Black’ motion to depose Willsman

A huge battle broke out at today’s Annual General Meeting of CLPD (Campaign for Labour Party Democracy), a key Labour Party organisation founded in the 1970s and the forerunner of Momentum – Momentum founder Jon Lansman is a long-term member and wrote a piece to celebrate the organisation’s fortieth AGM in 2013.

The seeds of the fight were sown during the recently-announced left slate for this summer’s elections for Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) – which omitted Ann Black, the long-term NEC member who was on the left slate in 2016 but has since been criticised, rightly or wrongly, for involvement in the suspension of Labour members and other attempts by the party’s right to impede Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

NEC and CLPD member Christine Shawcroft has put forward the following motion criticising CLPD’s slowness in providing input to the new slate and a perceived attempt to keep Ann Black, who is close to senior CLPD figures, on the slate – and for an election to choose a new secretary:


CLPD’s Secretary is Pete Willsman – also an NEC member and highly respected, but who has faced criticism for ‘stubborn’ support for Black in spite of her perceived choice to side with the Labour right on key NEC votes. Willsman has been a key figure in CLPD for almost forty years.

The motion was proposed as an emergency motion (EM), which would allow it to be accepted from the floor of the meeting rather than pre-approved by the executive. The vote on whether to accept it as an EM was initially 49 ‘no’ to 50 ‘yes’.

A recount was aborted amid scenes of chaos and one teller resigned in frustration.

The third count came out 60 ‘no’ to 50 ‘yes’, blocking the motion, with four abstentions – a large increase in no-votes but agreed by all four tellers, blocking the motion.

Willsman is safe for now, but for how long?

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  1. There are many confusing things happening in the Party at the moment with people taking opposite actions and having opposite opinions to those many of us would have expected. What’s going on???

  2. Is it too much to ask for the party to be run by socialists, who want to get a socialist government elected, and achieve a fully open and democratic party?!

  3. I thought it may well cause huge bad feeling taking Ann off left slate. Personally I think she based her couple of dodgy decisions on per perceived views of what members wanted having sent out an email to all her contacts asking them. I may be wrong. Re Pete Willsman well it seems to me he’s devoted his life to the CLPD. Through all the bad times when democracy within labour was being eroded and such. Personally I think it would be wrong to get rid of him now.

  4. How the HELL does 49 to 50 turn into 60 to 50?
    “Scenes of chaos” euphemism for “Accusations of rigging?”
    Delaying tactic that allowed weather-delayed Willsman/Black supporters time to arrive?
    Right let slip a hitherto-unknown dog of oratory able to befuddle the most committed of Lefties?

    1. The 49-50 figure was not reported at the Agm. It was reported that the tellers had counted different figures. The 60-50 vote was agreed by all 4 tellers. There were no latecomers to the vote.

  5. Some odd reporting here Skwawkbox – it’s widely known (e.g. via twitter) that Momentum were attempting a takeover of CLPD. How can it be called an ‘Ann Black’ motion when it was proposed by CS? The #JENSEC motion in the afternoon completed the Momentum defeat. As a member of both I’d prefer they were separate. Strange times though.

    1. The motion gave Willsman’s support for Ann Black as its reason for calling the election

  6. I guess the best thing we can all bring to the table is our independent left wing critical thinking. As a CLPD member if I had been there I would have backed Pete but wouldn’t vote for Ann. And as a Momentum member I would prefer Jennie to Jon!

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