Analysis News

Video shows scale of mobilisation as Warley members start to take back control of “Spellar’s” CLP

Members turn out in huge numbers for ‘AMM’ vote’
Warley members gathered for key democracy vote

As the SKWAWKBOX revealed last night, Warley CLP (constituency Labour party) voted 176-114 to switch their CLP to an ‘all-member meeting’ (AMM) from the delegate-based structure that it had used for many years.

Left members have long complained that local MP – and co-founder of the right-wing ‘Labour First’ pressure group – John Spellar had maintained an iron grip on the CLP’s affairs via the delegate structure. Spellar’s allies acted as delegates from affiliated bodies, unions and even the Brandhall Labour Club part-owned by the MP and used as the home for his constituency office.

Last autumn, Labour’s annual conference agreed a new rule allowing members of any CLP to call a vote on changing the basis of their meetings, to be decided by a simple ‘OMOV’ (one member, one vote) poll of all local members.

Warley held that vote last night – and a short video clip obtained by the SKWAWKBOX showed the sheer number of members who turned up to try – successfully – to increase democracy and member participation in their local party:

A switch to AMM by Streatham CLP is considered to have been a key trigger for Chuka Umunna’s decision to quit the Labour Party. Umunna also left the ‘Change’ party and has now joined the LibDems.


Warley is part of Sandwell borough in the West Midlands heartland of the Labour right. This member move to start taking control in the CLP of the MP known as the ‘godfather of the right’ is a seismic shift.

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  1. I foolishly though that all CLPs were running AMMs as mine does. Why wouldn’t they in a democratic LP? How wrong could I be?

    1. Me too Christine and I too don’t know why on earth this is not outlawed under our Party rules.

    2. If the trade union Reps were fully representative in a half convincing electoral way it would be more understandable. After all the trade unions pretty much set up the Labour Party, so they are just claiming what they see as their rightful dominant entitlement.

      1. Some trade unionists appear to see the LP as a branch of the trade unions rather than the other way around.

      2. In simpler times all union members could be assumed to be Labour to their roots – since Thatcher it’s been different.
        Right to buy bought many working class votes for the Tories.

        From 2013:
        “Recent polling by Lord Ashcroft showed that Unite members overwhelmingly back policies like the benefit cap and Right-to Buy, both of which are opposed by their union’s leadership. Only 12 per cent of Unite members say that they would join the Labour Party if they were no longer made affiliate members.”

        I’m in no way anti-union but I believe affiliate block votes can no longer be justified in principle or in practice. Union members are by no means all supporters of Labour – why we allow them such power is beyond me.
        Let those who seek power join a political party and stand for election that way.

      3. David McNiven, I agree. As a union member myself for many years, I say if trade union members want to influence or have a say on Labour policy, there is a simple way to do it, join the Party like the rest of us. Why should we have non-party individuals having a say on Labour Party policies?

    3. If you live in a rural area as I do it is logistically impossible for all members to attend a single meeting. So another way has to be found. We could hold the meetings in different areas on a rolling basis but it would still be impossible for all members to attend. Our area is rural and very large and strung out with no clearly defined centre.

  2. It’s a start. Not a big start in terms of wiping neoliberalism from the face of the Earth but a start.
    Until we make people see the truth of how their minds are manipulated by the establishment to keep their hands available for exploitation it’ll be uphill – but when they see that AI makes ALL employment a dead-end job maybe there’ll be enough anger to reject for good the ethos of the 1% that’s brought us impoverishment and a choking planet.
    In the meantime we need a hundred more Corbyns .

  3. You might wonder ,why it’s taken so long to reach here?.What’s going on in the NEC and why they have sat back and changed little from the old right wing dominance..Time will run out for socialism in the Labour party,we need to get on with a purge of extremist right wing mps.

    1. In many cases, those MPs to which you refer are proponents of Zionism and because they have support at the core of the Party they have been protected.

      1. This thread is about CLP meetings. Stop making speculative off topic comments. If you want to do that go to the Guardian comments section you idiot.

      2. Jack T , the Troll obsessed with “Zionism” (which he is careful never to define – knowing well what a dodgy, multi-meaning, “dog whistle” term it is unless carefully defined ) … or is it just Jews generally ?

        Or is it a constantly disruptive Troll just trying to stir up the “Zionism” issue again , and if possible draw other posters into posting very unwise statements ? If “Zionism” is simply defined as someone recognising the right to exist of the modern state of Israel (but not necessarily approving of the many internationally illegal acts of the Israeli state, or its current , post 1967, boundaries), then MOST of the Labour Party membership, including Jeremy, and the PLO of course , are “Zionists” . You are a very dodgy prat, Jack T .

      3. I.A. because you are a little bit dim, you obviously didn’t notice I was replying to Joseph OKEEFE above.

      4. jpenney you know quite well that Zionism is far from what you describe.

        It is a settler coloniser enterprise designed to rob Palestinians of their homes and land using any means possible, including violence and murder.

        Benign it is not.

      5. And ‘Boyo’, thought black sections and militant were sneaky. Regards

      6. It is fascinating how Penny is keen to downplay the biggest propaganda scam currently being thrown at Labour. Mmmm …..

      7. … and, IA, anyone with real roots in the Labour Party would know how relevant is the role of affiliates to the CLP’s functioning.

      8. RH, the point at issue surely is whether block voting by delegates of affiliated bodies is helping our cause or not.
        I’d argue that it’s not.
        Now that online voting is proven, that’s what we should be doing – even if only in the interest of genuine grass-roots democracy.
        The Spellars of this world and their little fiefdoms are an anachronism we’d do well to rid ourselves of.
        I never met a pub or club owner who wasn’t a rabid right winger, and I’ve met a shitload.

      9. David – don’t interpret my comments as support for the ‘delegate’ structures. I was just pointing out to IA that the question wasn’t ‘off topic’ in relation to CLP functioning.

  4. Toby Young on Politics Live just claimed that Chuka joining the LibDems poses a genuine threat to the Labour Party!!!

    What an utter cockwomble! 😂

    1. He said that he would register as a Labour supporter so he could destroy the Labour party by electing Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

      He got caught, I believe.

      But the election of Corbyn has not resulted in the destruction of the Labour Party at all. Be careful what you wish for.

  5. Very good news indeed!

    Spellar is a fanatical supporter of nuclear weapons as this quote clearly shows:

    “The Secretary of State is making a very compelling argument. Does he not therefore regret the dithering and delay that took place in the renewal of the submarine programme when the Conservatives were in coalition, at the behest of the Liberal Democrats, who have not even bothered to turn up today?”

  6. Time for change; Time to get up off your knees & make the Labour Party Socialist but………….neither the NEC nor the CLPs will change if we do nothing. Make it happen!

    1. You can’t simply ”make” “it” happen – you have to persuade thousands, many of whom will have a different take from you on the way ahead.

      1. Not ‘simply’, no. And we have to persuade millions of individuals, not thousands of local power structures.
        The only local power structures should be at Council level and they should only be answerable to their electorates and to Labour headquarters, as should the local MP.
        Cogent arguments directly to the voters, unfiltered by those who wish us ill.
        Labour needs a massively expanded (in both size and competence) and interactive online presence.

      2. “And we have to persuade millions of individuals”

        Indeed. I left that out – but getting over-excited about local arguments about ideological purity within the Party is very much beside the point.

  7. Trident
    Is neither independent nor a deterrent
    Michael Portillo Tory Defence Minister

    Add in the astronomical cost and what that money could be spent on
    Then throw in HS2, Hinckly and NHS privateers and you have enough money to change this country for the better

  8. We had am all member GC last night in Cambridge. the result was a tie and we were told therefore that we had lost. The meeting was packed by the right, members who never normally turn up, even Melanie Johnson who I have not seen for decades. Many I know do not even turn up for branch meetings.Something is not quite right.

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