Momentum leader steps down claiming group ‘changed Labour for good’

PUBLISHED: 10:34 17 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29 17 May 2020

Jon Lansman, former chair of Momentum. Photograph: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

Jon Lansman, former chair of Momentum. Photograph: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.

Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

Jon Lansman, the founder of the left wing Momentum campaign group, has announced he is standing down as its leader.

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In an article for the Labour List website, Lansman said the time had come to hand over to a new generation of activists.

“We are now a mass of dedicated activists fighting for a better world. And in this new era, it is time that a new generation of leaders put their ideas into practice,” he wrote.

“That is why I have decided not to contest the forthcoming elections within Momentum and instead will hand over to a new leadership.”

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Momentum grew out of the successful campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn - a long-standing ally Lansman’s - leader of the Labour Party in 2015.

It was credited with mobilising tens of thousands of young activists, but was distrusted by many traditional Labour members who accused it of acting as a party within a party.

The failure of Rebecca Long-Bailey - the favourite of the left to succeed Corbyn - to win this year’s party leadership election was seen as a sign of its waning influence.

However, Lansman insisted that it had changed the party for good.

“Thanks to our movement, Labour can never again be the party of illegal invasions, anti-immigration mugs or support for Tory policies of austerity and privatisation,” he said.

“The Labour Party is now much closer to being a socialist party than simply a party with socialists in it.”

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