Momentum split as officers say the ‘left cannot continue as it has been’

PUBLISHED: 12:37 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:37 08 April 2020

(left to right) Emily Thornberry, Jeremy Corbyn, Andrew Gwynne and Keir Starmer kick off the Labour Party's General Election 2019 campaign. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

(left to right) Emily Thornberry, Jeremy Corbyn, Andrew Gwynne and Keir Starmer kick off the Labour Party's General Election 2019 campaign. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

As left-wing Labour pressure group Momentum told members that the ‘left cannot continue as it has been’ a split has emerged with the creation of new group ‘Forward Momentum’.

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Momentum’s key officers in the National Coordinating Group (NCG) issued a statement saying it was to begin reviewing its strategy, but said that the election of Keir Starmer’s victory in the first round of the leadership contest, “it is clear that Momentum and the left cannot continue as it has been”.

It issued a call for “unity” to avoid the Labour Party becoming “taken over once more by centrists”.

They said: “Unlike previous years, Momentum endorsed candidates won neither the OMOV vote for leader nor for the NEC, where the left vote was disastrously split and cost us our majority.

“At the present moment, our movement is in great peril of making the same mistakes we did after our defeat in the 1980s. We risk retreating from the challenge of making our ideas mainstream, fighting between ourselves and allowing our party to be taken over once more by centrists.

“The Momentum NCG officers recognises this risk and through this statement calls for unity, reflection and comradely debate on the way forward.”

But as the officers issued the statement a split emerged with a new campaign group called “Forward Momentum” was launched claiming the original group was “too London-centric” and “not sufficiently member-led”.

Forward Momentum is vowing to sign up thousands of Momentum members to petition to launch a trigger ballot on the original groups reforms and plans its own slate of candidates for the NCG.

Merseyside Labour councillor Christine Howard told LabourList: “Momentum started out with a plan to bridge the gap between social movements and the Labour Party.


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“Over the last few years, this bridge has collapsed and members are now treated more like foot-soldiers to be mobilised in elections than organisers in our own right.

“Momentum needs a new purpose and direction, supporting us to build our communities and organise our workplaces, as well as providing a strong voice for the left in the Labour Party.”

There was a mixed response to the new group.

“Forward momentum is instigated by those who ripped the party apart over the EU and helped alienate working class communities from the left,” said Micaela Tracey-Ramos. “We need to change but this ain’t it.”

Lewis Hodder tweeted: “So Forward Momentum is a faction of Momentum members trying to push the organisation towards left politics, while Momentum itself is a faction of Labour members trying to push that organisation towards left politics. Okay.”

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