Jon Lansman steps down as Momentum boss with vow to ‘hand over to a new leadership’
Momentum said Mr Lansman had ‘ done an incredible amount to transform the politics of this country’
Jon Lansman has announced that he is stepping down as chairman of the left-wing Labour campaign group Momentum.
The veteran activist, who founded the group in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 victory, said it was time to “hand over to a new leadership”.
And he confirmed he would not be standing in the group’s upcoming internal elections.
Writing for LabourList, Mr Lansman said of Momentum: “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.
“That is why I have decided not to contest the forthcoming elections within Momentum and instead will hand over to a new leadership.”
The 62-year-old, who has a seat on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, said he would “continue all my duties as current chair” while the group holds its internal elections at the end of June, and he would “stay around to support my successors in Momentum“.
And he added: “I shall continue to speak out, even when some would rather I didn’t. Freed from the responsibilities of the chair of Momentum, I shall return to blogging and focusing my attentions on Labour’s national executive committee (NEC).”
"We didn’t succeed in democratising the party sufficiently while Jeremy was leader, but we must not give up now" - Jon Lansman
Making clear that he believes the NEC is “not fit for purpose”, Mr Lansman vowed to press for reform of the top Labour body to allow it to “perform its constitutional duty to provide the scrutiny and oversight required in an organisation with over half a million members and an eight-figure turnover”.
And he admitted: “We didn’t succeed in democratising the party sufficiently while Jeremy was leader, but we must not give up now. It’s now more important than ever that Labour becomes a grassroots member-led movement.”
Momentum is due to elect members of a new national coordinating group (NGC) by June 30, and the contest comes after the group’s preferred candidate for the Labour leadership, Rebecca Long-Bailey, was beaten to the post by Sir Keir Starmer.
Paying tribute to Mr Lansman, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said he had “made a big impact in politics” and described him as “a true Socialist whom has always wanted to do his best for people” and “fought injustice and inequality”.
Commenting on the decision, a Momentum spokesperson said: “We thank Jon for his years of dedication to Momentum and the Labour Party.
“From running Tony Benn’s leadership campaign to founding Momentum, he continues to fight tirelessly for the left and has done an incredible amount to transform the politics of this country.”
But former Labour MP Ian Austin, who quit the party in 2019 to sit as an independent in protest at its direction, dismissed the post from Mr Lansman as “self-serving garbage”.
He said: “Lansman should be apologising for lumbering Labour with its worst-ever leader, driving away millions of lifelong supporters who could never have dreamt of not voting Labour before, possibly rendering it unelectable for years to come.”