Stella Creasy takes aim at 'moralising' Momentum

Posted On: 
24th March 2016

Stella Creasy has launched a scathing attack on leftwing group Momentum, accusing them of putting “meetings and moralising” ahead of effective action.

Labour MP Stella Creasy
Credit: 
Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Labour MP warned her party that despite its large increase since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader, the Labour membership is still by nature “an elite” who “don’t reflect society as a whole”.

Ms Creasy also accused some within Momentum of trying to “control the levers of power to select- or deselect MPs and party officials”.

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She has come under sustained pressure from leftwing activists in her own Walthamstow constituency, with anti-war campaigners protesting outside her office ahead of last year’s vote on authorising air strikes on Syria.

In a speech at the London School of Economics, the Walthamstow MP claimed that for all the enthusiasm that greeted Mr Corbyn’s elevation to the leadership, that interest is “not translating into engagement”.

“Even when people aren’t shouting at each other, they aren’t being encouraged to take action either,” she said.

“Groups like Momentum now appear to be draining the very energy from our political process they claimed to be promoting, by encouraging the myth righteous bystanding is activism.”

She added: “Righteous bystanding can take many forms - petitions, protests, boycotts, hashtags, meetings. It has at its heart talking about doing something over actually doing something…

“In the last six months I’ve seen little evidence of campaigning ‘for’ something.  I have seen a lot of meetings and moralising – and a lot of people standing for positions to be able to divert people into more meetings and moralising to complete the cycle.”

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She hit out at the emphasis from some on the left of seeking deselection of MPs seen as hostile to Mr Corbyn, arguing it was “elitist” and “short-sighted”.

“Not only is it divisive, it reinforces the idea only a small group of people can actually make a difference - and relegates the power of the rest of us just to picking them.

“It doesn’t challenge elitism, it strengthens it.”  

Ms Creasy also warned that despite the sharp rise in membership, Labour should look beyond the views of its own members to the wider public.

"Even in increased numbers, party members are an elite themselves - a group small in number who don’t reflect society as a whole.

"So all of us, Momentum included, have a responsibility to recognise that and respect it by ensuring we are open to the views and voices of those who may share our ambitions but not our membership cards."