Blow for Jon Lansman as his own Momentum branch votes against his 'coup'

Posted On: 
12th January 2017

Momentum founder Jon Lansman faced embarrassment last night as activists in his local branch condemned his proposed changes to the campaign group.

Jon Lansman is an ally of Jeremy Corbyn and the founder of Momentum
Credit: 
PA Images

Members of the Southwark Momentum group rejected a new constitution for the pro-Jeremy Corbyn organisation which they branded a "coup".

The constitution was drawn up by Mr Lansman as a step towards affiliation with the Labour party, but hard-left activists fear the new initiative is a plot to oust them.

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Under the changes, everyone who joins Momentum would also have to be a Labour member. Those who are not have until 1 July to sign up to the party or face expulsion.

In a dramatic move Momentum announced on Tuesday that it had already approved the rule change.

But last night the Southwark Momentum group voted against Corbyn-ally Mr Lansman, who was present, to condemn the move as a “coup”.

A motion, which was passed by 17 votes to 10 with one abstention, read: "This branch condemns the undemocratic dissolution of Momentum's elected national and regional committees and the imposition of a new constitution by the steering committee majority.

"[It also] calls on Momentum branches to oppose this coup against the members and urges the national committee to convene itself, re-elect a new steering committee, declare the constitution invalid, and renew the mandate of the conference arrangements committee."

Members voted by the same margin against a separate motion welcoming the constitution.

LANSMAN RESIGNS DIRECTORSHIP

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Mr Lansman has resigned as a director of Momentum and been replaced by Labour National Executive Committee member Christine Shawcroft.

Companies House filings show teacher Ms Shawcroft was appointed on 10 January and Mr Lansman resigned the role the following day.

According to Momentum activist Steve Cooke, the move is likely a bid to free Mr Lansman up to seek election to the steering group under the new constitution.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Cooke added: “It's about as meaningful, though, as when Putin swapped the president's role with that prime minister whose name nobody can remember just so that he could stay in power despite the term limits in Russia's constitution."

Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, who has vowed to oppose Momentum affiliation to Labour “with every fibre of my body”, tweeted:

'MAJOR SPLIT'

Meanwhile, details have also emerged about how difficult it will be for Momentum to affiliate to the Labour party.

According to the party's rulebook, organisations must have submitted three years of accounts before they can be considered. It is understood that Momentum have yet to file any.

Groups seeking to affiliate must also have the same objectives as Labour and prove that they are democratic body.

A party source said: "Labour's National Executive Committee would also need to vote on whether or not to accept them, which would cause a major split among Jeremy Corbyn's supporters, many of whom hate Momentum."

Mr Lansman did not respond to PoliticsHome by the time of publication.