Momentum’s loyalty test is the first step on the road to mandatory reselection

by Atul Hatwal

Who hasn’t been asked to sign a personal loyalty test by a workplace clique? C’mon. It happens to everyone, right?

You get the e-mail about upholding the values of the company, building on collective success, moving forward together yadda yadda yadda and oh, some other stuff about doing what the faction wants. No biggie. Just need to sign the bit of paper and have it scanned in to be held on file. It’s all about unity and helping, who could think otherwise?

Guys? Guys?

Within many firms there are groups that organise to steer aspects of organisational policy or practice. But Momentum’s loyalty test for prospective Labour party candidates is very different for three reasons: the personal nature of the commitment, who runs Momentum and what Momentum is currently doing in the Labour party.

Here’s the text that candidates are expected to endorse:

“Political Accord for Momentum-Back Candidates

Section 1. Commit to the following political objectives, as set out in Momentum’s Constitution

  • To work for the election of a Labour government;
  • To revitalise the Labour Party by building on the values, energy and enthusiasm of the Jeremy for Leader campaign so that Labour will become an effective, open, inclusive, participatory, democratic and member-led party of and in Government;
  • To broaden support for a transformative, socialist programme;
  • To unite people in their communities and workplaces to win victories on the issues that matter to them; To make politics more accessible to more people;
  • To ensure a wide and diverse membership of Labour who are in and heard at every level of the party;
  • To demonstrate how collective action and Labour values can transform our society for the better and improve the lives of ordinary people;
  • To achieve a society that is more democratic, fair and equal.

Section 2. Commit to the following actions, which follow on from Momentum’s political aims

  • Work to ensure that Labour’s manifesto (subject to future policy development) ) is fully implemented once Labour are in Government;
  • Work to support and sustain a socialist leadership of the Labour Party;
  • Avoid any actions which undermine the political objectives outlined in Section 1;

Section 3. Commit to the following standards, which follow on from Momentum’s Code of Ethics

  • Work to ensure the safety and self ­expression of everyone as a priority, especially of those who are often marginalised on the basis of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion, class, disability and educational or economic status.
  • Promote the values that Jeremy Corbyn popularised during his two leadership campaigns of fair, honest debate focused on policies, not personal attacks or harassment.
  • Divulge any past actions or comments which breach Momentum’s Code of Ethics, as well as anything which could bring Momentum into disrepute, before signing this document.


Electronic signature:



Seat: “

The first issue is that Momentum require candidates to commit as individuals. This is their personal pledge and to underline the nature of the relationship, a signature is needed. Loyalty is demanded to Momentum, whatever Momentum decides is its agenda.

There’s some particularly squirrely wording on policy that should ring alarm bells,

“Work to ensure that Labour’s manifesto (subject to future policy development) ) is fully implemented once Labour are in Government”

The words, ‘subject to future policy development’ are doing some heavy lifting in that clause. The commitment here is not to Labour’s manifesto or current policy programme as decided by party conference but to an unspecified future version. The implication being that this future version will only merit support ‘subject to’ policy developing in line with Momentum’s platform.

Second, Momentum is a private company owned by a single individual – Jon Lansman. The power of this one man was evident last year when he recast the rules and structures of the organisation to exclude his opponents. At the time, Tony Greenstein, a long-time hard left activist said,

“This is worse than anything Tony Blair managed to foist on the Labour Party. How can we ever again gripe about the bowdlerising of Labour Party conference democracy if we acquiesce to the travesty that Jon Lansman and his cohorts are trying to foist on to us”

Anyone signing up to Momentum’s pledge is writing a blank policy cheque to Jon Lansman’s private business.

Comrade Jon wasn’t always so sanguine about limited companies running organisations in the Labour party. Back in 2012, Michael Meacher wrote a screed attacking the centrist grouping Progress, calling for its expulsion, citing a key reason as,

“It…is controlled by the directors of the company.”

At the time, Jon Lansman was Michael Meacher’s parliamentary aide.

Third, actions speak louder than words and Momentum is currently engaged in a wave of de-selections of sitting councillors. If anyone thinks councillors are the limits of Momentum’s ambitions, I’ve got a bridge to sell them.

CLPs up and down the country are being riven by Momentum’s move to purge Labour’s council candidate lists. The tales out of Haringey are particularly disturbing where the entire council leadership, with decades of local activism and experience, is being targeted and now looks certain to be overthrown.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that this loyalty test is Momentum’s first move on Labour’s parliamentary representation. Just ask Labour’s councillors for what happens next.

These three issues are each individually troubling. When combined, they are the clearest possible indication that Momentum is now a fully functioning party within a party.

The choice facing Labour candidates is whether their loyalty is to Labour or Momentum.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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32 Responses to “Momentum’s loyalty test is the first step on the road to mandatory reselection”

  1. Alf says:

    I just think Momentum want to clear out some of the old Blairite deadwood. The party needs to modernise.

  2. Simon Koreshoff says:

    The manifesto will change and develop. This will be decided by all sections of the Party but with a renewed emphasis on the membership. What would the writer of this article suggest could make this pledge acceptable, given that much if not all of what it expresses most Labour members would agree with? If the elements of this pledge are fulfilled then surely any changes to the manifesto brought about by Momentum’s actions will be in line with what most members would want and believe that this country needs. No?

  3. buttley says:

    “The tales out of Haringey are particularly disturbing where the entire council leadership, with decades of local activism and experience, is being targeted and now looks certain to be overthrown.”

    For another perspective on the Haringey issue see…

    Why should CLP members have to endure “representatives” who are clearly in their opinion, not representing them, or their perceived interests?

    Atul, are you seriously suggesting that just because, a councillor has “decades of local activism and experience” this should give them carte blanche, to be automatically re-elected unopposed.

    Faced with having to stand for re-election, many of these councillors have then chosen to fall on their own swords, rather than face their electorate. They have voluntarily ducked out of democracy, & then taken to twitter to whine about it afterwards, that is petulant behaviour.

  4. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Atul Hatwal’s concerns about the influence of Momentum within The Labour Party are I think well founded.
    The last clause of this “accord” in particular “Divulge any past actions or comments which breach Momentum’s Code of Ethics, as well as anything which could bring Momentum into disrepute, before signing this document”, has a menacing and threatening tone to it. It implies, ‘we know things about you, keep in line or else’.
    Although this is impossible to prove, I think Momentum is a tool not to win elections for Labour but instead, created to contol The British Labour Party from within. The Momentum puppet masters are not interested in holding the positions of power within in The Party themselves. They want to put in place ‘their people’ to those positions.
    Momentum’s ultimate reason to exist is not as I say the election of a Labour government, it is to control The Labour Party so that in the event of a Labour victory (a real possibility in a two party state) to direct policy.
    Where I disagree with Atul Hatwal is with regard to mandatory reselction. I think every constituency party of every politcal party has the right to select their candidate at an election. And if the sitting MP happens to be a Labour MP and the CLP want to deselect him/her and select another candidate then that is their right. I see that as the basis of our democratic system.

  5. If New Labour had insisted on such a test of loyalty, that would have ended with Corbyn being expelled.

    Presumably, Momentum thinks that anyone who doesn’t support £7bn/yr of future cuts to welfare, is being disloyal to Labour/Corbyn/Momentum.

  6. peter steward says:

    This is a load of nonsense and shows how undemocratic Momentum are. It is the local party who determine the candidate to stand at an election and hopefully the Labour Party will have a broad range of views. Next Momentum will be asking all members to sign a loyalty pledge – whilst I want to see a Labour Government elected, these proposals are a step to far particularly for longstanding members and supporters of the Labour Party such as myself.

  7. Tafia says:

    Richard MacKinnon – . And if the sitting MP happens to be a Labour MP and the CLP want to deselect him/her and select another candidate then that is their right. I see that as the basis of our democratic system.

    The only sensible couple of sentences on the whole page (including the article).

    That should be standard in all parties in my opinion. They are after all a representative of the party, endorsed by the electorate to carry put that parties policies whether they personally agree with them or not.

  8. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Tell me why you disagree with the rest of my comment and the article.

  9. Watering down the contents can not and should not allow the resolve of Momentum members to continue with the radicalization of the structure that we continue to have now…Do we really wan’t socialism that is committed to change or do some like Atul like to pretend that our people are suffering at the hands of the Tories and that some of the Labour P L P M P s and their supporters are actively compliant with the enemy…because make no bones about it that’s what these individuals are …the enemy…. If the continuing changes help to bring about what we are all here to achieve..then so be it…faint heart never won any thing worth having and if the aforementioned detractors can’t stand the heat in the Momentum kitchen then we submit that they are in the wrong place …in solidarity…let’s call it what we wan’t it to be…once again…In solidarity.

  10. Anne says:

    While I agree there should be a Code of Conduct – this should come from the Labour Party, and not from Momentum – this is well overstepping the mark.

  11. Tafia says:

    Richard, the article is justblatant New Labour hogwash desperately trying to keep the status quo and resisting change, especially change that empowers the people who actually own the Labour Party – it’s members. For some reason the right wing of the Labour Party is terrified of being held accountable to it’s membership.

    As for the rest of your comment, I think you miss the point with regards Momentum. They are the Vanguard in true Leninist fashion and are being underestimated (which suits them just fine)

    Anne, Momentum are for the most part Labour Party members, just as the Fabian Society etc. The thing with Momentum is they are probably the largest activist bloc within Labour now, are extremely well organised, well drilled and focused and there is nothing to stop them taking control of the entire party apparatus over the next few years. You’re a Labour member are you not? So what have you done to stop them? Nothing in all probablity other than carp on here. You need to accept certain things with Momentum – they regard alll opposition to them in the party as the enemy, there to be crushed. The end justifies the means. Acceptance of different opinion os for the weak.

    By the time they are finished, the Labour Party will be reduced to the status of political arm of Momentum, existing purely to serve the political ambitions of the Momentum movement. You may not like that, but there isn’t anything to stop them.

  12. John P Reid says:

    is Alf a parody I can’t think you can be that Naive, it’s not getting rid of dead wood, some of those who’ve come in lately like Peter Dowd or Wes Streeting are called blairites, in fact Livingstone was calling any one not 100% loyal to livingtsone A blairite

  13. Richard MacKinnon says:

    It sounds as if you have bought into the Momentum hype. The second last para of your reply to Anne should ring alarm bells with every active Labour member.
    “You need to accept certain things with Momentum – they regard alll opposition to them in the party as the enemy, there to be crushed. The end justifies the means. Acceptance of different opinion is for the weak”. That is the mind set of a fascist.
    You articulate my thoughts and concerns far better than I can. Thank you.

  14. Gordon says:

    The extremists now control the Labour Party via the NEC. The war is over and what we are witnessing is a massive mopping up operation.

    Tell me I’m wrong. Show me a route back for the non-Marxists. The moment the 2017 Exit Poll confirmed Corbyn’s leadership it was game over.

    So my question is not for Momentum. We know them and we know exactly what they are doing and will do. My question is for the moderates and social democrats.

    Are you going to give cover and credibility to the extremists? Will you lend your good name to an operation you know to be controlled by authoritarians and Leninists? Are you content to share a party with a junta led by Corbyn, McDonnell, Milne, Murray, Lansman and Fisher?

    And what would you say to Ken Clarke, Boris Johnson and Theresa May if they stayed in a Conservative Party led by Nigel Farage, Philip Davies, Ann-Marie Waters and Nick Griffin?

  15. Tafia says:

    Richard, I was pointing out what Momentum are. I’m not a member of the Labour Party (or Momentum,)

  16. John P Reid says:

    Ann Marie waters was a labour member who left after she tried to reveal the Rotherham child abuse ans members of the SWP like Andy Newman bullied her out, that’s the same SWP who covered up comrade delta rapes, so why would she be in the Tories
    Ans why would nick Griffin be in the Tories , why would Nigel Farage have any problem with Nigel farage, but farage and waters couldn’t stand each other

    For the record I concede, how different 7 months have changed from this

  17. buttley says:

    Nice emotive language there Gordon,

    You rattle on about Labour being controlled by authoritarians & Leninist’s.

    But New Labour has proven form in this regard, as evidenced here…..

    and here

    This last one is particularly galling, as Blunkett displays zero contrition, & suggests it was the judges who got it wrong, not him.

  18. Richard MacKinnon says:

    I apologise for my presumption.

  19. Tafia says:

    John P Reid – you know frommy days in Oldham I was an actuvist inboth the ANL (then UAF ) and the local SWP cadre. I saw the far-Left at first hand – I was part of it. They are more damgerous then most people realise.

  20. Anne says:

    I have long ago come to the conclusion that some commentators on this site are indeed Tory with very far right extremist thoughts.

  21. Anne says:

    There is to be a reduction of County Councillors in my locality, and already there has been some mischief making coming out of the Tory camp and, so called independents, but I will be working to get Labour Councillors elected, and preparing for a possible general election next year.

  22. John P Reid says:

    I think stil has answered my question about why there hasn’t been a new SDP, at least Shirley Williams and conhad ideas, even if I disagreed, the moaners here about the fact there wing assumed after Ed Miliband lost they get,a social democrat back running the party,show they’ve no ideas and no ability to get people motivated to run things, my wing thr blue labour wing,would have liked to have had a go, at presenting ideas,post new labour and ed Miliband s return to old,labour ,but we missed out, in 20-6 not having a candidate in the leadership elrction,but we’re clinging in ther, arguing among other things to support Sadiq or get in with Brexit,

    I remember when the SWP were helping labour in 1987 they ventured out of Canning town, Jon Landsmans area came to Dagenham to meet working clsss people to see how well their views went doen on the door step,they were never seen again, appealed at what the blue collar working clsss thought,in the east end,

  23. Tafia says:

    Anne, if Momentum has overrun your local party by now then the candidates you will be out campaigning for will have met and agreed to Momentum’s requirements.

  24. Anne says:

    It could be said that the bad boys of politics in the 1980s were the militant group of the Labour Party but that label on the political spectrum in today’s arena must be pasted to those on the far right.

  25. Tafia says:

    And as an example of just how much grip Momentu now has at constituency-level Anne, the Hove MP Peter Kyle is a centrist who increased his majority from 1800 to 18000 in a mainly Tory area yet Momentum intend to get him de-selected because he isn’t a left-winger and stand a very good chance of achieving their aim.

  26. paul barker says:

    The answer to John P Reids question is Brexit. All Labours various factions are divided over Brexit, its a split that cuts across Right/Left divisions.
    Any Labour breakaway would have to have a clear position on Brexit & that would mean leaving half its supporters behind.
    One effect of The Referendum was to kill any hopes of a New Centrist Party, the choice for disillusioned Labour supporters is drop out of Politics or back The Libdems.

  27. buttley says:

    Peter Kyle, on why he was supporting Kendall…

    Recent history of the Brighton CLP, now split into 3 and still the members defeated the right.

    The Tory vote in Hove, has been pretty consistent at 16-20,000.

    The 14,500 votes recently gained by Labour or the 15% swing that just occurred there, was a Corbyn swing, much like in West Harrow.

    This was despite the MP publicly distancing himself from Corbyn during the campaign.

    When a church is too broad, the walls collapse, hence the need for flying buttresses.

    Momentum are merely Corbyn’s flying buttresses.

  28. John P Reid says:

    Paul barker, couldn’t centrist Labour Party members back Brexit, the middle class liberals from Islington, just voted for a manifesto to accept Brexit,
    And post Brexit, the libdems would be happy to prop up another Tory coalition, they’ve got nothing to lose,they’re not getting more votes post Brexit,and have a core 7% vote, they’re now lead bya orange booker again

    I know Ex lib dems who joined labour in 2010′ no fans of Cirbyn, who admire Maurice glasman, just disagree over Europe,

    Tafia, I know Labour leavers who admire Peter Kyle, and momentum, don’t agree with Corbyn on accepting Brexit, I could see labour leavers in his seat holding their nose voting Tory, if he was deselected.

    Think the reason the remaining Blairites wouldn’t go into coalition with the libdems,is labour even under some Blairites has never been a socially liberal party, in fact token gestures like the Mcpherson report, had thought crime,on guilty till proven innocent,on saying if anyone suspects anything is racist the victim has to believed,so that’s saying the person who’s hard done by is a victim, before jury decides they are, so that’s the end of innocent till proven guilty,and the abolition of double jeopardy, wasn’t liberatarian eithet,

  29. Leslie48 says:

    Gordon is so correct; The real Labour Party is over in a sense those of us who have departed are not coming back. the moderates have laid down their arms and surrendered to the Momentum bully boys and the consequences are their in recent weak polling which puts the Tories back ahead. The hard Corbynite Left always refuse the basic law of English politics: you win from the centre like Tony or Cameron not the far Right like Howard or IDS or the Far Left like M. Foot and wose Mr Corbyn of Islington.

  30. John Wall says:

    Any political party that wants to be in government has, whether it likes it or not, to be a fairly broad church – simply because that’s what the electorate is.

    It’s clear from the wording that they want Corbychev clones, why else would he and his “values” (sic) be explicitly mentioned? The bearded messiah, of course, has a Stop the War, CND, People’s Assembly worldview, he supports any regime – however vile – that’s against the West, and the US in particular, and believes that the IRA were the good guys. In common with other Marxists he sees private property as theft, and believes that all wealth or profit is as a result of exploitation. He’s against competition and markets and his answer, whatever the question, is always more government and more taxation.

    From my point of view, on the right, I’m against all of that, but there are also those on the left who would disagree – not everybody on the left is against competition, markets, profits and wealth creation, but they have different spending priorities.

    Every party has a variety of views and will have periodic splits, divisions, etc. Circumstances change and the solutions have to change with them. Corbychev, however, hasn’t really changed his views over time so this just fossilises Labour in a position that was wrong, is wrong, and will remain wrong.

  31. John P Reid says:


    West harrow like a lot of outer London has had
    a demographic changes, white flight leaving London, and inner London moving out
    B, ukips collapse saw some votes go back to labour, Gareth Thomas isn’t a Corbyista and nota rhe refendum result should be over turned person

    That’s a big different to peter Kyle,

  32. buttley says:

    “Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to fire three of his front-bench team after they defied the whip over Brexit.

    Shadow ministers Andy Slaughter, Ruth Cadbury and Catherine West were three of 49 MPs who voted for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech brought by backbencher Chuka Umunna calling for the UK to remain part of the single market after it leaves the EU.

    A fourth frontbencher, shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner, quit voluntarily.

    Shadow ministers Rupa Huq and Gareth Thomas also voted against the whip but have not been fired or resigned.”

    Is that Gareth voting to overturn the referendum?

    The point i was making is that, both these MP’s Gareth Thomas & Peter Kyle, now have safe seats due to the Corbyn bounce, despite the MPs, personally apologising for/ distancing themselves from / denouncing him, on the door step.

    Despite all this, both gained over 10,000 votes because of Corbyn, on top of the existing base.

    UKIP’s collapse may have seen 200 or so votes go somewhere, but they have never even been close to getting a toe in the door, in either Brighton & Hove, or West Harrow.

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