Momentum (organisation)

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Founder Jon Lansman
Founded 8 October 2015 (2015-10-08)
Political position Left-wing
National Affiliation Labour Party (UK) (unofficial)

Momentum is a British left-wing political organisation. It was founded in 2015 by Jon Lansman, four weeks after Jeremy Corbyn's successful campaign for the Labour Party leadership.[1][2] It has been described as a grassroots movement supportive of Corbyn and the Labour Party.[2][3][4]

As of October 2015 Momentum had about 60,000 supporters.[5] In February 2016 Momentum agreed to set up a paid formal membership structure, which would require that those wanting to join must support the values and aims of the Labour Party.[6] There are around 50 local groups across the UK.[3]


Momentum describes itself as an organisation that "exists to build on the energy and enthusiasm from the Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader campaign, to increase participatory democracy, solidarity, and grassroots power and help Labour become the transformative governing party of the 21st century".[7] It also campaigns on local issues and on topics within the Labour Party.[4] The organisation states that it aims to organise local groups across the country to "encourage mass mobilisation for a more democratic, equal and decent society" and "assist members in making their voice heard in Labour Party debates".[7]

Relationship with other left-wing organisations

Members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) have raised concerns that groups including the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition,[3] Left Unity, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the Socialist Party and the Alliance for Workers' Liberty might attach themselves to Momentum as a means to rejoin the Labour Party.[8] The Left Unity party, which was started with the help of Ken Loach, is looking into the possibility of cooperation with Momentum and the Labour Party because it shares Corbyn's values.[9] The Socialist Workers Party, and the Socialist Party have denied any intention to be involved.[9] Momentum has stated that it will resist entryism by the SWP and other groups;[10] however, according to Andrew Gilligan in The Daily Telegraph, several Momentum organisers have held paid roles for other political parties, including a former Green Party spokesperson.[11] In October 2015, James Schneider, a leading organiser of Momentum admitted that he had voted for the Green Party in the May General Election, saying it was only because “I'm in a safe Labour seat”.[12]

On 8 December 2015, Momentum announced that it would be setting up a code of conduct to exclude any members of other parties from being allowed to vote or take part in meetings about the Labour Party. This is intended to restrict the influence of the Socialist Party and others, but members of those groups will be permitted to attend meetings on non-Labour Party issues, such as the campaign on Syria.[13][14]

Fears over deselection threats

Critics of Corbyn within the Parliamentary Labour Party have raised a concern that Momentum may look to encourage the deselection of centrist MPs and councillors who disagree with, or are seeking to undermine the Labour leader.[15] However, Momentum issued a clear denial, saying "we will not campaign for the deselection of any MP and will not permit any local Momentum groups to do so. The selection of candidates is entirely a matter for local party members and rightly so".[16] The Momentum spokesman James Schneider has said "The purpose of Momentum is not to have internal factional battles, it's to look outside."[11]


The group has focused its attention at the end of 2015 on a number of key campaigns:

Democracy SOS

Momentum is undertaking a campaign to address the problem of disenfranchisement of electors as a result of the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration. This is part of a broader goal to improve democracy by encouraging new voters to register. The group believes there may be eight million people missing from the electoral register and that a further 1.9 million people could be excluded by the changes in voter registration on 1 December 2015.[17][18]

Cuts to tax credits

Momentum has highlighted and campaigned against what it calls a "work penalty" imposed by George Osborne's economic policies, including particularly his proposal to cut tax credit payments for working families.[19][20]

Oldham by-election

Momentum organised around 150 volunteers to join local activists campaigning for the Labour candidate Jim McMahon in the Oldham West and Royton by-election, 2015 on 3 December 2015. McMahon won the election, increasing his party's share of the vote to 62 percent,[21][22] contradicting predictions by many in the media that Labour would decrease its share of the vote,[23][24][25] or even lose the by-election to UKIP.[26]

Climate march

Momentum encouraged members and supporters to participate in The People's March for Climate Justice and Jobs on 29 November in London,[27][28] on the eve of the historically-significant 2015 UN Climate Change Conference. This conference resulted in a global agreement for a target of no more than 2.0 degrees of global warming, with an aspiration for no more than 1.5 degrees.

Syria bombing

Momentum called for its membership to lobby Labour MPs "to support Corbyn, not Cameron, over Syria" on Twitter, linking to the Stop the War Coalition's "don't Bomb Syria" campaign, which opposed the Conservative Government's proposal to extend its bombing sorties against Daesh (also known as ISIS) from Daesh-held territory in Iraq to also cover Daesh-held territory in Syria. Corbyn had argued that Cameron's government lacked a credible plan for defeating Daesh, and that the bombing in Syria would not increase the UK's national security. Corbyn has also stated his view that military action should always be a last resort. Some Labour MPs criticised Momentum's move to lobby on party political grounds before the Labour party's official position on military action had been decided, with Gavin Shuker asking "Who decided this was your position on Syria, and to lobby MPs in this way?"[29]

See also

External links


  1. Patrick Wontour (8 October 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn leadership campaign gives rise to new social movement". The Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stephen Bush (23 October 2015). "Labour MPs are worried about Momentum. Should they be?". New Statesman.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Norman Smith (24 October 2015). "What is Momentum, and why is it worrying Labour MPs?". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stone, Jon (8 October 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign sets up new local activist network called 'Momentum'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 11 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. What is Momentum, and why is it worrying Labour MPs?
    'Momentum currently has about 60,000 supporters ...'
    BBC News. Published 24 October 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  6. "Momentum to block supporters of rival parties from membership". Labour List. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Welcome to Momentum!". Momentum. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Wintour, Patrick (24 October 2015). "Unite challenges expulsion of alleged Trotskyists from Labour party". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 editor, Patrick Wintour Political. "Left Unity party to consider joining Labour". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. George Eaton (16 October 2015). "Pro-Corbyn group Momentum vows to resist SWP "infiltration"". New Statesman.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 Gilligan, Andrew (8 Nov 2015). "The Corbyn hardcore plotting to deselect Labour moderates". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Momentum Is Not A 'Shadowy' Group With A 'Hit List' Of Labour MPs, Says Leading Organiser".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Momentum 'to curb power of non-Labour groups'". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. editor, Patrick Wintour Political. "Corbyn's Momentum group moves to block influence of hard-left parties". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Wintour, Patrick (8 October 2015). "Activists to harness Corbyn campaign energy with Momentum". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "The 66 Labour MPs who voted for Syria air strikes face threats of deselection and branded 'warmongers'". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-12-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Jon Stone (19 October 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn's Momentum activist network announces mass voter registration campaign". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Democracy SOS – Momentum".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "No Work Penalty".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Morning Star :: Momentum's potential to unify and energise political campaigning".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Joseph Charlton (29 November 2015). "Oldham West by-election: Jeremy Corbyn activists join campaign to save Labour candidate at risk of losing to Ukip". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Jeremy Corbyn hails Oldham West and Royton by-election victory". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Hardman, Isabel (24 November 2015). "Labour increasingly nervous about Oldham West and Royton by-election". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Warren, Ian (1 December 2015). "Why Labour fears the worst in Oldham West". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Bush, Stephen (22 October 2015). "How worried should Labour be about the Oldham West and Royton by-election?". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Payne, Sebastian (2 December 2015). "Is Ukip on course to win the Oldham West and Royton by-election?". Retrieved 24 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Jeremy Corbyn (30 November 2015). "Now is the time to act on climate change". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Karla Adam (29 November 2015). "Climate change protests take place around the world on eve of summit". Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Dathan, Matt (23 November 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn campaign group urges Labour MPs to reject air strikes in Syria". Independent. Retrieved 23 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>