Press releases

Labour is a political movement not a fanclub

24th September 2011

. . .Grassroots labour activists and MPs reluctantly call for rejection of Refounding Labour

Thousands of Labour activists welcomed the Refounding Labour consultation process as a chance to move on from the New Labour era. Many party members were given hope when the newly elected Ed Miliband proclaimed, “The era of New Labour has passed”.

However, the Refounding Labour process while containing some welcome moves the left and centre-left of the party has expressed disappointment at the same New Labour tactics to attempt to railroad through changes that appear to have little support.

The issues that are most concerning activists about Refounding Labour, which is due to be voted on at conference tomorrow (Sunday) are:

  • Forcing conference to vote on the proposals as a whole, rather than on each change individually
  • Letting ‘supporters’ vote in internal party elections
  • Abolishing Local Government Committees which hold councillors to account

Many local labour parties have submitted emergency motions asking for each proposal to be voted on individually, and opposing some of the individual changes.

John McDonnell MP, LRC chair, has expressed his fears that the moves to include supporters in leadership elections will reduce the input of ordinary members and trade unions affiliates. John said:

“Miliband is taking the next step in fulfilling Peter Mandelson’s long term ambition of turning the Labour Party into a Democrat or Republican Party with active members gradually being replaced with lists of supporters with no real role in developing policy or holding the party’s representatives to account.

“Membership of the party becomes increasingly meaningless except to serve as cogs in an electoral a machine to get the leadership elite elected. The sop thrown to members and supporters is that they can participate in electing the leader in what will become an X factor type election, determined largely by the media and the financial backers of individual candidates.

“Labour is a political movement not a fanclub. Even at this late stage, we urge the Labour leadership to reconsider, and avoid splitting the party on the first day of conference.”

The LRC is deeply concerned that at a time when voters and supporters are beginning to trust Labour again, that could be undermined by the internal stitch-ups at conference, which Ed Miliband had hinted his leadership would move away from.


The LRC is holding its Labour Party conference fringe meeting ‘Resistance - the Path to Power’ on Monday 26 September at 7pm.

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