Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

The McDonnell Amendment: Richard Angell vs. Chris Williamson

First published on Labour Vision

Today on Labour Vision we bring you a debate between Richard Angell, (Director, Progress) and former Labour MP, Chris Williamson. We have asked Richard and Chris to answer the following question:

“Would the McDonnell Amendment help or hinder the Labour Party and the people it seeks to represent?”

Richard and Chris were each given 600 words up-front to answer the question, and a further 400 words each to rebut the arguments of their opposite number. Their thoughts are below.

N.B. The McDonnell Amendment is a proposal to reduce the threshold of MP nominations required to allow a candidate onto the ballot for the Labour leadership election from 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party to 5%. Several MPs, such as Caroline Flint, are strongly opposed to the proposal.

This proposal is the brainchild of Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who twice failed to acquire the requisite number of nominations from fellow MPs. It is argued that, if this proposal were passed by Labour Party Conference in September, then it would be to the considerable advantage of the Labour left.

Enjoy! (more…)

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Keep asking till you get the ‘right answer’

First published on Progressonline

We need to talk to about what happened with Trident this week at Labour party conference. Before we do, it is worth remembering the reccurring horror show that this debate has long been for Labour.

The last time Labour was in the wilderness, its unilateral disarmament stance was cited regularly by voters as a reason to not even consider Labour a party fit to govern. Margaret Thatcher was considered strong on defence while Labour was described by would-be voters as ‘lunatics on defence’ according to Philip Gould in his book the Unfinished Revolution. As part of a long and painful march back to respectability, Labour party conference in 1988 voted down a motion backing unilateral nuclear disarmament. By 1992, Gould who worked for Neil Kinnock, was able to report that, ‘Gerald Kaufman [had] brilliantly abandoned unilateralism’. While 1992 was not the result we wanted, Labour was at least respectable to voters again. Winning would only come later and after further modernisation. (more…)