Putting a motion to your Branch or CLP is a way that you, as a member, can influence the local Party.
Although there is no compulsory style of writing motions, they usually tend to follow an established format. Following this format will generally save time and reduce confusion, and most importantly it will help to ensure that everyone understands what you are seeking to achieve.
Motions usually have 3 or more sections, often with numbered or bulleted points underneath each. The accepted structure is as follows:
This BLP/CLP notes… (FACTS)
This must be factual information that can be independently seen to be true.
This BLP/CLP believes… (OPINIONS)
This contains things that you consider to be true, but which other people may disagree with. You should be open-minded and accept that other people may not agree with what you believe, even if you consider it to be “fact”.
This BLP/CLP resolves… (ACTIONS)
This section tells the BLP/CLP what action to take as an organisation, such as writing to a government Minister.
Some motions also have an additional section:
This BLP/CLP mandates…
This section can contain specific instructions for specific officers. It can instruct officers or representatives within the BLP/CLP. It cannot instruct a Member of Parliament.
Although some members (especially those on the right of the Party) argue that mandating is not allowed under the Party’s. Rule Book, it is not specifically mentioned at all, and so BLPs and CLPs can choose to mandate should they wish to. Many CLPs do mandate, as do ALL trade unions.
Check with your Branch or CLP Secretary to find out what the deadline for submission of motions is prior to meetings, it can vary. It is not uncommon for motions to have to be submitted in writing with both a Proposer (the person bringing their motion forward), and a Seconder 7 days or even 14 days before a meeting is due – the only exception would be Urgent Business at the Chair’s discretion.
Example motion, passed at Newcastle-under-Lyme CLP in January 2016:
“Along with ex miners, their families, campaigners from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the people of South Yorkshire, Newcastle under Lyme Constituency Labour Party has waited patiently for nearly 2 and half years for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to complete their “scoping” exercise, investigating whether to investigate the actions of the police on that day.
This Constituency Labour Party is disappointed that the IPCC announced on Friday 12th July 2015 that despite there being findings that police officers did use excessive force against picketing miners, manipulated evidence and lied in court when giving evidence, they would not be conducting an investigation into what has become known as the “Battle of Orgreave”. The IPCC report concedes that “the unwillingness to disclose evidence of wrongdoing by officers does raise doubts about the ethical standards of officers in the highest ranks of the South Yorkshire Police at the time”.
The IPCC cited the passage of time and the fact that there had been no miscarriages of justice in the form of wrongful convictions as reasons not to investigate.
This Constituency Labour Party believes that the issue of Orgreave is of national importance and particular local importance to our community, many members of which were directly affected in 1984 and beyond. A full investigation into the military style policing used on that day is now long overdue and only a full public inquiry can fully investigate this.
This Constituency Labour Party therefore calls on the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to order a full public inquiry into the deployment and actions of the police on 18th June 1984″
Often there are “model motions” circulated by groups such as Momentum, CLPD and/or grassroots organisers, especially in the period before Conference where CLPs can submit either one rule change suggestion, or one “contemporary motion” on a topical issue.
For more on this keep an eye on Grassroots Labour