Backlash from Labour activists and MPs after Green New Deal motion blocked

'Labour for a Green New Deal described the move as ‘anti-democratic’ which was designed to ‘silence members, making a mockery of any commitment to bold climate action’.

Keir Starmer speaking at a lectern

The Labour Party is facing a backlash from activists and some if its own MPs after a conference motion on the climate crisis by Labour for a Green New Deal was ruled ‘out of order’.

According to Labour for a Green New Deal (LGND), the decision was made by the conference arrangements committee on the recommendation of party staff. The motion had the backing of 21 constituency parties as well as Momentum, the Fire Brigades Union and MPs such as Rebecca Long-Bailey, Zarah Sultana and Clive Lewis.

Labour for a Green New Deal described the move as ‘anti-democratic’ which was designed to ‘silence members, making a mockery of any commitment to bold climate action’.

It has been reported however by party sources that Labour remains committed to a Green New Deal.

The CAC is believed to have rejected the motion as it was ‘too wide ranging’ and covers more than one subject. However, supporters of the Green New Deal say similar motions have been brought to conference before, such as the 2019 GND motion.

LGND co-founder Chris Saltmarsh said: “By interfering to block this motion, the CAC and party staff have stifled the will of members.

“It makes a mockery of party democracy and further exacerbates unnecessary division between the leadership and the Labour membership. It also sends entirely the wrong message to voters: that Keir Starmer’s Labour is uninterested in the bold solutions we need to tackle the climate crisis.

“This anti-democratic decision must be overturned now.”

Gaya Sriskanthan and Andrew Scattergood, co-Chairs of Momentum slammed the decision as a “disgraceful rejection of our responsibility to each other, to younger generations and to the rest of the world”.

They said: “There can be no doubt this was a stitch-up to keep progressive policy off the agenda. While the right had a majority at today’s meeting of the Committee, the recommendation to remove the Green New Deal motion came directly from Labour Party staff. Responsibility lies with David Evans and with Keir Starmer, who pledged in his leadership election campaign to put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do.

“It is now well known in the Labour Party that the pledges Starmer stood on are worthless, and it will soon be known to an entire generation of people who are looking to political leaders to stand up and take action against climate change. Without the support of these people, Labour will never again get into Government.

“This is a reminder to those who believe you can have progressive policy without democracy, and that relying on the word of a Party leadership proven incapable of keeping it is a realistic strategy for delivering transformational change. It is not.”

Labour Party MP John McDonnell tweeted: “Labour Party members from numerous constituencies have submitted a resolution so that the Party Conference discusses a comprehensive policy for a Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis. It’s been ruled out of order on spurious grounds. Appalling decision by Labour leadership.”

Apsana Begum MP also criticised the decision to block the motion, calling it ‘appalling’.

She tweeted: “The greatest crisis we face is the climate crisis.

“Yet 21 local Labour parties and Labour members are being denied their rights to debate the Labour for a Green New Deal motion at Conference.

“This is an appalling decision that should be reversed immediately.”

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