Portsmouth Momentum hits back at claims over grip on Labour Party

Syd Rapson, a former Labour MP for Portsmouth North, has asked the Labour Party to resolve issues in the Portsmouth branch
Syd Rapson, a former Labour MP for Portsmouth North, has asked the Labour Party to resolve issues in the Portsmouth branch
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THE chairman of a left-wing movement has hit back at claims over its influence on the Labour Party.

Portsmouth Momentum was called an ‘alien organisation’ and accused of having control over members by former Labour MP Syd Rapson.

Portsmouth Momentum chairman Michael Skiggs said: ‘The enthusiasm for a new way forward is reflected when we meet the new members. It is also reflected in the size of Labour party meetings we attend. The result is that Labour Momentum members are now democratically elected to positions on the local executive and various senior positions within Portsmouth Labour branches.

‘Our aims are being pursued locally with the help of trade unions and community groups.

‘We have been active against the cuts to the domestic violence unit, the Hate Crimes unit, the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, and Sure Start. We have also opposed the America’s Cup land grab, and campaigned for the reinstatement of the Hayling Ferry. This is just a short list.’

PORTSMOUTH MOMENTUM’s FULL STATEMENT:

Momentum was originally formed as a national movement to promote the election of Jeremy Corbyn for leader.

Following the overwhelming election of our current leader, the local and national groups continued with the promotion of the values and ideals of Jeremy Corbyn.

These values form an alternative to the years of promoting cuts to services, and the formation of an effective opposition to anyone promoting cuts.

Portsmouth Momentum group has a steering committee comprised totally of Labour Party members. That’s not to say we do not listen to other political persuasions, or for that matter non-aligned groups.

Decisions remain totally within the remit of Labour members. We currently have links with Momentum groups in Southampton, IOW, Chichester, Worthing and Brighton, plus other groups around the country. Portsmouth Momentum holds two delegate seats for the region and one nationally.

Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn the local Labour party has increased by 600 members, many of whom joined, or rejoined the Labour party to support the principles of the elected leader.

The enthusiasm for a new way forward is reflected when we meet the new members. It is also reflected in the size of Labour party meetings we attend.

The result is that Labour Momentum members are now democratically elected to positions on the local executive and various senior positions within Portsmouth Labour Branches.

Our aims are currently being pursued locally with the help of trade unions and community groups. We have so far been active against the cuts to the domestic violence unit, the hate crimes unit, the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, and Sure Start. We have also opposed the America’s Cup land grab, and campaigned for the reinstatement of the Hayling Ferry. This is just a short list.

We will be actively promoting Labour candidates, and canvassing in the forthcoming elections on their behalf. We believe the people of Portsmouth have had enough of austerity. We also believe they have had enough of the council telling us to pay more, and get less.