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Motions in the Labour Party

If you wish to set policy in the Labour party, your only path to this is to submit motions to be voted on, and to gather support for that motion so that the votes pass.

Some motions may be fairly simple and would gather support quickly, for example, you may simply wish to ask the local party to send a message of support relating to a specific local or national policy.

Others, such as setting policy or recommending changes to local or national policy, may be more difficult to get through and will need a lot of work to gather support for them at the various points at which they are discussed.

Motions have three broad purposes:

a) to make policy
b) to raise a particular subject with a broader group of people
c) to seek particular actions from others

Motions need to be constructed in such a way that these aims are clear.

How to write a motion

A motion has three main parts

A factual introduction to the issue at hand, which would usually start with
This Labour Party Notes:

The opinion you are hoping to put across, and have the party agree with, which would begin This Labour Party Believes:

And finally, the action you wish to see taken, which would state that
This Labour Party Resolves:

Some notes on ensuring your motion is valid

You cannot ask someone to do something they do not have the power to do, and you cannot make demands of individuals or organisations outwith the party.

In the case that you wish to influence an external body, it is suggested that you resolve to request that the Secretary of the party writes to them on your behalf.

Motions are limited to 350 words

Model Motion Template

Motion: To get an RDLP Dog

Proposer: Gareth Langston, Park

This Labour Party Notes:

  1. That dogs may enjoy walks and meeting new people.
  2. That dogs are known to improve mental health and provide smiles.
  3. That RDLP does not have a dog which attends canvas sessions

This Labour Party Believes:

  1. That a dog would help residents feel at ease on the doorstep
  2. That the presence of a dog would improve our canvassing photographs
  3. That the dog would be a calming influence on our meetings

This Labour Party Resolves:

  1. To adopt a dog
  2. To take the dog out on regular walks
  3. To call the dog Karl Barx

The Motion Process

Once your motion is ready, the first thing to do is submit it to your secretary for discussion and voting at branches and at the all members meeting.

The motion will first be distributed to Branches where it will be discussed and voted on. There will be opportunities for members at branches to Amend the motion.

The process follows like this:

  1. You Submit the motion to the Party Secretary
  2. The Party Secretary distributes to Branch Secretaries
    1. Branch Secretaries distribute to Members ahead of branch meetings
    2. Branches meet, discuss and vote on the motion & amendment
    3. Branches submit amendments to the Party Secretary
    4. The Party Secretary distributes to Members head of the All Members Meeting
  3. The All Members meeting discusses the motion
  4. The All Members Meeting votes on amendments
  5. The All Members Meeting votes on the Substantive Motion

Amendments

An amendment could look like this.

Remove: “Dog
Replace with: “Golden Retriever

Amendments can be submitted to your branch, or made during the branch meeting or all Members Meeting.

Amendments will be taken at the All Members Meeting in the order they are received by the Party Secretary, this means that Branch amendments will be voted on before amendments from the floor.

Presenting your Motion

You will have an opportunity to present your motion at both the Branch and All Members Meetings.

It is a good idea to canvass support for your motion ahead of the meeting and to encourage members to come along and support it if it is something they are interested in.

On the night of the meeting As the mover of the motion, you have the right to speak first and last.

You introduce the debate, then people may make amendments in the course of the discussion. Usually the discussion will be fairly free-form and people will say whatever they want to say.

As people are speaking, make notes of the points you want to answer or highlight at the end. Then at the end the Chair should ask you to reply to the debate. If they don’t, gently remind them that you have the right to reply.

When you have finished speaking, the Chair will take the votes, probably by show of hands. Any amendments are taken first. If they are carried, then your motion is altered accordingly and the new version becomes “the substantive motion”.

Assuming the amendment above passes, your motion now dictates that the party will adopt a Golden Retriever.

Finally the vote is taken on the substantive motion. You might end up with a resolution that isn’t exactly what you wanted. That’s democracy!

Get Involved with Policy Making

Whatever it is you wish to achieve in the party, the method to do this is via motions.

If you wish to gain support for a motion, or to be assisted in producing your motion, please contact policy@readinglabour.org.uk

In the meantime, please attend your branch meetings and get to know people!