Writing a motion.
Writing a motion.

How to write and move a motion

A motion should be short and to the point and should ask somebody to do something
(the branch, the MP, the CLP, conference)

Key things to consider:

Check that any factual points are accurate:
Motions that have inaccuracies are less likely to be selected. Don’t rely on a single source.

Make recommendations:
This is the most important part of the motion. A common problem is that motions contain a lot of criticisms and a detailed description of the problem but are thin and unclear in their conclusions.

Stick to a few substantial points/plan
This is much better than a long list of small changes.

Check any deadlines with your CLP prior to meetings.
Timescales make it important to be aware of any time-sensitive issues. Emergency motions: Submit in writing to the Secretary as soon as the emergency allows. The chair will decide if the motion qualifies as an emergency motion.

Structure your motion like this:

Use the following Wording for Motion Parts

Labour International/This branch notes…

Description of the issue or problem which the motion seeks to address. This must be factual information that can be independently seen to be true.

Labour International/This branch believes…

Contains things that you consider to be true, but that 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”.

Highlight existing Labour Party policies which will contribute to the solution.

Labour International/This branch resolves…

Tell the BLP/CLP/Conference what action to take as an organisation.

Some motions include:

Labour International/This branch mandates…

This can contain specific instructions for specific officers. It can instruct officers or representatives within the BLP/CLP/Party.

It is possible to mandate under the Rule Book but it cannot instruct a Member of Parliament.

Include the names of both mover and seconder.

What happens next?

  • Amendments and deletions can be moved and seconded from the floor of a meeting but shall be handed to the secretary in writing.
  • Motions are carried with a simple majority. In the event of there being an equality of votes, the chair may give a casting vote provided that s/he has not used an ordinary vote. If the chair does not wish to give a casting vote, the motion is not carried.
  • If an amendment or deletion is carried with a simple majority, the amended motion becomes a motion to which further amendments may be moved.

Motions to Labour Party Conference

What is CAC?

The Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) is elected by national conference. It takes office at the end of that conference for a year. Therefore, the annual party conference is run by the CAC elected at the previous conference. The CAC is responsible for deciding the order of debates and plays a significant role in determining which motions submitted to the Conference get discussed.

Who can submit a motion to national conference and how many can a CLP send?

Each trade union, affiliated organisation and CLP may submit one contemporary motion. There are strict rules about what counts as a contemporary motion; it must not be on a subject addressed in a report to the Conference and must be on a contemporary issue (ie one that has arisen recently). The CAC decides which motions meet the criteria and conducts a ballot of delegates to determine their priorities. At least the 4 motions voted as highest priority by CLP delegates are placed on the agenda, as are the 4 voted top by trade union and affiliated organisation delegates.

Alternatively, a CLP may propose an amendment to the Party’s Constitution.

Sample Motions

Example of a Motion to a CLP

“This CLP notes:

(a) the statement by the Red Cross’ Chief Executive that it is having to respond to a “humanitarian crisis in our hospital and ambulance services”;

(b) spending on the NHS as a proportion of GDP (national wealth) has fallen from 8.8% in 2009/10 to 7.3% in 2014/15. (Ref: The Kings Fund).

The CLP instructs the Campaign Committee to plan and organise a significant and varied programme of campaigning events across the constituency for the Labour Party’s forthcoming NHS Day of Action, including:

(a) arranging at least one street stall in every branch of the constituency at a prominent location;

(b) spending £50 on ordering 2000 copies of the Labour Party’s NHS leaflet (Code: NHS Fund) to hand out to voters;

(c) creating an attractive and eye-catching display outside the Town Hall, highlighting the Conservatives’ mismanagement of the NHS.

Furthermore, this CLP calls on the National Policy Forum to make it party policy for the next Labour Government to introduce legislation making it the law that NHS spending as a proportion of GDP must at least match the average health spending of countries in the OECD. (Currently 9.1%).”

Example of a Motion to Conference

“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″

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