Sir Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader, is attempting to bridge the gap between the party’s left and right and take the outfit to the middle ground once again. It comes after former leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to win over the country with a manifesto heavily founded on socialist principles. And, although Sir Keir has committed to many of Mr Corbyn’s policies; higher taxes on the wealthy, the abolition of tuition fees, the “common ownership” of rail, mail, energy and water, and putting an end to NHS outsourcing, many left-wing heads in the party fear he will renounce any morsel of socialism when he announces his own policies next year.
Radical grassroots groups like Momentum have been particularly vocal in their discontent with Sir Keir.
The group’s Camden branch earlier this year went as far as to call for a vote of no confidence in Sir Keir.
And, even before this, the off-shoot urged Labour members not to vote Sir Keir in as leader.
Yet, as Professor Steven Fielding told Express.co.uk, Momentum has found itself “insignificant” as active members dwindle.
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Prof Fielding, a specialist in the politics of the Labour Party who teaches political history at the University of Nottingham, claimed this will allow Sir Keir to take back the reins and move the party in the direction he wants.
At its peak, Momentum claimed to have a membership of 40,000 – a point which Prof Fielding said was true after the group garnered mass support in 2018.
Yet, during the leadership elections earlier this year, using his own figures, he claimed “only about 8,000 members of Momentum participated”; this indicating a major blow and decimation to the group’s membership or perhaps unwillingness to be active figures in the party.
Prof Fielding concluded that Momentum “seems to have dwindled”.
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He continued: “So, really, the group is a busted flush.
“They’ll pipe up, they’ll go on Twitter, they’ll say this or that, but in reality Momentum is insignificant.
“Momentum is fading away.”
As a result of this, Prof Fielding said Sir Keir can “push the party in any direction he wants”.
The new Labour leader has already gone against the wishes of left-wing groups in the party after he paid substantial damages to former Labour employees turned whistleblowers who appeared in a BBC Panorama documentary about antisemitism in the party.
Even Momentum’s founder and former chairman, Jon Lansman, admitted in 2019 that Labour had a “major” problem with antisemitism.
Immediately after he made the comments, the Camden branch called for Mr Lansman to leave, accusing him of “siding” with the “unfounded remarks about antisemitism” made against Mr Corbyn.
Sir Keir’s move in putting an end to the antisemitism debacle, then, has been interpreted by many as a clear message to groups like Momentum and other left-wing factions opposed to the allegations.
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When Sir Keir became leader after the first round of voting in April, Momentum pleaded with him not to purge Corbynite MPs from the shadow cabinet.
In a statement at the time, the group said: “His mandate is to build on Jeremy’s transformative vision, and this means appointing a broad Shadow Cabinet who believe in the policies and will work with members to make them a reality.
“In this new era Momentum will play a new role. We’ll hold Keir to account and make sure he keeps his promises, champion big ideas like the green new deal, build the power of Labour members and do everything we can to get a Labour government elected.”
Momentum played a pivotal role in mobilising activists around the country to harness a grassroots movement under Mr Corbyn.
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It is true that they engaged a younger voting that had become dissatisfied with modern politics.
Under his leadership, Momentum was handed considerable powers.
Despite the controversies and turbulence, the group continues to operate.
Last week, it appointed former Labour staffer Andrew Dolan as its new political coordinator.
He previously worked on The World Transformed, the festival supported by Momentum which has become synonymous with the group.
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Momentum is hoping to secure votes at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) election results, announced later this month.
It has merged with the outfit Grassroots Voice in order to garner a left-wing support base in the party.
Members running as part of the group include former Labour MP Laura Pidcock, who was a close ally of Mr Corbyn.
She lost her seat in the 2019 general election to Conservative politician Richard Holden.
Momentum was contacted by Express.co.uk for comment but failed to reply.