How to write and move 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, the Labour Party 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 rather than a long list of small changes.
  • Check any deadlines with your CLP prior to meetings. (Vauxhall CLP meets on the last Thursday of the month, for example). 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:

Wording for motion sectionsExplanation
This branch notes...
Description of the issue or problem which the motion seeks to address. This must be factual information that can be independently verified.
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.
This branch resolves...
Tell the BLP/CLP what action to take as an organisation.
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.

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%).