What is a motion, and how do I write one?
A motion is an instruction (to the Labour Party) to do something. It can be an action, it can be to support a campaign or it can be to use a specific principle in drafting policy.
It must always end by asking someone (some named body or organisation, ie Labour International, national Conference, National Executive Committee) to do something
A motion once carried becomes a resolution; the branch secretary then sends it to LI General Committee as an LI motion. If passed at an LIGC meeting the CLP secretary sends it to the NEC as an LI resolution.
From there, unless it specifically asks NEC to do something, it is sent to the National Policy Forum as a Policy resolution.
The best motions are structured as follows:
This branch notes – Factual and verifiable
Description of the issue or problem which the motion seeks to address.
The Labour Party principle(s) which underlie the solution.
Highlighting existing Labour Party policies which will contribute to the solution
This branch believes – Opinions, (subjective or open to debate)
what is wrong
what should change
what could be achieved
This branch calls upon Labour to – Actions!
Further policy proposals that normally conclude the motion and are its most important element.
A clear statement of what you want to happen next.
– Numbered lines and bullet points make the document easier to read, and items easier to refer to during a discussion.
– Check that any factual points are accurate
– The policy recommendations are the most important part of the motion and what you should give most thought to.
Check the current Manifesto for existing policy, and refer to it where it is relevant.
– It is better to stick to a few substantial points that make for a coherent plan, rather than a long list of small changes.
– It is better to use footnotes, or links to references at the end, rather than make the motion long and convoluted.
There are 2 types of motion:
A rule change motion that changes the rules of LI or your branch. These are normally presented to the appropriate AGM
A contemporary motion that covers policy or any other issue apart from rule change.
Sample motion statement openings
This branch notes (facts – verifiable & verified)
is aware that
mandates (specific instructions to specific officer)
Formal procedure at a meeting is for the motion to be proposed (usually by the person who wrote it), then seconded (by someone else). There is a discussion for and against the motion before the vote. The proposer has the last word (“right of reply”)
A motion for the LIGC it should have been discussed and voted on by a branch at a quorate meeting.* Where a branch is not functioning correctly, LIGC will consider motions from at least two individual members or from local groups. Motions need to be submitted to LI secretary at least a week before a GC meeting is due to take place, with the names of the proposer and seconder (your branch delegates), the name and date of the branch meeting at which it was carried and an affirmation from your branch secretary that the meeting was quorate.
(The exception is an emergency motion, which must be submitted in writing to the secretary as soon as the emergency allows it. However, it is up to the chair of a meeting to decide if the motion deals with a real emergency.)
At the GC meeting your branch delegates will formally propose and second the motion but may if they wish nominate another person to ‘speak for’ it. The document must include the name of the proposer and seconder, and where relevant, the name and date of the branch meeting when the vote was taken.
(Motions for the annual Conference must be no more than 250 words and have a slightly different procedure.)
Amendments and deletions can be moved and seconded from the “floor” of a meeting, but shall be handed to the secretary in writing. If an amendment or deletion is carried with a simple majority, the amended motion becomes a motion to which further amendments may be moved, before the final ‘substantive’ motion is voted on
Voting at LIGC is by branch delegates.
*check your branch rules for the designated quorate.