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Statement on Proportional Representation motion at Labour Party conference

We are extremely disheartened that the motion to Labour Party conference backing proportional representation in government has failed. We are confident that the ‘no’ votes cast by trade union delegates do not reflect the principles or considered beliefs of the movement rank-and-file.

The labour movement has a proud history of originating struggles for greater democracy – in the workplace, in the community, and in society at large. From the Chartists to universal suffrage, the tradition of organised labour is a tradition of growing popular power.

This growth of popular power has never been linear, and it is so far from complete. Millions still live in this country without the vote. All of us labour in a bourgeois democracy that restricts our right to organise and strike. The list could go on.

Nonetheless, driving that arc of growth onwards is our task. This will sometimes challenge particular institutions and organisations within our movement, and their particular interests. Progress is not simple.

But it is in the general interest of our class that limitations on the ability of working people to organise and attain political representation be removed. We believe rejecting this motion fails to serve that interest.

We will continue in this fight and we are confident that we will prevail. We recognise that this task is huge, and that we won’t win unless we organise to hold our leaders and representatives accountable.