The Executive Committee of the Musicians Union is facing a backlash over its decision to support Owen Smith to be leader of the Labour Party without consulting members.
A letter of petition organised by musician, Dr Dave Camlin of Workington in Cumbria, has the support of 22 members. The proposed motion reads:
We, the undersigned members of the MU, move that the decision by the Musicians’ Union Executive Committee on 5th August 2016 to endorse Owen Smith MP in the contest for leader of the Labour Party is not necessarily representative of the views of MU members. Owing to the strength of feeling among the membership on this issue, we therefore propose that support for Owen Smith be withdrawn immediately, and the decision on who to support in the contest for leader of the Labour Party be suspended until such time as a ballot of all MU members’ views on the subject can be undertaken.
Dr Camlin explained his reasons for organising the emergency motion. “Many MU members were disappointed by the MU Executive Committee’s decision to endorse Owen Smith in the Labour leadership contest, as they didn’t feel they had been consulted on the matter, and many support Jeremy Corbyn,” he said. “The strength of feeling was evident by the huge number of critical posts on the MU Facebook page. However, because the MU is also a democratic institution, a number of members united to propose a motion to the EC to reverse the decision.
“Hopefully this is a case of democracy in action – we hope that the EC will recognise the controversial and unrepresentative nature of their decision, and will want to withdraw support for Owen Smith immediately until they’ve had a chance to properly consult their members on the matter.
“The ball is in their court, and we hope they do the right thing.”
Prominent Musicians Union Member, Pontypridd Assembly Member Mick Antoniw, who shares the same constituency boundary as Owen Smith, has refused to confirm who he is backing in the race, but is known to have supported Jeremy Corbyn previously.