Labour leadership: Who are the party’s affiliate groups backing?

Labour leadership contenders

They come in all shapes and sizes, and one is older than the party itself – welcome to the world of Labour’s affiliated “socialist societies”.

Many of these 20 groups, which range from tiny professional networks and think tanks to major national campaigns, have been balloting their members about who should be the next Labour leader and deputy leader.

It is up to individual society members to decide who to vote for in the leadership contest – and they don’t have to be Labour members, as long as they have registered in time and been vetted by the party.

But an endorsement by an affiliated society can come in handy for any candidate trying to get into the final stage of the contest, which gets under way next week.

Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are already on the ballot, thanks to backing from big unions and local parties. But Emily Thornberry needs to get the backing of a few more local parties to get through to the one-member-one-vote run-off that will decide who replaces Jeremy Corbyn.

The deadline is midnight on Friday 14 February.

The Fabian Society

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Labour leaders know the Fabians are an important voice in the party

Established: 1884

Estimated membership: 7,000

Aims: The Fabian Society claims to be Britain’s first political think tank. It is also the first Labour socialist society, helping to found the party, with the trade unions, in 1900.

The society is known for its belief in gradual, long-term social progress, rather than revolutionary change, but it likes to think of itself as a broad church. Some of Labour’s greatest thinkers, and biggest ideas, such as the creation of the National Health Service, have emerged from the Fabians.

There are also 70 local Fabian societies, the Scottish and Welsh Fabians, the Fabian Women’s Network and the Young Fabians.

Which candidates are they backing?

The Fabian Society is not endorsing any of the candidates, as is its tradition.

Jewish Labour Movement

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Image caption Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield addresses a JLM conference event

Established: 1903 (known as Poale Zion until 2004)

Estimated membership: 4,000

Aims: The group lists among its goals promoting Labour or “socialist Zionism” as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel, working for democratic socialism in the UK and Israel, maintaining Jewish identity and supporting the rights of Jews everywhere, and applying “Jewish ethical principles to create a society based on social justices”.

It also says it aims “to fight anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of discrimination and racial hatred, to oppose the activities of fascist, racist and anti-Semitic groups,” and “to promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life.” Recently, the movement has been critical of the Labour leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism under Jeremy Corbyn. They balloted their membership on which candidates to back.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Lisa Nandy

Deputy: Ian Murray

Christians on the Left

Established: 2013. Formerly the Christian Socialist Movement, which was established in 1960

Estimated membership: 2,400

Aims: Former Labour leaders John Smith, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were all members of the Christian Socialist Movement, one of the longest-established Labour affiliates.

It describes itself as a “movement of Christians with a radical commitment to social justice, to protecting the environment and to fostering peace and reconciliation”.

Until recently, Christians on the Left was based in Labour’s London headquarters, but many of its members are members of other parties, and even more are not a member of any political party.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Angela Rayner

Chinese for Labour

Image caption Sarah Owen is the first British Chinese Labour MP

Established: 1999

Estimated membership: More than 3,000

Aims: To represent the interests of Chinese and East Asian people within the Labour Party and the UK, as well as raising awareness of East Asia.

In a blog last year, the group’s chairman, Sonny Leong, said the founders believed the Chinese community in the UK “had been too quiet for too long, keeping ourselves to ourselves” and they wanted it to “play a fuller role in our society and in our politics”.

Patrons include Labour MP Liam Byrne, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, former minister Ian McCartney and Cherie Blair, lawyer and wife of the former prime minister. The group recently celebrated the election of Sarah Owen, the first British Chinese Labour MP, in Luton South.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Lisa Nandy

Deputy: Dawn Butler

BAME Labour

Established: 2007 – it was the successor organisation to the Black Socialist Society, which was formed in 1993, and the Black Sections, which campaigned for representation in the trade unions and the party in the 1980s.

Estimated membership: Disputed – the party is in the process of reorganising its black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) structures.

Aims: BAME Labour seeks to empower ethnic minority members within the Labour Party and campaigns for greater representation of ethnic minority communities in public life.

It reportedly had just 731 members when it held a leadership election in 2018, but sources in the organisation say there are now more than 3,000 members.

The group does not currently have a website and its membership application process is suspended.

Under new rules brought in under the party’s democracy review, any Labour member identifying as being black, Asian or minority ethnic BAME will be able to join a new BAME section of the party that is being set up.

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Dawn Butler

Disability Labour

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The campaign wants ‘full civil rights’ for disabled people

Established: 1996

Estimated membership: 900

Aims: The group’s website says it campaigns for “full civil rights for disabled people, including comprehensive and enforceable legislation,” as well as providing a platform for disabled people within the Labour Party.

It also wants to encourage disabled people to join the party, influence the party’s disability policies, and help the party win the votes of disabled people. Lastly, it aims to work with other disabled people’s organisations.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Rebecca Long-Bailey

Deputy: Dawn Butler

LGBT+ Labour

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Labour LGBT members take part in Pride 2018

Established: 1975

Estimated membership: 2,400

Aims: The group campaigns for LGBT+ rights within the Labour movement and for the Labour Party within the LGBT+ community.

Which candidates are they backing?

The group does not traditionally endorse a leadership candidate.

National Union of Labour and Socialist Clubs

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Tony Blair gave his farewell speech at Trimdon Labour Club, which has since closed

Established: 1918

Estimated membership: There are 28 affiliated social clubs around the country

Aims: Local Labour parties began setting up social clubs for their supporters shortly after the party was formed – the first one was in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

This club began recruiting in other areas and eventually became the National Union of Labour and Socialist Clubs, with premises all over the UK.

The clubs are still community hubs in working class areas, and are still used for party meetings, as well as being somewhere to have a drink at a reasonable price.

Which candidates are they backing?

The organisation is not balloting its members.

Labour Animal Welfare Society (LAWS)

Established: 1992

Estimated membership: Not known.

Aims: The group’s goals include ensuring the Animal Welfare Act is fully enforced, making sure there are animal welfare officers in every police force, and reducing animal testing.

It wants the UK to adopt “humane” trade and food policies, and labelling on all fur products. It wants a new Protection of Mammals Act and proper enforcement of hunting legislation.

Labour Business

Established: 1972

Estimated membership: The group does not release membership figures but says it has 2,200 people on its contact list.

Aims: To “act as a bridge between the Labour Party and the business community” and “bust the myth that the Tories are the party of business, and to re-position Labour as the natural party of business”.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Angela Rayner

Labour Campaign for International Development

Established: 2009

Estimated membership: 550

Aims: To campaign for the next Labour government to “pursue an ethical foreign policy and champion a progressive approach to humanitarian intervention,” and to protect the cabinet seat of the international development secretary. The group also wants Britain to maintain its commitment to spending 0.7% of GDP on international aid.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Rosena Allin-Khan

Labour Housing Group

Established: 1981

Estimated membership: 320

Aims: To promote socialist housing policies nationally and locally. The group seeks to ensure that housing of the “highest possible standard is available for all members of the community, regardless of their means”.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy Leader: Angela Rayner

Labour Movement for Europe

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lord Kinnock is a leading light in Labour’s pro-European movement

Established: 2002, to campaign for Britain’s membership of the euro

Estimated membership: 1,200

Aims: The group aims to “deepen the understanding of the European Union and its potential throughout the wider Labour movement and the people of the United Kingdom”. Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock is its honorary chairman.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Ian Murray

Labour Party Irish Society

Established: 1992

Estimated membership: 700

Aims: To promote the interests of Irish people in Britain and to encourage them to join the Labour Party. It links the Labour Party to its sister party in Ireland. The group says it “campaigns on a range of issues, which last year included the successful change in legislation on equal marriage and abortion rights, which was led by Labour MPs”.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Ian Murray

Labour Women’s Network

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Image caption Labour MPs celebrate 100 years of the vote in 2018

Established: 1988

Estimated membership: Just under 2,000

Aims: The group says it exists to get more women elected as Labour MPs and to ensure women are represented at all levels of the Labour Party. It wants to see equal representation of men and women in the party and provides training for women candidates.

Which candidates are they backing?

Traditionally, the party has not nominated candidates in leadership and deputy leadership races.

Socialist Health Association

Established: 1930

Estimated membership: 1,109

Aims: The group says its three goals are “universal publicly provided healthcare meeting patients’ needs, free at the point of use, funded by taxation,” “democracy based on freedom of information, election not selection and local decision making,” and “equality based on true equality of opportunity and progressive taxation.”

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Angela Rayner

Scientists for Labour

Established: 1994

Estimated membership: 380

Aims: The group says it “aims to improve the understanding of science within the Labour Party and nationally.” It also advises the party on scientific issues.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Rosena Allin-Khan

Socialist Education Association

Established:

Estimated membership: 640

Aims: The group says it “has been campaigning hard for an equitable education system in which every child goes to a great school, which is embedded in its local community and democratically accountable to it.” It says it wants to “take on the powerful interests currently running schools”.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Rebecca Long-Bailey

Deputy: Richard Burgon

Society of Labour Lawyers

Established: 1948

Estimated membership: Declined to say

Aims: The group says it was “was founded to form policy and give advice directly to the Labour Party.” It campaigns for policies to increase access to justice, such as the extension of legal aid.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

Deputy: Angela Rayner

SERA – Labour’s Environment Campaign

Established: 1973

Estimated membership: Not available

Aims: On its website, the Socialist Environment and Resources Association says it is the only environmental group affiliated to Labour. It campaigns for the party to adopt ambitious environmental policies.

Which candidates are they backing?

Leader: Sir Keir Starmer

SERA is not nominating a deputy leadership contender.

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