voted by a majority to endorse Owen Smith in the contest for leader of the Labour Party and explains its decision." /> voted by a majority to endorse Owen Smith in the contest for leader of the Labour Party and explains its decision." />

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MU EC Backing Owen Smith in Labour Leadership Contest

MU EC voted by a majority to endorse Owen Smith in the contest for leader of the Labour Party and explains its decision.

Further to the vote in August, in which the Musicians’ Union’s Executive Committee (EC) voted by a majority to endorse Owen Smith MP in the contest for leader of the Labour Party, the EC made a further statement to members at its meeting this week.

The EC chose to endorse Smith for a number of reasons. He has frequently met with the union and taken on board our issues. We believe that his election would increase our access to decision makers within the Labour Party and would therefore benefit musicians. Owen has previously supported the MU on issues such as protection of live music venues, copyright protection, fair pay for musicians and arts funding matters. He is also offering a second referendum based on approval of the terms of Brexit, which is undoubtedly an attractive option for many musicians concerned about what Brexit might mean.

The EC also wanted to endorse the candidate that it felt would have the best chance of bringing the Labour Party back together and reinvigorating it in areas such as Scotland and the North of England. Whilst Jeremy Corbyn has announced positive arts policies; we have had very little access to him or to his team. We were also concerned at the resignations of a number of MPs who have worked very closely with the MU over the years.

Owen Smith is on the left of the party and has committed to policies such as: banning all zero-hours contracts, giving all workers rights from day one, closing the gender pay gap and eliminating pay inequality with a Modern Equal Pay Act, repealing the Government’s Trade Union Act and abolishing Tribunal fees, strengthening union recognition rights and promoting greater collective bargaining.

This endorsement is an advisory recommendation only and individual Musicians’ Union (MU) members who are entitled to vote in the leadership election will be able to vote for whichever candidate they prefer.

Some members have asked why the full membership was not consulted on this matter. Balloting members would have been extremely expensive and therefore seemed illogical given that eligible members can cast their votes however they wish. The EC makes important decisions on MU policy on a monthly basis, and it is not practical or possible to consult members for each of these decisions. Although this issue is clearly important to some members, other members have different priorities.

Members of the EC are democratically elected to represent the membership; so it was a democratic decision. Previous decisions to endorse candidates in Labour Party selections have always been made by the EC.


Published: 09/09/2016
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