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Labour Party members to debate restoring Clause IV

LABOUR members will debate whether to restore the party’s historic clause four motion at their conference this weekend.

Delegates will be able to vote on a rule change that would scrap the current clause four and reinstate to the old version, which commits to socialising the capitalist economy on behalf of workers.

The Star understands that five Constituency Labour Parties voted to endorse the motion.

Clause four was first introduced by the party in 1918, and was drafted by the leading Fabian Society member Sidney Webb.

The clause committed the Labour Party to “secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

The clause was amended in 1995, in a move that symbolised Labour’s transition from social democratic to market liberal party under Tony Blair.

Both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have given their support to the Labour4Clause4 campaign, announced early last year, to bring back the passage.

Mr McDonnell described the original words of clause four as “more relevant than ever” and insisted it was time to “bring it back.”

The Communication Workers Union voted at its conference this year to unanimously back clause four.

Socialist Labour MPs such as Dan Carden and Dennis Skinner as well as various senior trade union leaders from rail union RMT and bakers’ union BFAWU are also publicly in favour of the move.

Labour4Clause4 national co-ordinator Rob Sewell said: “There has never been a better time to restore clause four. A general election is on the cards. A Jeremy Corbyn Labour government is increasingly likely.

“And after the disaster of privatisation and the collapse of profiteers like Carillion, support for public ownership has never been higher amongst voters.

“A commitment to common ownership would be a winner — not just for Labour, but above all for workers.”

The Labour4Clause4 campaign will host a fringe meeting at Labour conference in Brighton on Monday September 23.

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