Director Ken Loach backs campaign to reinstate Labour's original Clause Four

Film director Ken Loach has launched a campaign to reinstate the original Clause Four in Labour's constitution.

The close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, along with MPs on Labour's left and Socialist campaigners, wants to use the centenary of the pledge for "common ownership of the means of production" being agreed by the party to revive it.

Labour former prime minister Tony Blair ditched the commitment in 1995 in a symbolic marker of the party's modernisation.

Loach, whose films include I, Daniel Blake and Kes, produced a promotional video for Mr Corbyn and has spoken out in his support when the Labour leader has come under attack.

He said: "This campaign is very timely. I hope it sparks a discussion about how the economy is to be transformed."

Labour leader Tony Blair during his 1995 bid to scrap Clause Four (Sean Dempsey/PA)
Labour leader Tony Blair during his 1995 bid to scrap Clause Four (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Labour MPs Dennis Skinner, Ronnie Campbell and Ian Mearns have backed the campaign, which is attempting to secure a discussion on reinstating the clause at the party's conference.

Asked in November if it was time for Labour to look again at bringing back the original pledge, Mr Corbyn said the party already had the principles and did not "need to be rewriting our constitution".

Campaigners said the transformation of Labour under Mr Corbyn meant calls for Clause Four to be reintroduced would find a "big echo" in the party.

The original Clause Four, part four, stated: "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 the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service."

Socialist Rob Sewell, who is co-ordinating the campaign, said: "We should restore the original Clause Four. It is a historic document that clearly argues for the abolition of capitalism.

"But this should not be the old style of nationalisation, which was based on bankrupt industries and management from the top. We need nationalisation of the key profitable sectors, run under the democratic control of workers and consumers.

"We are confident, once the issues are debated, that there will be overwhelming rank-and-file support for its restoration."