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MU members can submit motions for Committees to consider, as well as submit motions at the Delegate Conference held every two years.

Last updated: 21 August 2023

What are Conference Motions and how do they work?

A Motion is a proposal for action that, if passed by a vote of the members at Conference, must be adopted by the Union. Motions are a key part of the Union’s approach and direction moving forward and are directly linked to the ideas and intentions put forward by MU members.

If there is an area you think the MU should be addressing, acting on, or taking a certain position upon, then how do you approach the subject and what is the journey? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. It starts with an idea, a proposal for action around Union policy or action at a national level that you write down as a potential ‘motion’. As far as the wording goes, you can read our guide below. Please note that Retired (Free) members are not eligible to submit Motions.
  2. You need to get other current MU members in your Region to agree with your proposed motion and support it if it is to progress. If this is a problem, you can use the ‘find a musician’ tool on the MU website, or you can ask your regional office to point you in the right direction. Each motion needs to be supported by five current members of the region, and each member can only support or propose a maximum of two motions.
  3. You need to send the proposed motion along with details and membership numbers of the five supporters (including yourself).
  4. Each of the six Regional Committees will meet in April or early May 2023 and will consider the potential Conference Motions submitted, i.e. your Region will consider the motion you submitted to it. The Regional Committee decides whether to Accept your motion (they like it), Reject (they don’t like it or they don’t think it’s feasible etc.) or they might choose to amend it (alter in some way). Any motions voted by a majority vote of that Regional Committee are ‘carried’ and become a Conference motion. If you want to attend this meeting as an observer and present your Motion, please get in touch with your Regional Organiser.
  5. The motions from Regional Committees now collectively become Conference Motions and will be published on the MU website for all members to access.
  6. At Conference, motions will be presented (‘moved’) by delegates from the Region that submitted them and discussed by the delegates representing all six regions. If the motion is voted for by a majority of the delegates, it is ‘carried’ and becomes an issue the Executive Committee has to act upon.

Motions to Conference 2023 had to be submitted to the Regional Organiser of your region no later than 31 March 2023. The submission deadline has now passed. Find out more about the Delegate Conference 2023.

How to submit a Motion to a Committee

There are three methods of making a point to the relevant Union Committee. Rule VI of the Rules explains how a Motion can be submitted.

1. A Motion moved at a Regional AGM (normally held in September), if accepted, will be sent directly to the EC.

The Motion will require a mover and a seconder and after debate will be put to a vote by the Chair. Should the Motion be adopted by the AGM it is sent, on behalf of all members in the Region, to the General Secretary for consideration by the EC.

The result of the EC’s deliberations will be conveyed to the Regional Committee (RC) and members in that Region will be informed through its quarterly newsletter.

2. A Motion may be submitted for consideration by an RC if it is supported by at least five members of the Region, who must provide their names and membership numbers.

If accepted by the RC, the Motion will be forwarded by the Regional Organiser to the General Secretary for the attention of the EC.

The result of the EC’s deliberations will be reported to the original supporters via the RC.

3. A Motion may be submitted in writing directly to the EC if it is supported by at least 20 members, who must all provide their names and membership numbers.

The Motion should be forwarded to the General Secretary, who will present it to the EC for its consideration.

The results of the EC’s deliberations will be conveyed to all the supporters of the Motion.

NB: Under Rule XII.2, Retired (free) members are not entitled to move, second or support Motions to the EC or RCs.

How to write a Motion

Here are some tips on getting your motions noticed and selected. 

Make sure your motion is topical and concise. Your motion is more likely to be selected by the Regional Committee if it comes with a call for action that the Region can support, and the Executive Committee (EC) can implement.

In general, a motion is more likely to be selected if:

  • It contains genuinely new and interesting proposals.
  • Is on a subject where there is a lack of policy, and which hasn’t been debated recently.
  • Is on a subject of major political or industrial importance.
  • Is likely to lead to an interesting debate, with speakers both for and against.

It is less likely to be selected if:

  • It is a repeat of old policies with nothing new to say.
  • It is on a subject which has been debated recently.
  • It is unlikely to lead to a good debate. For example, if it is so uncontroversial that no one will want to disagree with anything in the motion.

When writing your motion, make sure it is:

  • Topical, accurate and concise.
  • Comprehensible and logical.
  • Likely to prompt good debate.
  • In a subject area on which it is desirable for the MU to develop or change policy.

Motions should be clear statements that cover:

  • The problem that needs to be solved (welcomes, regrets, deplores, denounces).
  • The principle that underlies the solution (reaffirm, recognise, declare).
  • The proposal at the heart of the motion (affirms, believes, recommends, urges).

The best motions are structured as follows:

  1. A description of the issue or problem, which the motion seeks to address.
  2. The principle(s) which underlie the solution.
  3. A description of any existing policies, which will contribute to the solution.
  4. The further policy proposals, which normally conclude the motion and are its most important element.

A common reason for motions not being selected is because they contain criticisms and a detailed description of the problem, but are unclear or fail to make positive policy recommendations.

Proposals are usually introduced by “members call for”, but you could also use “recommend”, “propose”, “urge”, “demand”, “insist”, or “resolve”.


  • Choose issues that are topical and new and not a repeat of existing policy.
  • Include a proposal of action, as this is far more useful in shaping policy and therefore makes for a better motion.
  • Use sections if you have several clear calls for action. Ensure that any subsections only deal with one point of principle and don’t reference other subsections.
  • Be concise and clear. Write in plain English, explain any abbreviations, and try not to go beyond 150 words.
  • Check that any factual points are accurate. Motions that have inaccuracies are unlikely to be selected.
  • Be original – the Union needs exciting, topical debates. Even if your motion falls it can still offer colleagues a valuable perspective.


  • Write long, verbose speeches or be repetitive, vague, or moralistic.
  • Include quotations or actual sums of money, both of which run the danger of being inaccurate and thus invalidating the motion.
  • Put forward motions which are already policy.
  • Make personal attacks – the law of defamation may apply.
  • Be afraid to submit a motion. They are important for the Union in developing and shaping policy into the future.