Jeremy Corbyn's supporters have hit back at criticism of new youth initiative Momentum Kids – rejecting claims that the move is "sinister".
The project aims to give parents better access to childcare so they can go out campaigning, and to encourage more children to take part in Momentum and Labour events themselves.
Momentum, the grassroots group formed from Corbyn's original leadership campaign, will launch the move this weekend at its four-day festival in Liverpool, called The World Transformed.
But the announcement on Sunday night prompted a backlash online – with some using the hashtag #TrotTots to warn it was tantamount to indoctrination.
A Momentum source told BuzzFeed News the criticism came from the "usual suspects" who always chose to negatively spin their announcements. "If we can't put childcare and feminism at the heart of our politics then we're not doing it right," the source said.
A spokesperson for The World Transformed festival added: "We're really happy to host the Momentum Kids launch at The World Transformed. The initiative will help single mothers, sole carers, and those who have been hit hardest by Tory cuts become involved in their communities, Momentum, and the Labour party.
"Breakfast clubs and crèches at events aren't sinister. They are exactly what mums and dads who want to get involved in politics need."
Momentum's festival in Liverpool, which will be open and free to all, will run alongside Labour's annual conference in the same city.
A number of children's events will be held at the festival on Saturday, the same day that the result of Labour's leadership contest will be announced. Corbyn is widely expected to remain party leader after a challenge from MP Owen Smith.
Children will be able to attend a storytelling session with author Alan Gibbons, a Brazilian jujitsu class, a street art workshop, and a youth and politics workshop. A creche will also be available on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
Momentum said Momentum Kids had originally been set up by two mothers in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and would expand across the organisation's network of 150 local groups.
The initiative aims to ensure single parents and sole carers have access to the "co-operatively run breakfast clubs, after-school sessions, and childcare they need to facilitate their political engagement".
And it aims to "increase children’s involvement in Momentum and the Labour movement by promoting political activity that is fun, engaging, and child-friendly".
In a press release from Momentum Kids, Sasha, one of the group's founders, said: "It sounds like such a cliche when you say it out loud but it remains true, our kids are the next generation of people who can change the world.
"We don’t underestimate the contribution they can make. Let’s create a space for questioning, curious children where we can listen to them and give them a voice."
Jessie, another founder, said: "Women face more than just the gendered pay gap – there is a democracy gap too. Women still do a disproportionate amount of caring work and this can leave them shut out of many political spaces.
"We hope that Momentum Kids can be part of changing this by providing a political environment where families are welcomed."
Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Emily Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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