Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Southport - The Benidorm of the North West

Next Saturday and Sunday sees the North West Regional Conference being held in Southport.

Given the events of this year it will be interesting to see what the feedback from the members is.

Monday, October 29, 2007


'Countdown to the general election: how can Labour win?'

Saturday 3 November 2007: The East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf

Speakers include David Aaronovitch, Wendy Alexander, Ed Balls, Nick Cohen, Yvette Cooper, Tony Giddens, Lynsey Hanley, Ed Husain, Peter Kellner, Oona King, Ed Miliband, Tim Montgomerie, Estelle Morris, James Purnell, Dave Rowntree, Polly Toynbee, and many more.

Seminar topics include foreign policy post-Iraq, the public services, housing, the security debate, equality and aspiration, business and social justice, Cameron and the Tories, Labour party reform, politics post-spin, the green agenda, and how progressives should engage with political Islam.

The best way to book is online: please visit:

Parliamentary Selections

At the last NEC Organisation Committee, a number of members raised the need to make faster progress in completing the outstanding parliamentary selections. We also need to consider which of them will have All Women Shortlists and review our progress in selecting more Black and Ethnic minority candidates.

It was agreed the we would have a short meeting a our next Away Day to consider these issues and make the recommendations.

Manchester Gorton - Christmas Fundraiser

Gorton are organising a fundraising Curry Evening at the Nawab Restaurant, Stockport Road, Manchester on Thursday December 6th. Tickets are £25.00 and I have heard a rumour of complimentary beer and wine all evening. Contact Luthfur Ali on 07810 5133008.

National Policy Forum

Just received notice that there will be a National Policy Forum held on Saturday / Sunday 1st - 2nd December. For security reasons we're not told where but will be told in due course.

NEC Elections

We have now agreed the timetable for electing the constituency representatives on the National Executive Committee (subject to CAC approval!)

NEC members are elected every two years with all individual members of the Party entitled to vote for up to six representatives.

Constituency Labour Parties will be invited to nominate NEC representatives and can nominate up to six members. Most CLPs will be dealing with this issue at their January and February meetings and the deadline for nominations will be the start of April. The actual election will be held in June next year.

Supper With The Minister

On Friday 19th October we had one of our branch fundraisers with Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and M.P. for nearby Leigh, as Speaker.

We had over forty members present from Salford, Manchester, Bury and Prestwich and it was a great event.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. Hazel Blears was there and introduced Andy, who spoke very well about his experience so far in Cabinet.

This is a good Labour event. We've organised three so far this year which has allowed our branch to raise over £1,000 this year. Its good of both Hazel and the Cabinet Ministers involved to give up their time. It was also good to see Francine, Emma and Carla from our friends Thompsons the Solicitors.

Through the fundraising we're in a good position to carry on campaigning for next May's local elections.

Ellesmere Port and Neston - Well Done Sue

In the Rossmore Ward by-election on Thursday, you could tell the Tories thought they were in with a chance. They didn't count on Sue Pugh. Labour held the seat with 504 votes, the Tories got 325, the English Democrats 60 and the Liberal Democrats came fourth with 38 - not much sign of a "Ming Going" bounce there! Tory vote share down 5%. Three of us went over for what passes for an enjoyable day for us.

National Executive Sub-Committees

Tuesday 16th October was my day in London for the Sub-Committees of the National Executive Committee.

The meetings are held at Labour Headquarters on Victoria Street, London.

The first meeting of the day is the Women's, Race and Equality Committee.

There was a discussion about Conference which everybody felt had been a great success but there were some concerns about the suitability of Bournemouth as a Conference venue - its particularly difficult for delegates with disabilities.

Harriet Harman will be convening a Women's Summit in November - primarily for elected women - Councillors, MPs, MEPs and, very importantly, Members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly Members. The aim is to help women members develop a specific agenda and network amongst themselves.

There was then a full discussion on other diversity strategy including the "Winning With Women" campaign and our ethnic minority strategy.

Stephanie Peacock, the Youth Rep, announced details of the £1.00 youth rate. Anyone under twenty-seven who agrees to pay future subscriptions by Direct Debit can join for £1.00 for the first year.

Literature will be coming to CLPs and its important this is used as part of a strategy for attracting more young people.

I think this sort of introductory offer is a useful way of getting over the problems caused by the initially high membership fees and will be pressing for a £5.00 introductory offer.

There will be a Women's Conference as a part of the Spring Conference to be held in Birmingham in February. This Conference will be a good springboard for next May's local elections and its good to see the pressure for a Local Government Conference has paid off. I'm looking forward to doing a pub review of Brum!

Disputes Committee

The Disputes Committee is where problems in CLPs come to the attention of the NEC. Some as matters of report, some for the NEC to intervene in directly. Its not right to go into details, but I can say that the Disputes Committee members come from all backgrounds and take the Committee and its duties seriously.

Organisation Committee

The Organisation Committee meets at 2.00 p.m. meaning essentially the day is one long Committee meeting.

We agreed procedure for selecting Euro-candidates which need to be completed by the end of January 2008. CLPs should be written to during November but will need to deal with this in their January branch / GC meetings.

We discussed selection procedures for Local Government including unitary authorities and it is clear that we need to get a move on if we are to get candidates in place as soon as possible.

Also discussed was next year's Conference timetable and NPF elections. Nominations for election to the NEC next year will probably have to be in by the end of March - subject to Conference arrangements Committee approval.

Anyone with any queries about the Organisation Committees business is welcome to contact me at or 07880 790182.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Campaign Training - Manchester Town Hall

On Saturday we had over eighty people turn up for a full day training session, with most CLPs from the North West represented from Westmorland to Crewe.

The feeling was very good as members are gearing up for both local elections next May and a General Election whenever it comes.

We know we won't have the money the Tories will have but we can more than make up for that by the voluntary contribution of time and effort by our members and supporters.

Finished off the weekend on Sunday with a gentle couple of hours delivering Eid cards in Bury North. Something tells me most weeks will be like this for the next little while.

Ellesmere Port - Little Sutton By-Election

On Friday three of us drove over to help Sue Pugh with her by-election. Friday evening - so nothing too demanding - just a couple of hours leafleting.

The campaign seems to be going very well and Sue would make a great Councillor.

The election is on Thursday 18th and anyone who can help Sue should ring 07809 861 609.

Claremont - The Fight Continues

On Sunday 7th we were out in force in Claremont ward. The big issue - as ever - was the state of the roads and pavements. I've already got Salford's biggest pothole filled in in this area but there's still plenty to do. As you can se we had a good turn out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Manufacturing Demo

One of the big issues facing the world outside Westminster is the future of British manufacturing. We know we have to compete in a cut-throat global market and its vital that we have a Government strategy to keep a manufacturing base in this country.

My Trade Union - Unite - is organising a national rally and lobby of Parliament from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Wednesday 17th October at Westminster Central Hall, Westminster, London. Please come along and urge anyone you know to attend.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


With all the priorities we have for spending money in this country what is David Cameron’s top priority?
He wants to raise the threshold for inheritance tax to One Million Pounds!

That means anyone who inherits a million pounds would save £250,000 in tax under the Tories!

That’s money they could spend on the NHS, more police, pensioners, schools or any one of a wide range of deserving causes but they’d rather give it to millionaires.

David Cameron’s Conservatives – Good for millionaires – Bad for Salford!

Tiverton & Honiton

Friday 5th October saw me taking the short trip to Ottery St Mary in Devon to do a fundraising dinner for the CLP. It’s the first time I've done one of these so I'm a bit nervous. The drive down is about five and a half hours so I've taken the day off work. When I get there I find no room in the inn - all the rooms are taken but I manage to book a room in an Indian takeaway restaurant - another first!

There's nearly 40 people at the dinner - a really nice crowd of people with good support from Exeter - the neighbouring marginal seat. Its also the launch meeting for Vernon - the Parliamentary candidate. Vernon seems like an excellent candidate to me - former Police Officer and current Town Council Mayor - a real asset to the Party.

The food and company are excellent but then I have to sing for my supper! I give a report on how the NEC works and the current political situation. There were lots of questions and genuine interest and it was good to see party members keen in what is clearly a difficult area. Thanks to Alf for arranging things and I hope to be back before long.

General Election

Driving back from Devon I catch the news on the radio - no General Election. It was clearly a difficult decision but also clearly the right one. It's been clear talking to members and supporters that people didn't see the need for an election - we've got up to two and a half years to carry on implementing Labour policies and people want to see us carry on governing.

There will be some fall out from the media but it won't last long. They have the attention span of a goldfish! As for the Tories - Cameron is fooling no-one - the last thing he wanted was a general Election.

It has given us some useful ideas about the state of party organisation and its important we learn from them. Although it looks like an election will be 2009 at the earliest we need to ensure we are operating at full pitch in the marginal seats from now until then.

If any members have comments on the state of our organisation in the country I'd be glad to receive them.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


The Thursday before Conference sees me whizzing down the M6 again - this time to Stratford-on-Avon. With a 1200 Tory majority over the Liberal Democrats. It’s a bit of a contrast to Pontypridd where I was last week - but the common factor was an active committed party.
As well as working their own constituency they work hard in the nearby marginal of Warwick and Leamington where we have a majority of just over 200.

Anyway - a nice bunch of people and they are looking for a lively candidate to fight a General Election. Any aspiring candidate could do a lot worse.

Spring Conference

Following representations the Party have agreed to have a Spring Conference next February.

More details to follow but we are lobbying of there to be a local Government Conference and for it to be in the Midlands.

Candidates Wanted

Two constituencies in the West Midlands are looking for enthusiastic candidates - Stratford-on-Avon and Lichfield.

They are both what people nowadays call "challenging" but both have good lively Labour Parties who want to have a go.

Anyone interested and wanting more information - please give me a ring on 07880790182.


At our recent Salford and Eccles Constituency meeting we overwhelmingly passed a resolution form Amicus / Unite calling on the Council to investigate using their procurement powers to purchase from Remploy.

European law allows local authorities to reserve contracts solely for sheltered workshops.

This is a good way for Council to use their economic power in favour of local people and other CLPs are encouraged to do the same.

By-Election - Thursday October 18th

By-Election - Rossmore Ward - Ellesmere Port - Thursday October 18th.

There will be a by-election in Elsmere Port on October 18th. This is a good Labour seat but it’s a very short campaign, so the Party needs all the help it can get.

The candidate is Sue Pugh, known to many of us in the North West. Its in everybody's interest to win the seat because Sue will make our life misery if we don't.

For details of how to help ring Sue on 07809 861609.