Sunday, April 01, 2012

Local Elections

I'm fighting Eccles ward this May - looking to gain the last Tory seat in the ward and Sue is fighting Claremont looking to win the last LibDem seat in the ward and beat the Leader of the LibDems.

So - as you can imagine - it's leaflet, leaflet canvass and canvass.

The response is very good -  I've recruited 5 new or rejoining members this week alone but we always need more help.

Anyone who hasn't got their own elections and would like to help whether in the ward or by telephoning will be very welcome, just give me a ring on 07880 790182 or email

Here's to Labour victories!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Labour Action in Eccles

Sometimes you have to roll-up your sleeves and do it yourself. It kept being drawn to my attention that the signpost on Wellington Road in Eccles was the filthiest in town.
Something needed to be done - so Eccles Labour Party leapt into action with a ladder, a bucket and some detergent. It's a lot better now - but I realised it's in the wrong place and pointing in the wrong direction - that's a job for another day.

Campaign to win

Salford Mayoral selection is now over - thanks to everyone for their support. Glad I stood - it was important to make the case for a real change in how the Council engages with people.
Commiserations to John, congratulations to Ian - now let's win the elections in May.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Don't forget the rally in Manchester

Andrew Lansleys' Bill is at a critical stage

Ahead of crucial votes in the House of Lords th NWTUC, NWUNISON and the Labour Party have organised a rally to 'SAVE OUR NHS'

Saturday 3rd March 2012, 11am

Albert Square

Show your support for the NHS and demand that the Government Drop the Bill

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Speech at Mayoral hustings

The second of the main hustings is now over - members have had a chance to hear from the candidates and it's now up to you.

Those of you who have not yet returned your ballots have until Friday 12 noon to get them back to regional office in Warrington, or you can bring them to the final hustings and count at the Salford Suite in the Civic Centre at 1pm next Sunday, the 4th of March.

I have included below a copy of my speech below so you can see what was said at the meeting. I hope it is of interest. As ever, if you have any queries please don't hesitate to get in touch with me - my number is 07880 780182 - and please do return your ballot.

I am also holding another two meetings over the coming days to give members a chance to ask any questions they might have.

The meetings will be:
  • Monday 27th February; 7:30pm; The Blue Bell, Monton Green, Monton, Eccles
  • Tuesday 28th February; 7:30pm; The Lion, 201 Liverpool Rd, Cadishead, M44 5XH

I hope to meet you there.

This election is the biggest challenge facing us for many years and your involvement is vital if we are to win.

Speech to members 25th and 26th February......

A Labour Mayor for a Labour City

1. Good morning. It’s a great honour to be here.

2. It’s impossible for me to cover everything in 5 minutes so feel free to contact me afterwards.

3. My name is Peter Wheeler. I want Labour to win the Mayoral election and I believe that I am the candidate to do it.

4. The referendum result was a clear shot across our bows – if we take the voters for granted – if we don’t have a clear message – if we don’t campaign hard – we WILL lose and that would be a tragedy for the people we represent.

5. I knock on doors – I listen to our voters – and I hear time and time again that they are looking for change. They feel the Council doesn’t communicate and doesn’t listen. Either we make the changes or the voters will do it for us.

6. So what sort of change, what sort of Mayor do we need?

7. We need a Mayor who will give the Council clear political direction – based on Labour Values. That’s not a luxury – it’s the only way the Council and the Party will get through the current situation. That means working as a Labour team – Councillors, MP’s MEPs members and Trade Unions all pulling together to deliver for local people.

8. Councillors are often unsung heroes, working on the frontline for Labour. I want to make it easier for working people to be involved – more evening meetings and time limits so we are not in the ridiculous situation of 7 and a half hour Council meetings!

9. I want a strong voice on the Council for women. No apologies for saying that I want half of my first cabinet to be women – women pay half the Council Tax in Salford – suffer more from the cuts – and it’s well passed time that their voices are heard.

10. I will also restore to the Labour Group the right to elect the Cabinet – too much patronage is a bad thing.

11. The biggest part of the Labour team are the members and Trade Unions. – I will organise quarterly report-back meetings for members and communicate with you via email and post – I will establish a Mayors Trade Union Forum, meeting regularly with local trade unionists ensuring Salford is a Trade Union friendly City –

12. I will work with CLP’s and MP’s to improve how the Party works and how we campaign in our communities. We need new members, fresh ideas and fresh legs to ensure we get our message across. I will lead a major membership drive across the city.

13. That’s the team – here’s the change. WE WILL get much better at communicating and responding to people’s concerns – at a strategic level, but just as important at an individual level. Too often people’s experience of the Council is being ignored or being passed from pillar to post. It’s not good enough and it’s going to change with proper systems and monitoring. I will be visible and approachable throughout the City

14. I will be at Community Committees and I will be establishing a series of Mayors forums for the different communities across the City – young people, small businesses, LGBT, disability groups, ethnic minorities and faith groups to name a few – Direct access to the Labour Mayor. Not just listening but engaging with people, treating them as adults, telling the truth and admitting when we’re wrong.

15. I’m already listening and acting on peoples priorities and learning from good practice in other Labour Councils. Transport is a problem. Chapel Street played a big part in losing the referendum. We will be having an urgent review of Transport Policy – bus lanes, car parking, the role of rail, exorbitant bus fares – we will be looking to support our town centres and employment in the City.

16. Unemployment is at its highest since 1995 when the Tories were in last in Government. I’ll put in place a jobs taskforce – including employers and trade unions – to protect existing jobs – attract new ones and develop the skills we need for future jobs. Salford can’t afford another lost generation.

17. We will build more social housing and ensure tory cuts do not blight large parts of our City again. We must move with the times. Oldham has a Mortgage guarantee scheme to help first time buyers – we can do the same.

18. We know what needs doing on Crime – more Police on the streets and closer work with communities

19. Children’s and Old people’s Services must continue to improve.

And there is so much more.

We face a massive challenge – we must win the argument in every part of the City in favour of high quality public services and social justice. That means we must change and show people we have changed – if we can do that we will win and build a city we can be proud of.

Campaigning in Langworthy Ward, Salford

Before speaking at the Hustings for Labour Mayor in Salford, I joined the North West LGBT team who were helping the Candidate for the May local elections in Langworthy - Paul Dennett (far right)

Cheetham Hill Fundraiser

Saturday evening 25th feb - Speaking at a fundraiser for Cheetham Hill Branch attended by many of the great and good, including Tony Lloyd MP, Cllr Afzal Khan, Naeem Hassan and candidate for the local elections here in May, Chowcat Ali - together with friends and family.
Good Luck in May, Chowcat.

I saw the Future....

.......on Saturday 25th February in Liverpool. And it was bright.

At Labour North Wests' Local Government Day with Young Labour.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giving Platelets

One of the things I am very proud of - is my Gold award for giving blood. Actually I give Platelets.
They take the blood out, remove the platelets, and then put the blood back in!
The Platelets are used for Cancer sufferers and many other types of patients. It is the essence of the NHS - people who can, giving free for those who need.
If you want to be a donor - just call 0300 123 2323 or Google 'blood donation' - and the custard creams are very nice.

Wanted - Peter Wheeler for Salford Mayor 1

Wanted - Peter Wheeler for Salford Mayor 2

Sunday, February 19, 2012


In last month’s referendum the people in Salford sent a clear message - They want the
Council to change. To deliver that change, Peter Wheeler told a meeting of Labour members the local Labour Party needs to change too.

“Councillors are often the unsung heroes of local government – working long hours behind the
scenes to ensure the delivery of local services. I will give as much support as I can to Councillors to enable them to do their work on behalf of the local community. And I want to see more people
from different backgrounds getting involved.

That’s why I will:

  • Move as many Council meetings to the evening as possible – making it easier for
    people in work to be Councillors

  • Put a time limit on Council meetings – the last full Council meeting took over 7 hours (in Manchester they take 2hours!)

  • Half of my Cabinet will be women - Women pay half the Council Tax in Salford, so for me it’s a case of ‘no taxation without representation’

Ever since I have been in the Labour Party I have heard talk of fair representation – it’s time to stop talking and just do it. Anyone who says I can’t find four women Councillors to be in the cabinet doesn’t know Salford women!

Salford people want change – I believe they want a Labour Council, but a Labour Council
that listens to them. I determined to give them what they want.”

Message to Members

Message to Members Page 2

I have a clear Vision for Salford

In May, Salford will have a directly elected Mayor. That’s what the people have voted for.
Our priority now is to make sure we have a LABOUR mayor- and to do that we need to understand why people think the Council does not listen.
Some of that criticism is unfair - in many areas the council has a great record - often it just doesn’t communicate it, but sometimes the criticism is fair - then we need to listen and act on it. The people want change and either we change things or someone else will.
I‘m seeking selection to be the Labour Mayoral candidate because I can deliver that change.I have the credentials:
· I grew up in Salford
· my children were educated here
· I joined the Labour party when I was 16
· I am an active trade unionist
· I am down to earth and plain speaking
· I can act as part of a team or speak out stubbornly for what I believe to be right
I have a clear vision of a bright future for SalfordI love this City - and more importantly, the people who make it what it is, whether they are from Irlam & Cadishead, Worsley, Eccles, Swinton or Salford - I will work hard for all of them.
If you vote for me you will be getting a Labour Mayor, committed to Labour values. I will to listen to and work with our residents to provide a better City.But it’s about more than just putting an X next to the name of a candidate (Labour Politics isn’t a spectator sport!) I want to hear your ideas about how we re-connect with local people and I would welcome your support.
We can only win with your ideas and enthusiasm. I will be organising informal meetings in every part of the city to allow members to meet me and to discuss the selection.I am proud of Labour achievements in our City and I really believe it is time for change and to renew our vision for a better City.
Please get in touch with me on 07880 790 182 or e-mail come to one of my members meetings - details to follow.Best wishes and I hope to hear from you.

Fresh Face in Race for Labour Mayoral candidate

Over the next few weeks Labour Party members in Salford will be choosing their candidate
for the new post of Directly Elected Mayor.

Today, Peter Wheeler, senior Labour Party member and active Trade Unionist announced his
intention to seek selection.

Peter lives in Salford, where he grew up. His father, a former sailor in the Royal Navy, was
well known in the Ordsall and Pendleton areas, where he managed the “Worsley Hotel” and the “Flat Iron” during the 1960’s and’70’s.
He worked as a Trade Union official with the engineering union, the AEEU, which later became UNITE. Peter was also a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee for 6 years from 2004-2010.

Peter said,

” I am not just a proud Salfordian, but proud of Labour’s many achievements here in
Salford- school exam results have improved, crime is down, and millions of pounds have been invested in our Salford Royal Hospital.

All of this progress is now threatened by savage cuts to both our Council finances and our
National Health Service, by a Government ruled by well-to-do Tories and LibDems who know little about what is needed in Salford.

Our Council needs to work with local Communities to deliver a high quality education for
our young people, first class care for our older people and the essential services we expect at a price we can afford. And to do that there needs to be change – listening to local people and taking action on what is needed to make their lives better.

Residents here have voted to have an elected Mayor.

I believe they want a Mayor with Labour values, and they want a Labour
Mayor who will listen to them. As a Trade Union Officer I was always prepared
to listen to people and fight their corner, that’s how I would work as a Mayor -
standing up for local people.”

Labour members throughout Salford will vote by post for their choice of candidate with
the result being announced on March 4th.

For more information contact Peter on 07880 790182 or e-mail

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Government plans for social housing

.The Government are attempting to change the basis of Social Housing in this country moving from a position where it is a viable alternative to private renting or owner occupation to a safety net form of poverty housing.
At a time when entry into the housing market has rarely been more difficult and incomes are being squeezed for most people their changes represent a move in precisely the wrong direction.
Many of the changesare permissive, allowing councils and housing associations to make changes rather than compelling them.
Security of Tenure
Existing tenancies will remain as now, although the Government are asking if tenants who move should be given one of the new fixed term tenancies. Councils and Housing Associations will be able to give fixed term tenancies, with a minimum period of two years. These tenancies will be at social rent levels.
Rights to succeed to a tenancy for new tenants will be standardised for council and housing association tenants. Spouse/partner will have an automatic right to succeed (as long as the spouse/partner wasn’t a successor). Children and anyone else will be up to the land-lord.
Affordable Rents
The Government plan to introduce a new “affordable Rent” for Housing Associations to offer to new tenants from April 2011. These will be short term tenancies at a rent higher than the current social rent level-up to 80% of local market rents.
Councils will no longer have to have” open” short-lists but central government will decide priorities.
There will be a nationwide home swap scheme to improve mobility.
Councils will be able to meet their duty to the homeless with an offer of suitable private rental accommodation.
Council Housing Finance
Current arrangements will change to a self-financing arrangement with councils keeping all the rent money they raise and spend it locally on services.

1. The fact that the changes are permissive means that the decisions ostensibly will be taken locally. Labour needs a clear, consistent policy to respond to these changes at a local government level.
2. The attack on security of tenure reflects the Tory view that social housing is “Poverty Housing”. Depending on the criteria adopted we could see tenants moved on at the end of two years if their circumstances improve.
3. This will act as a disincentive to people improving their conditions, make it harder to develop strong communities and risk creating ghetto’s of poverty.
4. Restrictions on succession raise the possibility of families being evicted on the death of a parent.
5. “Affordable Rents” could see major increases in rents for new tenants-perversely, much of the increase will be met by Housing Benefit. Setting rents in this way means the level of housing association rents can be skewed by local areas of affluence e.g. Salford Quays will artificially inflate the average rent level for the whole city. It appears that this provision only applies to housing associations/Almo’s.
6. The changes to housing finance appear to allow cash-strapped councils to use rent revenue to subsidise other services.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Salford and EcclesTrade Union Forum

Over the coming years as we face the reality of a Tory Government-cut, cut and cut again!- it is vital that we strengthen the links between the Labour Party and the Trade Union movement.

At a national level those links are close and strong but at a local level they have often been allowed to drift. In Salford and Eccles we are determined to reverse that trend.

We are setting up a Trade Union Forum tobring together party members and trades unionists who want to build better local links, discussing how to support local and national campaigns and how to build support for Labour amongst local trade union members.

Our first meeting will be on Thursday 10th Feb


Kings Arms,

Bloom St.


M3 6AN

and our speaker will be Carl Webb Regional Secretary of the Commuications Workers Union.

Carl will be outlining the camaign against the privatsation of the Royal Mail.

All Labour supporters welcome- for more info phone Peter Wheeler on 07880 790182 or E-Mail:

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Oldham and Saddleworth-looking good

Been over to Oldham today and yesterday- and what a response!. Literally hundreds of keen, enthusiastic party members and supporters fom every part of the country- well done to Steve for making it up from Exeter and Deb from the Isle of Wight.

Loads over from Liverpool- Plenty of experience of beating the Lib Dems there!

The response from the electors was very, very positive and I think it will be well worth waiting up for the result on Thursday night.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Oldham East and Saddleworth

Went over to Saddleworth on Tuesday delivering New Year leaflets. There is no doubt that we can and should win the election well but we need as much help as possible. The recent weather has certainly made campaigning difficult and the Lib Dems are banking on the absence of a tory campaign coupled with winter weather leading to a low turnout.

Voters are really angry about the broken promises of both lib dems and tories but it is up to us to encourage them to get out and vote.

So after tonights festivities make a New Year resolution to get over and help. The address is Bizspace,Delph New Road, Delph OL3 5DE. If you need help with directions give me a ringon 07880 790182. See you there

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Not been on for a while due to a combination of looking for a job, decorating and trying to get selected and campaigning in Oldham- of which more another time.

Over the coming year I will try to put up some information that should be of interest to Labour members and supporters campaigning against this conservative Government.

I will also continue to campaign for the voice of ordinary members of the Labour Party to be listened to more often.Sadly it's too often the case that lip-service is paid to listening to the members but in practice the "Powers that be" make all the decisions because they "know best".
We have to remond them that the Labour Party is a democratic party and, far from being a problem, that is one of it's strengths.

Enough of that for now- Merry Christmas to everyone and lets stick it to the Tories and their friends in the New Year.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

NEC Elections

I forgot to take the lap-top to conference so haven't been able to put anything on the blog until now. Many of you will know that I didn't get re-elected to the NEC. I got 28,752 votes(Thank you very much) but would have needed 30,826 to be re-elected.
Congratulations to those who did get elected and commiserations to those who didn't.

The turn-out was up from 20% or so to nearly 72% due to the election being held at the same time as the leadership and London mayoral elections. Given that 1/3 of the membership now live in London that appears to have skewed the results - meaning that all 6 elected to the CLP section are from London or the Home Counties. Whilst some of those elected are good fiends of mine and very hard workers it cannot be a good thing that there is no representation from other parts of England, let alone Scotland or Wales - but we will return to that subject again.

For now - thanks to everyone who supported me, it really is very much appreciated. I have tried to do an honest job over the last 6 years. I haven't always got it right but have always tried to put the Party and the members first. I have met some smashing people during my travels and have not claimed a penny in expenses for the work and travel involve.

I will be standing next time and the campaign starts now. We shall overcome

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eating at Conference

In Manchester you can eat pretty much any type of food but at Conference you’ll probably want instant gratification, so most of the ones listed below are within stumbling distance of conference. Don’t forget the chip shop, one of Manchester’s unique contributions to world cuisine, gravy a speciality.
A tip well worth knowing is that lots of these restaurants have websites with lots of two for one offers etc-So, google before you go!
Castlefield – Dimitri’s – Campfield Arcade – Junction of Deansgate and Campfield. Tel: 0161 839 3319. Great Greek restaurant & bar, smashing for sitting out when the weathers nice.

El Rincon, 244 Deansgate. 0161 8398819 – Excellent Spanish restaurant downstairs and very relaxed.Can be a little hard to find as its on a backstreet just off Deansgate but well worth the effort.
Evuna, 277 Deansgate-0161 230 5337. Another excellent Spanish restaurant.

Café Istanbul 79 Bridge street – Tel: 0161 833 9942. just off Deansgate, an excellent Turkish Restaurant,

Topkapi, 205 Deansgate -0161 832 9803. Another excellent Turkish retaurant and very near the Conference centre. Afiyet Olsun-enjoy your meal!

Luso – Bridge Street, Tel: 0161 839 5550. If your missing the Algarve, this is the place for you. Just past the café Istanbul, food and service is excellent.


Gaucho bar and grill 2A St.Mary’s street (behind kendall’s) -0161833 4333 if you fancy a 2lb steak try the gaucho – not one for the faint hearted.

Live Bait – Fish Restaurant, 22 Lloyds Street – Tel: 0161 817 4110. This is it. Proper fish, chips and peas with a white wine, how good does it get? About 1 minute walk from the conference centre, make sure you get bread and butter with your meal.

Armenian Tavern – Albert Square, Tel: 0161 834 9025. A Manchester institution, you step off Albert Square and its like stepping in to Armenia (imagine). Excellent service, but I don’t think its open Mondays.

Piccolino – 8 Clarence Street, Tel: 0161 835 9861. A very good Italian restaurant just off Albert Square.

Sams chop house – 8 Back Pool Fold, off Cross street – Tel: 0161 834 3210. Proper British cookery at its best. Corned Beef hash or Steak and Kidney pudding recommended. It’s a pub and a restaurant and personally recommended.

China Town
It would be impossible to list all the restaurants and cafes in Manchester’s China town. Its good day or night, with plenty of restaurants’ and bakeries. But the one not to miss is the Yang Sing on Princess Street, Tel: 0161 236 2200, try the banquet, it’s the best!

Others worth visiting in town
Pizza – Matt & Phreds, 64 Tib St. 0161 831 7002 – long established jazz club with the best pizza’s in town.

Genghis Khan – 16 Chorlton Street - 0161 228 1631, bring your appetite because it’s as much as you can eat. All the ingredients are fresh, you make up your own dish, meat, veg, fish sauces and they griddle it for you. Bet you cant do more than 5 dishes!

El Macho – 103 Portland Street, Tel:0845 205 1195 Just off Oxford road on the way to Picadilly, nice downstairs Mexican.

Café Rouge - 82-84 Deansgate – Tel: 0161 839 0414. Felicity says “its nice in there”. Cosy little place, candle lit, and extra seating outside. Always friendly service, and would recommend the fish cakes.

Don’t miss the curry mile, jump a cab from town and take your pick. The Lal Qila is recommended. The cab shouldn’t cost too much more than a fiver and there’s no where in Britain like it.

For a curry near the Conference Centre try the following:
Akbar-73-83 Liverpool Rd. Off Deansgate 0161 834 8444
eastzeast- Blackfriars. -0161 834 3500-Valet parking available!
Both are recommended by Afsal Khan -There is no higher recommendation.

The St. Petersburg Restaurant. 68 Sackville St. 0161 236 6333. This is a new one to me but seems very lively with plenty of Caviar, Not open on Mondays but Russian singing and Karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays

Please let me have any comments for future reference on these or any other restaurants, thank you.

Unite fair tips campaign
Don’t forget the campaign for justice for catering workers, sign up at and look out for the fair tips logo.

Manchester Pubs

"Beer – proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy", Dr Johnson

Manchester is blessed with more than its fair share of good pubs & good beer. As your NEC member I felt it was my duty to visit (most of) them to check they were up to scratch for you. It’s a tough job but…..

Anyway, as they say…enjoy yourself sensibly. The best beers in town are the local ones – Holts, Hyde’s, Robinsons & John Willie Lees, all reasonably priced. I’ve grouped the pubs in reasonable little groups around the conference centre, feel free to go off piste and let me have your comments – 07880790182 or email if you need any help.

Oxford Road / Piccadilly
From the conference centre walk past the Bridgewater Hall and in front of you, you will see “The Britons Protection” – Great Bridgewater Street. Good range of beer including excellent Jennings and apparently 200 different Whiskies. Deceptive in size, if you walk around the bar there are some very comfortable rooms and there is a big outside seating area.

Just up the street on the right is the “Rain Bar” younger pub/bar with good outside seating over looking the canal. Further up on the left is “The Peveril Of The Peak” Lots of good beers and a genuine Manchester Pub. Best table football machine in Town.

Slightly further up is “The Temple Of Convenience” a converted gents urinal. Its actually a lot better than it sounds, reminds me of some 60’s bohemian bar I saw on the telly once – give it a try.

Cross Oxford Road and walk up Portland Street you come to “The Old Monkey” a lively Holts's house. Ten yards further on are “The Circus” and “The Grey Horse” Manchester’s smallest pubs. Excellent beer, good atmosphere and ‘must visits’ when your in town.

To the left down is China Town the only pub is “The Seven Oaks” but the Chinese karaoke bars are very good.

To the right up Chorlten Street is The Gay Village- a big strip of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants along Canal Street. A key part of Manchester’s cultural vitality its also an excellent place for late drinking “Paddy’s Goose” is. in many ways, the village pub.

Albert Square / Deansgate

The area in front of the conference entrance, between Albert Square and Deansgate is a rabbit warren of offices, pubs and restaurants. This area is the site of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 and is well worth roaming round! “Live Bait,” the best fish, restaurant is in this area.

Peter Street is one long series of bars and clubs, take your pick. More interesting is the area behind Peter Street, walk through the little passage by the RAF recruiting office and the "Sir Ralph Abernathy" is on your left on Bootle Street. Probably the nearest pub to conference it's next door to the police station so there’s unlikely to be any trouble in there. It also has a big beer garden for enjoy the sun shine. Turn right outside the pub and across the car park and in front of you is the “Nags Head” Manchester pub of the year 2007. The karaoke is good on a Friday, and it’s a lively city centre pub.

Carry on through the Nag’s head, i.e out the back door, and in front of you is the "Sun Inn" – another good pub with interesting snacks. If you go out the back door again and turn right you’re in Albert Square. This is a good route to know on a rainy night! Plenty of pubs just off Albert Square. Walk across it and on the left down John Dalton Street is “The Ape and Apple” a big, down to earth Holt House.

Down Cross Street is “Mr.Thomas’s Chop House”, good Victorian pub, good beer. The chops are also very good. Just opposite over Cross Street, 20 yards up, Chapel Walks is “Sam’s Chop House.” Beer, excellent, British food, not for the calorie conscious! Not sure if Tom & Sam were related!

If you wonder back to Albert Square via Mosley Street, you will come across the “City Arms” excellent range of beers including Black Sheep and the watering place of the Manchester City Labour Party.


This is the site of the original Roman Settlement of Mamucium, it was actually a castle in a field (we’re very literal people in Manchester) Nearly 200 years ago this was the most important industrial area in the world. Site of the worlds first railway station (now the museum of industry on Liverpool Road) and the Manchester end of Bridgewater Canal what brought cheap coal to fuel the worlds first industrial city, and became a canal spaghetti junction. The area fell into neglect but has been massively regenerated over the last decade. Its one of the liveliest parts of town and well worth a visit.

Walk down past Peter Street from the conference centre, turn left into Deansgate and you come to the Hilton Hotel, in the Beetham Tower, if you can get in, The Sky bar is well worth a visit. It’s pricey but the view over Manchester here is worth it and there is a glass floor in the bar which you can stand on and look down to Deansgate 150 foot below. Its like floating!

Just a bit further down is the "Deansgate", good traditional pub with excellent Sunday Roasts. Just a bit further down to the left is Deansgate locks, an area of bars and comedy clubs. Near the station itself are two excellent bars, The Atlas bar and the Knott bar. The Atlas bar is a good place to hang out with a big open area at the back.

The Knott Mill is my favourite round here with good real ales from the Marble Arch brewery and a large open balcony on the 1st floor. If you carry on by the canal, you come to "Dukes 92" and "Barca", big modern bars in a canal side setting. The other pub of note is the" Ox" on Liverpool Road, excellent food and beer and handy for the conference centre. It used to be called the Oxnoble, the only pub in Britain to be named after a potato. Unfortunately corporate management decided it needed a trendy name, one day they’ll come to their senses!


If you fancy getting away from the conference hustle and bustle, just a short walk (or taxi) away is Manchester’s twin city Salford. Separated from Manchester by the mighty river Irwell, Salford has a style of its own. Originally built on the docks and engineering, the city experienced the devastation brought by Thatcher and her accompanies. We’re getting over that now thanks to a Labour council and a Labour Government - but fearful of what this lot have in store.

On Bridge Street, just on the border with Manchester is “The Mark Addy” named after a famous local life saver. Here you can sit by the river and watch the swans.

Just a bit further down past the newly re- furnished Salford Central station, is the" Egerton Arms", a Holt’s house and as typical as a Salford pub as your likely to get. Carry on down, cross over Chapel Street and 50 yards down on the left is the "Kings Arms", this pub has its own theatre and regularly holds gigs with local bands. A wide range of real beers.

Toodle back up Bloom Street, turn right on Chapel Street and about 150 yards on your right hand side is and your in the home of “The New Oxford” An excellent free house ran by Tim from Ireland. On a sunny evening this is one of the best places to sit outside and take it all in. they do an excellent Sunday Roast. Bexley square saw a political battle in the 1930’s between the police and unemployed demonstrators outside the local town hall, described graphically in “Love on the Dole”

Walk a little bit further down Chapel Street and just over the lights on the on the left is "The Crescent", make sure you’re in by 11 and its open until 1am. It’s a well Known fact in Salford that Marx and Engles who had a factory near by, used to come in here at the weekend and get hammered.

Friday, September 17, 2010

There's something special going on...

Seemingly unnoticed by the media something special is going on in the ranks of the party.

32,000 members have joined the party since May, the leadership election and post-election debate have been well conducted and new members are getting involved in campaigning.

That is reflected in my own CLP-Salford and Eccles. Over 60 new members, attendances at my branch doubled and at our General Committee last night over 40 in attendance.

We have got a lot of young people active and holding office and are actively campaigning and winning on local issues.

Next May there will be nine wards up for election in the constituency. We are defending 5, the Lib Dems three and the Tories one. We are working hard for a clean sweep of all nine.

Some Simple economic facts

1. There a Tory/Lib dem smoke-screen being put up over ther economy. They pretend they are only making cuts because Labour messed it up but we all know that's a load of baloney (thats me being polite)

2. When you have an international economic crisis like we have just been through, you run a deficit- Thats how you get through it.

3.The Lib Dems agreed with us at the time, opposing the increase in VAT and massive Tory spending cuts. If we were wrong so were they. In fact we were right but they sold theior principles for Government jobs.

4.The Tories opposed every step Labour took to tackle the recession. If they had had their way Northern Rock would have collapsed followed by other banks and financial institutions. Millions of homes and pensions would have been threatened. The "Hole in the wall machines were 20 minutes from being switched off. If the Tories had been in office 3 years ago our economy would have been a smoking ruin.

5. Labour knew we needed to cut the deficit-£70billion cuts were timed for this year. Tory cuts of £110 Billion ( over 50% greater) with much more planned for October are too large and will cause unnecessary misery.

6. There are 19 millionaires in a cabinet of 23-all in it together?

Friday, September 10, 2010


The Labour party in both Norwich and Exeter deserve real credit.

They have both had to fight elections in every ward as a result of the Government over-turning the decisions to make them unitary authorities.

In Exeter we made three gains, two from the Tories and one from a defection. The Tories gained two from their coalition partners so thats obviously working well!

In Norwich we held all our seats and gained one from the Tories.

Good results as we enter the Conference season.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"...and the winner is"

The results are in for the "Daily Mirror" Con Dem slogan competition, run by Kevin Maguire. The Five prize winners each get ten(yes,Ten) of my "Don't blame me, I voted Labour" badges so the word is being spread.

Kevin's five winners were: Kay Hunter-Lincoln "Cams panto horse-Cleggs bum steer"

:Steven Fyles-Wakefield "Some Cons, Some Dems, No Hope"

:Colin Porter-Blackpool "Cameron and Clegg-Muppet and puppet"

:Michael Betteridge-Hastings "You've never had it so bad"

:Beth Spruce -Kelsall "The Toff and the Turncoat"

I am tempted to give a prize for the most imaginative use of the Badges!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Lib Dem meltdown

The resignation of Lib Dem Cllrs who can't bear what Nick Clegg is doing continues. Here in the North West 5 Libdems have resigned in just over a week. Three in Halton resigned saying their party had become "nodding dogs for the Tories"

In Manchester a city centre Cllr resigned saying he couldn't defend national policy which harms the people of Manchester.

In Liverpool Cllr. Ian Jobling resigned and joined Labour in protest at job cuts which could threaten up to 240 police jobs saing he couldn't stomach their "double standards and hypocrisy"

Bolton West MP's Ball Friday Sept. 17th

They have always been a classy lot in Bolton West- as shown at the General Election when they held on for a Labour victory by 92 votes when the Tories thought they had it in the bag.

Now they are putting on the style with a fundraising Mp's ball. Promises to be a good night and I am hoping to get along myself. It's on Friday 17th September at 6.30pm at Brookfield, Wesley st. Westhoughton. There will be a 4 course dinner with Live music-all for just £27. Tickets from Dave Chadwick 01942 813468

Housing Benefit-Cuts hit home.

Often it is only when the cuts are expressed at a local level that we realise exactly what's going on. When the Tories cut housing benefit the yellow press was full of stories about poor people having the cheek to live in areas like Westminster or Kensington and claim help with their rent. It always was a smokescreen and figures from the Dept. of Work and Pensions show what is happening in the rest of the country. Here in Salford 3990 people on housing benefit will lose around £13 per week.

To some one like George Osborne that doesn't sound like much but if you are struggling to make ends meet it can often be an impossible amount to find. Remember all that stuff about this being a progressive budget?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

NEC Elections

Ballot papers are now hitting the door mats for the Leadership, NEC and National Policy Forum elections.

The NEC will be taking some crucial decisions over the next two years and I am determined that the views of members from every part of the country are represented when those decisions are made. The elections are likely to be very close so any support I receive will be much appreciated.

There are many good candidates also standing-remember you have up to 6 votes.

Ellie Reeves, Luke Akehurst,Chaukat Ali, Deborah Gardiner and Oona king are well worth your support and would help in the task of changing the party culture from a top down command and control to one which supports members campaigning to win support for Labour in their local communities

Longdendale By election

There will be a by election on Thursday Sept. 30th due to the sad recent death of Roy Oldham.

There will be plenty of canvassing and leafletting and anyone who can help is asked to ring Adam on 07773905842.

I will be going to the Campaign Launch on Saturday Sept. 4th at Broadbottom Community Centre, Lr. Market st. Broadbottom at 11a.m. followed by a bit of leafletting/canvassing and anyone who can make it is welcome to join us. The ward is the home of Manchester legend-Ricky Hatton

Monday, August 30, 2010

Leadership election

About 8 years ago when I was working for the AEEU we had a big issue in Leigh.

A local engineering firm had been shipping its work and equipment to Eastern Europe, stringing the work-force and the union along with promises of building a new factory locally. Then, one morning the work-force turned up to find the gates locked and the factory in administration.

Over 200 men and women made redundant with no notice and the owner making himself very scarce!

The Union moved quickly into action. My job was to approach the newly elected MP, Andy Burnham, for assistance. Andy gave us every assistance we could ask for and more. In a situation like this there is a lot of paperwork as members have to apply to the Government for their redundancy pay and notice pay. Andy provided us with accommodation to help the members with the paperwork, liaised with the Job-centre and asked questions of Government ministers on our behalf.

He helped us organise meetings for those affected at Leigh Labour club. As you can imagine, 200 engineers who have just lost their jobs isn't an easy audience but Andy convinced them he was on their side from Day One.

I would like to say that all Labour MP's are that helpful when it comes to issues like this. I'd like to but it wouldn't be true!

Andy's great strength is that he listens, understands and then acts on that understanding. He isn't like so many in politics who think they know the answer before they have heard the question.

He comes from a good Labour background, he is hard working, intelligent, thoughtful, genuine and very likeable - all good qualities for a Labour leader and Prime Minister.

That is why I will be voting for Andy as my No.1 choice.

I will be giving my No.2 to Ed Balls. Personally I have always got on very well with Ed and I think he has fought a very strong campaign.

After that it is a very difficult choice between Ed and David Miliband. Both are obviously very capable and well up to the job. Both have different strengths so it comes down to deciding which strengths would be most appropriate for the situation we will find ourselves in after the selection contest.

As yet I haven't made my mind up and am looking forward to hearing them at the Hustings in Liverpool tomorrow. It feels odd being a swing voter!

So far the campaign has been good for the party, lets hope the next few weeks stay that way.

Manchester Conference 2010

Conference in Manchester this year promises to be one of the most interesting for years and an important one for CLP's to be represented at.

That's why I have been a bit disappointed to see some publicity claiming that there are "no hotel rooms available for less than £150 per night". I have just come off the internet and found plenty of rooms for £45-£65 per night-try googling "Manchester cheap hotel rooms"

Plenty of pubs in Manchester city centre have accommodation.

I have a list of some and I will try to get it on the Blog this week. If any one is struggling for accommmodation just give me a ring on 07880 790182 and I will try and help.

Past Conferences in Manchester have proved very popular with delegates and the decision to move the conference around the country to places like Manchester and, next year, Liverpool has been a very positive one.

End Loan Sharking

It doesn't take long sat in front of the TV to see adverts for so-called Pay Day loans with interest rates of up to 2500%. Who would take out a loan at such interest rates? The answer to that is easy-desperate people with nowhere else to go.

If you haven't got much money and need some credit there aren't many options and sky high interest rates may well ensure you never get out of debt. Defaulting can mean the loan being sold off to other lenders and thats when things can get really nasty.

I did some work with a parliamentary candidate some time back on establishing a cap on interest rates and the feed-back from the treasury was that the arguments were very evenly balanced. I remember saying at the time that if the arguments are evenly balanced then why not just do it-take the side of the people and not the extremist wing of the Finance industry.

That's why I was glad to recieve a model resolution from Compass advocating a cap on interest rates and the creation of a "Peoples Bank" based on the Post Office and existing Credit Unions to provide affordable loans.

I will certainly be supporting the resolution and hope it makes it to the Conference Agenda.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flood crisis in Pakistan

The floods in Pakistan are causing massive misery with over 1500 deaths and over 17m people directly affected. As awareness of the scale of the disaster grows the response of the British people has put many to shame with over £40m being donated as of yesterday-nearly £20m in the last week alone. If you want to contribute just ring 0370 60 60 900 or go on the Disasters Emergency Committee website

Exeter Labour Party

Exeter finds itself in the same position as Norwich, where due to the Governments decision not to award Unitary status to the council, the courts have removed from office all those councillors who were due to have their elections last May but whose terms of office were extended for a year. As a result there will be an election in every ward in Exeter. As you can imagine thesr elections are very important-Exeter is a proud Labour Fortress in an area which is difficult for Labour. Anyone who can help is asked to contact Eddie Lopez on 01392 424420 or E-mail:

The "Mirror"says-"Don't blame me"

The campaign is spreading! Kevin Maguire of the "Daily Mirror" is running a mock the coalition competition. He is looking for a six word slogan which best sums up the coalition government. Remember though that it's a family newspaper!

The prestigious prize will be some of my "Don't blame me , I voted Labour" badges.

If you want to enter just send your slogan to Kevi at the press Gallery, House of Commons,Westminster, London, WC1A 0AA

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wyre and Preston north CLP

On Friday I gave an NEC report at the Wyre and Preston North CLP meeting. This is one of those very difficult constituencies for us-small towns, villages and suburbs between Preston, Blackpool and Lancaster with a tory majority of nearly 16,000 and Labour pushed into 3rd place at the last election.

Members could be forgiven for feeling a little sorry for themselves but when I got there I was bowled over. Over 30 members present with lots of new members joining, lots of good political discussion and up to 15 members a night turning out for a local bye-election in the Cadley ward of Preston-previously strong lib dem but they aren't too sure any more.

The great ignored development since May has been the revitalisation of Labour at its base-but its going to be a key factor in months and years to come!


On a sadly related note,there is an item on the NEC agenda-obituaries. This is where we remember party members who have recently died. Their names are then included in the annual report. It's some small acknowledgement of their work for their movement.

I try to ensure that all party members I hear of who have recently died are mentioned and if there is anyone you know who should be included, please let me know.

Frank McCoy RIP

On Monday I went to the funeral of Frank McCoy, Chair of the Wirral South Constituency Labour Party. Frank died of cancer at the age of 76 and right up to the end he was making plans for future party activities.
An engineer by trade frank had worked at both Cammel Lairds and Vauxhalls, the two big industrial employers on the Wirral and was a staunch member of the engineers union.
I have known Frank since the Wirral South Bye-election, he was a stalwart in that campaign and the glue that kept Wirral South labour party together.
It's people like Frank that keep our movement going- he will be so sadly missed. Our thoughts are with Josie and family.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Get Involved

If you are angry about this Tory government, do something about it. There are a couple of by-elections coming up where your help would be much appreciated.

Sept. 2nd-West Lancs- Two vacancies- Skelmersdale South and Upholland. Both currently Labour. For more info. contact Neil Furey on 01695 721228 or

Sept. 16th-Preston- Cadley ward- currently Lib Dem. For more info contact Tom Burns on 07545 965079

Norwich City Council

There is a unique situation currently in Norwich. Due to the proposed move to unitary status the local elections were cancelled last Mat and the councillors who were up for electionhad their terms of office extended for a year.

The courts have now deemed that illegal and as a result there will be an election in every ward in Norwich on September 9th. Currently the council is minority Labour controlled and I know the local Labour Party would appreciate any help other members can give in getting a good result.

If you can help contact Alan Waters on 07772 97762 orNick Williams 07766 267585- I might see you down there myself!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Where do they get them from?

I have just heard that the newly elected Tory MP for Weaver Vale has moved an early day motion in Parliament-calling for an end to early day motions! Nice to know he's got plenty of spare time on his hands.

Security of tenure means a right to a home

So David Cameron wants to attack council tenants rights to security of tenure. One minute they claim to want the state off peoples backs-the next they are saying that if your son or daughter leaves home, your partner dies or you get a promotion at work then some bureaucrat can decide to evict you from a home you might have lived in for 20 years.

It's possible to tackle under-occupation by working with people-building new one or two bedroom flats and houses in particular areas meaning people can downsize without moving to the other side of town. Let's be honest, the housing problems are caused by a lack of house building over recent years. Don't blame the tenants for politicians failures.

The other thing that really shocks me is just how ignorant most of the right wing commentators are about Council Housing. We hear about cheap subsidised housing being passed down in families-tosh!

1. Council housing isn't subsidised-housing revenue accounts are ring-fenced and have to pay their own way.

2. If rents are cheaper than the private sector it's because there is no private landlords profit to meet. Council flats in Salford which are bought and then let out typically have rents 50% greater than council flats- why is that a good thing?

3. Much of our stock is over 40 years old. Construction costs etc. have been met many times over, potentially allowing secure borrowing for new build.

4. A tenants spouse or civil partner has the right to suceed to a tenancy as might family members who have lived in the property for 12 months. This can only happen once and is designed to stop people being evicted on the death of their partner or parent. Why is that a bad thing?

Labour needs to defend security of tenure, stand up for council tenants and build more houses and flats-it's as simple as that!

Housing benefit cuts-why no outcry?

Whilst on holiday I picked up a copy of the "Guardian" in which there was a short article about a tory coalition analysis of their own housing benefit cuts: almost one million of the poorest people in this country will lose an average of £12 per week- a drop of up to 17% in their disposable income.; more than 40,000 households will lose 1,000 p.a.; over 50,000 of the poorest pensioners will be affected.

The tories and their Lib Dem apologists use the smokescreen of a few well publicised abuses to launch a wholesale attack on the poorest people in society.

All in it together?- I don't think so!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Thank You

Arrived home to find out that I have been nominated for re-election to the NEC by 132 Constituency Labour Parties, from Torbay to West Aberdeenshire and all parts in between.

I would like to thank all the party members who took the trouble to turn up and do the nominating- your support is much appreciated.

These are going to be very hard fought and close elections and I am determined to do my best to be re-elected to continue to be a voice for the ordinary party members outside that Westminster network who want to see the party be succesful, take on this tory coalition and implement real labour values. To do that we need to change the culture of the Party at a national level to one that seeks genuinely to support the members efforts to build support in their communities.

If you would like more information or would like to help please ring me on 07880 790182 or E-mail me on

Back to reality

Back now from Honeymoon. Very happy and thanks to everyone for their good wishes. We had a great time and the wedding was brilliant. Now settling down and looking for a job.

It's going to be a bust couple of months in the run up to Conference with the leadership elections and the NEC election. It's important we dont get too obsessed with internal matters- there.s a world outside the party where the Tories are having an ideological onslaught on the welfare state, slashing expenditure,undermining the NHS and attacking Council tenants security of tenure. How we respond to these developments will be vital to how we fare as an opposition over the near future.