A group of Labour Party members has launched a campaign for Ian Lavery to be the next Labour leader.
Lavery, who has been MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland since 2010, is former president of the National Union of Mineworkers. During the NUM’s great strike in 1984-5, he was the only apprentice in the north east region to refuse to go to work; he was arrested seven times during the dispute.
The left should put forward a candidate for Labour leader, and in many ways Lavery is an excellent choice, as a former working-class activist and trade unionist from a region where UKIP is strong. (On 7 May, the Labour vote in Wansbeck increased to 50 percent, but UKIP jumped from 2.5 to 18.2 percent, only just behind the Tories.)
It will be hard for a left candidate to get on the ballot paper because of the rule that requires 15 percent of MPs – which currently amounts to 35 MPs – to nominate. The labour movement should argue for that rule to be waived and then changed. Meanwhile, putting a candidate forward can help influence the movement and its debates.
See the Lavery4Leader Facebook page