6th Jul, 2022

Socialist and ex-Coventry MP Dave Nellist on why he and others applied to rejoin Labour

Les Reid 14th Nov, 2016

COVENTRY Socialist politician Dave Nellist who was expelled from the Labour Party 25 years ago has explained why he has applied to rejoin under Jeremy Corbyn.

The chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) said his individual application alongside those of around 70 other formerly expelled left-wingers coincides with discussions over new party affiliations.

He said TUSC is considering suspending putting up candidates for next May’s local elections to enable talks over potential new affiliations between Labour and left-wing parties under TUSC’s umbrella including the Socialist Party, formerly Militant.

Mr Nellist was a Socialist Party councillor at Coventry City Council until he was defeated in St Michael’s ward in 2012, and was in the 1980s a Coventry Labour MP in Parliament alongside Mr Corbyn.

The applicants to the Labour Party include others expelled by the party under Neil Kinnock in the late 1980s and early 1990s for alleged connections with the left-wing ‘Militant tendency’.

Mr Nellist said: “Not just Jeremy’s election (as Labour leader) but his re-election weeks ago was overwhelming.

“It’s made a lot of us think that there is a potential for building a serious Socialist anti-austerity party but Jeremy’s still got a lot of things up against him – 90 per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party and probably the same percentage of councillors.

“If the opportunity exists to build a new Labour Party and it is not wasted, I want to be in there to help.”

He said TUSC had been campaigning against cuts – including to libraries, youth clubs and adult social care in Coventry and nationally – which were also opposed by Mr Corbyn.

Suspending election candidates next May – to be discussed at a TUSC national meeting next week – would be a “gesture of goodwill as part of negotiations not just about individuals’ applications but also to talk more widely about party affiliations to Labour with bodies like the Socialist Party itself”, added Mr Nellist.

He raised the potential prospect of having joint candidates standing for elections, as had happened through 90 years of affiliation between the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party.

Mr Nellist told BBC Coventry and Warwickshire that formerly expelled left-wingers would bring years of campaigning and other experience to Labour.

While noting likely objections from the party’s ‘right wing’ , he said the many thousands of new Labour Party members wanted to see a “serious opposition to the Tories.”

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