Keith Narey Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Keith Narey

Trade Unions and the Labour Party

Bradford Trades Council

(March 1982)

From Militant, No. 594, 26 March 1982, p. 2.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

After pressure from Ben Ford, the present MP for Bradford North, the TUC have told Bradford Trades Council that their delegates on Bradford North Labour Party can not vote in the constituency’s fresh reselection meetings.

Bradford Trades Council has long historic links with the Labour Party. It was after the Manningham Mills strike in the city that the Trades Council set up the Independent Labour Party to fight for parliamentary representation for the working class. Since then the Trades Council has consistently supported Labour.

Such considerations seem to mean little to Ben Ford. When he first wanted support for reselection, Ford, along with other Bradford Labour MPs, wrote to the Trades Council seeking nomination.

It was only after he was defeated by Pat Wall in the first reselection conference and the Trades Council passed a resolution in support of their President, Pat Wall, that he wrote to the TUC, claiming the involvement of the Trades Council was against TUC rules.

Labour Party rules clearly allow for full affiliation and participation of Trades Councils. Nevertheless, the TUC wrote to Bradford TC and told them that since 1977, trades councils could affiliate to Labour Parties, but could neither forward resolutions nor become involved in selection or reselection battles.

Although trade unionists will doubtless consider such restrictions incredible in a period when every trade union needs to become politically active, the Trades Council will not participation in the reselection procedure. However we will not be disaffiliating from the Labour Party as was claimed in an article in The Times (22 March). We would also urge trade union branches and trades councils to fight to change this TUC rule.

There seems to be a move amongst some trade union right-wingers to loosen the links between the organised trade union movement and the Labour Party. If there is, it will be firmly opposed.

If Ben Ford had fought as hard to save the 2,000 jobs lost at Bairds EMI or the 1,000 jobs lost at International Harvesters as he has fought to save his own he might well have been reselected in the first place!

Keith Narey Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 6 May 2017