LLA NEC elections (round 1, for LLA members only)

UPDATE: This is the result of our internal ballot, as described below:

CLP section
1. Jo Bird
2. Trish Williams
3. Roger Silverman
4. Esther Giles
5. Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal
6. Aram Rawf
7. Bryn Jones
8. Suga Thekkeppurayil

BAME
1. Mehmood Mirza
2. Chaudry Qamer Iqbal
3. Aram Rawf

As agreed at our launch conference on February 22, we are now planning on how the LLA can intervene in the next full elections for the Labour Party NEC, which will be held this summer.

The process for selecting left-wing candidates has for far too long been shrouded in mystery, while many of those who have eventually been elected as part of the left slate often turn out to be anything but left-wing. There is very little accountability and even less transparency.

The LLA wants to help change that. We therefore agreed that we will approach other Labour left organisations with the view of putting together a joint slate of candidates in a democratic and transparent manner. Please click here to read the full successful motion online (which has also been discussed in our Facebook groups for a few months now).

First though we want to ask all LLA signatories if they are interested in becoming a member of the ruling body of the Labour Party. There are nine positions for representatives from Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) and one position as the BAME representative. All LLA supporters will have been sent an email with the link to a Surveymonkey poll – this poll ends on Friday May 15. Please make sure you vote!

Please find below the candidate statement of all LLA signatories who have put themselves forward. All of the candidates have declared that they:

  • agree to campaign – as a minimum – for the political positions contained within our appeal.
  • will cooperate fully with the steering committee and the organising group of the LLA .
  • in the case that they are not selected, will not stand against the slate agreed by LLA.

CLP reps (9 positions)
Jo Bird
Esther Giles
Bryn Jones
Trish Williams
Karunakaran (Suga) Thekkeppurayil
Roger Silverman
Aram Rawf
Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal

BAME (1 position)
Mehmood Mirza
Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal
Aram Rawf

Jo Bird

Like many Labour party members, I was inspired to join the party by Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of socialism for the many.

I’m Jewish. There is no place for antisemitism or any form of racism in our party. In my lived experience, the Labour party is a welcoming home. My positive messages often go viral. For example, over 80,000 people have viewed my ‘Jews are welcome in Labour’ video.

I was dismayed to have been suspended twice from Labour, in March 2019 (over my play on the words “due process”) and then again in February 2020, while I was standing for the NEC by-elections. After a huge public outcry and nominations by 118 CLPs, I was told that my “behaviour did not amount to a breach of the party’s rules” and was reinstated as a candidate and to full membership.

As your NEC representative, I will stand up for members, democracy and transparency at every opportunity, just like I have done as secretary of Wirral Labour Group.

As your electe d NEC representative, I will support 4 key changes:

1. Fairness and natural justice in our complaints system
2. Open selection of Labour MPs just as we have for Labour councillors
3. Freedom, justice and equality for all people under military occupation
4. Members-led policy decided at a sovereign democratic conference

This is our Labour Party. We, Labour Party members, should decide who can be a member and who cannot. We should not outsource this to some outside agency that works against our interests.

Esther Giles

I rejoined the Labour Party in 2015, and since then have put my best efforts into supporting the local Party. I’m currently CLP Secretary, Branch Chair and Treasurer for the LCF, so I understand the workings of the Labour Party. I’ve recently retired from a career in NHS Finance and now work part-time in my own gardening business. I’m a Unite Community member and have previously been a member of Unison (where I was a workplace representative), Unison’s managers’ wing – MiP, and Unite.

Since rejoining the Party, I have been uplifted by comradely solidarity and at the same time dismayed by the lack of democracy, and, too often, the lack of socialism in the Party. I’ve been concerned too by the hold that neoliberal identity politics has on our Party. I’ve been suspended for allegations of anti-Semitism, and then had the suspension lifted without explanation. At the 2017 Conference I challenged Iain McNichol to justify the Party’s spending on suspending people. 

So I welcomed the rise of the LLA and joined at the earliest opportunity. I completely agree that “there is now an urgent need to build a democratic, transparent and socialist Labour Left Alliance”, and would like to do everything I can to implement the aims set out in the LLA Appeal. I would be honoured to be considered for service on the NEC.

Bryn Jones

The Corona emergency is reshaping the political landscape. Labour and the NEC will need decision-takers with experience, know-how and clear convictions. I put myself forward because of my unusual combination of political experience, intellectual expertise and socialist values:

  • with one break,  an active Party member for about 40 years
  • current Unite Community union member but experience in shop steward roles in (what are now) the Public and Commercial Services Union, and Universities and Colleges Union;
  • leading roles in community campaigns, such as football supporters groups and local environmental activism, especially on local transport ;
  • various roles in Labour’s election campaigns;
  • CLP Political Education and Policy Officer.

My academic research and writing covered political processes, economic issues and communication strategies. I have analysed and proposed the democratisation of corporate power. Together with other left academics I co-authored a 2017 book on Alternatives to Neoliberalism. The conclusions of which anticipated some of the key features of Labour’s ethos under Jeremy Corbyn. Born and bred in the West Midlands working class, I know and understand the Brexit mentality and Tory voting there and in the North.

The values and policies worked out from this practical experience and academic analysis are clear-cut:  more participatory democratic decision-making is essential, in the Party and government; but also in businesses and public bodies. We must put right Labour’s 2019 campaigning mistakes but the transformative ideas from the Corbyn project must be continued and developed. These are not obstacles to electoral success but key ingredients for it.

Trish Williams

Standing as Parliamentary candidate in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 2019 I learned first hand of the sense of betrayal, abandonment and injustice felt by so many former Labour voters.

It’s time for change, but electing a new Leader and Deputy is not enough; the Party must also refresh its organisational structures, including the NEC.

As a CLP Secretary, l have worked with colleagues and Party officials to address issues with Party systems and processes. My 32 nominations in the NEC by-election, came about because I am trusted to deliver on my promises, by colleagues who have seen my organisational skills and persistence in action.

My priorities are:

Complaints

  • Create a fit-for-purpose complaints/disciplinary process that serves ‘natural justice’;

Communications

  • Improve transparency and accountability by publishing NEC agendas, minutes, and organisational and business process information.
  • Regular dialogue between NEC reps and members.

Diversity

  • Regionally elected CLP reps,
  • Reps for LGBTQ  and members with disabilities.
  • Support for NEC members with work and caring responsibilities.

Democratisation

  • Update Constitution to facilitate remote access to meetings and online voting for internal democratic processes.
  • Devolve decision-making on selections, campaigning and local structures, to democratised and empowered Regions and CLPs
  • Introduce open selection for Parliamentary candidates.        

I seek equality of opportunity, and social and economic justice, for everyone. If elected I commit to continuing our internationalist, Socialist agenda, to fight against this cruel and incompetent Tory government, and to help transform Labour into an election winning Party.

Roger Silverman

I first joined the Labour Party 59 years ago. I remember canvassing for Labour from the age of 14. I’ve been an active member ever since, with the exception of the “New Labour” years, when along with hundreds of thousands of others I let my membership lapse. I rejoined the party in West Ham in 2015, and have been an active campaigner and GC delegate since then.

My father was practically a founder member of the Labour Party, an elected member of the National Executive Committee and a Labour MP for 33 years until his death. My mother was an LCC Labour councillor. In 1961 my father was temporarily expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party for voting in line with Conference’s democratic resolution in favour of nuclear disarmament – an act which was branded as disloyalty to the current Party leader Gaitskell. (That was a punishable offence in those days!). Recently I too was arbitrarily suspended, without warning and without charge, and then reinstated following a telephone interrogation.

As an NEC member, I would campaign vigorously to end such abuses, restore the supremacy of party Conference, and uphold the democratic right of open selection of candidates for office. Without that, all our efforts to elect a Labour government on a socialist programme will be under threat of defection.

Labour’s defeat in the December general election was a disappointment, but despite media distortions it was not “the worst result since 1931”. Labour actually won more votes in 2019 than in 2015, 2010 or even 2005 (when Labour won). We are still the biggest political party in Europe. In these days of crisis, the Johnson government is already largely discredited. We must seize the opportunity to harness the energies of our half a million members to build a Britain for the many not the few.

Karunakaran (Suga) Thekkeppurayil

I have been a Labour Party member since 2010. I was born and brought up in a working class family in Kerala, a south Indian state where I learnt much of my socialist political ideology and its application.  And I am very proud that my parents were members of the Communist Party.  They had helped me to shape my left political values.  It has been reflected in my interaction with society wherever I have been and fought for it.  It was no different whether I was in Delhi as a cop or in London as a student or as a worker.

I fought for student’s rights; I fought for rickshaw pullers’ rights and people living in slums in Delhi and against police atrocities. I fought for waiters’ rights in London. I fought for travellers against air tickets scams. I fought against the witch-hunt within the party even before JC became the leader.

I marched with comrades against war, rights for the Palestinian people, against austerity, against the fascist Modi government

I went to the various picket lines in London and across the country such as in Swindon against Honda plant shift and stood for migrant’s rights and against deportations.

Comrades my point is I am very much left oriented and very tough on that and never going to be compromised on left political agenda.

I strongly believe that we are on the path of reclaiming our party and we need me like comrades in the NEC in order to do that.

Aram Rawf

My name is Aram Rawf. In twenty years I have gone from being an asylum seeker on the back of a lorry to being a Labour councillor.

I was born to an Iraqi Kurdish family in Iraq.

I arrived in the UK in 1999 as a child refugee. With the support of my local community I managed to resist attempts by the Home Office to send me back to Iraq.

I was granted British citizenship in 2011.

I worked as an interpreter with Migrant Helpline for many years and I have volunteered with Kent Refugee Support Group and Kent Refugee Help. I Speak Kurdish, Arabic, Farsi and English.

In 2006 I was the first refugee in the UK to join St John Ambulance.

I’m an active member in many campaigns such as for our local hospital, Stop The War and campaigns against racism with Kent Anti Racism Network.

In the 2015 General Election I was a member of Stand Up to UKIP and I helped to stop Nigel Farage becoming an MP in South Thanet.

In May 2019 I was elected as a councillor to Thanet District Council and Broadstairs Town Council becoming one of the first councillors in Kent from a refugee background.

I would like to take the opportunity of joining the NEC to use my skills and unique perspective to encourage other BAME members and be a much needed voice for social justice in the Labour Party.

Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal

A Labour party member for the last 12 years serving as

  • A Chair of Southall Broadway Branch
  • A CLP secretary of Ealing Southall
  • A proud member of Unite the Union

I am a proud socialist who fully supports Jeremy Corbyn. With strong campaigning background I have been active in every election since 2007. Since I took over as CLP secretary in 2018 I delivered to transform my CLP into fully active and functioning CLP.

My CLP is only the CLP in West London, which passed a motion against the adoption of IHRA without an amendment of freedom of free speech being protected. We passed various motions against the suspensions of comrades based on political views and vile attacks on Jeremy Corby and his leadership.

I am signatory of LLA. I will:

  • Work closely with Party leadership, NEC and CLPs to fully implement the recommendations of the Democracy Review including OPEN SELECTION
  • Make it my top priority to fight for the rights of every GRASSROOTS member to make sure a fair & transparent disciplinary process is in place
  • Not support any suspensions based on political views
  • Seek NEC members to be more accountable to local members and CLPs
  • Improve the communication and report back to the members
  • Be supporting our newly elected leader to win back the trust of communities we lost in the last election
  • Promote and fully support socialists policies to make sure grassroots members have a greater say on policies and how party is run

Face book: https://www.facebook.com/qamer.iqbal.7

Email:Qameriqbal@yahoo.com
Twitter: @chqamerlab

BAME seat only

Mehmood Mirza

I am standing for the vacant reserved BAME place on Labour’s NEC for the following reasons:

  • The allocation of this special place on the Labour Party’s NEC is an eloquent recognition of the special threats and hardships faced under capitalism by members of ethnic minorities, and a practical demonstration that their needs can be met only as a fully integrated section of the Labour Movement.
  • I will campaign passionately for clear socialist policies to challenge the brutal and divisive programme of the Johnson government, which endangers the basic human needs of the vast majority in society. This is especially true in the case of ethnic minorities, as is demonstrated by the continuing Windrush outrage. 
  • Along with the hundreds of thousands of newly inspired members of the Labour Party, I strongly support the radical policies set out under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and in Labour’s 2019 election manifesto.
  • I will campaign for the utmost resistance to the Tory government’s war on trade unions and the right to strike.
  • I will strongly support the democratic right of Labour Party members to select candidates of their choice to represent Labour at elections.
  • I will fight against racism in all its forms and campaign without fear or favour against oppression and colonialism wherever it raises its head.

Please vote for me in solidarity with these objectives.