A group of Labour Party members have launched a campaign for Ian Lavery to be the next Labour leader.
Lavery, who has been an MP for Wansbeck in Northumberland, 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 per cent, but UKIP jumped from 2.5 to 18.2 per cent, only just behind the Tories.)
But it will be hard for a left candidate to get on the ballot paper as that requires 15 per cent of MPs, or 35 MPs, to be nominate.
The labour movement should argue for that rule to be changed.
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