TUSC names first 2016 election challengers

TUSC 2015 manifesto launch, photo Senan

TUSC 2015 manifesto launch, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee has approved the first batch of candidates for English council elections on 5 May.

TUSC’s local election platform this year is headed: “Build on Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity call – a councillors’ revolt could stop the Tory cuts!” It takes into account that Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, on an anti-austerity message, has changed the political situation compared to the first five years of TUSC’s existence.

There will not be TUSC candidates standing against Labour councillors who vote against cuts in the council chamber. But the big majority of Labour councillors did not support Jeremy Corbyn for leader and still continue to vote for cuts.

Any politician who does that shouldn’t be surprised if they are challenged by anti-austerity candidates at the ballot box, no matter what party label they wear. We need councillors who will stand up to the Tories, not carry out their policies.

That’s what TUSC candidates promise, and with a record to prove it. Among the first batch is Warrington councillor Kevin Bennett, standing for re-election. Kevin has provided the only serious opposition to austerity on the council.

The steering committee is especially pleased to announce the TUSC candidate for mayor of Liverpool. Roger Bannister, a longstanding member of public sector union Unison’s national executive committee, will stand against Labour’s “I can’t do anything” incumbent Joe Anderson.

In the city’s last mayoral contest in 2012, the TUSC candidate was Tony Mulhearn. Tony was one of the ‘Liverpool 47’ councillors who defied Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. He polled 4,792 votes, ahead of the Tories and double the Ukip vote.

Roger, standing with the full support of Tony, also represents the traditions of the 47. He was expelled from Labour alongside Tony in 1986 for his role in the Liverpool struggle.

The candidates approved by the steering committee also include the first twenty from Sheffield. This follows the successful conference initiated by public sector union PCS for a ‘people’s budget’ in the city.

  • The next date for candidate applications is 16 March. The application form is on the TUSC website at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/358

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 9 March 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.