“This is not what I expect from the Labour Party I joined”


It’s fair to say that the mayoral referenda being held in ten English cities next Thursday are splitting opinion within the Labour Party. There are those who are strongly in favour – people like Gisela Stuart, Liam Byrne and Bob Ainsworth who have already announced their intention to seek the Labour nomination if their respective cities vote yes – and there are those who are strongly opposed – many councillors, for example.

In all of the debate and discussion that has been had so far, while I may not agree with everything that is being said and while I may challenge some of the assertions, people have generally played with a straight bat.

However, this week, something was brought to my attention that made me ashamed of the Party membership card in my wallet. A leaflet, complete with a Nottingham Labour imprint, is being distributed in that city, alleging that the BNP and the English Defence League want a mayor. This leaflet is being distributed outside mosques and at local Asian broadcasters’.

This is not what I expect from the Labour Party I joined.

I could talk about the breach of election law which demands that materials should feature an imprint by a named person. I could talk about the total distortion of the facts, that in 2011 the BNP received 760 votes compared to the Labour Party’s 112,325.

For me, though, it is the impression this sends to the people of Nottingham – and beyond – of the Labour Party, of the depths to which some of our number will sink.

This is not what I expect from the Labour Party I joined.

Honesty, fairness, a desire to win an argument on its merits.

That is what I expect from the Labour Party I joined.

Jo Tanner is the Director of the Campaign for Directly Elected Mayors

[Editor’s note: You can see the leaflets below. We are happy to publish a response from Nottingham Labour Party.]

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