New trade union reps appointed to Labour’s ruling body

Sienna Rodgers

Two trade union representatives have been newly appointed to Labour’s national executive committee in a shake-up following the departures of GMB’s Sarah Owen and Unite the Union’s Jim Kennedy.

LabourList can exclusively reveal that Tom Warnett has taken up one of the NEC’s trade union places. He will be replacing Owen, who was a GMB rep before being elected as MP for Luton North in the 2019 general election.

Warnett is a GMB political officer. He was Unite’s political co-ordinator before joining GMB and is known as an effective operator. He recently helped to run the successful selection campaign of Sam Tarry, who is now Labour MP for Ilford South.

The new NEC member was also appointed to the previously vacant position of NEC co-convenor of the joint policy committee (JPC) today, which makes him an NEC officer.

Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary for politics and legal, has also been appointed to the NEC. He is known as a strong backer of Jeremy Corbyn and an activist who is firmly on the Labour left.

In September, he urged delegates at Labour’s annual conference to support the NEC statement on Brexit rather than the ‘full Remain’ position, saying: “Do not let these Tory bastards divide us.”

After the appointment was revealed by PoliticsHome, a Unite spokesperson confirmed the move, adding: “The decision to appoint him as one of the Unite members on the NEC was authorised by Unite’s executive when it met last week.”

Labour’s NEC will soon have three additional new members – two representing local parties, replacing Nav Mishra and Claudia Webbe who are both now MPs, and one replacing Keith Vaz as the representative of BAME Labour.

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