Labour peer and ex-leader Neil Kinnock made chair of Labour in Communications

Elliot Chappell
Neil Kinnock as Labour leader in 1990. © David Fowler/Shutterstock.com

Neil Kinnock has been appointed as chair of Labour in Communications, LabourList can reveal, with the former Labour leader declaring that the group must “work tirelessly to rebuild, modernise and increase the relevance of Labour’s message”.

Labour in Communications announced the appointment of the Labour peer, who led the party between 1983 and 1992, alongside five other new members of the leadership team: Chris Birks; Rashida Din; Eve Mason; Isabel Bull; and Sarina Kiayani.

Kinnock described the aim of the organisation as being “even more crucial” in the aftermath of Covid, ‘partygate’, Brexit, the cost-of-living crisis and the conflict in Ukraine, and said he was glad that its work is “helping to shift the dial”.

“We are all now living in an ‘age of anxiety’ and the ability to relentlessly emphasise Labour’s role as the party of security – in terms of livelihoods, family, communities, health, the military, and the broader economy – will be vital,” the Labour peer said.

Kinnock entered parliament as MP for Bedwellty in 1970, before later becoming MP for Islwyn. He was Labour leader from 1983 to 1992, then left the Commons in 1995 and served as the vice-president of the European Commission between 1999 and 2004.

The group was founded last year by Nabhan Malik and Peter Turay, who also form part of its leadership team. Chris Birks has joined as partners and trade union relations lead, while Eve Mason will lead on parliamentary relations and Sarina Kiayani on recruitment.

Rashida Din has joined as deputy ‘IMPACT’ lead, a scheme offering one-to-one mentoring advice and skills training to people from minority and disadvantaged communities. Isabel Bull has joined as deputy ‘CONNECT’ lead, working with local parties to provide tools, skills and expertise.

Labour in Communications is a network of around 2,000 Labour Party members and supporters working in corporate communications, public relations, public affairs and government relations sectors across the country.

In a report published last September, the organisation called on Labour to make fewer policy announcements and “concentrate on a handful” already announced in order to “communicate a confident, ambitious and compassionate” party.

The 26-page document, in which Kinnock argued that a “packed policy platform” and the communication “style” in the 2019 election “brought rejection”, made a number of recommendations as to how the party could regain power.

Discussing the report in a Q&A session last year, Kinnock said the ten pledges made by Keir Starmer in his leadership campaign in 2020 could be streamlined: “Ten was good enough for Moses, but maybe six… maybe six is enough.”

The group also holds events with shadow ministers and other Labour figures in leadership positions, such as metro mayor Tracy Brabin. Earlier this year, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves discussed the party’s stance on nationalisation.

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