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Thursday 1 April 2021

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Candidates update: now it's over 330 standing for TUSC on May 6

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) All-Britain Steering Committee agreed to extend the deadline for further applications to be a TUSC candidate until Monday 29th March. It was a good job we did as the candidates have kept on coming!

Candidates now agreed include an executive council member of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU); four members of UNISON's national executive; two members of the UNISON Local Government Service Group Executive, plus the secretary of Glasgow Unison, the branch which led the magnificent equal pay strike in 2018; a former member of the RMT transport workers' national executive; leaders of the 'NHS workers say no' campaign and two of the original McStrikers.

And along with a number of former Labour councillors standing as TUSC, we now have two TUSC candidates who were previously general election candidates for Labour in December 2019, just 14 months ago.

The TUSC candidate for Gloucestershire County Council, Alan McKenzie in Cirencester Park, previously Labour's parliamentary candidate for The Cotswolds, has been joined by James Osben, standing for TUSC for a seat on Devon County Council, who was Labour's candidate for Newton Abbot constituency in both 2017 and 2019.

James's campaign increased Labour's vote in 2017 to 11,689, it highest ever in the constituency. Explaining his decision to stand under the TUSC umbrella, James said: "I can't support the Labour Party under its current leadership. I am not willing to sacrifice my values and principles to try and fit in with the neoliberal establishment".

Hartlepool by-election

In addition to the two TUSC candidates who previously stood as 2019 Labour general election candidates, Thelma Walker, previously Labour MP for Colne Valley, has announced she intends to stand for the parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool. Thelma was Parliamentary Private Secretary to John McDonnell MP, and resigned from Labour last November in protest at the whip being withdrawn from Jeremy Corbyn.

The TUSC steering committee had considered the Hartlepool by-election at its last meeting and discussed with local Socialist Labour councillors about the possibility of standing a candidate as part of the TUSC election challenge in May. Now Thelma has put herself forward, with Labour's candidate another former MP Paul Williams, previously representing Stockton South, whose record is one of opposing Jeremy Corbyn and the public ownership and spending commitments of the 2019 Labour manifesto.

TUSC looks forward to working alongside Thelma - and others drawing the same conclusions about Starmer's revived New Labour party - in the struggle to solve the crisis of working class political representation.

TUSC's stand in this May's elections is another step in that struggle, contesting three regional lists and three constituencies in the Scottish parliament elections; all five regional lists for the Welsh Senedd contests; the all-London list for the Greater London Authority assembly and three GLA constituencies; the city Mayoral contests in Bristol and Liverpool; and 300 or so council seats in over 90 local authorities.

The full list of candidates approved to date is available at https://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/441.pdf