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Socialists To Take On Coventry Labour MPs

Labour MPs in Coventry face a left-wing challenge in the general election after Socialist councillors Dave Nellist and Rob Windsor revealed they will stand for Parliament.

They will be standing as part of the Socialist Alliance, which hopes to get candidates in a quarter of the seats in England, Wales and Scotland.

Cllr Nellist, a former Labour MP who was expelled from the party for his association with left wing groups in 1992, will stand against Bob Ainsworth in Coventry North East.

Cllr Windsor will be taking on Jim Cunningham in Coventry South, while former MEP Christine Oddy is expected to announce shortly that she will stand as an independent in Coventry North West against Geoffrey Robinson.

Cllr Nellist said it would be the biggest left wing challenge to Labour since the 1930s.

He said:

“When four years thousands of people locally and millions nationally voted to end 18 years of the previous Tory government, many did so with the hope that things were going to improve.

“Apart from a few items on the margins things haven’t improved. Labour’s more interested in the millionaires than the millions.”

The pair, who are expecting the election to be held in May, said the central themes of the campaign would be to call for more money for under-funded social services, education, health and social services.

Cllr Nellist accused New Labour of adopting Conservative policies, leaving everyone from students to pensioners worse off.

He said:

”They’ve been rumbled. There is a lot of anger and disillusionment out there.

“We’ve had indications of support in the city where we have had interest before, which leads us to believe that we will mount a very credible campaign.

Cllr Nellist, aged 48, said the aim was to use the election campaign to build a platform for future local and national efforts.

Cllr Windsor said the recent issue of school closures in Coventry was an example of Labour losing its traditional supports as angry parents demonstrated outside the council house.

The cuts have been proposed in response to demands by the Government that the city lose surplus places.

Veteran anti-poll tax campaigner Cllr Windsor, aged 36, said the figures had been calculated using an out-of-date formula adopted by the previous Tory government, and that there should be a different approach to funding.

He also earmarked the transfer of the city’s entire council housing stock and the decision to have a new hospital privately-built as further examples of local issues that could attract support.

Cllr Windsor said:

“At least with Margaret Thatcher who knew you were dealing with a brutal thug. With Blair it’s like having a dandy highwayman trying to charm public services out of people.”
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CWN / Politics / Socialist Alliance / 30 Jan 01

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