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
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
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.
“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.
”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
The cuts have been proposed in
response to demands by the Government that the city lose surplus
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using an out-of-date formula adopted by the previous Tory government,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:
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.”