There are growing calls amongst grassroots Labour members for Ian Lavery to stand for the leadership. Lavery, the member for Wansbeck, is seen by many as the perfect left-wing candidate to replace Jeremy Corbyn, despite seemingly having ruled himself out of the contest.
A staunch socialist, Lavery is in the great tradition of the tough union firebrand, an individual with the strength of character to take on neoliberals, Tories and the press alike. He is seen as an individual who will appeal to the working-class north, having lived in Ashington in Northumberland for most of his life.
Lavery was elected to the National Union of Mineworkers in 1986, replacing Arthur Scargill as NUM President in 2002, being seen as a natural successor.
He entered the House in 2010 and has been an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, rejecting New Labour and chairing the trade union group.
“We cannot allow the conversation about why we lost to degenerate into a culture war. We cannot be divided by region, by race, by the way we voted in the referendum, or in any of the other ways the Tories have tried to drive wedges into our movement. The solution is not more conservatism or more liberalism; it is more socialism, a socialism that revives the spirit of solidarity and community in northern towns which gave birth to the Labour Party in the first place.”Ian Lavery, Morning Star
He initially backed Andy Burnham as leader in 2015 before Jeremy Corbyn entered the contest, stating that he didn’t see himself as leader. He wasn’t amongst the 36 MPs who nominated Corbyn.
Lavery publicly identified the commitment to a second Brexit referendum as a major factor in Labour’s electoral defeat.
He counts Dennis Skinner as one of his heroes.
He dislikes Paul Mason.
And the Lib Dems
Ian Lavery has spoken strongly against austerity, the Iraq War, homelessness and for the NHS.
He also stands behind moves to recognise Palestine.
Ian Lavery has the strength and boldness of the union leader, a man with the potential to lead with strength against Blairite wreckers and the far-right Johnson government. His proud northern roots will sell well to the north and his socialism isn’t in question.
Despite the positives, there remains concern about the money he received from a fund set up by the National Union of Mineworkers. However, in turn, the payments were judged to have been legitimate and the BBC piece on Lavery was described as a “hatchet job” and the “latest attack on trade unions, using Ian as collateral damage”.
There has been wide support from Lavery on social media.