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Friday 19 December 2014

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More TUSC candidates in place as election challenge grows

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee approved another tranche of parliamentary candidates at its December meeting. Along with the seven candidates agreed so far by the Scottish TUSC steering committee, there are now 32 TUSC candidates in place for next May.

The new round of TUSC parliamentary candidates approved included Tony Mulhearn, standing in Liverpool's Riverside constituency. Tony, one of the Liverpool 47 Labour councillors who defied the Thatcher government in the 1980s, polled 4,792 votes for TUSC in Liverpool's mayoral election in 2012, coming in ahead of both the Tories and UKIP. Also contesting a Liverpool parliamentary seat for TUSC is the Unite union convenor for the city council, Dave Walsh, standing in Liverpool Wavertree.

There are two trade union national executive committee (NEC) members in the new candidates' list, with the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) executive member Anne Lemon contesting Bristol North West, and Unison NEC member Jacqui Berry standing in Gillingham and Rainham. This north Kent constituency is next door to the Rochester and Strood seat of UKIP MP Mark Reckless - in May he will be challenged on behalf of TUSC by the local RMT branch Young Members Officer, Dan Burn.

Other RMT members approved as candidates were Joseph Mambuliya, standing against Margaret Hodge in the East London seat of Barking, and the Midlands RMT area council member Paul Riley, standing in Nuneaton. They join the previously agreed candidates Glen Hart, formerly the RMT's London Transport regional council's Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer, contesting Croydon North, and Sean Hoyle, a former member of the union's executive committee, standing in Portsmouth South.

Also approved as a TUSC candidate at the December steering committee was the former mayor of the London borough of Harrow, Nana Asante, a councillor from 2002-2014 who will contest the Harrow East constituency. Her candidacy has already attracted significant local media coverage (see http://m.harrowtimes.co.uk/ news/11673124. Former_mayor_to_stand_for_parliament/ ). On the other side of London Nancy Taaffe will contest the Walthamstow seat in Waltham Forest, where TUSC polled 5,482 votes across the borough in the 2014 local council elections.

The other candidates approved were University College Union member and Barnsley Trades Council chair Dave Gibson, standing in Barnsley Central; Unison members Chris Fernandez, Seth Cruse and Matthew Wright contesting, respectively, Derby South, Folkestone and Hythe, and Stoke-on-Trent South; NUT Warwickshire branch representative Eileen Hunter for the North Warwickshire constituency; the Worcester ASLEF train drivers' union branch chair Pete McNally, standing in Worcester; and two candidates in Plymouth, Musician Union member Louise Parker in Plymouth Moor View and Unite member Ryan Aldred in Sutton and Devonport.

The candidates agreed by the Scottish TUSC steering committee so far include Brian Smith, secretary of Glasgow city Unison (the biggest Unison branch in Scotland), standing in Glasgow South; the Unite Glasgow Subway drivers' branch secretary, Jamie Cocozza, in Glasgow East; and EIS-FELA union activist Angela McCormack in Glasgow North. Another EIS member, Jim Halfpenny, will stand in Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and TUSC will be represented in West Dunbartonshire by leading RMT member, Andrew Elliott. The Dundee West seat will be contested for TUSC by the city's Unison branch secretary, Jim McFarlane, with Arthur Nichol, the union's Service and Conditions officer standing in Dundee East.