Jamie Driscoll should stand. And the left-led unions should back him.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist (TUSC) all-Britain steering committee has welcomed the announcement by the current Mayor of the North of Tyne Jamie Driscoll that he is planning to stand as Mayor of the North East Combined Authority in the elections for the new post that will take place next May.

At its latest meeting on July 19th the steering committee agreed that it would not accept any application to stand as a TUSC candidate in the mayoral election as long as Jamie remains as a declared candidate. 

Jamie Driscoll’s exclusion in June from Labour’s mayoral selection process – of someone regularly referred to in the establishment media as ‘the last Corbynista in office’ – was another example of how ruthless Sir Keir Starmer has been in his efforts to re-make the Labour Party as a safe alternative for the capitalist establishment, after the shock they all suffered during the period of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.  

Jamie has still not been formally informed why he was excluded, as a sitting mayor. “I do stand on picket lines, I was on a picket line this morning with workers who are in dispute.  Perhaps that’s it, but honestly I do not know”, he told the BBC (June 2nd). 

Now, after appeals made on his behalf were ignored, including an open letter signed by eight left-wing trade union general secretaries – from ASLEF, BFAWU, CWU, FBU, POA (personal capacity), RMT, UCU (pc), and the URTU – Jamie has decided to stand as an independent against the recently announced official Labour candidate, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuiness.