6 Nov 2013

Unite choosing Labour’s candidates: is Cameron correct?

Last spring a document emerged from Unite listing 41 target constituencies where the union hoped to get named individuals selected as Labour candidates.  This was widely cited as evidence that the union was dominating the selection of future Labour MPs.

In July I did an analysis for this blog showing that Unite hadn’t actually been very successful so far.  Of the 22 seats that had picked candidates up to that point, Unite’s named individual had only been successful in nine.  In 13 seats they failed – a success rate of 44 per cent.

At Question Time today David Cameron again said that Unite was choosing Labour’s candidates, so I thought it worth taking another looking at the union’s controversial 41 targets.

Since July, the union has been a bit more successful in selections, and now they’ve got their preferred candidate chosen in almost half the 41 targets which have picked a candidate so far.  In 18 cases they were successful, but in 20 they failed.  Three seats have yet to choose.   That’s a success rate of 47 per cent.  That remember was in seats which Unite specifically targetted.  It still doesn’t seem a very good return.

The details are as follows:


Brighton Kemptown – Nancy Platts

Burnley – Julie Cooper

Cardiff Central – Jo Stevens

Chester – Chris Matheson

Dewsbury – Paula Sherriff

Dudley South – Natasha Milward

Dumfriesshire – Archie Dryburgh

Elmet and Rothwell  – Veronica King

Halesowen & Rowley Regis – Steph Peacock

Hornsey & Wood Green – Catherine West

Lancaster & Fleetwood  – Cat Smith

Lewisham Deptford – Vicky Foxcroft

North Warwickshire – Mike O’Brien

Pendle – Azhar Ali

Plymouth Sutton – Luke Pollard

Pudsey – Jamie Hanley

Stourbridge – Pete Lowe

Wolverhampton SW – Rob Marris            (18)

SEATS WHICH DIDN’T PICK UNITE NOMINEES (with successful names instead)

Amber Valley (Kevin Gillott)

Bermondsey & Old Southwark (Neil Coyle)

Birmingham Yardley (Jess Philips)

Blackpool North (Sam Rushworth)

Bristol South (Karin Smyth)

Bury North (James Frith)

East Dunbartonshire (Amanjit Jhund)

Enfield North (Joan Ryan)

Falkirk (not chosen yet but Unite contender Karie Murphy has withdrawn)

Finchley & Golders Green (Sarah Sackman)

Hove (Peter Kyle)

Ilford North (Wes Streeting)

Manchester Withington (Jeff Smith)

Nuneaton (Victoria Fowler)

Sheffield Hallam (Oliver Coppard)

Sherwood (Leonie Mathers)

Stockton South (Louise Baldock)

Warrington South (Nick Bent)

Weaver Vale (Julia Tickridge)

Wirral West (Margaret Greenwood)               (20)

NO DECISION YET (with Unite hopefuls)

Brent Central  (original hopeful Kate Osamor no longer standing; Kingsley Abrams now Unite’s nominee)

Cleethorpes (Ian Gent)


Kingswood  (Rowenna Haywood – Josie Channer was previously picked, but then stood down)    (3)

As I pointed out in July, most of the Unite people who’ve been chosen are hardly die-hard left-wingers.  The former Solicitor-General Mike O’Brien, is never likely to lead a socialist revolution; nor Rob Marris, another former MP.

This is a revised version of a blog I posted yesterday which contained a few small errors.  Sorry to those concerned.