Splits on the Left

As the title suggests, this chapter mostly covers the conflict, splits and deals between different parts of the Labour Group on the Council and the City Labour Party in the period 1988 to 1992. This covers clashes with and intimidation from the Militant Tendency. Police were called to council meetings because of fear of violent clashes, with protests about cuts being made and the approach taken seen as capitulating to the Tory government. There was a strike in June 1988 in Cleansing Services. Ten councillors led by Sam Derby were expelled by the Party for consistently voting against the whip. The Left ended up doing a deal with the Right of the Labour Group in order to keep control of the important committees and overall keep Labour in control of the Council and reducing the influence of the rebels in the middle.
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Militant Disruption in the Council Chamber
1988 Local Elections
Resignation of Ten Rebels
Left Short With Not Enough People
1989 Leadership Challenge
Fracturing of the Labour Group
Repeated Call for a Democratic Forum
Interviews with the Whip and Expulsions
Making Alliances with the Right
Expulsions and Lack of Policy Discussion


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Editor’s Comments

The sub-headings were not in the original. There have been minor typographical and layout changes. This chapter is long and the detail of people is hard to wade through if you don’t know who they all are. However it’s hard to see how to avoid it. The level of detail gives me a picture of how much time and energy was involved in just sorting out the positions of power before actually doing anything else.


[1] Further Education, aged 16+.

[2] The £17 million reduction was achieved by £3.6 million from special funds; £4.8 million from rents; £0.2 million from reduced contingency provision; £3.8 million less required for pay awards; £3.7 million reduction in unallocated contingency and £0.9 million in unspecified cuts. The block grant from government was £104,700,530 and the amount to be met from the rates was £211,936,000 (equivalent to a general rate of 285.63p). To be added on – Fire & CD = 10.45p, PTA = 15.58p, GMP = 15.38p. Domestic rate set at 308.54p (- 8.17% on last year); General rate set at 327.04p (- 7.5% on last year).

[3] A female external candidate was appointed in August 1988 – Charmian Houslander. She came from the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority, but she didn’t last very long.

[4] This was when I was first elected as a councillor for Whalley Range.

[5] May 1988, 7 standing down – Margaret Ainsworth, Keith Bradley, Frances Done, David Heald, Alf Home and Jeff Wilner. 3 of those who’d lost their seats in 1987 got back in – Basil Curley, Mark Hackett and Bill Risby. 8 new left-wingers came on – Kath Fry, Albert Garside, Yousouf Gooljary, Kevin Rowswell, Bernard Stone, Alan Tomlinson, Rhys Vaughan and Vince Young.

[6] Gordon Hainsworth had been recently appointed as Chief Executive, having previously been Chief Education Officer, and Peter Short reverted to being just City Treasurer.

[7] The 10 were:- Eric Bullows, John Byrne, John Clegg, Sam Darby, Tony & Shirley McCardell, Peter Morrison, Ken Strath, Ray Whyte and Niel Warren. They were supported by Graham Ballance and Vince Young who at the time had no positions of responsibility to resign from.

[8] I thought David Black was the best choice to be Chair, since he had been on the Personnel sub-committee for two years, but he worked full-time and was already deputy of Social Services and overseeing that department’s staffing re-structure, so couldn’t take it on.

[9] Tony McCardell, Sam Darby, Dennis Barker and Ken Strath.

[10] It was the policy of the Left that the nominations from the Party would be automatically elected, although the rules stated only that the views of the Party were to be taken into consideration.

[11] Kath said: “As Graham was famously disinterested in anything to do with children, or indeed people, it is not surprising that he failed to recognise the significance of the forthcoming Education legislation.”

[12] GMB is short for The General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union, a name officially adopted in 1987 (although the abbreviation had been used since 1982) after a series of trade union mergers.

[13] USDAW is the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.

[14] AEU is the Amalgamated Engineering Union.

[15] They were – David Black, Val Edwards, Tim Ferguson, Kath Fry, Nick Harris, Cath Inchbold, Richard Leese, Chris Morris, Dave Power, Maria Price, John Shiers, Alan Tomlinson.

[16] Tim Ferguson to Chair; Speakers – John Shiers and Cath Inchbold (to set ground rules and areas for debate); Richard Leese to speak from floor; Me to sum up at end. Objectives for meeting to be set at start.

[17] The Red Banner was an internal Labour Party information leaflet that was produced from time to time and circulated to all Party members in Manchester via their CLPs.

[18] The 12 ‘rebels’ were Dennis Barker, Graham Ballance, John Byrne, John Clegg, Sam Darby, Yousouf Gooljary, Mark Hackett, Tony McCardell, Shirley McCardell, Ken Strath, Ray Whyte, Vince Young. Mark Hackett had already decided to stand down at the following election.

[19] Sam Darby resigned from the Council in November 1990

[20] The seven removed were – Ken Strath, Shirley and Tony McCardell, John Byrne, John Clegg, Ray Whyte and Margaret Manning. The five given a final warning were – Margaret Ainsworth, Dennis Barker, Ray Boyle, Sylvia Done and Nora Tilley.

[21] Margaret Ainsworth, Ray Boyle, and Nora Tilley

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