Dave Nellist

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Dave Nellist
Coventry City Council
St Michaels Ward
In office
7 May 1998 – 3 May 2012
Serving with
Jim O'Boyle (Labour)
David Welsh (Labour)
Majority 307 (9.08%)
Member of Parliament
for Coventry South East
In office
9 June 1983 – 9 April 1992
Preceded by William Wilson
Succeeded by Jim Cunningham
Majority 6,653 (17.57%)
Personal details
Born (1952-07-16) 16 July 1952 (age 62)
Cleveland, England
Nationality British
Political party Socialist Party (1997-present)
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (2009-present)
Other political
affiliations
Labour (until 1991)
Spouse(s) Jane Warner (Wife)
Children 1 son- Joe Nellist, 3 daughters- Bethan Clarke, Charlotte Nellist, Clara Nellist

David John Nellist (born 16 July 1952) is a British Trotskyist activist who was the MP for the now abolished constituency of Coventry South East between 1983 and 1992. Elected as a Labour MP, his support for the Militant tendency led to his eventual expulsion from the party in late 1991. He is a member of the Socialist Party and a former councillor in Coventry.

Political career[edit]

Member of Parliament[edit]

A long-standing supporter of the Militant tendency, Nellist was the MP for Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992. He was known for his standing as a "workers' MP on a worker's wage", taking only the wage of a skilled factory worker, which amounted to 40% of what was then an MP's salary. The rest he donated back to the Labour movement and to charities. From 1982 to 1986, Nellist was also a Labour councillor for Coventry on West Midlands County Council.

When Tony Blair was first elected to Parliament in 1983, he initially shared an office with Nellist at the Palace of Westminster. The duo's differing political views were considered not to make for the most harmonious working environment, so Blair was quickly allocated office space with Gordon Brown, another newly elected Labour MP, and Nellist subsequently shared the office of the other Militant supporting MP, Terry Fields.[1]

In late 1991, shortly before his expulsion from the Labour Party, he was awarded the "Backbencher of the Year" award by the conservative Spectator magazine.[2] Michael White of The Guardian recalled in 2007 the speech Nellist gave after receiving the award: "It was witty and highly political, done with style and without compromise. They cheered him fervently and then returned to their brandy. But it was one of the best speeches I have ever heard."[3]

Deselection[edit]

Nellist in 1991 was one of the two MPs who were supporters of Militant, which had been found to contravene the Labour Party constitution several years earlier. After a National Executive Committee meeting in December 1991, along with Terry Fields, the other MP, he was expelled from the Labour Party and deselected as a candidate for the 1992 general election.

Nellist gained the support of his Constituency party (which was subsequently suspended by the National Executive Committee) and a number of local trade unions.[4] Standing as an Independent Labour candidate in the elections, he narrowly lost his old seat to the new Labour Party candidate Jim Cunningham. Cunningham received 11,902 votes, Conservative Party candidate Martine Hyams 10,591, and Dave Nellist 10,551, or 28.9% of the vote.[5]

Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance[edit]

Nellist followed the majority of Militant in founding what became the Socialist Party (not to be confused with the Socialist Party of Great Britain). Due to registration requirements, the party uses the name "Socialist Alternative" on ballot papers. Instead of running candidates independently, however, the party has played a leading role in several political coalitions, including the Socialist Alliance.

Nellist was a prominent figure in organising the Socialist Alliance, locally and across the UK, as a loose formation of individuals and groups. He became the Chair of the Socialist Alliance, but resigned in 2001, in protest of what the Socialist Party saw as manoeuvrings of the Socialist Workers Party to take control of the Alliance. He is involved in the Campaign for a New Workers' Party in Britain, which is a Socialist Party sponsored campaign to create a new party to represent the working class in the UK.

Nellist has run for Member of Parliament in every general election since his deselection by the Labour Party. In 1997, he ran in the Coventry South constituency, and received 3,262 votes (6.5%). In 2001 and 2005, he ran in the Coventry North East constituency. In 2001, he received 2,638 votes (7.1%). In 2005, he received 1,874 votes (5.0%).

City Councillor in Coventry[edit]

In 1998, Nellist was elected as a City Councillor in the Coventry City Council for St Michael's ward, where he was reelected in 2004 and again in 2008, with an increased majority, when he received 48.6% of the vote.[6][7] By 2006, when Rob Windsor was elected, the Socialist Party had won all three of St. Michael's seats.[8] However, Nellist's Socialist colleagues were defeated in the local elections of 2007 and 2010, respectively,[9][10] and in the 2012 local elections, Nellist lost his seat in the St Michael's Ward to the Labour Party candidate Naeem Akhtar by 213 votes.[11]

No to EU – Yes to Democracy[edit]

Nellist stood as a No to EU – Yes to Democracy candidate in the 2009 European election in the West Midlands Region of England gaining 13,415 votes (0.9%).[12] No2EU takes a socialist, trade union and alter-globalisation Eurosceptic stance from a workers' perspective.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)[edit]

After the 2009 European elections, Nellist played a leading role in the formation of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), of which he is interim leader. The coalition is composed of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, Socialist Party, Socialist Resistance, the Socialist Workers Party and Solidarity; and is endorsed by Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the Prison Officers' Association and Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of Public and Commercial Services Union. Considering the overlap in constituent parties, TUSC is seen as a successor to the Socialist Alliance and the No to EU – Yes to Democracy alliance.

Nellist stood as a candidate for TUSC in the 2010 general elections in the constituency Coventry North East, although he stood under the label Socialist Alternative.[13] Running against the incumbent MP, the Labour government's Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth, he received 1,592 votes (3.7%) losing his deposit for the first time in a Westminster constituency.

Personal life[edit]

In August 1984, Nellist married Jane (née Warner) in North Yorkshire, who in 2014 was elected as a member of the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Teachers. He has three daughters (two born 1985 and 1987) and one son (born 1989). From 1992-7, he worked in Welfare Rights for Robert Zara Ltd solicitors in Coventry. Since 1997, he has worked as a Case Worker for the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Elections contested[edit]

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  % Results
1983 Coventry South East Labour 15,307 41.09 Elected
1987 Coventry South East Labour 17,969 47.46 Elected
1992 Coventry South East Independent Labour 10,551 28.88 Not elected
1997 Coventry South Socialist Alternative 3,262 6.5 Not elected
2001 Coventry North East Socialist Alternative 2,638 7.1 Not elected
2005 Coventry North East Socialist Alternative 1,874 5.04 Not elected
2010 Coventry North East TUSC 1,592 3.7 Not elected

European elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  % Results Notes
1999 West Midlands Socialist Alternative 7,203 0.8 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list
2009 West Midlands No2EU 13,415 1.0 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bill Wilson
Member of Parliament for Coventry South East
19831992
Succeeded by
Jim Cunningham