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Charles Patrick Wall (6 May 1933 – 6 August 1990) was an English Trotskyist political activist and Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford North from 1987 to 1990. Wall was a longstanding supporter of the Militant tendency.
Born into a Liverpool working class family on 6 May 1933, he began political activity when he was picked up on a canvass by a local activist in 1950. Wall adopted a Trotskyist outlook and joined the Deane-Grant group, the remnant of the Revolutionary Socialist League which later became the Militant tendency - he became Garston Constituency Labour Party Secretary in 1952.
As a young activist, Wall played a role in moving the Liverpool Labour Party to the left in the late 1950s as a member of the then joint Liverpool Trades Council and Labour Party executive member, he had also been one of the youngest Liverpool councillor in the 1950s.
Involvement with revolutionary journals
Pat Wall was associated with a series of journals aimed at leading and widening the influence of Trotskyism, and popularising without compromising or diluting it. Latterly, this was manifest in the roles he played in launching and establishing the Militant newspaper and before that on the editorial board of Socialist Fight of 1958-63.
His role in the production of the youth journal Rally, organ of the Walton Labour Youth League in the 1950s deserves particular mention. This journal, for which he was a leading figure joined the editorial board after returning from a period in the army, gained a wide circulation despite its duplicated production. Terry Harrison[disambiguation needed], described how when he joined the Labour Party Young Socialists in 1958, it was Wall and Rally which
- "invited me to make a real commitment to the ideas of Marxism, and made me realise what this meant"
Wall's job as a mail-order company buyer eventually took him away from Liverpool to Market Harborough, and then to Bingley in Bradford. It also took him abroad, and he established political contacts on his foreign travels: in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, South Korea and even the United States. The strong links he established with the Asian community in his Bradford constituency had led him to promise to speak in Pakistani Kashmir and Lahore on the fiftieth anniversary of Trotsky's death, had his own health allowed. His assistance to Trotskyists in Sri Lanka in 1979 was still remembered in tributes sent in memoriam.
At Labour's 1972 conference, as a delegate from Shipley constituency, Wall and Ray Apps, a fellow Militant supporter, proposed a composite motion calling for 'an enabling Bill to secure the public ownership of major monopolies' which passed by 3,501,000 votes to 2,497,000.
Wall stood for the Labour Party National Executive on seven occasions from 1977-1983, achieving 103,000 votes in 1982, his highest vote and also the highest vote by someone who wasn't an MP or former MP.
Wall had been President of Bradford Trades Council since 1973 and in 1981 won a reselection battle against sitting MP Ben Ford by 35 votes to 28, although Ford alleged irregularities in the selection procedure and it was re-run with Wall wining by 49 votes to 12.
During the election as Labour candidate for Bradford North in 1983, he faced press criticism for his Trotskyist views, particularly in The Sunday Times which portrayed Wall as wanting "civil war" and "bloodshed", whereas a Militant editorial statement said:
- "Pat explained that the Militant was in favour of a peaceful transformation of society. No supporter of Militant would ever advocate or encourage 'bloodshed' or 'civil war'... Pat was explaining that if there was any threat to a peaceful transformation of society, that threat would come from the capitalist class itself". He was disowned by the Labour Party leader Michael Foot.
Wall won 14,492 votes (30.3%) coming in second place less than 2,000 votes behind the winning Conservative candidate Geoffrey Lawler, with former Labour agent SDP candidate Peter Birkby third and Ford standing as Labour independent coming fourth.
Wall stood again in 1987 in the same constituency, after winning 37 out of 65 votes at the selection meeting, his nearest rival Barry Seal MEP received 12 votes. He was featured in the Conservative election broadcast of 27 May 1987, which attacked his candidature because he was a Marxist. He was quoted as saying: "A Marxist Labour government would mean the abolition of the monarchy, the House of Lords, the sacking of the generals, the admirals, the air marshals, the senior civil servants, the police chiefs and in particular the judges". The Sun also featured a photograph demanding Wall be defeated on the day of the election. Wall's campaign cut across this by holding public meetings and also 17 workplace meetings. Wall won the seat, recording a 9.9% swing from the Social Democratic Party.
Wall died in the intensive care unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary on Monday 6 August 1990. Over 700 attended a memorial meeting held after his funeral with speakers including Arthur Scargill, Max Madden MP, Dennis Skinner MP, Dave Nellist MP, Bob Cryer MP and Terry Fields MP amongst others.
- Taaffe, P. The Rise of Militant, London, Militant Publications, pg.10 
-  Rob Sewell's post-script to History of British Trotskyism
- Revolutionary History, Vol. 3 Iss. 3
- Crick, Michael (1986) The March of Militant, Faber, pp.167
- Crick, Michael (1986) The March of Militant, Faber, pp.66
- Crick, Michael (1986) The March of Militant, Faber, pp.300
- Crick, Michael (1986) The March of Militant, Faber, pp.191-2
- Crick, Michael (1986) The March of Militant, Faber, pp.198
- Sunday Times, 7 March 1982
- Militant, #592, 12 March 1982
- Crick, Michael (1986) The March of Militant, Faber, pp.303
- 'Kinnock Blow As Left-winger Selected' Glasgow Herald 6 January 1986, pg.3
-  Conservative Party Election Broadcasts from 1987
- Militant, 26 June 1987
- "Labour MP dies after long illness" The Times, 7 August 1990 pg.5
- "Pat Wall memorial meeting" Militant, 24 August 1990
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Pat Wall
- Obituary by Peter Hadden in Militant Irish Monthly
- Obituary by Ian Hunter in Revolutionary History
- Militant - official Militant tendency website
- The Rise of Militant - the official history
- Catalogue of Wall's papers, held at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Bradford North