Derek Hatton (born 17 January 1948 in Liverpool, Lancashire) is a British former politician, later a broadcaster, property developer, businessman and after-dinner speaker. He gained national prominence as Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s and was a member of the Trotskyist Militant group.
Hatton attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys from 1959 to 1964. His subsequent academic success was limited, but he enjoyed sports and appeared on stage as Gratiano in a school production of The Merchant of Venice with future theatre producer Bill Kenwright.
After becoming a firefighter, Hatton joined the Labour Party and Militant, a Trotskyist organisation then following an entryist strategy within the Labour Party. As Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council from 1983, Hatton was the most vocal and prominent member of the council's leadership. The Leader of the Council was John Hamilton, a quietly-spoken and much admired local politician.
Hatton joined the rate-capping rebellion in 1985 as the council refused to make a rate increase. In June, the council changed tactics and set an illegal "deficit budget" which committed it to spending £30 million in excess of its income, claiming that the excess represented grant "stolen" by central government. Once adopted by the Liverpool District Labour Party and 49 councillors, this policy catapulted Hatton and the city council into massive media attention and conflict with the then-Conservative government.
Hatton was expelled from the Labour Party in 1986 for belonging to Militant which had earlier been found to be in breach of the Labour Party's constitution. Hatton argued that Militant was a legitimate Marxist tendency within the Labour Party, but the National Executive Committee voted to expel him by 12 votes to 6.
In 1993, Hatton was accused of corruption as Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council. After a lengthy trial, he was found not guilty.
After his expulsion from the Labour Party, Hatton pursued a career in the media, presenting a show on radio station Talk Sport, and appearing in television programmes including Have I Got News for You, where he was given a particularly rough ride by regular panellist Paul Merton, who mocked his apparent aspiration to be a comedian. Hatton even began modelling menswear; he had worked in a men's tailoring shop as a teenager, and was known during his time as a politician for his well-tailored suits.
Hatton presented the lunchtime phone-in on 105.4 Century FM when it launched in 1998, titled "The Degsy Debate". The BBC Two fly-on-the-wall documentary Trouble at the Top followed the station's launch, and Hatton's training. In the 1990s, he worked as Talk Radio's morning phone-in presenter. In 1996, he was the subject of a BBC documentary, My Brilliant Career.
Attempts to rejoin the Labour Party
It was reported in the Liverpool Daily Post in 2007 that Hatton had rejoined the Labour Party and intended to seek selection as a prospective parliamentary candidate in the North West. Hatton made clear that he is no longer a Trotskyist, but maintains that he remains firmly on the left of the party, expressing his belief that Labour has to abandon New Labour ideology (or "neo-Tory", as Hatton puts it) and return to its traditional values.
In October 2008, during as interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Hatton revealed that he has become a capitalist running a property company in Cyprus and drives a £60,000 Range Rover. He justifies his change in attitude as "My days in politics were a very long time ago and I lost interest in it after I was expelled from the city council." In 2008, Hatton gave another interview to the Liverpool Daily Post in which he reasserted his intention to seek selection as a Parliamentary Labour candidate for one of the Liverpool constituencies (or failing that, another North West constituency) at some point in the future. Hatton stated that he may challenge "one of the neo-Tory types currently representing Liverpool, like Maria Eagle maybe".
On 28 May 2015, it emerged that Hatton had attempted to rejoin the Labour Party two days after Labour's defeat in the 2015 general election. His application was rejected by Iain McNicol, the party's general secretary.
In September 2015, Hatton endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election. He wrote: "For the first time since the Eighties we have a clear choice between a Tory party supported by big business, and a Labour party based on the trade unions. This might sound very old fashioned, but it's simply a return to the obvious split that has always existed. It was artificially camouflaged under New Labour. It's an exciting time for the whole country, but I fear that the pressure which will be brought to bear from the 'New Labour dinosaurs' and from much of the media will be massive, and Jeremy Corbyn will need strength and support in abundance in order to resist it."
In a BBC Newsnight broadcast on 27 July 2015 Hatton claimed not to be a property developer, and that he was a card carrying member of the Labour Party. He supported the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party. However, the Labour Party denied this, insisting instead that Hatton had been sent a membership card automatically but had not been permitted to join.
At the end of January 2017, in an article for the Liverpool Echo, Hatton wrote that he had voted against Britain leaving the European Union in the membership referendum in June 2016: "I can't believe Corbyn is arguing for Labour MPs to vote with the most reactionary and xenophobic Tory government we've seen for a long time. This shows a real lack of leadership on his part and does now make me have serious doubts about him".
- Derek Hatton Inside Left: The Story so Far [auto-biography], London: Bloomsbury, 1988. ISBN 0-7475-0185-8
- "On this day : 12 June 1986 : 1986: Labour expels Militant Hatton". BBC News. 12 June 1986. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- Foster, Jonathan (13 March 1993). "Hatton is cleared after 8-week trial: The investigation into alleged corruption continues, despite the verdict at Mold Crown Court". The Independent. London. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Regional politics in the Thatcher Era". Web.archive.org. 29 September 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Now You're Talking speakers profile : Derek Hatton". Nyt.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "My Brilliant Career: Derek Hatton a very different man". BFI. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Absolute Speakers profile : Derek Hatton". Absolute-speakers.co.uk. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Derek Hatton at 61". BBC News. 14 January 2009.
- Anstead, Mark (3 October 2008). "Fame & Fortune: Derek Hatton, the militant capitalist". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Labour objects to Derek Hatton bid to rejoin party", BBC News, 28 May 2015
- Merrick, Jane (27 September 2015). "Derek Hatton: Meeting Liverpool's socialist poster boy after hating him for 30 years". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
- "Newsnight interview with Derek Hatton", 27 July 2015, accessed 4 August 2015.
- "Labour: Derek Hatton's membership application has been rejected". Spectator. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Hatton, Derek (31 July 2017). "Derek Hatton: 'I now have serious doubts about Jeremy Corbyn'". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Parker, George; Pickard, Jim (31 January 2017). "Theresa May on track to pass Brexit bill as Labour angst deepens". Financial Times. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Michael Crick, The March of Militant, London: Faber, 2nd edition, 1986. ISBN 0-571-14643-0
- Lynne Segal, Slow Motion : Changing Masculinities, Changing Men, London : Virago, 1990, 125–7, 315. ISBN 1-85381-013-4