Labour Briefing

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Labour Briefing is a monthly political magazine produced by members of the British Labour Party.

History and profile[edit]

The magazine began in 1980 as London Labour Briefing.[1] The founders were the members of the Chartist Minority Tendency, which was a former Trotskyist part of the Chartist Collective.[1] It was edited by (among others) Graham Bash, Chris Knight and Keith Veness and counting Ken Livingstone, Tony Benn and other prominent Labour councillors and MPs among its supporters. Throughout the early period, Its masthead slogan was "Labour - take the power!" While the magazine's followers often acted as a political faction, its internal politics were non-sectarian and open, ranging from democratic socialist backers of the former Labour MP Tony Benn to some of the Trotskyist groups.[1] Jeremy Corbyn, later Leader of the Labour Party, became involved with London Labour Briefing in the 1980s, and argued against expulsions of the Militant tendency in 1982, one year before he became an MP.[2] Corbyn became a regular contributor. According to Private Eye, he was a member of the editorial board, and served as its general secretary for some time,[3] but Corbyn later claimed this was inaccurate.[4]

The group campaigned for left-wing policies and greater democracy in the Labour Party. The paper also emphasised sexual and personal politics and anti-racism campaigns. London Labour Briefing was also prominent in supporting Irish Republicanism and the UK Miners' Strike (1984-1985). In due course, London Labour Briefing spawned local papers around Britain, such as Devon Labour Briefing.

Following the Brighton hotel bombing by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the editorial board of London Labour Briefing said the bombings showed that "the British only sit up and take notice [of Ireland] when they are bombed into it". In December 1984, the magazine carried a reader’s letter praising the “audacity” of the IRA attack and stating: “What do you call four dead Tories? A start." It mocked Norman Tebbit, the trade secretary who was dug out of the rubble of the Grand Hotel and whose wife was left permanently paralysed, saying: "Try riding your bike now, Norman". The same issue carried an editorial piece from the editorial board which "disassociated itself" from an article the previous month criticising the bombing, saying the criticism was a "serious political misjudgment".[5]

Throughout the 1990s, London Labour Briefing lost supporters and influence as New Labour's hold over the Labour Party increased. London Labour Briefing also diminished as control inside the Labour Party was centralised, and the role played by activists was reduced.

London Labour Briefing was renamed Labour Briefing and was then known as Labour Left Briefing. In 2008, it reverted to Labour Briefing on merging with Voice of the Unions. It supports the Socialist Campaign Group of Members of Parliament, and aims to promote and build the network of local Campaign Groups.

2012 Division[edit]

Following a contested vote at the July 2012 AGM, some supporters of Labour Briefing decided to transfer control of the magazine to the Labour Representation Committee. Other Editorial Board members, including Labour Party NEC member, Christine Shawcroft, opposed the move, and continued to publish their own independent Labour Briefing magazine (sometimes known as 'Original Briefing').


There have been a number of notable former contributors and members of the editorial board for the Briefing, including Jeremy Corbyn. Most contributors in the 1980s were prominent members of London's "outside left".[6]

Other contributors


  1. ^ a b c Peter Barberis; John McHugh; Mike Tyldesley (2000). Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations: Parties, Groups and Movements of the 20th Century. A&C Black. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-8264-5814-8. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Crick, Michael (10 March 2016). Militant. London: Biteback Publishing Ltd. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 978-1-78590-029-7. An article in the July 1982 edition of London Labour Briefing illustrated Corbyn's public stance: 'If expulsions are in order for Militant,' he wrote, 'they should apply to us too.' And Corbyn, a year before he became an MP, announced himself as 'provisional convenor' of the new 'Defeat the Witch-Hunt Campaign'. It was based at an address in Lausanne Road in Hornsey, north London, Corbyn's own home at that time. 
  3. ^ "Briefing Lives". Private Eye (1406). London: Pressdram Ltd. 27 Nov 2015. p. 14. 
  4. ^ Ridge, Sophie (21 May 2017). "Jeremy Corbyn on the IRA and immigration: Full interview on #Ridge". Sky News. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 
  5. ^ Gilligan, Andrew (10 October 2015). "Revealed: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell's close IRA links". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Kogan, David; Kogan, Maurice (1982). The Battle for the Labour Party. Glasgow: Fontana. pp. 129–130. 

External links[edit]

Official website