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Posted on 1 September 2015 at 11:37 GMT

Corbyn: Closest Labour contender to Usdaw's policies

A letter by Yorkshire Socialist Party member Iain Dalton that was published in the Financial Times on Monday 31st August:

Sir,

John Barstow (Letters, August 26) joins the debate over the Labour leadership election, seeming to speak with the authority of Usdaw's executive council.

I, a lay branch officer in Usdaw, am from the outset speaking in my own personal capacity. However, I feel I will be expressing the anger of many members of Usdaw's membership in retail, distribution and associated trades at Mr Barstow's comments, which I believe do not reflect the views of Usdaw members.

As I understand, a significant minority of Usdaw's executive council did argue to the union to back Jeremy Corbyn although a majority supported Andy Burnham. That wasn't because of views Mr Corbyn held, or may still hold, on the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, but because he is the only candidate who argues unequivocally for many of the policies our union's Annual Delegate Meeting and the Trades Union Congress have supported.

The latter last year passed policy for raising the minimum wage to 10 an hour; only Mr Corbyn has committed to that. Last year Usdaw's ADM called for the abolition of tuition fees and the reintroduction of free education; only Mr Corbyn supports that. The same year Usdaw's ADM supported the renationalisation of all public transport - again only Mr Corbyn supports that. The list goes on.

To put Mr Barstow's comments in context: he is deputy chairman of Conservatives at Work. As members of separate political parties from Labour, neither he nor I have a vote in the election. For my part, though, Mr Corbyn is much closer to the policies advocated by the trade union movement and Usdaw in particular than any of the other candidates.

Iain Dalton, Leeds, UK

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