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OBV Profile: Labour Leadership Hopeful John McDonnell

John McDonnell

John McDonnell Labour M.P. for Hayes and Harlington announced his decision last week to run for the Labour Party leadership.

Having entered Parliament in 1997 the same year that New Labour came to power, McDonnell has so far enjoyed a long political career, seen by some as a left winger-in part due to his opposition of the plans to expand Heathrow Airport, and in his support of trade unions.

He voted against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and in 2009 was suspended from Parliament for five days after he disrupted proceedings in a commons session, in protest over the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport.

McDonnell, who was born in Liverpool in 1951, sat on the GLC (first elected to the Greater London Council in 1981) and was removed in 1985 by then Chair of the Greater London Council Budget Ken Livingstone, following a disagreement over the budget.

2010 does not mark the only occasion that McDonnell has considered running for the Labour Party leadership.

In 2007, in the wake of Tony Blair’s departure from Downing Street which saw Gordon Brown eventually fill Blair’s political shoes, McDonnell announced he intended to run, as Blair announced a date for his resignation.

McDonnell called for “A real Labour government based upon the policies that our supporters expect from us”

But Gordon Brown receiving 308 nominations dominated the proceedings, resulting in his being the only candidacy put forward. The rest as they say is history.

McDonnell is also the chair of Public Services Not Private Profit, an anti-privatisation campaign that brings together 16 trade unions and several campaigning organisations, such as the World Development Movement, Defend Council Housing and the National Pensioners Convention.

Mr McDonnell joins others in contention: David and Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham, Diane Abbott, and Ed Balls.

McDonnell’s participation could well widen the debate, as his presence supports the argument that this leadership contest must represent an inclusive brand of politics, representing people from all sections of society.

A report on the OBV blog on Wednesday 26th May, revealed McDonnell would be willing to withdraw his name from the hat should it ensure the contest represents a more inclusive political debate.

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