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Young Labour: who are the left candidates?

At Europe-wide conventions of socialist youth organisations, Britain’s Young Labour was known until recently as “the Blair witch project”.

Since the organisation replaced the Militant-dominated Labour Party Young Socialists in 1992, it has been dominated by those on the hard right of the party, maintained by a culture of fixing and until a few years ago, positions being hand-picked. Young Labour’s leadership has been mainly drawn from the National Organisation of Labour Students (NOLS), notorious for still breaking into chants of “Tony! Tony! Tony!” at conference discos.

Over the coming months, however, the organisation’s national committee is up for election. Some positions will be elected by an online ballot of all members – others will be elected at the Labour Youth conference, 2nd-3rd March in Leicester.

All members should have received an email detailing how to vote. If you have not, you should email Dean Carlin, youth officer at party HQ, as soon as possible:

A number of grassroots activists on the left have put themselves up for election, and have pledged to stand up for party democracy and democratic socialism. Candidate statements in these sorts of elections can be notoriously vague, so we’ve tried to come up with a list of which candidates are worth supporting.

CHAIR (elected at Labour Youth conference) – Kate Taylor is a city councillor in Plymouth, making history by being elected last year aged 18. Her manifesto calls for “a democratic Young Labour” including written policy motions at Young Labour conference.

NEC REP (elected at conference) – Olivia Blake is a post-graduate student at the University of Sheffield and vice-chair of her university’s Labour club. She is calling for all future Young Labour elections to take place via ‘one member one vote’ rather than conferences that are prone to packing and only accessible to some.

INTERNATIONAL OFFICER (elected at the conference) – Ben Murray is being supported by many on the left

ORDINARY REPS (2 places, at least one to be a woman, elected at the conference) – many on the left are supporting Dominic Curran, Left Futures associate editor and Warwick Labour activist. He has the backing of Next Generation Labour. Sophie Nash, a Unite activist from Bournemouth, is also being supported by some on the left.

CAUCUS POSITIONS (elected by self-identifying caucuses at the conference):

to follow

REGIONAL REPS (elected by an online ‘one member one vote’ ballot):

EAST MIDS: Christian Weaver is the more left-wing of the two candidates

EAST OF ENGLAND: the left candidate is Conrad Landin, youth officer of the Labour Party Irish Society and Left Futures associate editor. He has the backing of Next Generation Labour.

LONDON: Michael Chessum is president of the University of London Union (ULU), a founder of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and an activist in Islington North CLP. He is supported by the LRC.

NORTH: Siobhan Foy is being supported by many on the left

North West: no election

Scotland: no election

SOUTH EAST: Max Shanly, LRC Youth officer and trade union activist, is being supported by many on the left.

SOUTH WEST: many on the left are supporting Kate Taylor – and supporting Sophie Nash in the separate election for ordinary officer

Wales: no election

West Midlands: no election

YORKSHIRE: the left candidate is Michelle Collins, a councillor and trade union activist based in Wakefield

Supportive nominations from CLPs, party branches and trade union branches are most welcome – please let us know via the comments form if your branch manages to secure one!


  1. treborc says:

    Hope they make it…

  2. John Law says:

    No doubt they will be the usual towel-folders and no-experience arse-lickers Labour normally promotes.

  3. Wat Tyler says:

    No doubt an endorsement from leftfutures will be the kiss of death for their nascent political activism.

  4. Chris Hughes says:

    Why is my position (vice chair policy) not highlighted at all?

  5. Jake says:

    I think this article is quite dismissive of some very fine left-wing candidates and would certainly advise undecided voters to actually read the manifesto’s of the candidates and make your own mind up, rather then accept the opinion of the person stood on the soap box.

  6. Robert says:

    I’m pretty proud of my old soap box it was used by many great politician over time.

    Nothing wrong with a soap box or knowing how to use it.

  7. Keith Wright says:

    Chris: vice-chair (policy) was not included in this post because it is a position elected by the NPF reps and not a wider Young Labour electorate.

    Jake: we put this list together based on speaking to dozens of activists up and down the country. The candidates listed are those being supported by large numbers of left activists in their regions. If you know of other candidates with democratic socialist principles and a commitment to party democracy, please feel free to post their details here.

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