Socialist Worker

Valerie Wise's electoral challenge to neoliberalism and war

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2154

Valerie Wise, the former leader of Preston council, is to stand as an independent candidate in the city in the next general election.

Valerie left the Labour Party in 2006, angered by the direction of New Labour – in particular the wars in the Middle East.

Now outrage over the MPs’ expenses has prompted her to announce that she will challenge for the Preston seat at the next election.

It was recently revealed that Mark Hendrick, the current Labour MP for Preston, was forced to pay back almost £7,000 of expenses he claimed on mortgages for his two properties.

He also tried to claim more than £1,500 for a bed, £1,180 for a table, £799.90 for a washing machine and tumble dryer, £599.99 for a TV and £199.99 for a clock radio.

Valerie told Socialist Worker, “I am angry over MPs’ expenses. I am also concerned about the general situation –

in particular the vacuum that exists in politics because people are so disillusioned with the mainstream parties.

“I am worried about the growth of the British National Party and I want to offer a positive alternative.

“I am known in Preston as someone who has spoken out against the war in Iraq and over Gaza and as someone who campaigns against domestic violence.


“I want to properly represent the people of Preston.”

Valerie said that she is taking time to talk to people and develop detailed policies.

But there are some key areas that she is already very clear on.

She said, “I am concerned about the economy. There is always money to bail out banks and for wars, but not for the things people need.”

Valerie’s mother Audrey Wise was the Labour MP for Preston for 13 years until her death in 2000.

Audrey is still remembered by many in the area as a campaigning MP with integrity.

When Valerie left the Labour Party she described it as the “hardest decision of her life”.

She had been a member since the age of 14 and was among the fourth generation of Labour activists in her family.

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Article information

Tue 2 Jun 2009, 18:21 BST
Issue No. 2154
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