MOST PEOPLE know that Labour's national executive voted by 17 votes to 13 last week to block Ken Livingstone's return to the Labour Party. But few realise the full details of who voted which way. The breakdown shows that Blair relied heavily on the ministers and officials he appoints to the committee, but that a handful of union votes also played a key role.
Perhaps the most disgraceful vote came from RMT rail union member Vernon Hince, attending his last executive meeting. Given the recent political decisions of the RMT, it should have been the first to vote for Livingstone's return. Instead Hince voted against. During the debate the CWU's John Keggie announced that he wanted to vote against Livingstone, but that he had to vote in favour because of a mandate from the union.
Constituency rep Shahid Malik said that he was 'all over the place' on the issue. A local straw poll had shown 80 percent of people for Livingstone being readmitted-but he still voted against. The Amicus union's three votes went against Livingstone. If they had gone the other way Blair would have been defeated.
Veteran left winger Dennis Skinner also voted against on the grounds that 'principles have their price'. He then acted as executive spokesperson in explaining their decision to the press.
Those FOR allowing Livingstone back into the Labour Party were Tony Robinson (constituency), Mark Seddon (constituency), Ann Black (constituency), Christine Shawcroft (constituency), Maggie Jones (Unison), Nancy Coull (Unison), Mary Turner (GMB), John Keggie (CWU), Mike Griffiths (GPMU), Sally Powell (councillor), Diana Holland (TGWU), Diana Hayter (socialist societies) and Helen Jackson (MP).
Those AGAINST allowing Livingstone back in were Tony Blair, John Prescott, Charles Clarke (government appointee), Helen Liddell (government appointee), Ian McCartney (government appointee), Simon Murphy (leader of European Labour Party), Blair McDougall (Young Labour), John Gibbins (AEEU-Amicus), John Hannett (Usdaw), Vernon Hince (RMT), Cath Speight (AEEU-Amicus), Margaret Wall (MSF-Amicus), Shahid Malik (constituency), Ruth Turner (constituency), Jeremy Beecham (councillor), Dennis Skinner (MP) and Michael Cashman (MEP).
Those 'unavoidably absent' were Steve Pickering (GMB) and Jimmy Elsby (treasurer and TGWU member).