Socialist Worker

Peter Law 1948-2006

by Llew Smith, former MP for Blaenau Gwent
Issue No. 1999

Peter Law

Peter Law

Peter Law was a grand friend, comrade and socialist, who spent all his adult life serving the local community, as a councillor, member of the Welsh Assembly and in his last year as MP for Blaenau Gwent.

In that last year, Peter, with other Labour members, and ultimately the electorate, successfully challenged the party machine, winning the parliamentary seat.

New Labour was humiliated as it witnessed its attempt to parachute in a New Labour clone as the party candidate, through the guise of an all-woman shortlist, end in failure at the ballot box.

In reality the issue was not one of gender, but of politics and a determination by New Labour to destroy the socialist tradition of Blaenau Gwent.

Peter showed amazing courage in fighting the parliamentary election, having only days before undergone an operation to remove a brain tumour.

Similar courage was shown by his family who were very supportive of his stand. He was so angry as he witnessed the attempt by New Labour to impose its politics and candidate on a constituency so rich in socialist values. He was determined to prevent that from happening.

Having spent so much of his life as a councillor, he recognised that New Labour was increasingly destroying the public services through privatisation and the Private Finance Initiative. These services formed the basis of so much of his socialism.

Linked to this was its refusual to bring privatised industries like rail back into the public sector.

Peter wasn’t Old or New Labour, but just a socialist, correctly recognising that loyalty to ideas were more important than loyalty to a political party.

In deciding to fight the parliamentary election he brought that belief alive, choosing to be loyal to his socialism rather than New Labour.

One of Peter’s favourite sayings was “be positive”, and we are too—with our ideas, and with our ability to help change this world of ours. Sadly, Peter has died, but his contribution lives on.

Peter is survived by his wife, Trish, five children and one grandson.

Article information

Sat 6 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1999
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.