Dave Nellist
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Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist
Coventry City Councillor
for St Michaels ward

7 May 1998 - 3 May 2012
Serving with
Jim O'Boyle (Labour)
David Welsh (Labour)
Member of Parliament
for Coventry South East

9 June 1983 - 9 April 1992
William Wilson
Jim Cunningham
Personal details
Born (1952-07-16) 16 July 1952 (age 67)
Cleveland, England
Political partySocialist Party (1997-present)
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (2009-present)
Other political
Labour (until 1991)
Spouse(s)Jane Warner (wife)
ChildrenJoe Nellist
Bethan Clarke
Charlotte Nellist
Clara Nellist

David John Nellist (born 16 July 1952) is a British Trotskyist activist who was the MP for the constituency of Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992. Elected as a Labour MP, his support for the Militant tendency led to his eventual expulsion from the party in late 1991. He is the National Chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, a member of the Socialist Party, and was a city councillor in Coventry from 1998 to 2012.

Political career

Member of Parliament

A long-standing supporter of the Militant tendency, Nellist was the MP for Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992. He was known for his standing as a "workers' MP on a worker's wage",[1] taking only the wage of a skilled factory worker, which amounted to 40% of what was then an MP's salary. The rest he donated to the Labour movement and to charities. From 1982 to 1986, Nellist was also a Labour councillor for Coventry on West Midlands County Council.

When Tony Blair was first elected to Parliament in 1983, he initially shared an office with Nellist at the Palace of Westminster. The duo's differing political views were considered not to make for the most harmonious working environment, so Blair was quickly allocated office space with Gordon Brown, another newly elected Labour MP, and Nellist subsequently shared the office of the other Militant supporting MP, Terry Fields.[2]

In late 1991, shortly before his expulsion from the Labour Party, he was awarded the "Backbencher of the Year" award by the conservative Spectator magazine.[3]Michael White of The Guardian recalled in 2007 the speech Nellist gave after receiving the award: "It was witty and highly political, done with style and without compromise. They cheered him fervently and then returned to their brandy. But it was one of the best speeches I have ever heard."[4]


Nellist in 1991 was one of the two MPs who were supporters of Militant, which had been found to contravene the Labour Party constitution several years earlier. After a National Executive Committee meeting in December 1991, along with Terry Fields he was expelled from the Labour Party and deselected as a candidate for the 1992 general election.

Nellist gained the support of his Constituency party (which was subsequently suspended by the National Executive Committee) and a number of local trade unions.[5] Standing as an Independent Labour candidate in the elections, he narrowly lost his old seat to the new Labour Party candidate Jim Cunningham. Cunningham received 11,902 votes, Conservative Party candidate Martine Hyams 10,591, and Dave Nellist 10,551, or 28.9% of the vote.[6]

Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance

Nellist followed the majority of Militant in founding what became the Socialist Party (not to be confused with the Socialist Party of Great Britain). Due to registration requirements, the party uses the name "Socialist Alternative" on ballot papers. Instead of running candidates independently, however, the party has played a leading role in several political coalitions, including the Socialist Alliance.

Nellist was a prominent figure in organising the Socialist Alliance, locally and across the UK, as a loose formation of individuals and groups. He became the Chair of the Socialist Alliance, but resigned in 2001, in protest of what the Socialist Party saw as manoeuvrings of the Socialist Workers Party to take control of the Alliance. He is involved in the Campaign for a New Workers' Party in Britain, which is a Socialist Party sponsored campaign to create a new party to represent the working class in the UK.

Nellist has run for Member of Parliament in every general election since his deselection by the Labour Party until 2015. In 1997, he ran in the Coventry South constituency, and received 3,262 votes (6.5%). In 2001 and 2005, he ran in the Coventry North East constituency. In 2001, he received 2,638 votes (7.1%). In 2005, he received 1,874 votes (5.0%).

City Councillor in Coventry

In 1998, Nellist was elected as a City Councillor in the Coventry City Council for St. Michael's ward, where he was reelected in 2004 and again in 2008, with an increased majority, when he received 48.6% of the vote.[7][8] By 2006, when Rob Windsor was elected, the Socialist Party had won all three of St. Michael's seats.[9] However, Nellist's Socialist colleagues were defeated in the local elections of 2007 and 2010, respectively,[10][11] and in the 2012 local elections, Nellist lost his seat in the St. Michael's ward to the Labour Party candidate Naeem Akhtar by 213 votes.[12]

No to EU - Yes to Democracy

Nellist stood as a No to EU - Yes to Democracy candidate in the 2009 European election in the West Midlands Region of England gaining 13,415 votes (0.9%).[13] No2EU takes a socialist, trade union and alter-globalisation Eurosceptic stance from a workers' perspective.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

After the 2009 European elections, Nellist played a leading role in the formation of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), of which he is interim leader. The coalition is composed of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, Socialist Party, Socialist Resistance, the Socialist Workers Party and Solidarity; and is endorsed by Steve Gillan, General Secretary of the Prison Officers' Association and Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of Public and Commercial Services Union. Considering the overlap in constituent parties, TUSC is seen as a successor to the Socialist Alliance and the No to EU - Yes to Democracy alliance.

Nellist stood as a candidate for TUSC in the 2010 general elections in the constituency Coventry North East, although he stood under the label Socialist Alternative.[14] Running against the incumbent MP, the Labour government's Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth, he received 1,592 votes (3.7%) losing his deposit for the first time in a Westminster constituency.

Endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn

In August 2015, Nellist endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election. He said: "I hope Jeremy does well in the election and, if successful, his first action should be to instruct local Labour councils to halt cuts and direct a strategy to resist austerity."[15] Nellist also hinted he could seek to merge his new party with the Labour Party.[16]

In August 2016, Nellist also endorsed Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election. He responded to the letter backing Owen Smith's leadership challenge from over 500 Labour councillors by saying: "If Jeremy is re-elected he must use his renewed mandate to compel Labour councillors to either fight the Tories or stand aside for those who will - and TUSC will back him all the way."[17] In November 2016, he was among 75 people expelled from the Labour Party who wrote to the party's National Executive Committee asking to be re-admitted.[18] However, he is not eligible to rejoin while being affiliated to another political party.[19]

In May 2017, he withdrew as a candidate for the general election and encouraged supporters in Coventry to back Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister. He said: "I support Jeremy's anti-austerity policies of higher wages, free university education, crash housebuilding programme, public ownership of the railways - and 4 more bank holidays! I want to see him elected Prime Minister on June 8th... we have a chance on June 8th to send Jeremy to No. 10 and we can't do that if Coventry sends Tory MPs to Westminster."[20][21]

Personal life

In August 1984, Nellist married Jane (née Warner) in North Yorkshire. In 2014, she was elected as a member of the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Teachers. They have two daughters (born 1985 and 1987) and one son (born 1989). Nellist also has a daughter born 1982.

From 1992 to 1997, he worked on welfare rights cases for Robert Zara Ltd, solicitors in Coventry. From 1997 to 2017, he worked for Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau, from 1997 - 2012 as a case worker, from 2012 - 2017 as IT manager.

Elections contested

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes % Results
1983 Coventry South East Labour 15,307 41.09 Elected
1987 Coventry South East Labour 17,969 47.46 Elected
1992 Coventry South East Independent Labour 10,551 28.88 Not elected
1997 Coventry South Socialist Alternative 3,262 6.5 Not elected
2001 Coventry North East Socialist Alternative 2,638 7.1 Not elected
2005 Coventry North East Socialist Alternative 1,874 5.04 Not elected
2010 Coventry North East TUSC 1,592 3.7 Not elected
2015 Coventry North West TUSC 1,769 3.9 Not elected

UK Local elections

Date of election Ward Party Votes % Results
1978 Earlsdon Labour 1,265 19.0 Not elected
1995 Coventry St. Michael's Militant Labour 1,357 40.1 Not elected
1996 Coventry St. Michael's Militant Labour 1,420 41.3 Not elected
1998 Coventry St. Michael's Socialist Alternative 1,766 52.7 Elected
2002 Coventry St. Michael's Socialist Alternative 1,417 53.0 Elected
2004 Coventry St. Michael's Socialist Alternative 1,586 43.1 Elected
2008 Coventry St. Michael's Socialist Alternative 1,643 48.6 Elected
2012 Coventry St. Michael's Socialist Alternative 1,469 43.4 Not elected
2014 Coventry St. Michael's TUSC 974 29.7 Not elected
2015 Coventry St. Michael's TUSC 894 28.3 Not elected[22]
2016 Coventry St. Michael's TUSC [23] 635 19.2 Not elected
2018 Coventry St. Michael's TUSC 350 12.8 Not elected

European elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes % Results Notes
1999 West Midlands Socialist Alternative 7,203 0.8 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list
2009 West Midlands No2EU 13,415 1.0 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list
2014 West Midlands No2EU 4,653 0.3 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list


  1. ^ Peter Taaffe & Tony Mulhearn. "Liverpool A City That Dared to Fight: Chapter 5 - A Workers' MP on a Worker's Wage". Socialist Alternative. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ Tam Dalyell, "Terry Fields: Labour MP from the Militant Tendency who was jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay the poll tax", The Independent, 2 July 2008. (accessed 12 April 2013)
  3. ^ Martin Bagot "Video: Dave Nellist slams Labour after losing Coventry City Council seat", Coventry Telegraph, 4 May 2012
  4. ^ Michael White "And the backbench troublemaker is...", guardian.co.uk, 15 November 2007
  5. ^ "United Kingdom Parliamentary Election results 1983-97: English Boroughs part 1". Election.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "UK General Election results April 1992". Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ "Coventry Election Campaigns". Socialist Party. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Coventry City Council: Local election results 2008[dead link]
  9. ^ Coventry City Council: Local election results 2006[dead link]
  10. ^ Coventry City Council: Local election results 2007[dead link]
  11. ^ Coventry City Council: 2010 election results for St. Michael's Ward
  12. ^ "Coventry City Council (local) election results - May 3 2012". Coventry City Council. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "European Election 2009: West Midlands". BBC News Online. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  14. ^ Coventry City Council: Parliamentary Election Results, Coventry North East
  15. ^ Gilbert, Simon (19 August 2015). "Coventry's Dave Nellist could seek to merge his new party with Labour if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader". Coventry Telegraph. Coventry. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ Gilbert, Simon (12 September 2015). "Coventry's Dave Nellist welcomes Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership victory". Coventry Telegraph. Coventry. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "TUSC calls on Labour councillors to 'fight the Tories not Jeremy Corbyn'". Socialist Party. 1 August 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ Chilver, Katrina (28 November 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn says Dave Nellist's application to rejoin Labour party won't be decided by him". Coventry Telegraph. Coventry. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ Gilbert, Simon (5 July 2017). "Labour blocks Dave Nellist's bid to rejoin the party under Jeremy Corbyn". Coventry Telegraph. Coventry. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ Reid, Les (9 May 2017). "BREAKING: Socialist Dave Nellist withdraws from general election in Coventry to back Corbyn". Coventry Observer. Coventry. Retrieved 2017.
  21. ^ Gilbert, Simon (28 May 2017). "Exiled Labour MP Dave Nellist won't stand at General Election to support Jeremy Corbyn". Coventry Telegraph. Coventry. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ "Coventry City Council (local) elections - 7 May 2015: St Michael's Ward". Coventry City Council. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "Coventry City Council (local) elections - 5 May 2016: St Michael's Ward - Labour hold". Coventry City Council. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 2017.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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