ASLEF annual conference speakers

15 May 2007

ASLEF’s Annual Assembly of Delegates (AAD) will be held in Scarborough next week, from 21 – 25 May. The union’s headquarters office will remain open, but obviously with reduced staffing.

There are five invited speakers this year who will be (in order of their conference appearance) John Reid, John McDonnell, Peter Hain, David Allen and Bernard Regan.

Below are breif notes on the outside speakers:



Born in Scotland in May 1947, John Reid went to school at Coatbridge and later took a Doctorate in Economic History at Stirling University. He worked as a research officer for the Labour Party from 1979 to 1983, when he became political adviser to Neil Kinnock. From 1986 until 87 he organised Scottish Trade Unionists for Labour. Once labelled ‘a safe pair of fists’ (!), John has been a minister for the past decade, holding posts in the Ministries of Defence, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He has also been Leader of the House of Commons and more recently, Home Secretary.


John McDonnell MP, the MP for Hayes and Harlington, is a former official of both the National Union of Mineworkers and the TUC. Born 51 years ago to a Liverpool docker and a shopworker, John is currently chair of the Labour Representation Committee, the Socialist Campaign Group and ‘Public Services Not Private Profit’. John was the first Labour MP to announce that he would run for the party leadership when Tony Blair stood down. The ASLEF executive committee backed John’s bid.


Peter Hain was born in 1950 and came to national prominence in the 1970s as a anti-apartheid campaigner. As Secretary fo State for Northern Ireland he brokered the talks which led to the establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly last month. MP for Neath, he is also the Secreatry of State for Wales. Peter is the candidate favoured by ASLEF’s executive committee for the post of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party where he wants to see leadership of the party reconnected with the grassroots, government reconnected with those it has lost touch with and the part reconnected with ‘the progressive coalition which won us two huge election victories, but which we lost last time’.


David is Chairman of the Railway Benefit Fund, a charity which has existed since 1858. David is a former Director of Finance at British Rail. He stresses the continuing need for the charity, saying, ‘There is a lot of real hardship out there – caused by illness, loss of work or the effect of rising costs on older pensioners.’ The scope and importance of the Fund is illustrated by the fact that in 2000 just under 2,000 people received grants totalling over one million pounds


Bernard is the National Secretary of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, a position he holds in addition to his duties as International Officer at the South East region of the TUC. The Cuba Solidarity Campaign campaigns for the right of Cuba’s 11 million people to self-determination and national sovereignty. It specifically calls for the end of the illegal US trade blockade against Cuba and for the normalisation of all diplomatic, economic, cultural and scientific relations with that country.

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