Labour to stand in six counties?

Wednesday, August 5, 1992

Labour to stand in six counties?

By Catherine Brown

LONDON — "Democracy Now" was launched here in July with the intention of changing the British Labour Party's policy on party and electoral activity in the north of Ireland.

Currently, the Labour Party has no members or branches and fields no candidates in the six counties. Its official sister party, the Social Democratic Labour Party, does.

Democracy Now claims the support of 40 Labour MPs. It hopes by the next elections to field Labour Party candidates in all 17 constituencies in the six counties.

At the Labour Party's conference last year, the debate revived after some years. The attempt to reverse the policy was overwhelmingly defeated. But "movements within the trade unions will shift" the policy, claims Kate Hoey, MP and leader of Democracy Now.

"It is illogical to say the Labour Party supports Irish unity by consent [the Labour Party's current policy] and then proceed to set up party structures and field candidates", Rita O'Reilly, from the Troops Out Movement, explained to Green Left Weekly.

If Democracy Now were successful, it could "pave the way for an agreement to be later put to the party, to change its policy of support for the reunification, by consent, of Ireland", cautioned O'Reilly.

O'Reilly is confident that Democracy Now will again be defeated in October at the annual Labour Party conference in Blackpool.

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