Valerie Wise

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Valerie Wise (born 24 November 1955) is a British socialist politician and political activist. She is among the fourth generation of Labour Party activists in her family.[1]

Her mother was the late Audrey Wise, MP for Coventry South West 1974-79 then MP for Preston from 1987 until her death in 2000.

During this time, Valerie Wise was a parliamentary assistant to her mother.[2] Audrey Wise was well known for her socialist, unionist and feminist views. These are views that her daughter Valerie inherited and continues to campaign for.[3]

Valerie Wise was a significant figure in Ken Livingstone's administration at the Greater London Council as chair of the GLC Women's Committee, the first committee of its kind in UK government. She became the chair at age 25, and thus was the youngest woman ever elected to a London-wide authority.[4] Although much derided during its time as a 'rabid feminist' outfit of the 'loony left', many of the issues that the women's committee fought for and supported are now enshrined in UK law.[5][6] However, some Labour politicians believed these policies contributed to their 1987 general election defeat.[7]

Valerie was a Labour councillor in Preston from the 1990s until 2000, when she lost her seat to the Conservatives. In 1995 she was elected Labour Leader of the Council, the first woman to hold the post in Preston. After a falling-out with the chief executive over claims she was attempting to create a socialist republic in Preston, she stood down when a vote of no confidence was passed against her.[8][9]

The death of her mother in 2000 resulted in a parliamentary by-election in the Preston constituency. She applied for selection as the prospective Labour candidate, but was not selected by her local party.[10]

Valerie Wise left the Labour Party in the early 2000s over the Iraq War and interventions in the middle east.[11] She publicly declared that in 2003 she had voted for a Socialist Alliance council candidate whilst still a Labour Party member and in the 2007 local elections gave her support to a Respect Party candidate.[12] She declared her intention to stand in the 2010 parliamentary election as a candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) against the Labour candidate. She withdrew a few weeks before the election, leaving TUSC without a candidate.[13] She rejoined the Labour Party in August 2015 in order to support her friend Jeremy Corbyn's bid for leader. She campaigned again for his leadership during the leadership challenge of 2016.[14]

Due to her contribution to women's liberation over years, her oral history is kept in the British Library.[15]

In Autumn 2017 Valerie Wise stood for selection as the Labour Party Parliamentary candidate in the Rossendale and Darwen constituency. She was supported in her candidacy by the UK's largest union, Unite, and by Momentum. She was also supported by the Shadow Chancellor John Mcdonnell, and the far left MPs Dennis Skinner, Angela Rayner and Rebecca Long-Bailey.[16][17] However, the members of Rossendale and Darwen Constituency Labour Party voted overwhelmingly in favour of a local candidate who had the backing of local councillors and MPs from neighbouring constituencies.[18]

Valerie currently works for a national domestic violence charity.

External links

  • Guardian article


  1. ^ "Valerie Wise's electoral challenge to neoliberalism and war". Socialist Worker (Britain). Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  2. ^ "Valerie Wise | Socialist Review". Socialist Review. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  3. ^ "Valerie Wise (@valeriewise4RD) | Twitter". Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  4. ^ Kennedy, Dominic (2015-12-24). "Feminist critic of prominent women is back in the party". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  5. ^ "Beyond Red Ken". The Guardian. 1999-12-20. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  6. ^ Webber, Esther (2016-03-31). "The rise and fall of the GLC". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  7. ^ James E. Cronin (2004). New Labour's pasts: the Labour Party and its discontents. Pearson Education. pp. 283,285–286. ISBN 9780582438279.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Beyond Red Ken". The Guardian. 1999-12-20. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Why I've had enough of New Labour". Socialist Worker (Britain). Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Valerie Wise (@valeriewise4RD) | Twitter". Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  15. ^ "Valerie Wise". The British Library. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  16. ^ "Valerie Wise for Rossendale and Darwen". Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  17. ^ "Valerie Wise (@valeriewise4RD) | Twitter". Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  18. ^ "Alyson Barnes for Rossendale and Darwen". Retrieved 2017-12-18. 

Ken Livingstone You Can't Say That (2011)

British Library Sisterhood and After (2013)

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