Former Unite boss Tony Woodley insists he will not accept peerage from Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
5th January 2018

A former boss of the Unite union has ruled out accepting a peerage from Jeremy Corbyn.

Tony Woodley's has been discussed by Jeremy Corbyn's office as a potential Labour peer.
PA Images

Tony Woodley's name has been discussed by the Labour leader and his aides as a potential new member of the House of Lords.

However, in a statement issued by Unite, the left-winger said: "I would like to make it clear that I am not seeking nomination to the House of Lords."

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Asked to clarify if Mr Woodley would accept a peerage if offered one, a spokesman for the union told PoliticsHome: "He’s not sought a peerage and won’t accept a peerage."

Mr Corbyn is expected to nominate two or three new Labour peers, with the announcement expected next week.

Other names which have been considered by the Labour leadership are black community activist Martha Osamor - the mother of Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor - and Stop the War Coalition chair Murad Qureshi.

Mr Woodley, who turned 70 on 2 January, was general secretary of the TGWU from 2004 until 2007. He became joint-boss of Unite when the union merged with Amicus that year.

He stepped down four years later, but was head of organising for Unite until 2013, and is still a paid consultant to the union.

Jeremy Corbyn was criticised for nominating Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage in 2016, shortly after she had carried out an inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitism in the party.

During his first leadership campaign in 2015, Mr Corbyn told Channel 4 News he saw "no case" for appointing new peers.

Reacting to the news that the Labour leader was to nominate more new peers, SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: "So much for the 'straight-talking, honest politics' Jeremy Corbyn promised. Many of his supporters will be left feeling very disappointed - and not for the first time, after his fudge on Brexit.

"The House of Lords is completely archaic and has no place in a modern democracy. It's deeply unfortunate that Jeremy Corbyn isn't willing to stand by his principles."