Manchester must burst the ‘Westminster Bubble’, according to city centre councillor Kevin Peel – as he backs Ed Miliband to become Prime Minister.
Peel is running for election to the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee as he hopes to lead the way in encouraging local councillors to make more noise on national issues.
If Peel is elected as one of two councillors on the 33-man committee, he vows to push the interests of the average Mancunian to the heart of Labour’s policy-making ahead of next year’s General Election.
“More local government voices need to be heard in the party. There are only two positions for councillors on the committee,” said Peel, who became the first-ever Labour and Co-operative councillor to be elected for the city centre in 2011.
“The voices of councillors and the needs of local communities are often drowned out and this needs to change.”
Peel believes that more northern representatives are needed to reduce the north-south divide and push agendas affecting the whole country, not just the capital.
“To have more northern voices [in the NEC] is not a bad thing,” Peel told MM.
“The vast majority of the people, who are on it are from London and the South East.
“I don’t think that’s healthy for a national party who represents every community and should allow for greater participation from regions like the North West.”
Peel has been instrumental in local politics in Manchester in recent years, after founding and chairing the Manchester Young Labour group to engage Mancunians before they reach voting age.
He is also the chair of the Greater Manchester Youth Network and has organised campaigns in Bury.
Since his election three years ago, Peel has also fought numerous campaigns for LGBT issues, housing, green spaces and against the proliferation of betting shops and legal loan sharks in the city and on the national stage too.
When asked about how his potential role in the NEC would further benefit his constituents, Peel said: “Having someone from Manchester and knows Manchester is a start.
”People talk about the Westminster Bubble a lot in the media and it’s real.
“Having someone on the ground in a key city like Manchester and speak to locals and feed that back to Ed Miliband and others at the top would be a great improvement.”
Peel is well aware of the difficulties working people face from his background as one of five children growing up on a Merseyside council estate.
He even experienced the misery of missing out on a university place due to financial hardship.
With mounting criticism of the inequality created by the Coalition government’s policies after the rise in tuition fees and the bedroom tax, Peel believes Ed Miliband is the right man to lead Labour to election victory next year.
The city centre councillor provided much needed backing for Miliband – support that has been in short supply from within the Labour party.
“I think he has hit the nail of the head on where we need to be,” said Peel.
“We need policies that appeal with railways, housing and education in order to create a fairer and just society and where people have equal opportunity.
“This has really been eroded by the current government.”
However, Peel and the opposition themselves will not underestimate the task next year in engaging the public for their fight back for what they see as a fairer society.
“We need to make people aware of where we are,” said Peel
“Whether they are first-time voters or those who have voted in the last 10 elections, they must be aware of our stance when they get to the polls.”
Voting closes for the NEC positions on Monday August 18.
For further information on Kevin Peel’s campaign and how you can endorse or support him visit his website.
Image courtesy of citycentrelabour via YouTube with thanks