Jennie Formby and Christine Blower shortlisted for Labour party general secretary post

Labour’s next general secretary is guaranteed to be a woman.


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Jennie Formby of Unite and Christine Blower, former head of the National Union of Teachers, have been shortlisted for the vacant role of Labour party general secretary, the New Statesman can reveal. The final choice will be voted on by 38 of the  members of Labour’s ruling national exectuvie committee. Formby, the 39th member, will recuse herself. It means that for only the second time in the party’s history, the general secretary, the party’s top administrative role, will be held by a woman.

Formby, a former political director of the Unite trade union, is widely seen as the preferred candidate of the leader’s office. The NUT is not an affliated trade union, and Blower joined Labour only recently, having been a longstanding activist on the broad left.

Although Formby is widely expected to win having secured the backing of many of the party’s power-brokers, Blower could yet spring a surprise when the NEC meets. However, for the NEC’s remaining Corbynsceptics, the shortlist leaves them with no sympathetic option to choose trom. 

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.