Profiles of NEC candidates:Ruth Smeeth

by Andrew Betteridge

“We need a strong voice on the NEC which represents all members, both in and outside of London, ensuring that the needs and wishes of the membership is at the heart of the party.

“I am that voice,” Ruth said with the determination and enthusiasm that will be needed if Labour are to defeat the Tories in 2015.

And since joining the party, as an energetic 16-year-old, she has always had that determination and enthusiasm in abundance.

This was best demonstrated when she stood as a parliamentary candidate at the 2010 General Election for the constituency of Burton and Uttoxeter (Burton).

Ruth was defeated but only by the national swing. She was a tenacious candidate, canvassing almost every inch of the constituency.

She said her experience as a parliamentary candidate helped her to understand the needs for local constituency parties such as Burton.

“It gave me insight into the needs of local parties in terms of the support they need and the support they don’t,” she explained.

“Also it showed me the impact on local parties when we lose and the additional resources that members and activists need.

“However most of all, the result in Burton made it clear to that as a party we need to be ready to fight for every vote.”

Ruth, who now works for HOPE not hate, said it forced her to think about the needs of the party and how it operated to make sure Labour could win at the next general election.

Not only just up against the national swing, Ruth was up against Lord Ashcroft’s millions in Burton and Uttoxeter. The Ashcroft machine was clear for everyone to see across the constituency. But she said matching the Tories’ millions alone would not bring them election triumph in 2015.

“It’s not just about money; it is how you spend it and how we best utilise the wider Labour movement to deliver tangible gains across the country.

“My priority if elected would be to make sure that the party has the things it needs to win the next election.”

In her election literature, Ruth has spoken of a “new relationship” between the grassroots membership and the national party because she said there was disconnection between the two at times.

“I think this is even more true in places which don’t have Labour councils or MP’s,” she commented.

“We need to use new and old technologies to make sure that members “own” our party and that they have a direct relationship with party HQ, both via the NEC and with our elected members.”

The NEC elections come off the back of some “cracking” results in the local elections to quote Ed Miliband and morale is again high amongst many in the party.

“It had a feel of 97 to it with Labour gain followed by Labour gain,” Ruth said with a smile.

“I think the results do show that we are united in our determination to make this a one term Tory-led government. However I am concerned about the low turnout, which shows quite how much work we still have to do.”

As well as a bad night for the coalition parties, the BNP and far right had a night to forget which pleased Ruth, who has been dedicated to the anti-fascist cause all of her life.

In her bid to be elected to the NEC, Ruth has been endorsed by some high profile members of Labour’s shadow cabinet including shadow secretary of state for defence, Jim Murphy MP and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves MP.

Other endorsements for her have come from former chair of Burton and Uttoxeter Labour party, county councillor Peter Davies and the general secretary of the GMB, Paul Kenny who also described her as a “committed trade unionist”.

She added: “I was delighted and totally overwhelmed by the amount of support I received from people across the country in my first attempt to get onto the NEC.

“I’ have been active in the Labour Party for as long as I can remember and the faith that people have placed in my candidature is incredible.”

More about Ruth’s NEC election campaign can be found at and she can also contacted on twitter @ruthsmeeth.

Andrew Betteridge is constituency secretary for Burton CLP

If any of the other candidates or their supporters would like to put their case to Uncut readers, get in touch.

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3 Responses to “Profiles of NEC candidates:Ruth Smeeth”

  1. Ray_North says:

    We’ve put together our own NEC ‘Dream Slate’ – follow the link and have your say – who have we left out?

  2. swatantra says:

    Good Luck! ‘Hope not Hate’ is a terrific campaign against facism.
    Also, take a look at the ‘Campaign for Democracy in the Labour Party’ team, particularly Ann Black.

  3. John P Reid says:

    can’t fault Ann Black, but why are campaign for democracy backing Ken livingstone, with his record, Miltary dictators, Coup against Andrew Mackintosh in 1981, backing Lufthur rafhman, telling people to vote green for the assembly in 2000, not backing labour at the 2001 election, Also If Kate Osamor has views the same as her mothers when she was Knee deep with the Trotstkyites On haringey council and broadwater farm in the mid 80’s that’s hardly democratic either,

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