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Labour Students

Labour Students
Chairperson Michael Rubin
Founded 1971 (1971)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Ideology Social democracy
Democratic socialism
International affiliation International Union of Socialist Youth
European affiliation Young European Socialists
National affiliation Labour Party

Labour Students is the student organisation affiliated to the Labour Party of the United Kingdom.

Membership comprises affiliated college and university clubs, known as Labour Clubs. Membership of Labour Students is through membership of a university or college Labour Club or through signing up individually as a Labour Student on the website.

The organisation's main activities include providing political education and training to its members, organising politically within the National Union of Students and sending activists to by-elections and marginal constituencies across the country.


  • History 1
  • Internal organisation 2
    • National Events 2.1
    • National Committee 2.2
    • Liberation Campaigns 2.3
    • Scotland and Wales 2.4
  • Campaigning 3
    • Priority Campaign 3.1
    • Campaigning for the Labour Party 3.2
  • Labour Students and the National Union of Students 4
    • History within the National Union of Students 4.1
  • Alumni 5
    • Notable former Labour Students officers include 5.1
    • List of Chairpersons 5.2
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Founded in 1946, in 1967, the

  • Labour StudentsOfficial website of
  • University Labour ClubsList of affiliated
  • Scottish Labour StudentsOfficial website of
  • Politics Student - Political opinion from students and young activists

External links

  1. ^ a b c Peter Barberis, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations
  2. ^ Originally known as the Revolutionary Socialist League, this name had been dropped internally within Militant by 1969, see John Callaghan The Far Left in British Politics, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987, p.177; Michael Crick (The March of Militant,London: Faber, 1986, p.60) has the change occurring by 1967.
  3. ^ Michael Crick The March of Militant, London: Faber, p.97
  4. ^


  • 1949-50 Dickson Mabon
  • 1950s Roy Hattersley
  • 1950s Kevin Mcnamara
  • 1960s Alex Neil
  • 1973 Ian Davidson
  • 1974 Brent Kennedy
  • 1975 Glynis Bithell
  • 1976 Mike Gapes
  • 1977 Mike Jackson
  • 1978 Nigel Stanley
  • 1979 Dave Smith
  • 1980 Steve Page
  • 1981 John Boothman
  • 1982 Geoff Norris
  • 1983 John Mann
  • 1984 John Mann
  • 1985 Sarah Boyack
  • 1986 Ben Lucas
  • 1987 Neil Usher
  • 1988 Carol Judge
  • 1989 Simon Buckby
  • 1990 Paul Richards
  • 1991 Alison Ryan (did not complete year in office)
  • 1992 Paul Hewitt
  • 1993 Tom Watson
  • 1994 Ian Corfield
  • 1995 Lizzie Watson
  • 1996 Lizzie Watson
  • 1997 Michael Dugher
  • 1998 Patrick Diamond
  • 1999 Joe Goldberg
  • 2000 Brendan Cox
  • 2001 Vicky Foxcroft
  • 2002 Ellie Reeves
  • 2003 Karim Palant
  • 2004 Adam Hug
  • 2005 Gareth Smith
  • 2006 Ciaran Ward
  • 2007 Kenny Young
  • 2008 Sarah Mulholland
  • 2009 Joseph Sherry
  • 2010 Dean Carlin
  • 2011 Olivia Bailey
  • 2012 Emma O'Dwyer
  • 2013 Callum Munro
  • 2014 Finn McGoldrick

The Chair of Labour Students is elected to serve for one year. It has largely been a full-time role, but for a period during the 1980s and early 1990s it was unpaid.

List of Chairpersons

Notable former Labour Students officers include

Recent graduates of Labour Students have often gone on to work in Labour Party Headquarters, as ministerial special advisers, Trade Union officials and as members of left-leaning think tanks. Many also go on to enjoy successful careers outside of the politics.


Labour Students's flagship policy in NUS was the rejection of campaigning for universal grants, in favour of targeting student support funds towards poorer students through means testing. National Conference 2006 narrowly supported this policy, but it was renewed with a much increased majority in 2007.

In the late 1970s, Labour Students (then NOLS) worked within the NUS as part of the Broad Left, a student coalition which also included the student wings of the Communist Party of Great Britain and independent left wing students. The Broad Left stood slates of candidates in NUS elections. (The Broad Left is not to be confused with the post-1997 grouping Student Broad Left.) In the early 1980s NOLS broke with the Broad Left and presented its own slate of candidates in NUS elections. In 1982, NOLS won the presidency of NUS on its own for the first time. A succession of NOLS candidates were elected to the NUS Presidency until 2000 with the strongest challenges generally coming from those to the left of the Labour Party. Several former NOLS NUS Presidents, including Charles Clarke and Jim Murphy, went on to serve as Cabinet ministers, serving as members of a Labour government. Throughout this period, NOLS members of the NUS National Executive Committee were a minority, but exercised effective control.

History within the National Union of Students

Every year, Labour Students actively organise and campaign within the National Union of Students (NUS). As a result of this, Labour Students is viewed as an influential faction within the NUS and its members are frequently elected to the NUS National Executive Council (NEC) and to full-time officer positions, although 2015 saw a majority of their candidates losing to those to Left.

Labour Students and the National Union of Students

Labour Students train and frequently deploy extremely experienced activists to campaign in by-elections across the country and in key marginal seats during general elections. They often operate from a "battle bus" so that large numbers of campaigners can be transported to target areas at short notice. Labour Students have been credited with helping secure Labour victories at a number of recent by-elections, including in Feltham and Heston, Barnsley Central and Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Campaigning for the Labour Party

  • "Make Child Poverty History" campaign (2006-7)
  • "Sex, Lives and Politics" (2005 - 2006) - This was followed by a government reduction of VAT on condoms to the EU minimum of 5%.
  • The Living Wage Campaign (2011 - 2013) - Labour Students worked in collaboration with the trade union UNISON to equip members with the skills to fight for a living wage to be paid to staff on their university campuses. The campaign was extremely successful, with clubs including Manchester and Kent securing the living wage at their institutions.[4]
  • The Voter Registration Campaign (2012 - 2013) - Labour Students intended to increase the number of students registered to vote.

Labour Students takes on a major campaign each year, voted for in an all-member ballot. Recent campaigns have included:

Priority Campaign


There are separate organisations for Labour Clubs in the devolved nations, known as Welsh and Scottish Labour Students respectively.

Scotland and Wales

Within Labour Students there are four autonomous liberation campaigns. These include Women's, Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Trans, Disabled Students and Black Minority Ethnic Students campaigns, all of which are entitled to elect an officer to the National Committee. Labour Students holds caucuses for each of the liberation groups at every national event, has an equal opportunities policy and ensures all events are fully accessible.

Liberation Campaigns

A number of other individuals attend National Committee meetings but do not have voting rights. These include the Chair of the Labour Students Steering Committee, the Labour Students NUS Group Leader/s, the Labour Students Rep on the Labour Party's National Policy Forum and the Youth and Students Rep on the Labour Party's National Executive Committee.

The rest of the National Committee is made up two vice chair positions, an international officer, eleven regional coordinators, four liberation officers and the chairs of Welsh Labour Students and Scottish Labour Students.

The Chair leads the organisation and is responsible for dealings with external bodies (including the NUS). The Secretary is responsible for the organisation's finances, communications and organises national events. The Campaigns and Membership Officer co-ordinates the recruitment and campaigning work of the organisation.

  • National Chair- currently Michael Rubin
  • National Secretary- currently Alec James
  • National Campaigns and Membership Officer- currently Erin Mulhatton

There are three full-time sabbatical officers who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation:

The Labour Students National Committee convene regularly and work together to ensure the organisation runs smoothly and works effectively to represent members.

National Committee

National Conference
National Conference sees the election of the Labour Students National Committee for the following year, as well further policy debate. National Conference is often held in conjunction with Young Labour Conference, to help reduce members' travel costs.
National Council
National Council is the first formal democratic event of the academic year. Labour Clubs are entitled to send a delegation to represent their membership, as well as a number of observers. Delegates then vote on policy for Labour Students to adopt, which has been submitted by clubs across the country. The Labour Students Policy Forum and Steering Committee are also elected at National Council. Members who wish to stand as Labour Students candidates in National Union of Students elections are also formally selected.
Political Weekend
Political Weekend is usually the event where Labour Students welcomes its new members each year. Labour Students usually hosts a number of high-profile speakers, including government ministers during periods of Labour government and members of the Shadow Cabinet in times of opposition.
) and community organising group Movement for Change. There is also usually a heavy emphasis on training from the four liberation campaigns. Gordon Brown), Kirsty McNeill (former adviser to 10 Downing Street Labour Students is a '

Internal organisation

During Tony Blair's premiership, Labour Students opposed the Government's planned introduction of university "top-up" fees. Labour Students were broadly supportive of Gordon Brown's government.

In its early years, NOLS was divided between two factions - members of the Mike Gapes, Mike Jackson, Nigel Stanley,[1] Margaret Curran and Johann Lamont.

. NOLS acronym is still sometimes referred to by the Labour Students [1] In 1970 Labour students created the "Students for a Labour Victory" to co-ordinate campaigning in

One of the principal areas of conflict was the Vietnam War, with Trevor Fisk, the leading member of the traditionalists, refusing to criticise Harold Wilson's government over its tacit support for the United States in the war. The fight against Fisk was led, in particular, by Jack Straw, who supplanted Fisk as President of the NUS in 1969.


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