Tony Mulhearn

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Anthony Mulhearn (24 January 1939 – 7 October 2019) [1] [2] was a British political and trade union campaigner known for being a prominent member of the Socialist Party and its predecessor, the Militant tendency. A native of Liverpool, Mulhearn was a member of the city council from 1984 to 1987 and also held the key role during this time of President of the District Labour Party. With Peter Taaffe, he co-authored a book detailing the struggle of the Liverpool city council called Liverpool: A City that Dared to Fight. [3] Mulhearn's memoirs were recently published as The Making Of A Liverpool Militant. [4]


Early life

Mulhearn was brought up in the downtown Fontenoy Street and Leeds Street area of Everton, Liverpool, and attended Holy Cross School and Bishop Goss Secondary Modern school [5] before working variously as a baker, tailor, trainee ship steward, apprentice cabinet maker, printer, ship's printer with Canadian Pacific, Ford worker, taxi driver, part-time lecturer and civil servant. [1] He joined the Labour Party in 1963 [6] and stood as the Labour candidate for the constituency of Crosby in the 1979 general election. [5]

Municipal affairs

Mulhearn's involvement with municipal affairs began in March 1980 when he became President of the Liverpool District Labour Party, a body which was responsible for overseeing the activities of Labour councillors on Liverpool city council. In June 1981 he was selected as Labour Party candidate for Liverpool Toxteth, [6] although due to boundary changes the constituency was abolished before the next general election. Mulhearn was elected to Liverpool city council in May 1984 from St Mary's ward. [7]

Mulhearn was a leading member of the controlling group on the city council, and in 1985 played a key role in the budgeting crisis which affected the council. He led the council delegation negotiating with the unions representing council staff when the council, running out of money, decided to issue redundancy notices to its entire workforce in September 1985. [8] Mulhearn insisted that the council would succeed in getting extra funds from the Government, making the notices unnecessary; he also said that Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock had been speaking "from a position of profound ignorance" when he condemned the move. [9] Shortly afterward Mulhearn stood for the Labour candidacy in Knowsley North, attempting to deselect sitting MP Robert Kilroy-Silk. [10]

In 1986, Mulhearn was expelled from the Labour Party following a series of hearings which the party had begun into the involvement of Militant tendency supporters. He remained a councillor until March 1987, when the House of Lords rejected the appeals of 47 Liverpool councillors against the district auditor's finding of 'wilful misconduct' in the council's delayed setting of its budget in 1985. [1]

Subsequent campaigning

After leaving Liverpool City Council, Mulhearn (together with Peter Taaffe) wrote an account of the period when supporters of Militant were leading the council, published as Liverpool: A City that Dared to Fight in 1988. [11] He worked as a taxi driver from 1991 to 2001, and also studied part-time at Liverpool John Moores University for a combined Social Sciences degree (including history, economics and politics). In 1996 he passed with first class honours for his dissertation (on Leon Trotsky), and was given the prize for "most meritorious mature student". [1]

He later worked as an IT support co-ordinator for the Department for Work and Pensions in Warrington, while remaining active in politics as a member of Militant's successor the Socialist Party and a member of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party. [12]

Liverpool Mayor Election 2012

Mulhearn stood as a TUSC candidate for Mayor of Liverpool [13] on a "6 point programme to defend the working class of Liverpool from cuts to jobs and services". [14] He came fifth, ahead of the Conservative Party candidate.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Paddy Shennan, "Tony Mulhearn - heart of the working class", Liverpool Echo, 23 January 2009.
  2. "Veteran Liverpool political campaigner Tony Mulhearn dies aged 80". 7 October 2019.
  3. ISBN   9781870958004
  4. "Tony Mulhearn - the life and times of a champion of the working class".
  5. 1 2 "The Times Guide to the House of Commons 1979", p. 86-7.
  6. 1 2 Ian Bradley, "New puritans in pursuit of power", The Times, 10 December 1981, p. 12.
  7. David Walker, "Conciliation: the improbable Mersey sound", The Times, 29 May 1984, p. 14.
  8. Peter Davenport, "Liverpool unions walk out of talks", The Times, 27 September 1985, p. 1.
  9. Hugh Clayton and David Felton, "Liverpool plans to lay off all staff", The Times, 12 October 1985, p. 2.
  10. Michael Cockerell, "Who will win this Merseyside showdown?", The Times, 28 October 1985, p. 12. The attempt was unsuccessful but Kilroy-Silk resigned his seat the following year to move into television presenting.
  11. ISBN   1-870958-00-4.
  12. "BNP bigots retreat under pressure", Campaign for a New Workers' Party, accessed 22 July 2009.
  13. Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, Local Election Candidates 2012
  14. Mulhearn, Tony (3 April 2012). "Standing to defend Liverpool from the cuts". the Guardian.