The Musicians' Union (MU) has decided to endorse Andy Burnham for Labour Party leader and Caroline Flint for deputy. This decision was accepted by the MU conference.
All candidates who were available for meetings over the past few weeks were questioned on the main areas of concern to music and the creative industries, and Andy Burnham came out as by far the strongest and most knowledgeable candidate for our sector. In addition, as culture secretary Andy Burnham supported the MU and the rest of the industry in the term extension debate and was also very supportive in the debates around arts funding.
Similarly, of those interviewed Caroline Flint was the stand out candidate for deputy.
Creative industry and music issues can easily get forgotten in the broader debates surrounding leadership of parties and the MU Executive Committee therefore made its decision based on what it believes would be best for our sector and our members.
Members are reminded that they can sign up to vote at support.labour.org.uk and that they are, of course, free to vote for any candidate they wish.
MU General Secretary John Smith says:
'I am delighted to announce that the MU's Executive Committee has decided to endorse Andy Burnham and Caroline Flint for Labour Party leader and deputy leader respectively.
'Both candidates have shown a great deal of interest in music and the arts and have supported the MU in its parliamentary work throughout the years. The MU was particularly grateful to Andy Burnham for his support for the extension of the term of copyright when he was Secretary of State.
'This will make a tangible difference to the take home pay of a lot of our members and I believe that Andy would be a Labour Party leader who valued music and the arts.'
Andy Burnham MP, Labour leadership candidate, said:
"I'm honoured to receive the union's support and will do everything I can to represent its members in this contest and make them proud as leader of the Labour Party. Our music industry is not only important to the UK economy, it's an important part of our national identity. People around the world – young and old – are inspired by British music.
"I applaud the MU’s campaigning on Low Pay / No Pay. When I was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, I led on copyright extension; I know that more still needs to be done to address illegal downloading and piracy. I'm concerned that our creative industries are increasingly the preserve of the few, while arts funding cuts and the decline in music education take their toll. I will support music education, more apprenticeships in the creative sector and tackle unpaid internships.
"David Cameron has launched a campaign of demonisation against the unions. I will oppose this unjustified attack on the legitimate role of trade unions to protect people in a fragmented and casualised workplace."
Welcoming the endorsement, Caroline Flint said:
"I've been a proud trade unionist for over 30 years, so I'm delighted that the Musicians' Union are backing me to be Labour's next Deputy Leader.
"I want the Labour Party to reconnect with working people and trade unions are a huge grassroots movement. I look forward to working with the Musicians' Union to rebuild our party and reach out to Labour's lost voters in the coming years."