The Real Story

It is highly unusual for me to respond to the scurrilous allegations which have been levelled at me in the past few weeks in this fashion, but I felt the need to set the record straight.

In recent weeks I have been subjected to what is clearly a politically motivated attack designed to cast doubt on my character and undermine my position. All of this is centred around my previous employment with the National Union of Mineworkers, which ended prior to my election to Parliament.

For the record, I am immensely proud to have spent almost twenty years as a full time official of the NUM at all levels, including as National President from 2002-2010. I am also incredibly proud to have worked on behalf of people in the industry and the communities in bringing in tens of millions of pounds of compensation for Common Law and Industrial Disease claims.

The area that I now represent in Parliament was heavily dependent on coalmining and many of the communities in the constituency would not be there were it not for the discovery of coal. My own history in mining gained me an insight into the power that the industry brought to the communities - but also the negative impact many years of weak safety and health in the mines had on peoples’ lives.

At a time when the Conservative Government was picking apart the very fabric of my communities, the National Union of Mineworkers provided much needed opposition, as well as support to the men and women whose lives had been touched by coal. While the number of working miners declined, the number of those in need exponentially increased.

And while the official AR21 forms that have formed the basis of these unwarranted attacks in the press showed a small number of working miners and NUM members, they fail completely to tell the true story. The communities built around coal had their main source of employment removed, yet tens of thousands of former miners remained, many scarred by their former occupation and in desperate need of support.

That support came in the form of the NUM (Northumberland Area). All contributions made to the union were entirely voluntary and were given by those who wanted to ensure that future claimants were afforded the same level of representation they themselves had received. That £1.6 million was received is both testament to the generosity and comradeship of those in the community, but also to the work of the union which brought tens of thousands of successful claims.

The National Union of Mineworkers refused to abandon those who it had represented for decades simply because their source of employment had been lost. We fought for compensation for both current and past mineworkers for the serious damage that working underground had done to their health - not to forget the pivotal role the NUM played in bringing equal pay claims for women canteen workers in the industry.

Our approach, which covered Pneumoconiosis, Vibration White Finger, CB&E and Occupational Deafness among others, saw the NUM (Northumberland Area) held up as an exemplar across the coalfields. We represented tens of thousands of former miners and succeeded in bringing in tens of millions of pounds in compensation and reduced earnings allowances. That has been a lifeline for these former miners and their families.

The recent attacks in the media have failed to represent the work that I am proud as a full time official to have played a part in. The biggest criticism would appear to be the fact the NUM employed its officials on excellent wages, terms and conditions. This is something the union fought for all of its existence and something that we can rightly be proud of. My wages, terms and conditions were set according to union agreements and I was privileged to be well paid for a job I loved.

Another target has been a redundancy payment I received that was part of my contract of employment. Following allegations that this should have been declared, I met with the Parliamentary Commissioner at the earliest opportunity to provide clarity on the matter and will continue to cooperate fully.

Sections of the press and sadly some within my own party have sought for political ends to use innuendo and half-truths to attack me and my proud record as a trade unionist. They have also made false allegations about a £250,000 mortgage between the union and myself, which I totally refute and am taking legal counsel on.

I have worked all of my adult life defending and representing miners and working people. The coordinated attack which began by suggesting that I was using the compensation of sick miners to enrich myself have struck me like a bullet through the heart.

These shameful accusations are being made by some of the very outlets that, throughout the period the industry was being destroyed, formed the press arm of an attack on the communities in which we live, and should be viewed with the contempt they deserve.

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Showing 31 reactions

published this page in News 2016-06-01 15:42:49 +0100
commented 2016-04-15 18:01:13 +0100 · Flag
The maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay is £14,250. The reported redundancy payment to Ian Lavery was £62,000. I notice that Ian Lavery has not confirmed in this response how much the redundancy payment actually was. Maybe he can do this now.

It appears that the redundancy payment was significantly bigger than was needed. The other question is whether the post was in fact redundant, but let’s leave that one for now.

Ian Lavery doesn’t appear to see how bad this appears. Who negotiated such a lucrative contract, and why? Were those people who decided to give away union funds to Ian Lavery close associates and friends of his? You can see why this looks bad. In my view this was terrible waste of funds given voluntarily by members. That money could and should have been more wisely spent. If Ian Lavery cannot see why people are disappointed with this situation then he does not deserve to be my MP.
commented 2016-04-15 15:17:20 +0100 · Flag
Don’t let the bastards grind you down Ian some day the boot will be on the other foot when it comes put them steel toe caps on and sort them out
commented 2016-03-29 10:34:07 +0100 · Flag
Facebook March 29th 2016 Ian Lavery MP This man Mr Ian Lavery MP, Worked vigorously for those he represented.

Those so called labour MPs who have joined with the Murdock Press, in an attempt to somehow discredit him are nothing more than a fifth column inside a Party I once was proud to me a member. We have to accept changes in technology along with production changes that is progress.

Unfortunately, many of our now so called Labour Members of Parliament, are now more interested in what they can get in financial term, rather than looking after their electorate and previous wealth makers for our Country.
commented 2016-03-28 22:12:18 +0100 · Flag
You are a shining example for people to follow. Keep up the good work and don’t let them get you down.
commented 2016-03-28 17:57:28 +0100 · Flag
Keep going, Ian. The bastards never stop, and nor should we!
commented 2016-03-28 10:50:30 +0100 · Flag
You’re most certainly under sustained attack from dark forces behind the scene on both sides of the house .Interesting, that Michael Gove praised your work ethic in the house .Why ?I suspect merely to bring more attention to building politically motivated storm building against you.I’m sure you can clearly repudiate all scurrilous claims aagains you enabling you to keep the fight against this government on track .Keep up the good work Ian .!!!
commented 2016-03-27 23:30:16 +0100 · Flag
@john Smith I’ve heard Corbyn speak. He is a moron. He is making our Labour unelectable for years to come.

Ian Lavery, you have some very tough questions to answer. The evidence is very much against you right now, and I for one am disgusted by the trail it follows.
commented 2016-03-27 22:02:19 +0100 · Flag
Anyone who is a socialist yet doesn’t back Corbyn is a fool. Labour have been unelectable – they lost TWO elections BECAUSE they were no different to the tories. Corbyn is a socialist and Labour’s last chance. Lavery’s issue is another stunt orchestrated to give Corbyn bad press. YOu encourage it or reject Corbyn – you are tory deep down, no argument – you will let them back in!
commented 2016-03-27 22:00:45 +0100 · Flag
This sounds dreadful ! The Tony Benn Film Facebook page is a source of support I’m sure for the ’bullet through the heart ’ effect, and a very real pain, but I know you will find support in the words and postings there from both Tony Benn and the 78,000+ supporters. Stay strong X
commented 2016-03-27 19:40:09 +0100 · Flag
Stay Strong. Murdoch & Camerons grubby hands are deeply stained with dishonesty at every turn.
commented 2016-03-27 18:26:55 +0100 · Flag
You don’t have account to Tory ratbags.Solidarity brother
commented 2016-03-27 16:41:23 +0100 · Flag
You have no need to justify your actions to the Tory press Ian. They are clearly out to spread division between the working class and will target those who fight to expose the huge inequality in our society and who are commited to redistribution such as you and Jeremy Corbyn. I know all num members and socialists recognise this and know you for the principled working class hero you are. You will never get a fair hearing from the scurrilous Tory press and they will completely misrepresent and twist anything you say don’t feed the lying, vile low lives.
commented 2016-03-27 16:23:53 +0100 · Flag
LeonC – Interesting. You’ve seen the contract then? Should be very easy for Mr Lavery to confirm the contractual conditions, who negotiated them, and why a large lump sum payment to a man voluntarily moving from one well paid job to another was an appropriate use if miners’ funds.
commented 2016-03-27 16:23:03 +0100 · Flag
This is a well thought out and well argued response to these revolting attacks- there is so much real corruption in parliament that we know this attack is just politically motivated
commented 2016-03-27 16:20:09 +0100 · Flag
The whole story has been constructed to fire a rocket at Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t ask for any explanation from Ian Lavery. When scum construct these personal stories you kick the scum out of sight. They can never tell the truth. They wouldn’t print anything that damages their class.
commented 2016-03-27 13:14:22 +0100 · Flag
Robert Jackson Because it was in the contract which as I am sure you know is sacrosanct
commented 2016-03-27 12:15:36 +0100 · Flag
I think that there is little doubt that much of the controversy has been created by tory press and the tory branch of the Blairite Labour MP’s. The fact that you were reelected with a much increased majority shows the support of your constituents. Your role in the NUM and especially post Arthur Scargill and especially any financial arraignments are insufficiently unclear for me to comment. What I can say with some confidence is that having read as much of the information in the Public Domain as possible that you are yet another Socialist Representative of The People who is being attacked by the right wing and the VILE capitalists and their tory lackeys. We need as many people as possible to fight this VILE Government who are so intent on destroying much that is good in our society. I hope that you succeed in clearing your name,you have my support.
commented 2016-03-27 12:11:43 +0100 · Flag
The men and woman who fight the hardest for our class will always be a target for the Tory press, we the working men from the coal mines know the truth , the truth is keep fighting for our rights our community and a future for our children and the news papers will be used to wrap our bait in.
commented 2016-03-27 11:27:46 +0100 · Flag
You must be saying the right things if they are targeting you. Keep it up Ian.
commented 2016-03-27 10:43:04 +0100 · Flag
Can I ask you some questions?

I ask these questions on the basis of wanting it not to be true, that you have not done wrong, because if you have it just means folks haven’t changed and whilst you have been caught out others will carry on and more likely you to be replaced by someone else on the make.

How many members are in the NUM which were under your stewardship?

Did the former MP for Wansbeck take your place at the NUM as you took his as MP for Wansbeck?

How much of the £1.6 million has been paid out in wages, expenses and redundancy payments and how much was paid directly to miners?

Did you get a loan/mortgage of £250,000 from the Union? a simple yes or no please.

Miners are well respected in the country and especially in the North East all the responses so far and your answers given seem to be a deflection on to them, I truly hope you are not using them as a shield, and you haven’t used their money which could have helped families and miners who needed it most.
commented 2016-03-27 08:22:40 +0100 · Flag
Ian, You have more integrity than any other politician I know, I wish you well and look forward to seeing your political career blossom.
commented 2016-03-27 02:53:25 +0100 · Flag
Unfortunately the gutter press has a large readership who believe everything they read there. These are the sort of people who regard Corbyn as a moron despite never hearing him speak, and who consider Nigel Farage to be a “man of the people” despite his claim to be “keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive”.
commented 2016-03-26 23:11:01 +0000 · Flag
Labour was the working mans party but in recent years it is now classed as the new conservatives and the idiot you have as leader will bring you right down and may never recover i could not vote for the likes of him he is a moron
commented 2016-03-26 20:09:56 +0000 · Flag
Why did you even receive a redundancy payment, given that a) you resigned and b) the role was clearly not redundant as it was refilled immediately?
commented 2016-03-26 20:00:01 +0000 · Flag
Mr Murdoch has a lot to answer for but I think it is the establishment as a whole that are to blame they appear to have no conscience and will sink to the sewers to find dirty tricks to discredit anyone the think might upset their cosy little set u.
commented 2016-03-26 19:48:44 +0000 · Flag
Ian you are a man of principal and I trust you. You are a fighter for our class and you have my full support.
commented 2016-03-26 19:15:31 +0000 · Flag
I was married to a miner during the 1984 strike. If not for the NUM, we would have starved. There were food kitchens and parcels. Thank God we lived in a Labour constituency! I could not see how ANYONE who had been through that would be able to steal from those same miners and their families. I hope you sort this out and clear your name
commented 2016-03-26 19:12:41 +0000 · Flag
Hi, my family were miners. I still live in the village I grew up in.
High officials in any business earn high wages an have good T&Cs. Unions like the NUM made sure men and women got a fair wage for the work they do. As a Union Official why should you NOT get redundancy pay?
The Right (including the Blairites) are running scared.
Good Luck x
commented 2016-03-26 19:07:25 +0000 · Flag
Good luck Mr Lavery and I hope your critics eventually pay a heavy price.
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