Labour chief stands down

Edwin Jeffries.
Edwin Jeffries.

THE president of Hartlepool’s Labour Party has stepped down after 10 years in the role.

Edwin Jeffries is leaving his elected voluntary position at Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party (CLP) after a decade in the role and he said it has been an “interesting and rewarding” time.

Edwin Jeffries.

Edwin Jeffries.

The 56-year-old has been president during Peter Mandelson’s tenure as MP and also current MP Iain Wright, both of which he says have done a “fantastic job” promoting Hartlepool.

Mr Jeffries said: “Both Peter Mandelson and Iain Wright bring different skills to the job.

“Mr Mandelson was more of an national and international ambassador while Iain Wright is very much a community-based ambassador but they have both done a fantastic job representing and promoting Hartlepool.”

Mr Jeffries, who lives in the town centre area, has also been in the top job during Mayor Stuart Drummond’s time as elected mayor and was a key part of the campaign pushing for a return to the committee system from May.

He didn’t seek nomination at the annual general meeting at the weekend and he was presented with a wall clock and a plaque to mark his dedication.

Despite stepping down as president, this isn’t the end of his association with the Hartlepool CLP and he has taken over the role as trade union liaison officer with immediate effect.

Mr Jeffries, a member of the party for 25 years, said: “I have met some of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet and it has been a very worthwhile and fulfilling 10 years.

“I have met a lot of people and made many new friends.

“It has certainly been an interesting 10 years and I have seen a lot of changes, not least with the change of government and the impact that has had in the past couple of years.

“I am looking forward to May and the return to the committee system as there is a very capable leadership and councillors within the council with ideas, integrity and political drive and direction.”

Mr Jeffries said the campaign to push for the committee system was “nothing personal” against Mayor Drummond but added he was a firm believer in the committee system.

He said the highlights were “working with so many hardworking, lovely people” and helping to maintain the strong number of Labour councillors over the years in Hartlepool.

Mr Jeffries, who is also president of Hartlepool Trades Union Council and joint branch secretary of Unison Hartlepool, will be replaced by Labour councillor Carl Richardson, the former vice-chair, who will take on the responsibility of organising the party and campaigns.

Mr Jeffries added: “I will continue to work with my trade union colleagues to assist the party in ensuring the next government is a Labour government.”

Mr Wright paid tribute to Mr Jeffries’ work over the years adding: “Being the president of an organisation is not easy, especially in a political environment.

“It is a momentus achievement and Edwin has carried out the role with great professionalism and integrity.”