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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Andrew Tyrie: fresh from the HBOS debacle, now serious about reform

Category : Business

Tyrie has hinted that banking commission’s final report may contain new measures on restricting pay, but not bonuses

London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, famously called on “banker-bashers” to stop. Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond told the Treasury select committee that there had been enough remorse. It is in large part due to Andrew Tyrie, Conservative chair of that committee, that a brand new apology for the disasters of 2008 was offered up this month.

Former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby gave up a third of his £580,000 pension and has also offered to hand back his knighthood after a damning report by the banking commission Tyrie chairs said HBOS bosses were “delusional” and guilty of a “colossal failure of management”. Is this sufficient penance, does Tyrie think? “I think he’s done the right thing, acted honourably.”

For a man who has shed more light on what really went wrong in Britain’s banks than any of the regulators, Tyrie is careful with his words. He won’t say whether he hopes Vince Cable will ban the trio credited with sinking HBOS from acting as directors – a move that would see Andy Hornby, one of the three, stripped of his current job as chief executive of bookmaker Coral. Nor will he comment on the resignations this week of Rich Ricci and Tom Kalaris, heads of investment banking and wealth management at Barclays. Nor will he say anything at all about Lord Green, chief executive and chair of HSBC when the bank laundered billions for drug cartels, and now a peer and trade minister.

But there is no doubt Tyrie is serious about banking reform. His banking commission’s final report, due next month, is awaited with great interest and not a little anxiety – not least by George Osborne. Tyrie has forced the chancellor’s hand once already, with a demand that the “ringfence” between banks’ retail and investment activities called for in last year’s Vickers report be “electrified”. It is a turn of phrase that has now entered the banking lexicon, and one which Tyrie says may have come to him while out running beside one of the electric fences in his West Sussex constituency.

Though its contents remain secret, Tyrie hints that the report will contain new measures on restricting pay, but not bonuses, that the “approved persons” list managed by regulators will become far more robust, and that regulators will be offered protection from the lobbying might of the banks.

“What really sticks in the craw of the electorate,” he says, “is that what you and I would consider to be very serious offences have been committed, and yet there doesn’t seem to be an orange jumpsuit on anyone – although there may yet be with Libor.” New laws, he says, may not be the solution because more people could have been prosecuted under existing laws had the regulators had the will and the resources.

“The sheer scale and variety of things that the banks got up to is quite extraordinary. This isn’t a few bad apples in a very large barrel – these are large numbers of people over very long periods, able to conduct malpractice, market abuses and what you and I would call simple fraud.”

Tyrie is an unlikely radical. He went to public school and both Oxford and Cambridge and worked for 20 years for BP and as an adviser to Nigel Lawson – now a member of the Lords and a vocal member of the banking commission – before being elected to his safe Chichester seat in 1997. In opposition, he ran two leadership campaigns for Ken Clarke. He opposed the Iraq war, and asked a series of searching questions about the UK’s role in extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects that led to David Miliband being forced to retract untrue statements made by his predecessor as foreign secretary, Jack Straw. Tyrie says he was punished for opposing the war by not being given an office in Portcullis House. Instead, he says, he was stuck in a corner where the authorities knew he would be disturbed by a pneumatic drill, but things have since improved and he now has plenty of space and a river view.

He was probably seen as awkward. He is a climate change sceptic, has been nicknamed “Andrew Tiresome”, and in 2010, despite his ambition, he failed to get a government job. “Do I look like a toady to you?” he says with a grin.

Instead he beat fellow Conservative Michael Fallon in the ballot for Treasure committee chair, and built it into a power base. In the wake of the Libor scandal, when the government rejected Labour’s calls for a judge-led public inquiry into banking, it was Tyrie who managed to command sufficient confidence across parties that a parliamentary commission could do the job. The commission has increased his influence further. It has 20-30 staff plus advisers, and its own QC, Rory Phillips. In six months, the commission took 168 hours of evidence.

Proud of his maverick status, Tyrie is not afraid to fire a shot across the bows. The list of questions about government-backed mortgage lending in his select committee report on the budget will not be welcomed in No 11. Nor will the committee’s demand, after key budget details appeared in the Evening Standard before the chancellor had even stood up, that pre-briefing journalists on the budget should stop.

He quotes Keynes when asked about the government’s focus on austerity – “when the facts change, I change my mind” – and agrees it’s possible the policy may turn out to be wrong: “Yes, that’s a risk, and that’s what happened in the 1930s. When economists in their lofty way say that the policy-making environment is challenging and subject to a high degree of uncertainty, that’s their way of saying the same thing. It may be very boring to hear this but I don’t think there would be a great deal of difference on the central issue, that is about the degree of fiscal tightening, whoever was in power, whether Con, Con-Lib, Lib-Lab or Lab.”

He also thinks Osborne may have given too much power to the Bank of England under the reformed City regulatory structure, and that the governor’s enhanced role could be a “point of systemic risk”. But luckily the Treasury select committee exists to scrutinise: “It is absolutely vital that we do that job with more rigour than ever before.”

Supermarkets and shoppers can keep British farming alive | letters

Category : Business

Demand for British food can shift prospects for farmers

Jamie Doward’s review of the state of British farming reminds us that the challenges of the food system are broader than those exposed by the horsemeat scandal (“British farming in crisis as crop losses from ‘relentless’ flooding pile up woes“, News). He rightly asks whether demand for British food can cause a long-term shift in the prospects for British farming.

It’s essential we as shoppers look to a wider set of values, including who produces our food and how, as well as the effects on local businesses and the town and countryside. Buying local food is one way out of this impasse. But we can’t leave it to shoppers. Big retail sells over 90% of the food we eat at home. Until government policy starts to support greater retail diversity, supermarkets must assume the main responsibility for paying food producers a fair price that takes into account the cost of production to give British farming a future.

Graeme Willis
Campaign to Protect Rural England, London SE1

Charter for cover-ups

We are deeply concerned by the justice and security bill. It was drafted in response to legal cases involving allegations of UK complicity in secret rendition, torture and inhumane treatment. The bill is a charter for cover-ups. Neither the public, nor the victims, nor their lawyers nor the media will have a right to know.

Court records could be kept secret forever. Secret courts could be extended to undercover police officers, deaths of suspects in custody and deaths in the military. The measures in the bill are an attack on open and accessible justice, they threaten the right to a fair trial and the rule of law. Journalism at its best uncovers the truth and the bill intends to hide the evidence. We are asking MPs to make their vote count and oppose the secret courts proposals in the justice and security bill next week.

Michelle Stanistreet
General secretary, National Union of Journalists (UK)
Frances O’Grady
general secretary, Trades Union Congress (TUC)
Clare Algar
executive director, Reprieve
Gavin Millar QC
Doughty Street chambers

Roy Greenslade
professor of journalism, City University
Kate Allen
director, Amnesty International
Kirsty Hughes
CEO, Index on Censorship

Shami Chakrabarti
director, Liberty
Gillian Slovo
president of English PEN
Angela Patrick
director of human rights policy, Justice
Keith Best
chief executive officer, Freedom from Torture
Agnès Callamard
executive director, Article 19
Jim Boumelha
president, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Chris Frost
chair of NUJ ethics council and head of journalism, Liverpool John Moore University
Mike Jempson
director, The MediaWise Trust, and senior journalism lecturer, University of the West of England
Lawrence McNamara
reader in law, University of Reading
Noe Mendelle
director, Scottish Documentary Institute, Edinburgh College of Art/University of Edinburgh
David Baines
lecturer in journalism, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University
Paul Lashmar
lecturer and convenor, MA international journalism, Brunel University
Tom O’Malley
department of theatre, film and television, Aberystwyth University
Natalie Fenton
professor of media and communications, Goldsmiths University
Julian Petley
professor of screen media, School of Arts, Brunel University
Vian Bakir
senior lecturer in journalism, School of Creative Studies and Media, Bangor University
Angela Phillips
reader in journalism, convenor MA journalism, Goldsmiths University
Delwyn Swingewoo
senior lecturer in journalism, University of Central Lancashire
Jackie Newton
senior journalism lecturer, Liverpool John Moore University
Richard Lance Keeble
acting head, Lincoln School of Journalists
Hazel Barrett
senior lecturer, department of journalism, Liverpool John Moore University
Kate Heathman
senior lecturer, Liverpool Screen School
Charles Brown
course leader, MA in media management, University of Westminster, and chair of UCU Harrow branch
Bronwyn Jones
lecturer and PhD researcher, Liverpool John Moores University
Lieve Gies
department of media and communication, University of Leicester
Lucy Brown
programme leader MA film and TV, University of Hertfordshire
Michael Pickering
Communication Research Centre, Loughborough University
Ayo A Oyeleye
media lecturer, Birmingham School of Media
Marie Gillespie
professor of sociology, The Open University
Hugh Mackay
deputy associate dean and senior lecturer in sociology, The Open University in Wales
Sally R Munt
director, Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies
Raminder Kaur
School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
Damian Carney
principal lecturer, School of Law, University of Portsmouth
Ian Cram
professor of comparative constitutional law, School of Law, University of Leeds
Alastair Mullis
professor of law, School of Law, University of East Anglia
Andrew Scott
senior lecturer, Department of Law, London School of Economics
R Craufurd Smith
senior lecturer, School of Law, University of Edinburgh
Fiona Fairweather
dean, School of Law and Social Sciences, University of East London
Andrew Cumbers
University of Glasgow
Farah Mendlesohn
Anglia Ruskin University
Nigel Williams
TUC programme co-ordinator, Ruskin College
Nick Clark
senior research fellow, Working Lives Research Institute
Vir Bala Aggarwal
chairperson, Department of Mass Communication, Himachal Pradesh University Shimla (India)
Len McCluskey
general secretary, Unite the Union
Gerry Morrissey
general secretary, BECTU
John Smith
general secretary, Musicians’ Union
Mark Serwotka
general secretary, PCS
Bob Crow
general secretary, RMT
Sally Hunt
general secretary, UCU
Mick Whelan
general secretary, Aslef
Steve Murphy
general secretary, UCATT
Rob Monks
general secretary, URTU
Tony Burke
assistant general secretary, Unite the Union

Harry Fletcher
assistant general secretary, NAPO
Frank Ward
assistant general secretary, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Megan Dobney
regional secretary, SERTUC
Jon Rogers
NEC member, Unison (personal capacity)
Karen Reissmann
NEC member, Unison (personal capacity)
Dave Green
national official, FBU
Matt Foot
solicitor, Birnberg Peirce Solicitors
Peter Noorlander
chief executive, Media Legal Defence Initiative
Nani Jansen
senior legal counsel, Media Legal Defence Initiative
Anthony Hudson
Doughty Street Chambers
Conor McCarthy
Doughty Street Chambers
Guy Vassall-Adams
Doughty Street Chambers
Mark Stephens
CBE and vice president, Commonwealth Lawyers Association
Des Freedman
chair, Media Reform Coalition
Maurice Frankel
director, Campaign for Freedom of Information
Barry White
national organiser, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Peter Tatchell
director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Milica Pesic
Media Diversity Institute
Kate Hudson
general secretary, CND
Lynsey German
convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Jeremy Hardy
comedian
Jo Shaw
federal executive member, Liberal Democrats (personal capacity)
Martin Tod
Liberal Democrat federal executive (personal capacity)
Mark Pack
Liberal Democrat federal policy committee (personal capacity)
Stephen Tall
co-editor of Lib Dem Voice (personal capacity)
Neal Lawson
chair, Compass
Natalie Bennett
leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Pluto Press
Hilary Wainwright
editor, Red Pepper magazine
Richard Bagley
editor, Morning Star
Mike Dodd
editor, Media Lawyer
Nick Davies
special correspondent, The Guardian
Amelia Hill
special investigations correspondent, The Guardian
David Leigh
investigations executive editor, The Guardian
David Rose
special investigations for the Mail on Sunday and contributing editor for Vanity Fair
Liam Clarke
political editor, Belfast Telegraph
Gerry Carson
Carson Public Affairs and Media
Kary Stewart
multimedia producer, Ignite Creative Production
Kathryn Whitfield
production editor, Observer News
Erika Singh
senior editorial administrator, Guardian
Jane Dudman
editor, the Guardian’s Public Leaders Network
Neil Willis
production editor
Jamie Doward
senior reporter, Observer
Martin Shipton
chief reporter
Séamus Dooley
Irish secretary, NUJ
Adam Christie
joint vice president, NUJ
Eamonn McCann
NUJ NEC member
Paula Geraghty
NUJ NEC member
Brian Morgan
Welsh executive council and vice chair, Cardiff and South East Wales NUJ branch
Jason Parkinson
chair, London Photographers NUJ branch
Anton McCabe
secretary, Derry and North West Ireland NUJ branch
Phil Turner
vice chair, South Yorks NUJ branch
Don Smith
welfare officer, Dublin Freelance NUJ Branch

Focus on Arts Council funding

Peter Bazalgette, the head of Arts Council England, needs to consider the “portfolio funded organisations” mentioned in last week’s article (“Arts funding is ‘investment’ not ‘subsidy’, insists Bazalgette). The 698 nationally funded organisations generate £2 for every £1 the Arts Council gives – seed funding, as he terms it.

This is true of the Tate galleries, where 62% of expenditure came from self-generated funds, but far from the case at Newlyn art gallery in Cornwall, which produces considerably less than 30% from self-generated funds using the same definitions as those at the Tate.

Another way of putting it is that it costs the taxpayer nearly £10 to get each visitor through the doors. Bazalgette needs to study the effectiveness of all Arts Council funding and to direct funds to those organisations that truly engage the public.

Bernard Evans
Penzance

I know why women fail

The representation of women in politics will never be improved until political parties deal harshly with the young aspirant professional male politicians, who will go to great lengths to prohibit skilled, able women from being selected. (“Revealed: shocking absence of women from UK public life“, News). I know this from the tribulations I endured in the 1980s-90s when I dared to aspire to become a candidate in a winnable seat. Unlike our male colleagues, women have to be prepared to start at the bottom, and go for unwinnable seats, or byelections. (I was Labour candidate in Selby in 1983, York Euro, 1984, Ryedale, 1986, Stockport, 1987, plus numerous constituencies I was invited to as the token woman.)

Considering that party leaders and general management committees are in the main male, I see no hope in any possible advancement. I have never agreed with women-only shortlists but maybe this is the only way.

Shirley Haines
York

System of revenge, not justice

I was very moved to read Alex Clark’s article about Patricia Machin (“One woman’s true compassion is a lesson for us all“, Comment).

I lost a daughter in a car accident nearly 25 years ago. She was a beautiful, intelligent 16-year-old girl and she was sitting in the boot space of an overcrowded car. The car went out of control and hit a tree and she was thrown on to the road. She suffered a grave head injury and her life support was turned off several days later.

The young driver was consequently convicted of dangerous driving and received a prison sentence. Both I and her father had written to the court to say this was not what we wanted. His driving may not have been perfect and the car was overcrowded, a fact known to my daughter as she entered the car. He was neither drunk or on drugs. If no one had been injured it would have passed with very little consequences.

I feel that we have a revenge, not a justice, system, which punishes outcomes not actions. Nor do I believe that prison alters others’ driving or influences their behaviour in any way. I

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Film Screening-A Long Journey Home: The Rainier Story-Highlights Need for Women’s Addiction Treatment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Category : Stocks

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Feb. 15, 2013) - The Rio Theatre will screen the film A Long Journey Home: The Rainier Story, at 5PM on Monday, February 18, followed by a panel discussion to raise awareness of the need for women’s addiction treatment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The panel will include former Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Steven Point, Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Safety and Security of Vulnerable Women, responsible for the implementation of recommendations from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Report.

Read more: Film Screening-A Long Journey Home: The Rainier Story-Highlights Need for Women’s Addiction Treatment in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

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HMRC told to ‘get a grip’ on fraud

Category : Business

Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge tells HM Revenue and Customs to “get a grip”, after it misses a target to tackle tax credit fraud and error “by a mile”.

More: HMRC told to ‘get a grip’ on fraud

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Mary Jo White and the SEC: Right person at the wrong time

Category : Business

President Obama’s pick for SEC chair has a lot of experience prosecuting Wall Street crime. We could have used that four years ago.

Read this article: Mary Jo White and the SEC: Right person at the wrong time

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Tax avoidance schemes ‘immoral’

Category : Business, World News

Tax avoidance schemes, such as the one used by comedian Jimmy Carr, are “completely and utterly immoral”, Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee says.

Read the original: Tax avoidance schemes ‘immoral’

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Finalists Named for National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

Category : World News

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Dec. 4, 2012) - The 2013 shortlist for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction was announced today by Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. The BC Award is one of the largest non-fiction book prizes in the country.

More here: Finalists Named for National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

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Starpharma Holdings Ltd. (SPHRY: OTC Link) | Home Country News Release – AGM – Chair address and CEO’s presentation

Category : World News

Starpharma Holdings Ltd. has filed a Home Country News Release – AGM – Chair address and CEO’s presentation To view the full release click here (link to PDF).

Original post: Starpharma Holdings Ltd. (SPHRY: OTC Link) | Home Country News Release – AGM – Chair address and CEO’s presentation

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Ikea says sorry to East German political prisoners forced to make its furniture

Category : Business

Peter Betzel, head of Ikea Germany, apologises for the flat-pack furniture company’s use of prison labour in the 70s and 80s

It has become a retail byword for affordable, functional furniture: plain, cheerful items with a certain Nordic wholesomeness about them that millions of consumers the world over can’t seem to resist.

But on Friday Ikea became associated with something darker when it admitted that at least some of its cupboards, chairs and other household products were produced by East German prisoners incarcerated for their political beliefs.

A roomful of angry former GDR prisoners first watched – and then started to vent decades worth of anger – as a squirming Peter Betzel formally apologised for using prison labour in the 1970s and 1980s.

“We regret wholeheartedly that this happened,” said Betzel, head of Ikea Germany, after an independent report by auditors Ernst and Young confirmed that Ikea managers knew of the practice.

“It is not and never was acceptable to Ikea that it should be selling products made by political prisoners and I would like to express my deepest regret for this to the victims and their families”.

The company insists that nothing comparable goes on today. But already questions of compensation are being raised that could cost the company dear, not to mention the reputational damage of being seen to profit from people who were fighting for freedom.

Alexander Arnold was one such. He was sent to prison at 22 for “distributing anti-communist propaganda” – handing out flyers containing poems by Bertolt Brecht and Hermann Hesse. He says he still has nightmares about the isolation cell where he was sent if he failed to keep up with the heavy work load. Arnold made parts for office chairs.

“By the end of my 11-month sentence, I knew every part of the process,” he said. “From the rollers on the feet to the spine of the chair”. He was also well aware that he and his fellow prisoners were working for a major western European company, none other than the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant, Ikea. “It was no secret,” he said. “Their name was on the boxes which the products were packed into and the prison guards didn’t keep it a secret from us. Everyone knew. I am relieved that this is finally coming to light,” said Arnold, 51. “I’m glad that Ikea is taking responsibility but I’m sorry it took someone other than Ikea to bring this to light”.

Arnold recalled how he and fellow workers had been set productivity targets. “Each day we worked what amounted to two and a half working days of that of a normal worker on the outside,” he said. “If we slipped to below 80% of the target set, that’s when they’d throw you in the isolation cell, for 10 days at a time”.

The Ernst and Young report said that while Ikea had had a policy of visiting production facilities to control working processes, access to East German suppliers had been restricted. Dieter Ott, 49, a former prisoner from Naunburg who worked on a punch press making parts for Ikea cupboards and doors, asked why Ikea had not questioned why it was not allowed to visit workers.

“Did you not suspect something? And after all, you were working with a country that was separated from Sweden by a hulking great wall. Surely that should have given you reason enough to ask if you should have been working with East German suppliers?”

Anita Gossler, 79, who was sent to Hoheneck prison for her resistance to the regime and who described how her three-month old baby was taken from her, asked Betzel if Ikea could offer assurances that it was no longer using political prisoners in other parts of the world, particularly in China, where considerable quantities of furniture products are made. “How can you guarantee that in a place like China you really know what’s going on in the factories?”

Betzel said the company had had a strict system of checks and balances in place since 2000. “We now have a very well organised control system with well over 1,000 control checks being carried out every year.” The company said it had received tipoffs that it had been using forced labour, but had taken insufficient action against the claims.

“We took steps to ensure that prisoners were not used in production, but it’s now clear to us that these were not decisive enough,” Betzel added. Gossler, who as a prisoner made sheets, aprons and table cloths for companies other than Ikea including leading west German clothing and household catalogues, welcomed the company’s announcement that it planned to donate funds to research projects on forced labour in the former GDR.

“There were many companies involved in this practice,” she said. “And finally they should all be named and shamed. Ikea has put its head above the parapet and admitted its guilt but there are plenty of others who should also be approached for compensation.”

Letters: EU’s day of action

Category : Business

Today millions of trade unionists across Europe are responding to the European TUC’s call for a day of action against the austerity policies which are destroying public services and jobs, and blighting the lives of ordinary people. The suffering we see in Greece is the most extreme example of the devastation wreaked by these policies (Greece hit by new delay over bailout, 10 November). As a result there will be general strikes in Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain, demanding alternative policies and an end to the onslaught which is destroying Europe’s welfare states. In other countries, including Britain, there will be solidarity demonstrations showing the depth of public opposition (5pm outside the EU office in London), in support of the struggles across Europe and in defence of our own welfare state.
Tony Benn President, Coalition of Resistance
Frances O’Grady General secretary designate, TUC
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite
Christine Blower General secretary, NUT
Mark Serwotka General secretary, PCS
Katy Clark MP
Michelle Stanistreet General secretary, NUJ
Billy Hayes General secretary, CWU
Jeremy Corbyn MP
John McDonnell MP
Manuel Cortes General secretary, TSSA
Sally Hunt General secretary, UCU
Mick Whelan General secretary, Aslef
Bob Crow General secretary, RMT
Matt Wrack General secretary, FBU
Chris Keates General secretary, NASUWT
Steve Gillan General secretary, POA
Megan Dobney Secretary, Sertuc
Sam Fairbairn Secretary, Coalition of Resistance
Zita Holbourne Chair, BARAC
Natalie Bennett Leader, Green party
Paul Mackney Co-chair, Greece Solidarity Campaign
Isidoros Diakides Co-chair, Greece Solidarity Campaign
Romayne Phoenix Chair, Coalition of Resistance
Rachel Newton People’s Charter
Andrew Burgin Europe officer, Coalition of Resistance