Christine Blower, the former leader of the National Union of Teachers, will be made a Labour peer, it has been announced.
The trade unionist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter, who lost out to Jennie Formby in the race to become Labour’s general secretary last year, has been nominated by the leader of the opposition to become a member of the House of Lords.
Her nomination is included in Theresa May’s resignation honours, which also recognises the ex-PM’s former chief of staff and New Schools Network director Nick Timothy with a CBE medal.
Resignation honours offer the chance for an outgoing prime minister to nominate colleagues and trusted advisers for peerages and medals. Opposition parties are also given the chance to elevate people to the Lords.
It was during Blower’s tenure as the NUT’s general secretary that Corbyn made his historic first appearance at the union’s conference in 2016. It it is thought to have been the first time in decades, perhaps ever, that a party leader had addressed the conference.
The last prominent Labour politician to attend before that had been then-education secretary Estelle Morris in 2002.
Following her departure from the union in 2016, Blower vowed to join and campaign for Labour under Corbyn after praising his opposition to academies.
However, she hasn’t always been a Labour supporter.
A party member until the early 1990s, Blower left after becoming disillusioned with New Labour. And in 2000, she even stood against the party as a London Socialist Alliance candidate in the London Assembly election.
She was also previously involved in the Campaign for a Democratic and Fighting Union, a movement associated with the left wing of the NUT.
However, she has previously said she would not accept the description “hard left”, telling the Guardian in 2008 that she has “never been a member of Militant, the Socialist Workers’ party, International Socialists or the International Marxist Group”.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for socialism. It doesn’t mean I see myself as a part of any of those organisations that have ‘socialist’ in the title.”
Nick Timothy, meanwhile, will be chiefly remembered in the schools community as the architect of May’s botched attempt to lift the ban on new grammar schools.