Future Candidates Programme

The aims of Unite’s political strategy are clear.

  • Winning Labour for working people 
  • Winning working people for Labour 
  • Building a broad alliance to defeat the Tories and their policies 
  • Winning a Labour government which will govern in the interests of working people and towards a socialism for the 21st century  

For too long we have had a democratic deficit in Parliament with the green benches in the Commons unrepresentative of those they govern.  

Labour has far fewer working class MPs than ever before and Unite’s aim of ‘Winning Labour for working people’ is about redressing the democratic deficit and encouraging trade unionists who share our trade union and working class values of unity and solidarity to become MPs.

Future Candidate Programme

Unite knows that many ordinary people don’t have the confidence to stand for public office, yet they have a wealth of experience to offer in terms of representing people and campaigning to change our society. Unite therefore developed the Future Candidate Programme to address the democratic deficit and to level the playing field for all those who would like to stand for public office.   

The aim of the Programme is to build confidence and give skills, and to helps activists to navigate the Labour Party selection process, to become Labour Party candidates, and hopefully, to become MPs.
To qualify for acceptance on the Programme, members must meet the following criteria:

  • Values. Commitment to working class values of the Trade Union and Labour movement:  unity and solidarity   
  • Values in Action. Active membership of the union and Labour Party and a record of activism with examples of leadership and campaigning. 
  • Personal Narrative. Persuasive account of what drew you into politics in the first place -- what put the ‘fire in the belly’? 
  • People Skills. Ability to learn from and appreciate the knowledge and experience of a diverse range of working people.   
  • Communication Skills. An ability to use your own and others’ experience to inspire and motivate working people to bring about social, economic and political change.  

One of the major reasons people give for not running for public office is a fear of public speaking and the Programme tackles this by training members in the skills to build confidence. This includes: 

  • Providing communication training sessions across the board
  • Training in the arts and techniques needed for public speaking

If you would like any more information on the programme, please contact Joy Johnson who leads the programme,;  for an application form and details of our next programme, you should get in touch with Isis Basnayaka, Political Administrator,

What they say - candidates who have had political training with Unite

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP

"It was my trade union Unite who first encouraged me to become an MP. They have supported and cheered me on right from the start, helping me to navigate the difficult and often confusing path to becoming a candidate, providing me with the support to make the best of my own strengths and also providing friendship, which in politics is a rarity these days." 

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles

Cat Smith MP
"Coming from a long line of trade unionists, my grandmother was a union rep in the shipyard and my father was on the trades council, it was obvious to me that working with trade unions representing working people was the only way to go about making political change happen. I'm proud to be a member of Unite and valued the support the union gave me when I decided to stand for Parliament."

Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Rachael Maskell MP

"It is an honour to be a Unite member in Parliament. As a life-long trade unionist, the backing of the union through a team of people who share my values was so supportive during the selection. Since being elected I have taken these values into Westminster and  have continued to speak up on the issues that impact workers in my constituency and across the country from job security and productivity to opposing the Trade Union Bill." 

Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central

Kate Osamor MP

"I am a life long trade unionist and a proud member of Unite. Unite Future Candidates Programme is far-reaching in its scope and it gave credence to my work life experiences ultimately giving me confidence to stand as a MP."

Kate Osamor, Labour MP for Edmonton