Race is on for a worthy successor

9th April 2004 at 01:00
And they're off. The four-horse race that is the contest for the National Union of Teachers will be parading its flesh in Harrogate this weekend. And the bookies already have their favourites.

Ladbrokes has made Steve Sinnott, deputy general secretary, even-money favourite. But William Hill has plumped for John Bangs, NUT head of education, at 56 with Mr Sinnott close behind with odds of 54.

Ladbrokes is offering 64 on Mr Bangs, with Ian Murch at 31 and Martin Powell-Davies at 81. Left-wingers can put their money where their mouths are by going to William Hill who are taking bets on Mr Murch at 61 and Mr Powell-Davies at 121.

All four now have the 10 nominations needed to formally enter the race following a gruelling tour of branches up down the country. On Saturday they will enter the home straight, and make a final push for support before the June ballot, by appearing at a conference hustings session.

Mr Sinnott, who has the backing of the centre-left Broadly Speaking faction, leads the pack with 68 nominations. His election would lead to a regime change within the union - he could even lead it towards co-operation with the workforce agreement and he enjoys good relations with the other unions.

Mr Bangs, Mr McAvoy's favoured successor, has 30 nominations. He has the highest profile and has become the public face of the union in the media.

Mr Murch, with official backing from the NUT's two left-wing factions, has 26 nominations and Mr Powell-Davies, also competing for the left wing vote, has 13.

Nominations close on May 3 and the ballot runs from June 7-28.

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