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Ultra-left out

As the most senior member of the NUT executive, may I correct the impression given in your article "Union chief meets Left in 'dirty fight'" (TES, November 3)?

Far from the release of details about the voting on the executive being "deeply undemocratic", the ultra-Left minority on the executive called for a recorded vote which the general secretary had to publish or give reasons for not doing so. That Ian Murch and Christine Blower now want to hide the fact that they opposed the widespread consultation proposed shows clearly who is "deeply undemocratic".

The battle is not between Doug McAvoy and "left-wingers on the union's national executive". It is between the NUT membership and a small number of ultra-Left adventurists who have sought to take advantage of teacher fatigue and small union meetings to try to foist on the NUT the views of their particular political sects. Decisions are taken by the national executive and not by the general secretary, although his advice is of course always listened to with care.

You can rest assured that the great majority of the executive are anxious to consult with members as widely as possible and will protect the union from outside political interference, whether it be from the Socialist Workers' Party, Militant, Socialist Organiser or whoever.

MALCOLM HORNE

Outer London executive member National Union of Teachers Orchard Grove Chalfont St Peter's, Buckinghamshire

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