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Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group
Coxford ward Labour councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas were suspended from their council Labour group for the crime of opposing the closure of a swimming pool.
Following this, they have decided it is necessary to launch a new council group: 'Labour councillors against the cuts'. Their launch statement is below.
Labour Councillors Against The Cuts
(New Group formed on Southampton City Council)
Punished for their principles!
For the crime of honouring the Labour Party's election pledge and opposing the closure of Oaklands Swimming Pool at Lordshill, Coxford Ward Labour Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas have been 'suspended' for three months by their Labour colleagues on Southampton City Council. They are no longer allowed to be part of the Labour Group, are not allowed to attend Group meetings or express a point of view - but they are, on pain of further suspension, required to vote in Council as ordered by the Labour Group!
Fight to save Oaklands Pool will go on until the doors re-open!
Despite this attempt to gag them, Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas refuse to be silenced and are determined to continue speaking out on behalf of their constituents and users of the Pool, and are demanding that the City Council finish off the stalled repairs, recall the staff and immediately re-open the Pool.
Oaklands Pool closure - the first of the cuts!
People voted Labour believing that a Labour Council would stand up for them. The announcement that the Labour Administration is planning to carry out massive cuts in local services and sack hundreds of staff on behalf of the Tory-LibDem government is a betrayal of trust.
The Administration intended that the closure of Oaklands Pool would be only the first of many such attacks and did not expect that the announcement by Coxford Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, that they would fight against the closure, would trigger a magnificent City-wide fight-back by residents, supporters of the Pool and trades unions.
Labour Councillors against the cuts!
The experience of the Oaklands Pool campaign demonstrated that people are fed up with broken promises and being treated with contempt.
Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas are forming a new Group on the City Council to demonstrate that principles, integrity and accountability are not just words used by politicians during elections.
The new Group, 'Labour Councillors Against The Cuts', will provide a focus of opposition to the claims by the three main political parties that "there is no alternative to cuts", that "we have no choice but to make cuts", and that "tough decisions have to be made".
Everything has to start somewhere!
'Labour Councillors Against The Cuts' demands that the City's Labour Administration immediately announces that it will refuse to do the Government's dirty work of forcing through massive cuts in public services and that the City Council will lead a national campaign to demand that the Government restore the money it has stolen from local authorities.
Councillor Keith Morrell says: "We supported 100% the workforce and Unions in their campaign to win back the pay stolen from them by the Tories. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with them against any further threats to their jobs and to public services"
Councillor Don Thomas added: "We support the Unions' view that council workers and the community should not be made to pay for a crisis they did not create"
We need your support!
If you agree with our aims, sign up to our campaign!
Write to: Members' Room, Labour Councillors Against The Cuts, Civic Centre, Southampton SO14 7LY
Message of support from Southampton Socialist Party
Rebel Southampton Labour councillors, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, have launched a new council group, Labour Councillors Against Cuts.
They have taken this stand in response to being suspended from the Labour Group for three months and gagged from speaking out while the newly elected Labour council prepare to announce huge cuts of £29 million.
Keith and Don are campaigning against the closure of their local swimming pool and are calling on the Southampton Labour council not to carry out the Con-Dem cuts.
Southampton Socialist Party welcomes their stand and gives our full support to building the fight against all cuts.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 11 October 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.