Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/429/5035
Stoke councillors join the Socialist Party
Why we're standing for socialism
We are printing the text of a letter written by two ex-Labour councillors in Stoke-on-Trent, Paul and Dave Sutton. In it they explain to their constituents their reasons for leaving New Labour and joining the Socialist Party.
I am proud to be a councillor for the Abbey Green Ward. As a socialist, I joined the Labour Party 30 years ago to fight for the interests of ordinary working-class people.
Paul Sutton, Stoke Socialist Party councillor
However, after many years as a party member and your councillor since September 2003, I have decided to leave New Labour to join the Socialist Party.
Myself and my brother, councillor Dave Sutton, recently spoke out against New Labour plans to further cut and privatise jobs and services in the city. The proposed cuts will include the closure of all the city council-run care homes (including two in Abbey Green ward), the closure of community centres (one in Abbey Green ward), privatisation of the home care service and a slashing of much-needed jobs.
For daring to speak out, I have been prevented by the local Labour hierarchy from standing as your Labour candidate in the local elections in May.
Dave Sutton, Stoke Socialist Party councillor
Both Dave and myself have been suspended from the Labour Group and threatened with expulsion from the party. These measures only further confirm that those who are prepared to fight for the interests of working-class people are no longer welcome within Blair's New Labour Party.
There is now no fundamental difference between New Labour, Tories or Lib Dems - they all support the cutting of vital services, privatisation, attacks on our pensions, big increases in council tax and the sacking of workers.
It has been a difficult decision to leave the Labour Party after so many years as a member. But I am confident we have made the right decision to join the Socialist Party, which has a proud record locally and nationally of fighting for working-class people not just in words but actively.
As the first two Socialist Party councillors in Stoke-on-Trent and with your help we will build a serious opposition to the council's slash and burn policies which are devastating our communities.
Paul Sutton, Socialist Party councillor for Abbey Green
Dave Sutton, Socialist Party councillor for Tunstall
In The Socialist 2 March 2006: