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Councillor suspended after cuts query: activists seek joint work
London Socialist Party
A north London Labour group has suspended one of its councillors for questioning cuts to adult care. Anti-austerity campaigners in Haringey are appealing to Councillor Gideon Bull to join them in drawing up a no-cuts 'people's budget'.
Socialist Party member John Dolan works in the service Cllr Bull spoke out to protect. John said: "Many people who work in this vital service, and who rely on it, were delighted when Cllr Bull spoke out.
"We thought - 'at last, a councillor who is speaking up for services rather than just passing on Tory cuts!' It is outrageous that he has been suspended for doing what, in our view, a Labour councillor should do."
Cllr Bull addressed a Haringey Momentum meeting on 28 January, where he vowed to continue speaking up for those who rely on these vital services. He also explained how difficult this period in his life had been. He said the stress of the Labour group's treatment of him brought on a life-threatening heart complaint.
"In December 2014," said John, "Haringey council agreed £70 million of cuts over three years. But the council also has £96 million in reserves. Many Labour Party members, as well as council workers, service users, and campaigners, think these reserves should be used to avoid cuts.
"Jeremy Corbyn won a landslide leadership election victory because people want an alternative. Many new Labour Party members, inspired by his anti-austerity message, will be horrified at this action. I would appeal to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to intervene and reinstate this councillor."
The Momentum meeting condemned Cllr Bull's suspension. But unfortunately, local Momentum leaders - including a sitting councillor - ruled out calls for Labour leaders to intervene, and postponed a discussion on a no-cuts budget. A sizeable minority, however, backed these proposals.
John said: "I also appeal to Cllr Bull to join with anti-cuts campaigners in the borough to draw up an alternative, people's budget for Haringey. This would avoid these devastating cuts, and start to build up the massive campaign necessary to win the funding back from central government."