Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Labour Party leaves Hall Green constituency in turmoil

The Hall Green constituency committee met for the first time since the election last night. The first item on the agenda was the election of a Chair and Vice-Chair for the Committee. What would normally take about 5 seconds to do, last night took 30 minutes, and is still not resolved thanks to the antics of the Labour Party.

The Hall Green Constituency Committee is part of the devolution project for Birmingham City Council, where the running of libraries, community centres, swimming pools, leisure centres, school crossings, highway management is devolved down to the constituency councillors – in the case of Birmingham, each constituency has 12 councillors. In the case of Hall Green constituency, this consists of the councillors from Sparkbrook Ward, Springfield Ward, Hall Green Ward and Moseley and Kings Heath Ward.

Prior to the May local elections, the Liberal Democrats had the majority of councillors and therefore ran Hall Green constituency.

In the run up to the May local elections the local Labour Party ran on a ‘no cuts’ manifesto and as a result the people overwhelmingly elected them in all four Wards of the Hall Green Constituency.

The party political make-up of the constituency now being: 5 Liberal Democrat councillors; 5 Labour councillors and 2 Respect Party councillors.

The upshot of this means that the Labour Party can now run Hall Green Constituency with the Respect Party and implement their ‘no cuts’ agenda.

You would think that the Labour Party would jump at this chance. Prove everyone wrong and show how there is an alternative cuts; how they will protest against every cuts as they claimed in their election literature. But you would be wrong to think this.

Initially, the Labour councillors nominated as Chair the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Hall Green Ward, Councillor Mike Wilkes. Cllr Wilkes refused the offer and I made it clear that the Liberal Democrat Councillor would not be running the Constituency.

Two Labour Party councillors then made an incoherent statement that the Liberal Democrats should run the Constituency since a Conservative-Lib Dem government ran the country and I was a Cabinet member in a Conservative-Lib Dem Cabinet. Even now 24 hours after they said this, I still can’t make sense of this logic.

The Labour Party then suggested that each month the Chair would change between all three groups. Again, as Liberal Democrat we said that we would have nothing to do with this, but would be happy for both the Labour Party and Respect Party to nominate a different Chair each month......and that’s what we now have.

Cllr Tony Kennedy chaired last nights meeting and will remain Chair until another Labour Councillor becomes Chair next month. Nobody was elected as Vice-Chair, since, well, Labour didn’t want it. As a result there will be no consistency from month to month as to who the Chair is; the Constituency officers will have inconsistent political direction between meetings....and the quality of service that local residents receive will go down hill. Well done, Labour.

And guess what also happened last night with the Labour Party in charge of the Constituency. They voted through cuts to the constituency budget without saying a word of protest.


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