In last month’s local elections we lost a group of extremely hardworking Councillors and I want to pay tribute to their work for and with our community.
Bill Fisher defended our Library in Burnage; Andrew Taylor battled to fix our roads; Mark Clayton defended Marie-Louise Gardens from the council’s partial sell off plan. Victor Chamberlain’s successful council motion means 20mph zones in residential areas are implemented in parts of our city. James Hennigan established the ‘Levenshulme means business’ campaign to boost trade in the area and Mary DiMauro backed Northenden Library. Simon Wheale worked tirelessly to tackle antisocial landlords and fix local roads, and Norman Lewis was there for every single person in his area.
These councillors stood up for their local area when the council got it wrong. Sadly we now no longer have any opposition councillors at all to speak up for us.
Unlock Democracy launched a petition highlighting that, despite four in ten people not voting for Labour they have 100% of the Councillors. In my constituency Labour failed to get half of the votes, but hold every single councillor.
The 1980s was the last time Manchester City Council was so dominated by Labour. We saw every council building re-mortgaged by Labour, which took 25 years to pay off, and they doubled council house rents. We see hundreds of thousands of pounds wasted on VIP pop concerts and iPads – and new examples of waste appear frequently. We even saw Labour hand back a hardship fund of £600,000 for those struggling with paying their rent. This waste will just get worse without a strong opposition to hold them to account.
Whether you support a political party or not, Labour holding 96 out of 96 Councillors is bad for democracy. Last year the Manchester Evening News reported the Electoral Reform Society highlighting the danger of a one-party state. Labour’s stranglehold on Manchester was compared to one-party states like North Korea and Town Hall bosses think they are ‘untouchable’ and given ‘carte-blanche’ to act as they wish.
As the only elected representative in Manchester that is not Labour, I am determined to continue to give local people a voice in Manchester Labour’s one-party state.