County News

THE councillor who ditched Labour to lose them their majority on Nottinghamshire County Council has said he feels disenfranchised by the party.

Ian Campbell will now represent Retford as an independent, meaning Labour's share of the council's 67 seats has dropped to 33.

He said he was forced to vote against his views on a few sensitive issues, including scrapping local bus links and privatising GP surgeries.

"It doesn't feel like the Labour Party anymore," he said. "I still hold Labour values but I don't think the leadership holds the same views."

"This is not an off-the-cuff decision. I think maybe that this is the kick up the backside that the Labour leadership needs."

The straw that broke the camel's back, Councillor Campbell said, was when he went through a disciplinary process after abstaining from voting on the changes to bus routes.

The changes would have seen people in his area needing to book ahead to ensure a bus stopped at certain villages.

"Ever since I got the written warning regarding the bus cuts I have had residents asking me why I have not voted against it," said Councillor Campbell. "I can't stand silent while it affects their lives and businesses."

Another gripe which has affected his decision was the removal of constituents' questions at full council meetings at County Hall.

"I thought that was a fundamental right of democracy," he said. "I went along with it because we were told to but it didn't sit right with me."

Councillor Campbell ruled out joining any of the Labour Party's rivals in Nottinghamshire and criticised the heavy use of party politics in local politics.

"What I want to do is vote on issues. I will always be a socialist but councillors who represent other parties have good ideas too. A lot of them have been around longer than me and know their areas well," said the 27-year-old.

He revealed that the news of his decision had been viewed from both sides of the fence and that he will continue to stand on an independent basis.

"I have had messages of support but also [messages] from people who are disappointed," he said.

"I'm sure standing as an independent will affect my chances, because Labour has a strong following in Bassetlaw and a popular MP in John Mann."

Councillor Campbell has been on Nottinghamshire County Council since June 2013 and has spent four years as a representative on Bassetlaw District Council.

In response to the decision, the council's Labour leader Councillor Alan Rhodes said: "We are deeply disappointed Ian Campbell has decided to not continue to support Labour in our fight to safeguard important services that people in Nottinghamshire rely upon.

"Local people need Labour voices standing up for them now, more than they ever have. Ian Campbell’s decision is especially disappointing coming only two months after he was elected as Labour Councillor for East Retford West in June this year.

"Only Labour is standing up for a fairer settlement for people in Nottinghamshire and we will continue to do so as a Labour County Council, making the right decisions for the people of Nottinghamshire."


By BenIreland  

Read more:

Like It? Share It!