Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts

The deputy leader of the Conservative group on Sandwell council has defected to Labour in protest at Michael Gove's slashing of the Building Schools for the Future programme in her borough.

The deputy leader of the Conservative group on Sandwell council has defected to Labour in protest at Michael Gove’s slashing of the Building Schools for the Future programme in her borough. It is the latest in a series of blows to the education secretary since coming to office – and his second today, following the news, reported in this morning’s Guardian, that only 20 ‘free schools’ had been approved, well below the 700 he had boasted of earlier.

In an article for the Labour Uncut website headlined “Gove made me ashamed to be a Conservative”, Elaine Costigan writes:

“…This community has been treated with utter contempt by the government over the slashing of the school building programme and when Michael Gove backed out of his promise to come and apologise to the parents, pupils and staff he had so badly let down, I felt ashamed to be a Conservative.”

Adding:

“I can no longer bite my lip and pretend that the way the Conservative-led coalition has treated Sandwell is OK. It is not, and I cannot be a member of a party that condones their actions.”

In all, nine BSF projects have been stopped in Sandwell. A month ago, Mr Gove actually went to Sandwell, to face councillors “who were furious to discover school building projects in their area had been axed – after they were initially told they were safe”, with Sky News also reporting that “representativse [sic] from the area visited Mr Gove at the Department for Education to try to persuade him to change his mind – but left the meeting empty-handed”.

This morning’s Independent, meanwhile, reports on the growing number of Liberal Democrat councillors resigning from the party in protest at the Coalition; Andrew Grice reports:

Eight councillors in four areas have already resigned and the party’s high command is braced for more resignations as the full impact of the public spending cuts becomes clearer. Town halls face a severe budget squeeze despite the Government’s pledge to devolve power…

Four councillors in Halton, Cheshire, who have quit the party and now sit as independents, said the Liberal Democrats had become “nodding dogs for the Tories”. One of them, Peter Blackmore, said he “can’t look people in the eye” because of the spending cuts.

In Liverpool, Councillor Ian Jobling has defected to Labour, accusing the Liberal Democrats of “double standards and hypocrisy”. He said: “Our manifesto in May clearly stated that there would be no cuts before 2011-12 because it would cost jobs.”

Two Exeter councillors who have defected to Labour, Rob Hannaford and his civil partner Adrian Hannaford, said they were unhappy that the Liberal Democrats had joined the Coalition. “We have spent a lot of time working for the Lib Dems and never thought we would be supporting a Tory Prime Minister,” they said. “We are both aware the deficit has to be cut but would prefer it to be done in a more steady way over a longer period.”

In Manchester, Councillor Ken Dobson has left the party and will sit as an independent. “I don’t feel I can defend national policy which harms the people of this city,” he said yesterday.

Other Liberal Democrats may also be on the brink of leaving the party. In Barnsley, councillors have sent out a leaflet asking their constituents whether they should go it alone, join Labour or stick with the Liberal Democrats.

“We are ashamed, as you are, of what the national Lib Dems have done in joining the Conservatives,” it says.

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25 Responses to “Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts”

  1. Michael J. Gorman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  2. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  3. James Cowley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  4. paulstpancras

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove�s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  5. Ell Aitch

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  6. Beatrice Bray

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  7. jaqi

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  8. Claire French

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  9. Sam Carson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  10. paul clements

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  11. theenglishrose

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  12. bruce findlay

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  13. Samuel Tarry

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  14. anyleftiwonder

    Always thought there were some decent libdems – good to see them sticking to their principals.

  15. John Breeze

    RT @SamTarry: RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  16. Robin

    I’m sure the fact she is up for re-election next year, & that Labour got to within about 60 votes in her ward this year (1989 to 1938) had something to do with this…. but then again I’m a cynic….

  17. Richard West-Soley

    Sandwell Tory defects to Labour in protest of Gove's slashing of BSF: http://tiny.cc/gqu8t Good on him!

  18. Tom Miller

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  19. Roland M-Horne

    RT @leftfootfwd: Senior Tory councillor defects to Labour over Gove’s school cuts: http://bit.ly/9UN2lx #ConDemNation

  20. Dr. Shibley Rahman

    Entirely coincidental Shamik and crew, I’m sure!

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4485830&id=751933075

    Very best wishes.

    Take care and have a good sunday,

    Shibley

    Dr Shibey Rahman
    Primrose Hill
    @shibleylondon

  21. Mr. Sensible

    Have to say, I was expecting some Lib Dem defections over the coalition, and that’s what we’re getting.

    But I was not expecting any Tories to do so. And one has!

    Things just get worse for Mr Gove, don’t they.

    He messed it up over BSF, which he cut to pay for the new ‘Free Schools’, which he has also messed up by overhiping the interest to rush the legislation through.

    Does anyone think he can survive this?

    BTW was surprised not to see this when I read the Observer this morning.

  22. Mr. Sensible

    And I notice that Gove was the government’s spokesman this morning on the Coulson affair. That must fill Cameron with confidence…

  23. Balls vs Gove: Coalition academies ‘fail the fairness test’ | Left Foot Forward

    […] has had results. On Saturday, Left Foot Forward reported the defection to Labour of a senior Tory Councilor, who had been incensed by Gove’s cuts. […]

  24. Number of working people living in poverty rises | Left Foot Forward

    […] Since the general election, a number of Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors have defected in opposition to the direction the Government is taking. Share | Permalink | Leave a comment […]

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