Lower Stoke by election – Socialist Party statement
Coventry Socialist Party has decided not to propose nomination of a TUSC candidate in the forthcoming Lower Stoke by-election.
Former Coventry councillor Dave Nellist, explained today:
“Socialists in Coventry remain resolutely opposed to the cuts the Labour Council are continuing to pass on. Such as the £3 million cut to Council Tax support for the city’s poorest.
We now know that over 1400 council jobs have been cut in the last five years, and the council plans to cut 1000 more. That’s 2,500 young people in Coventry denied the chance of a decent job. And Councillor Damian Gannon, Cabinet Member for Finance, has said the authority is ‘looking at altering employment terms such as holiday and sickness pay’ of those who remain.
It’s no defence for Labour to say they are responding to national Tory cuts – locally, Labour has doubled its reserves in the last four years from £41m to £84m; it could use a proportion of that to delay cuts whilst launching a campaign to force the government to restore proper funding to the city.
These are the arguments we will continue to put. But we are conscious that this is the first local by-election since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party.
Jeremy Corbyn says the Labour Party will be anti-austerity and we want to work with members of Labour, especially new members, who support that.
Unfortunately TUSC hasn’t yet had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy to discuss what he can do to get Labour councillors, in Coventry and elsewhere, to refuse to implement Tory cuts.
Or to find out what he thinks council service users, trade unionists, and community campaigners should do in elections if all the likely candidates on the ballot paper are going to carry out the cuts.
So, on this occasion, the Socialist Party has agreed not to stand a candidate, so that there is no artificial obstacle to having that discussion with Jeremy and his supporters.
But time is short. Standing aside in a council by-election is one thing. But in May there will be over 2000 councillors up for election, including 18 seats in Coventry.
We want to have a serious discussion with those in Labour who are serious about fighting the cuts. But the Socialist Party is also clear that any politician who votes for cuts cannot expect to have a free run at the ballot box, no matter what party label they wear.”