Labour Party Stalwart Barry Stockley Placed Under Administratative Suspension

The Labour Party have placed party stalwart and Chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent CLP under administrative suspension.

The move comes after a series of high profile bust ups in the months leading up to the Local & General Elections.

A number of leading Stoke Central Labour Party activists have since walked out of the party.

The trouble began with the controversial selection of candidates for the local elections, There were then a series of bust ups between officers of Stoke Central CLP and the Labour Party Regional Office West Midlands which included declaring an AGM null and void and the selection of Mick Williams as a “Ëœcandidate in principle’ for the Hartshill & Penkull ward.

The selection was later overturned by the ROWM and a candidate was selection from 2 names chosen by them.

The selection of Tristram Hunt as the Labour Party PPC was also shrouded in controversy.

Gary Elsby, the Secretary of the Stoke Central CLP, left the party in protest at the selection of Mr Hunt and stood against him in the General Election.

The Labour Party appeared to be somewhat vindicated by the results of the Party both locally and nationally.

Locally the Labour Party made 12 gains on Stoke-on-Trent City Council, taking 17 out of the 20 available seats.

In the General Election Tristram Hunt defeated the Lib Dems into 2nd place, the Conservatives into 3rd and the BNP into 4th place. Gary Elsby finished in 7th place with 399 votes.

Barry Stockley today confirmed that he had been suspended and that the party were holding an investigation that could result in a disciplinary hearing. He also said that he has the support of new Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt and his predecessor Mark Fisher.

Mr Stockley has also been praised for the amount of work he put into the General Election campaign and several ex and current members have appealed that the Regional Office take this into consideration when imposing any punishment or sanctions upon him.

While the suspension is in force Mr Stockley is prevented from holding any office within the Labour Party which could mean he will be unable to put himself forward for the Chair of the CLP at their upcoming AGM.

A spokesperson for the City of Stoke-on-Trent Labour Party confirmed that Mr Stockley was under administrative suspension and that the AGM would take “Ëœplace as soon as possible’ and that it was important to get all members of Stoke-on-Trent CLP to attend the meeting to have their say on the direction that the CLP takes in the future.

It was also confirmed that several CLP members had expressed an interest in standing for office within the party.

Wol’s Election Analysis – The BNP’s Bubble Bursts As Labour Rise to The Top

Stoke-on-Trent’s electorate went to the polls on Thursday 6th May to vote in both the local and General Elections.

There had been a lot of hype about the General Election.

The BNP claimed that they were targeting the seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central and would surely benefit from the alleged imposition of Labour Party PPC Tristram Hunt and the very public departure of Gary Elsby from the Party he supported for 27 years.

It so did not work out that way. Elsby lost his deposit with a humiliating 399 votes. He must surely be now contemplating life after the Labour Party and giving his wounds a serious licking.

BNP Deputy Leader Simon Darby gave his campaign a serious amount of time and effort. His blog site was getting a massive amount of hits and his video diaries told the viewers everything that is wrong with parts of Stoke-on-Trent, but were void of any positive ideas on how to improve the lives of the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central.

Stoke BNP Group Leader Mike Coleman’s campaign never really took off. I kind of get the impression that Mike knew it was going to be an uphill struggle bordering on mission impossible to get the electorate switched on to the BNP message.

Melanie Baddeley was no more than a paper candidate for the British National Party and any minute chance she had was wiped out the moment her husband was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis. He was later charged with the offence and will appear before magistrates on 14th May.

All three of the BNP PPC’s were effected by the revelation that there was a vein of holocaust deniers in the far right party.

The revelation came from former Stoke BNP Group Leader Alby Walker after he quit the party. He was quickly followed across the council chamber by his wife Ellie.

These actions angered some of the party supporters, but effectively killed any chance the BNP had in returning a BNP MP in this City.

Locally, the BNP lost two of their sitting councillors. They failed to get any of their candidates elected, often finishing in 3rd place or lower. They have the embarrassing record of never successfully defending a council seat in this City.

Nationally the BNP were mauled. The nations electorate turned their backs on the policies of the far right. They lost all of their 12 seats on east London’s Barking and Dagenham Council.

Nick Griffin was pasted in his attempt to get elected as an MP for Barking. He came 3rd with just 6620 votes in a result that saw sitting Labour MP Margaret Hodge double her vote.

There are a number of far right websites that are calling for Griffin to go, they are demanding a change in leadership.

The BNP leadership [Darby & Griffin] polled just over 9000 votes between them which is no where enough to get them elected anywhere in the country.

Their total number of votes across the country amounts to 563,743, which equates to just 1.9% of the total number of votes cast at the election.

The fact that the mainstream parties are now willing to talk about immigration issues may well be the reason that people are turning their backs on the far right.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems have tabled policies to deal with the concerns of people who are worried about the impact the number of people who are coming into this country is having on the economy, jobs, housing, and public services.

The Labour Party nationally has been rejected and it would seem that Gordon Brown’s days are numbered.

Locally the Labour Party are resurgent.

They have taken 17 of the 20 available council seats. They have smashed the BNP and critically injured the Independents.

Labour have made a mockery of those who moaned and hit out at the candidate selection process. There were a number of people that left the party in protest. Is the Labour Party vindicated now?

Two candidates Mick Williams locally and Gary Elsby nationally, stood against their party and were unanimously rejected at the ballot box.

Stoke Central CLP needs to re-group and re-build and elected new officers who will take the constituency forward and ensure it becomes progressive. There may be a way back into the party for some it would seem. Tristram Hunt MP is committed to uniting the party and bringing ex members back to the fold. Somehow I can’t see that happening in Gary Elsby and Mick Williams’s case.

Our own Nicky Davis urged people to reject Labour at the ballot box, She wrote:

Mark Meredith’s Labour, continuing after he was kicked out, do not deserve to win an election in the city. They will do the city no good, their track record says it all.

And:

The council’s Labour group screw over communities then just before an election pathetically say they have not listened enough but will now. No ““ LABOUR CAN NOT BE TRUSTED!

Well, It seems our Nicky got it wrong. This election saw the voters turn to mainstream parties and reject the Independents that Nicky favours so much. She has hailed the work of some of the BNP councillors and yet the electorate has shown them the door.

As one prominent Party politician put it: ‘Is there any such thing as an Independent?’

But, the Labour Party in Stoke-on-Trent need to to tread very carefully now. They need to understand that they have been given an opportunity by the electorate. If they get it wrong this time it could well lead to another rise in the BNP’s popularity.

Why? – simple, the Labour Party started to go down hill faster than Franz Klammer when they formed a three party coalition with the Conservatives and the Lib Dem’s. This robbed our City of the individual party voices. We were robbed of the inter-party debates. The electorate were unhappy that they had voted Labour and got Conservatives and visa versa.

Yes, there is a need for all the parties to work together for the good of the City but the different parties MUST retain their individual party voices. Nothing else is acceptable.

The Labour Party hold 26 seats in the chamber, just 5 short of the 31 they need for an outright majority. If they were to form an alliance with the 4 ex Labour members, PKB, Mick Salih, Mike Barnes & Pauline Joynson, they would be just 1 short of the required majority.

Would the Party turn towards Ellie Walker, or maybe Gavin Webb? The City Independents are known to have a growing number of members who are discontented with the direction of the Groups Leadership. Could Dave Conway be enticed back?

There will be interesting times ahead of the Annual Council meeting on May 27th.

I am proud of the coverage that PnP have given both the General and Local Elections. All the 500 word articles went on unedited. Video and Audio interviews went on untampered with.

Every candidate and Party got equal treatment, including the BNP. That is the way this site will continue. We want to work with all parties to get their message out but we will continue to scrutinise every council decision and will never shy away from reporting what is going on, no matter how uncomfortable that makes certain individuals.

We wish every success to those candidates who were successful and commiserations to those who were not.

A politician text me yesterday [Friday] and congratulated me on our coverage. He said that we had helped some people to make up their minds which way to vote and that we provide an essential service to the politically interested in our City.

If that’s the case I’m more proud of that that anything else…..

500 Words From Mick Williams Non-Aligned Socialist Candidate For Hartshill and Penkhull


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**Archive Story From 2010 Election**
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It is exactly 40 years since I was first elected to the City Council. As a young(ish) enthusiastic Labour member I had a lot to learn. Coincidentally:
“Forty years it had taken him to learn just what kind of smile was hidden beneath that dark moustache. But it was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

(Closing lines of Orwell’s “Ëœ1984′)

Did Orwell’s moustache adorn the face of Stalin ? Mine certainly belonged to Peter Mandelson.
So what did I learn in the journey from County Borough through District Council to the current Unitary Authority ? Stoke was on a parallel learning curve but whereas their’s led to a revolving door for senior officers mine resulted in a determination to change things.

Sadly this has been frustrated in many ways.

From the old days of serving an apprenticeship before being entrusted to represent Labour, and being nominated by one’s peers, we now have self-nomination and a current candidate being thus nominated after just three week’s membership.
Independence and free thinking is discouraged, so I had to decide: conform, for an “Ëœeasy ride’ or stand by my principles, defend my integrity and leave my party of 46 years.

I went away for a couple of days with a blank sheet of paper. On the left I listed all the reasons for leaving the party; on the right those against.
It was no contest and I returned and emailed Gordon Brown to tell him why. I didn’t expect a reply but neither did I expect an “access denied” on Labour’s website the following day.

There are many good people left in the Party but they are outnumbered by shysters, crooks, control freaks/bullies and those obsessively ambitious to be an MP.
Gone are the days when we joined because we believed in socialism and I think the 2/3rds of members leaving since 1997 would say rather that Labour had left them.
So; is standing for a 1-year term a futile gesture ?

I think not, and am prepared to give a year of my (precious retirement) time in the hope that my experience will prove useful.

Of course I will diligently attend to all my constituents’ problems (they all say that but I have a track record to prove it) but my main contribution must be to change the system.

There is not much doubt that at present the officers are running rings round the members. Recent revelations (Stoke City’s “Ëœcharitable work’, use of “Ëœconsultants’, etc, etc) seem to prove this. We must make sure that the councillors we elect will properly represent us and not be just a “Ëœbuffer zone’ between citizens and the officials who are really calling the shots.
Does the City’s fate depend on the votes of the Hartshill and Penkhull electorate ? Certainly not, but I would hope to enthuse other councillors from across the three constituencies to develop a bit more independence and to challenge those things they feel are not in the interests of citizens.
They could do worse than follow the example of democracy4stoke’.

Standing Outside Political Parties

A public meeting was held in the Stoke-on-Trent council chamber on 27th April at 6pm to hear from people who had decided to stand as candidates in the local elections not aligned to political parties. Harry Smallwood chaired the meeting.

Four people gave brief talks:

MICK WILLIAMS (Hartshill and Penkhull) said there is a different mood in politics. People have left political parties and even some remaining in parties are uneasy. The reason for the meeting is to find out why. Democracy for Stoke fought for and succeeded in getting a referendum in 2008 which got rid of the elected mayor system. Dai Davies, “Ëœpeople’s voice’ MP for Blaenau Gwent 2006-2010 had given inspiration. People are prepared to challenge impositions on them.

EVE MALEY (Northwood and Birches Head) had battled with the council for 6 years. She said in 2004 the director of RENEW had come to the block of homes where she lived in Northwood and told them their homes were unfit for human habitation. A freedom of information request revealed they had offered £1.8million to demolish the block. Residents fought to try to save their homes, took the council to court 4 times and had a public enquiry but they were told there was a compelling need for their land for regeneration. Eve then stood in the local election and described what happened. She said on the first count she gained one more vote than Liberal Democrat Dave Sutton, the same on the first recount, the same on the second recount with different counters, the same on the third recount. On the fourth recount 2 more votes were found for Dave Sutton so he won by one. Eve was denied a further recount. She challenged Paul Hackney in the high court because of votes being removed from the table and because he had initially said there were only 3 recounts. She lost the case.

MARJORIE BATE (Fenton) had left the labour party and was really upset about it, but said there was no democracy in the party, people who had worked hard were refused as candidates and the party just wanted members to be nodding donkeys. She is not, she is there for the people so is now non-aligned.

ALAN JOYNSON (Stoke and Trent Vale) had been in the council 4 years. He was elected Labour but walked away after 12 months because parties don’t work. He did not like being forced to vote against his conscience, he was not there for a party’s benefit or his own benefit, he is there to represent people. He encouraged people to forget political parties and vote for the individual.

There then followed a discussion raising the problems of the local government act 2000, the cabinet system, cabinet ignoring scrutiny, officers running the council and too much money spent on consultants.

DAI “that can not be right” DAVIES then spoke. (I have given him this middle name because he kept saying it.) He said the cabinet system is only a bit less barking mad than the elected mayor system. We are not being allowed to keep a good committee structure instead because “Ëœthey’ don’t want everyone involved in making decisions. In current political structures, especially in the Labour party, the leaders would rather have fewer members as long as they vote for them. Labour use all women short lists to keep certain men out. Women as well as men don’t generally like these lists. This is what started people’s voice in Blaenau Gwent. Peter Law had stood against the Labour party in the 2005 general election because it imposed a candidate on a constituency. He was very active and well known and liked in the constituency and won with a 46% swing from Labour to independent with a majority of 9,600. (I found it very interesting that such a large swing is actually possible ““ voters take note ““ if you vote however you really believe there is a chance it can make a difference.) Peter Law sadly died and Dai Davies was elected in 2006. Dai Davies warned politicians “take the people who elect you for granted at your peril”. He spoke out against the government taking democracy away from communities and giving it to spin doctors. The whip system has destroyed politics and power corrupts. Politics needs to get back to the people. (I liked Dai.)

There followed a lengthy discussion including solid values in Stoke-on-Trent, real issues that affect people, not being allowed to speak out, unjust accusations made against people who speak out, persecution and bullying, lack of democracy because of imposed bodies, common purpose, corruption, secrecy, transition board, imposed election systems and parachuted candidates. One issue that cropped up was a number of individuals who had had their comments on pits’n’pots tracked, counted and printed and had been told off for contributing to pits’n’pots or what they had said on the site.

There was a discussion about whether to set up a new sort of party, some people favoured this and one person suggested the name “Ëœultimate sense ““ US’. Others did not favour a party. Alan Joynson for one said he wouldn’t want to be in a party, he wants to promote individual thinking. (I agree with Alan.)

Over to you ““ what do you think about people who stand for election outside the party structure? Risk everything (especially if you are in a party) ““ comment at your peril!

Ex Labour Member Announces Public Meeting In Stoke-on-Trent Central

Former Labour Party activist Mick Williams has announced that there is to be a public meeting next week which could result in a new group on the political landscape of Stoke-on-Trent.

Mick is standing as a non-aligned candidate in Hartshill and Penkhull Ward following his resignation from the Labour Party after 46 years membership.

This is against a background of heated controversy in Stoke (Central) constituency where Tristram Hunt was selected despite allegations that he had been ‘parachuted in’ after intervention by Lord Mandelson. This has led to several further resignations from Constituency and Branch officers and activists.

Former CLP secretary Gary Elsby has also resigned and is contesting the election of MP for the constituency as a non-party candidate. He claims to be a defender of Labour’s record but feels that NEW Labour has lost the plot regarding Party democracy. Gary has been invited to speak at the meeting.

This situation bears great similarity to that in Blaenau Gwent five years ago after NEW Labour imposed an AWS (all-women-shortlist) on the local party. The AWM (Welsh Assembly Member) Peter Law contested this as an independent socialist and overturned a 20,000 majority in what was the third safest Labour seat in the country.

Following Peter’s sad death a year later the by-election was won by his agent Dai Davies who has served ever since and will be defending his seat on May 6th.

Dai has agreed to address the meeting and also to answer questions on the development of ‘Blaenau Gwent Peoples Voice’ which has enjoyed remarkable success, now also holding the Welsh Assembly seat and having several councillors locally in Ebbw Vale.

Several local non-aligned candidates in Stoke have been invited to say why they are standing outside the traditional party system and it is widely suspected that an announcement will be made after the election of the formation of a new coalition. This is perhaps inevitable given that there are at present no less than nine political groups registered on Stoke Council.

The meeting takes place in the Council Chamber at the Civic Office in Stoke, Tuesday 27th April at 6.00pm.

Mick Williams Resigns From The Labour Party To Fight For Hartshill & Penkhull

Veteran Labour Party member and activist Mick Williams has resigned from the party in protest at the candidate selection process used for both the parliamentary and local elections.

His resignation ends a 46 year association with the Labour Party. In that time he served as a City Councillor for many years and was awarded the party’s National Merit Award in 2008.

He will now return the award to the Labour Party in protest.

Mr Williams was at the centre of a long running dispute over his status as a Co-op party delegate to the City Labour Party.

Stoke-on-Trent Central CLP nominated him as the chair of the City Party but he was prevented from entering the meeting [allegedly by the Regional Director Ian Reilly] in which the vote was taking place.

As a result Stoke-on-Trent Central CLP refused to attend further meetings until the situation was resolved.

Mr Williams was also very unhappy with the candidate selection process for both the local and general elections and in particular what he perceives to be the imposition of preferred candidate upon the constituencies and branches.

Here is the email in full to Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, which sets out his reasons for his resignation:

Gordon,

Thank you for your email sent earlier today and promising “a different kind of election – one where we the politicians throw open the doors to grassroots activists and the wider public”. Well, forgive me, I’ve heard that so many times before and it never happened – anyway they are not your ‘doors’ to throw open, they belong to the party members.

I joined the Labour Party in 1964 to seek a democratic way of overthrowing a (Tory) Government which had been in power for 13 years and had relentlessly attacked the interests of the working class. I now leave the Labour Party for exactly the same reasons – except that this time the Government concerned (yours – and coincidentally also of 13 years) claim to have improved the lot of the working class. Really ? After reading Wilkinson and Picket’s “The Spirit Level” (which describes how inequality has got considerably worse) and by personal observations of my local area, I think not.

Last Thursday I attended my CLP’s selection meeting to choose a new PPC, following Mark Fisher’s announcement of his standing down. This meeting was presented with a shortlist of three which was so obviously rigged that I was moved to vote against ‘proceeding to ballot’. There had been much local (and some national) publicity regarding the successful candidate and speculation that he had been manipulated into the vacancy by Mandelson. My distrust and hostility to Mandelson dates back to the infamous ‘Sheffield Rally’, where his cocksureness destroyed any chance of a Kinnock victory, and I did have concern for your sanity when I learned that you had brought him back into government.

After the PPC selection came the counting of votes in a postal ballot to choose a council candidate for my ward (Hartshill and Penkhull). This had been actioned by the Regional Office “on the instructions of the Chair of the Organisation Committee, Cath Speight, to re-open the selection”. This followed the decision of my Branch (despite the quorum being augmented by people from other parts of the region) not to proceed to ballot. What should have happened was that there should have been another shortlisting/selection date(s) agreed and the process re-run – but excluding the candidates on the original shortlist. This did not happen, and BLP members were amazed to get a ballot paper with the original two names – after both had been clearly found unacceptable. Whether this was pure bullying or a recognition that they could not continue to impose candidates by a ‘flying selection squad’ I know not. I formally complained to the Regional Office, and they said “duly noted; passed to the compliance unit”. I’ll not hold my breath.

The date 20th September 2008 may not mean much to you, but it was the day that you and Ray Collins signed a certificate on behalf of the NEC “to honour a lifetime’s commitment to the Labour Party”. This was the National Merit Award given to me after I had been nominated by my peers in the local Party. I will be returning it by post since I cannot now believe it was signed with any degree of sincerity.

Perhaps you will understand why I now feel it necessary to assert local democracy by standing myself in the local election – for the first time in my life not as a Labour candidate. I shall put in my nomination papers tomorrow and have until noon next Tuesday to withdraw. Who will blink first ?

This of course means that I shall have to resign from the Labour Party so I would be grateful if you would regard this email as my formal resignation.

I copy this email to the General Secretary (“we are where we are”) and the Chairs and Secretaries (where appropriate) of BLP, CLP and NEC, together with the Secretary of my Co-op Party Branch. I will make verbal announcements at trade union and other relevant places. I will not be bullied, bought or gagged.

In democratic socialism.

Mick Williams.
Membership No. A******.

The official Labour Candidate for Hartshill & Penkhull is yet to be announced.

The sitting Councillors are Cllr Randy Conteh & Cllr Barbara Beeston.

Cabinet Member for Children and Young Peoples Services Ian Mitchell is up for election on 6th May 2010.

Labour – Dead As A Dodo!

Well done Gary Elsby, Barry Stockley and Mick Williams for finally taking a stand in that they are taking legal action against their treatment by the local Labour Party.

I only wish I had done so when I could, and should have done.

Needless to say, any assistance I can give, I will gladly do so. I know with the meetings I went to that there was no way Gary Elsby was going to be Labour candidate.

This action is a sad consequence of a party with a great chasm between itself and local party members, let alone ordinary citizens of Stoke-on-Trent. A party that wants to bulldoze its own agenda through whilst ruthlessly bullying and crushing any other opinions leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

Those that now run the local party have little experience and a totally lack of understanding for politics, Labour, social justice, Stoke-on-Trent and its people.

Yet they are right ““ everybody else is wrong ““ only in their blinkered minds.

Without doubt this is one of the most dramatic and spectacular collapses of a local Labour Party in history.

Only 13 years ago Labour had 60 councillors out of 60. Its complete dominance the envy of many throughout the country. Now its collapse in almost total: down to 13 councillors, struggling to find 20 candidates willing to have their names associated with Labour, and a membership average of just 20 per ward (some are down to less than 10). This could drop even further as I know a number of members who have contacted me asking me to set up an alternative which they would join. Even some trade unions that have left the Labour Party are sounding out for an alternative. There is now even the possibility that Labour will lose an MP.

The bad news just keeps on coming:

* Disastrous mishandling of the Budget
* Accusations of racism
* Accusations of bullying and intimidation
* Legal Action
* Weekly revelation about secrecy and financial irregularities under Labour’s Elected Mayor and his caucus within the council

Some good news however, in that Martin Garner, husband of Cllr. Joy Garner, has had to withdraw as a candidate ““ apparently he forgot to tell or ask his employer whether it was ok or not!

Six years ago Labour in Stoke had a temporary revival, bucking the national trend and regaining a majority on the council.

This was quickly destroyed with the election of a Labour Elected Mayor. Worst still an Elected Mayor with no respect for other people’s views, no time to listen and absolutely no political understanding whatsoever. Secrecy, personality politics, mistrust, bullying, clichés and in-fighting consumed the party.

The blame for the demise however, does not rest with the rather dislikeable Mark Meredith, but with the regional officers of the Labour Party and the NEC.

Why do I say this ““ because its is their complete inconsistency in the treatment of local party members that has led us to this point, and still continues to this day.

There is no doubt that these bodies made decisions totally biased towards the Elected Mayor and his supporters, regardless of the consequences. They joined in and fed the personality politics of Stoke on Trent. The saddest thing of all is that Stoke-on-Trent and its people are the ones that suffered the most.

For example complaints about bullying, threats and intimidation put forward by non elected mayor supporters were ignored, forgotten or lost.

Complaints made by the elected Mayor and his entourage ruthlessly pursued at every level.

Region and the NEC should be the place where every member feels that they can go when things go wrong. Where they will be treated equally regardless of position. It just does not happen as the legal action now demonstrates.

Take Democracy for Stoke ““ through the Labour Party, indeed many other parties, special interests group and organisations are the norm.

D4S’s main initial objective was to get rid of the Elected Mayor system ““ not personal ““ it was set up long before Meredith’s arrival. There were other organisations like the New Local Government Network, who campaign and support Elected Mayors, and were invited to participate in the debate locally even attending a Labour City Party meeting.

Yet the only people pursued by the NEC and region were D4S members. In an interview with representatives from the NEC just prior to my elevation to Group Leader I was left in no doubt that D4S had to go, that membership would banned by the Labour Party ““ to take the pressure off other members I publicly left D4S, not because I wanted to, but because they thought it would die without me, and therefore other Labour members could continue to be in D4S. If I had not then I am sure they would have taken action.

But does the Labour Party raise the same concerns about the pro Elected Mayor NLGN ““ an organisation packed with Labour members and funded by businesses to the tune of millions ““ the same businesses bidding for local government contracts. Of course not.

The message is clear.

If you want a council that is secretive and closed vote Labour.

If you want to be ignored, bullied, intimidated, manipulated and not supported, join the Labour Party.

MP outraged at Labour Party rejections.

Stoke Central MP Mark Fisher is outraged at the decision to exclude several key Party members from being candidates at the 2010 local elections.

Barry Stockley, Gary Elsby, and Mick Williams have been rejected despite a long and sometimes heated appeal hearing. They must now consider what action to take next. It is expected that there will be an emergency constituency party meeting.

Terry Crowe had been rejected but was successful in his appeal. It is unlikely that he will face the electorate in 2010 as he is determined to support the failed trio.

Stoke Central MP Mark Fisher said that he found the appeals panels decision, “amazingly incomprehensible”.

Talking to Pits’n’Pots today Mr Fisher MP said: “I can not see how the panel have come to their conclusions based on the evidence placed in front of them”.

” Barry Stockley gave 4 out of 5 very strong answers, this was recognised by the panel, so how could he not be considered a suitable candidate”

“Gary Elsby has been accepted on the MPs’ panel list and yet these people deem him to be an unsuitable candidate for councillor”.

“I feel I have no alternative but to take this issue and challenge Harriet Harman to investigate this selection process”

Stoke Central Constituency Chairman Barry Stockley has said that he is incensed by the Regional Office’s interference in the selection process.

He said: “This is all about Regional office’s refusal to accept Mick Williams as the Co-Op delegate on the City Party. The have excluded him for no good reason”

“There are two Stoke Central resolutions against the Regional Office and the City Labour Party”

“The first is condemning their interference in the selection of local candidates for the 2010 local elections. The second is condemning the use of foul and abusive language in a Constituency meeting by City Labour Party Chair Sarah Hill toward another member and her subsequent refusal to offer and apology now, or at anytime in the future”

“We feel that we had no option but to withdraw from the City Labour Party. I think this has had an impact on the way that the Regional officers have dealt with our application to be candidates”

“There are double standard here, Gary Elsby has been refused to go on the candidates list, one of the reasons is that he used foul and abusive language on a web site 2 years ago in a private capacity. Sarah Hill does the same In a Labour Party meeting and gets selected, it’s unbelievable”

Terry Crowe is today considering his position in the Labour Party. He is extremely angry at the treatment of him and his fellow party members by the Regional Office.

He said: “I love the Labour Party and I love the communities of Stoke-on-Trent. I have served both for over 30 years. I am disgusted at how I and others have been treated”.

“One of the things that the appeals panel threw at me is that I don’t understand equal opportunities. I have been disabled for many years, nobody understands equal opportunities better than me. I have campaigned for years for equal opportunities and for people with disabilities”

” I found the panel’s treatment of me insulting and even though I won my appeal I don’t feel in a position to commit to the regional office agenda. They have not got a clue about what is needed for Stoke-on-Trent”

“I resent people from outside coming in and taking over the selection of our candidates”

Gary Elsby has been a Labour member for nearly 30 years and is the Secretary for Stoke Central CLP. He has been told that he does not understand the aims and values of the Labour Party and that he lacks political judgement.

He said: “I am disappointed and hurt but I will have to consider what action to take when we have had a discussion over the proceedings”

“I was grilled for 2 hours and I felt I gave a good account of myself, but I feel that this is about more than the reasons given”

“Everyone who opposed the elected mayor or was a member of Democracy for Stoke has felt the wrath of the Regional Office. I am and will remain a committed Labour Party supporter and I constantly tell people that we will win the general election in 2010″

Mick Williams refused to comment publicly pending his request for written clarification of the reasons for his rejection.

City Party Chair Sarah Hill refutes the allegation that she has not apologised, she said: “I have apologised to the NEC and I understand that apology will be forwarded on to the Chair of Stoke-on-Trent Central”

All four of the rejected party members remain committed to Mark Fisher’s election campaign and all stand by Mick Williams, the man most credited with returning democracy to Stoke-on-Trent with the removal of the mayoral system via D4S.

This matter has already attracted the attention of Labour Party National Executive Member Peter Kenyon who wrote on his website:

“I have already asked whether or not the Labour Party is operating a scorched earth policy in Stoke on Trent. There is mounting evidence of purges being conducted all round the country in the name of the National Executive Committee. The NEC’s so-called representative in Stoke is a trade unionist. He is no longer a member of the NEC. I am starting to question the role of trade union paid officials in the governance of the Labour Party”.

You can read the whole of Peter Kenyon’s article by clicking the link below.

Exclusive: Mike Barnes leaves D4S!

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Pits ‘n’ Pots were the first to tell you that Craig Pond had resigned from the British National Party in Stoke-on-Trent, now we are first to tell you that Labour councillor and leadership contender Mike Barnes has resigned from the organisation Democracy4Stoke.

Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes

Councillor Barnes has been speaking to Pits’n’Pots exclusively about his decision to leave D4S.

Mike Barnes was always at the forefront of the organisation which was credited with the success of removing the Elected Mayor system in Stoke on Trent.

It is understood that Mike Barnes believed that D4S had achieved what it had set out to do.

Mike is also thought to be considering setting up another cross party group aimed at tackling the rise of the far right BNP. There is understood to be widespread support for the initiative.

Mr Barnes said: “I have represented D4S through a period where they have achieved their main aim and objective, but now with everything else that is going on in our city, I want to concentrate my efforts on other priorities and initiatives”

“I will also support and appreciate the aims of D4S and wish them success in the future”

Democracy For Stoke convenor Mick Williams told Pits’n’Pots that Mike Barnes will be missed by the organisation but

Mick Williams - Convenor D4S

Mick Williams - Convenor D4S

they are very much still open for business.

He said: ” I wish Mike all the best and D4S appreciates the work that he has done on behalf of our organisation”

He added: ” we as an organisation are still fully committed to scrutinising every decision taken and system operated by Stoke on Trent City Council. There is still a lot of unrest in our city which the governance commission recommendations and the face over the BSF programme and we will continue to fight for the democratic rights of the people in this city”

The D4S website is currently unavailable but is expect to be back up and running shortly.

At the organisation’s recent AGM a treasurer has been appointed and they have set out a vision for what they want to achieve.

It is known that the main priorities for D4S is the opposition to government intervention and the move to all out elections.