By Chris Cornell / Latest News / 0 Comments

Following the issuing of new UK Government advice the local Labour Party has revised how it will be campaigning this May. These changes are designed to keep our campaigners and you safe at this difficult time.

To help we will be:

  • focussing our efforts on telephone canvassing. You can find details of our Dialogue sessions at https://events.labour.org.uk
  • using professional deliverers to distribute leaflets – particularly before April 12. When our volunteers deliver to your home they will be in teams of no more than two, social distanced and masked. 
  • Reducing the size of our usual doorstep canvassing teams to a maximum of six. Before April 12 we will be leafletting before sessions to give people a chance to indicate if they don’t wish us to call. After that our volunteers will be socially distanced, masked and sanitising between each house.

All of our activists will have downloaded the NHS app and have it activated before starting. We will be working with Canterbury City Council to formalise whether we will be running an operation on polling day. We will only do this if it safe to do so.

By Chris Cornell / Latest News / 0 Comments

Pip Hazelton

Pip Hazelton : Westgate By Election

Hi, I’m Pip Hazelton your Labour and Co-operative Party candidate for Westgate ward in the elections this May.

Recently retired, I was a social worker working mainly in the field of child protection but also had experience of working with vulnerable older people. I was based in Canterbury for over 18 years, I live in Westgate ward and my children attended schools in the city. I consider myself a local but am constantly learning by listening to others about strengths and needs locally.

Often to be seen walking around town or in the local parks with my toddler grandchild, I am acutely aware of the services that fall within the remit of the City Council that are suffering from a combination of lack of funding, misguided decision making and poor oversight.

I have been at times a single parent as well as carer to an elderly father and now a grandmother. The need for locally delivered quality services to support individuals and families is close to my heart.

I am proud to be the chair of trustees for a respected local domestic abuse charity and during the pandemic have been overseeing the renovation of our latest project – a fantastic five bedroomed home for young women who are pregnant or with young babies who have experienced domestic abuse.

I also volunteered during the first lockdown with the City Council and did shopping and prescription collections and deliveries for those who were shielding.

Think global, act local is a philosophy I try to follow – it is too easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges that face us in this 21stCentury world and it is heartening to see how much local activity there is in our City – from community groups, discussion forums, environmental action groups etc… the list goes on.

I am passionate about the power we have to change our lives for the better if we work collaboratively. Seeking solutions whilst learning lessons can energise and empower individuals, families and whole communities.

It would be an honour to work with and for the residents of Westgate to represent and advocate for them on Canterbury City Council to improve all our lives.

WESTGATE BY ELECTION

Leaflets

Click on the image to read leaflets from Pip being delivered on the subjects of education, the environment and safer streets

Contact Pip

VOTE PIP HAZELTON ON MAY 6TH
By Chris Cornell / Latest News / 0 Comments

Last Thursday, Canterbury City Council voted to establish a COVID-Emergency Committee of 17 councillors to make all major decisions of the council, potentially up until May 2021. The Labour Group, whilst acknowledging the scale of the emergency that we are in, proposed and voted in favour of amendments which would bring about greater accountability and prevent this decision being understood by many as a return to the ‘Executive’ system of governance which dominated local politics in the area in the early 2000’s. In this piece, Councillor Alan Baldock reflects on the discussion:

 

‘We all inhabit an ever changing new normal, local leadership has never been more important and nor has a willingness to listen and engage with local communities.  It is those communities that need local Councillors to be there helping them to survive today and have hope of a better life to come when this horrible disease is no more.

Thursday last week CCC stopped listening and started hiding, running away from scrutiny and challenge and the very people they represent.

The Conservative administration excluded twenty-one of the Councillors you elected last May from representing you and your family in the debates and decision making until quite possibly next May.  They have been deliberately and knowingly excluded during a period that in history that shaped the beginning of our recovery to a new normal.

Not only has the Tory administration now excluded Councillors it is in a panic driven rush towards, what is to all intense and purposes, a return to the Executive system so hated in Canterbury and Whitstable especially.  An Executive system of Governance, where a small group of Councillors take all the decisions, was replaced after a long and bitter campaign by a Committee system in CCC.  This Committee system now involves almost all Councillors one way or another and offered good opportunities for scrutiny and challenge, openness and public involvement.  All those checks and balances leading to robust and generally wise decision making, it’s not perfect but hugely better than an Executive.

Labour Councillors for Canterbury and Whitstable tried to prevent a Tory and LibDem sleepwalk back to the quasi Executive system.  The Torys excuse was the COVID19 emergency, they even named this new, all powerful Committed the COVID Emergency Committee.  

The Tories empowered the Chief Executive to make significant decisions and choose what to bring to the new CEC Executive style Committee.  They have prevented opposition Parties from presenting Motions or asking formal Questions, they have prevented members of the public from Petitioning and finally refused to agree that all Councillors should be involved in a future decision to extend this emergency arrangement past August.  All these lost checks and balances were ways of holding an elected Council to account, making democracy work for the people that elect their representatives.  This Tory administration has chosen to believe it is above challenge and has a devine right to rule and as such can do as it chooses without scrutiny or public accountability. Opposition for Opposition sake is poor governance, that’s not what Labour do.  At the Council Meeting on Thursday last week we presented a workable and legal solution that offered the stability of the Committee system we have now, encouraging good debate, challenge and public engagement.  To speed up the process during the emergency period we would have empowered the Committees to ratify all their decisions without reference to a full Council meeting.  The existing appointed Councillors, with there Committee knowledge and experience would be there for the emerging recovery online in virtual meetings and of course in the heart of their communities.

Along with the LibDems, Labour Councillors wanted certainty in writing that this was a temporary governance arrangement.  Frighteningly we did not get this, in fact the Tories voted against just such assurance.  How confident would you be after seeing the obedient whipped Tory Councillors vote against every single opposition amendment submitted to protect the democratic process, a process that must always be there to hold a Council of any colour to account.  Never has it been more important than now as it leads its residents into an unknown new normal along a long and challenging path that crosses all our lives and those of our loved ones.  Sadly, that is in doubt in Canterbury for the foreseeable future.’