I have noticed that an attack piece has been put out by the Willesden and Brent Times about Brent Council not campaigning against the proposal to close A&E permanently at Central Middlesex Hospital. This is the quote that was supplied to the local paper when they contacted the Group on the issue:
“Brent Labour has given its full support to the campaign against the Coalition’s plans. Labour Councillors condemned the plans in the Council Chamber and have been working with the community to raise awareness of the issue, including writing to Andrew Lansley, raising the issue with residents on the doorstep and we agreed to meet campaigners weeks ago. Both Cllr Butt and myself will address the march against the closures on 15th September. However, it is difficult to use Brent Council resources to back campaign is because unlike in Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham, there is no cross party support for the campaign. Both the Lib Dems and Conservatives in Brent have refused to criticise the plans put forward by their own Government. We will continue to campaign on this issue as a wider Brent Labour Party.”
This was what the Willesden and Brent Times printed;
Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s lead member for adults and health, claimed it was “difficult” to back the campaign as there is no cross-party support.
He added: “Both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Brent have refused to criticise the plans put forward by their own Government.
“We will continue to campaign on this issue as Brent Labour Party.
The changing of one sentence (highlighted in bold) and manipulating the term “difficult” used in my sentence by the paper means that it could be read that Labour Councillors are not supporting campaigners. The issue is not whether Brent Labour supports the campaign or not, we do.
The issue is whether we use taxpayer resources, or Labour Party resources. So far, we have opted to use Labour Party resources. This is because it is difficult to justify using Council resources to campaign in cases where there is not cross party agreement.
Otherwise, the Labour Party could just abuse its position as the leading party in Brent and use taxpayer money to campaign on other issues that we believe are damaging the prospects of people in Brent, like for example, the trebling of tuition fees and the Government’s deficit reduction plan.