The Kensington and Chelsea Labour Group of Councillors regret the decision of Cllr Andrew Lomas to cross the floor and become a Liberal Democrat councillor. We believe that in the circumstances he should present himself for re-election to the voters of Colville Ward and we therefore call for an immediate by-election . The residents of that ward have experimented with Liberal Democrat councillors in the recent past and firmly rejected them at the last Council election only two years ago. To respect the democratic process, they should be asked whether they stand by that decision.
September 2015 Here we go again! Let’s make it a double in 2016
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Some members have been asking how they can help in the campaign to re-elect Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader. Kensington Labour is not running an active campaign over August – despite our hugely increased membership (from 300 to 1500 in 18 months) we are still a small team at present who need a break like everyone else.
However there are two ways you can help over the summer:
Volunteer via JeremyforLabour – http://www.jeremyforlabour.com/volunteer
Run a phone bank from home – https://call.jeremyforlabour.com/
If you’d like to join the Kensington Labour team of volunteers, email us on http://firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the list for our next campaign.
On Monday 25 July, in accordance with Labour Party rules, Kensington CLP held a meeting to debate and select our nomination for Leadership candidate. The meeting was polite, respectful and comradely, Kensington members applauding speeches made for both candidates. The result is below, and repeats our nomination this time last year – Kensington Labour voted overwhelmingly to support our democratically elected Leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP.
All eligible members will also vote individually; ballot papers should be with you in a couple of weeks.
NEC RULING ON WHO CAN VOTE
Here is the link to join as a £25 registered voter and be able to vote for Leader, you have until 5pm today. It may take a few times to get through as the website keeps crashing! https://donate.labour.org.uk/leadership/1
This is the position as we understand it at 19.7.16; we will post updates as we receive them.
Please check for yourself before you take any action as advice is changing by the hour, and we’re confused too!
- To vote in the NEC elections (see below) you need to have joined the Labour Party before 24 June.
- To vote in the Leadership election you need to have joined before 12 January; this was decided at the NEC meeting on 12 July. There may be legal challenges to this ruling as the Labour Party has been encouraging people to join ‘to vote in the Leadership election’ with no reference to cut-off dates.
- Existing registered members (£3 members) will need to re-register if they wish to vote in the Leadership elections, as this form of membership only lasted six months. They can only do this in the 48 hours between 18 and 20 July; we believe this is from 5pm Monday to 5pm Wednesday, but have conflicting information! This will now cost £25, which is about half the cost of full membership (but still a lot of money, we know).
- ‘New’ people can also join as £25 registered members in this 24 hour window.
- If you joined the party as a full members since 12 January you are able to re-join as registered members to vote in the Leadership election – there has been no ruling to date stating that you cannot.
WHY MEMBERS MUST VOTE IN THE NEC ELECTIONS
The National Executive Committee agrees rule and policy changes for the Labour Party. Membership of the NEC is crucial to enable the party to grow and shape itself according to the needs and wishes of Labour Party members.
Kensington CLP voted overwhelming to support Jeremy Corbyn as our Leader in July 2015, and members tell us that they will continue to support him and his socialist policies.
All members will be receiving voting packs to vote by post or online. Please read this carefully. We are inviting our many Corbyn supporters to vote for these members:
At a packed Annual General Meeting on Monday 22 Feb, members of Kensington Labour Party voted by a large majority to affiliate to the organisation Republic, who are campaigning for a democratic alternative to the monarchy.
Membership of the local Labour party has quadrupled since this time last year, and new members are keen to take a stand on controversial issues.
Last September party vice-chair Emma Dent Coad was delegate to the Labour Party Conference. CLP members had agreed two Motions, one to stop Trident renewal and the other to ‘Stop Taxpayer Funding of the Monarchy’. This Motion demanded an end to the taxpayers’ subsidy of a family with several members residing in Kensington. Emma says: ‘When many low-income families in the borough are struggling to pay their bills including tax, it is perverse to continue subsidising the extravagant lifestyle of those who are already financially secure and well housed – and who are exempted from paying tax themselves. It is estimated that £334m a year could be saved by ceasing these payments.’
In the event it was the Trident Motion that was voted to go to Conference, and Kensington Labour have now also affiliated to Labour CND.
However this new link with Republic has given members renewed hope that one day a Motion could be taken to Conference to argue its case. Emma said: ‘In cost terms alone giving financial support of £334m/year to the monarchy cannot possibly be justified in a time of government cuts that are devastating our communities. I am delighted that we have finally agreed to take a stand by affiliating to Republic.’
CLP chair David Kear said: ‘We have yet another Royal celebration coming up, for which the taxpayer will be expected to pay. Several people have been outraged at the Palace’s ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign. We pay Council Tax to have the streets cleaned, why pay double in cash and personal effort? The Royal family are a constant drain on resources, and here in the most unequal borough in Britain, we have four food banks feeding hard-pressed families. I’m glad Kensington Labour members are prepared to stand up and say “enough is enough”.’
The campaign teams were able to get the necessary 1,500 signatures to have this petition debated in Full Council. Well done everyone who went out in cold and rain to achieve this!
The debate will take place on Weds 27 January, in the Council Chamber, Town Hall Kensington. The meeting starts at 6.30pm and the debate comes reasonably early in the meeting.
PLEASE COME TO THE PUBLIC GALLERY AND SUPPORT OUR PETITIONERS AND COUNCILLORS SPEAKING ON THIS VITAL ISSUE!
If you have never attended a Full Council meeting before and seen your Councillors at work trying to impose some democracy … come to the Civic Desk (follow the sparkly lights) main reception and ask for directions to the Public Gallery.
Those will mobility issues will find there is level access available to the first floor, where you can sit at the back of the Council Chamber. ALL WELCOME!
Kensington Labour has launched a petition to demand that the Council lobbies the Mayor of London for step-free access including lifts at tube stations. This had been agreed and budgeted by the previous Mayor Livingstone, but the current Mayor withdrew the funding.
You can access Hammersmith and City line via a lift at Paddington, but you can’t get off at Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove or Latimer Road! We also have huge concerns at other busy stations such as Kensington High Street and South Kensington.
Please sign our petition before 6 January to persuade RBKC Council to lobby the Mayor for step-free transport:
Comment from Westway Trust Board member Cllr Pat Mason, following the Tabernacle meeting on 11.11.15 that WT refused to attend:
“I advised the trust Chair and Chief Executive to attend the W23 Tabernacle public meeting saying they should not operate in a vacuum without the input of local people and without giving people the right to ask questions, scrutinise their actions, and to suggest what strategies the trust should follow for the future. Unfortunately, they decided not to attend because they are locked into the belief that local people should be commenting on and suggesting improvements to the trust’s proposals and strategies, rather than accepting that local people do not support what they are doing and have a completely different vision for their area. So any kind of strongly-voiced opposition to what is being proposed is experienced as unpalatable by trust directors who say they shouldn’t have to put up with abuse when they are at work.
This disconnect with the community is a historical problem born from the hijacking of the trust by Kensington & Chelsea Council from its inception and used as a vehicle to advance Council regeneration policies and to prevent real community representatives and groups, who were always branded as trouble-makers, from managing their own assets and making decisions beneficial to their communities.
For several decades, the trust has been run as if it were a castle bordered by a mote and peopled by the Council’s grandees who have ingrained their philosophy of neo liberal top down decision-making on the organisation which is a hard mould to break. The trust now has less Community representatives and elected Councillors, and more professional appointees on its board than it had a year ago. It was set up to go down the corporate route and that process will continue unless the local community backs up its wish for an alternative vision with real actions”.
Pat Mason, Councillor
Westway Trust Board Member
RBKC Labour Group of Councillors position statement at 13.10.15
The RBKC Labour Group of Councillors has been elected to represent residents who live around the Westway, and whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the presence of the road that sliced through their neighbourhood in 1970. The demolition of homes, the dislocating effect of the flyover on travel options, the pollution, and the use of space beneath the flyover – originally never planned for – has had many negative consequences. The Westway Trust was set up to compensate for and to address these consequences.
Regarding early plans for regenerating the 23 acres of land in the Trust’s care, the Labour Group believes the Trust must always remember its aims and responsibilities. We are concerned that the Trust’s aim of generating as much income as possible to pay for charitable works could paradoxically have a very negative effect on the communities the Trust exists to serve; some are already being forced out by rent rises and changes in policy. Some would go so far as to say that unless great care is taken the proposal for high-end independent shops, art galleries, restaurants and private housing would not help to build more solid foundations to support local business, employment and well-being, but instead would annihilate the local community.
We would support a more modest set of proposals that would put local needs first.
We consider that the Westway Trust began this process poorly but welcome signs that it is now beginning to learn from the responses from the community and from Councillors’ comments that there is a better way. We are pleased that the Trust has agreed to reconsider its previous timetable and plans and note that they have improved the consultation period.
We look forward to working with the Trust to ensure that any redevelopment by the Trust of the area that we are elected to represent maximises the interests of residents, traders and visitors and is not dominated disproportionately by the wish to generate revenue.
In summary the Labour Opposition Group of Councillors will campaign to:
- Ensure that future consultation is open, honest and inclusive, and takes the time it needs
- Require Westway to continue to engage, talk to, listen to and support the requirements of local people, businesses, traders and groups and insist they are considered first in future consultations and proposals
- Urge Westway Trust to disseminate their learning from Stage 1
- Question financial imperatives
- Reiterate our plans for Greening the Westway to include hanging gardens (green walls) and a full (not tokenistic) programme to tackle air pollution
- Question the marketing position of ‘Destination Westway’ which is clearly aimed at businesses outside the borough and does not favour local people
- Ensure that no existing ‘social and community use’ is lost, but is maintained and improved
- Ensure that Westway Trust has a meaningful consultation with neighbouring boroughs of Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham
- Listen to any alternative visions or ideas, and support groups to find the expertise to bring these forward to viable proposals where possible
- Carefully watch the Planning timetable to ensure there is time for future stages to be properly scrutinised
- Update our position in line with the situation as it evolves
- Prepare a set of guidelines for any future planning application, to include policies from the SPD, Local Plan, The London Plan and national planning regulations.