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”.’