Friday 11 February 2011

Work with us to stop Pickles, say Labour's top council leaders in olive branch to LibDems

A government source confirms to The Times (£) that Eric Pickles' relationship with local councils has become dysfunctional.

"They hate him and he hates them".

As a result, LibDem council leaders have asked Nick Clegg to step in so that they don't have to deal with the Tory Community Secretary. The paper reports that LibDem LGA leader Richard Kemp, who helped coordinate yesterday's Times letter warning against the scale and front-loading of local cuts, has requested on behalf of colleagues that they should deal with Clegg and other Cabinet office ministers so as to "minimise" contact with Pickles, with whom their working relationship has collapsed.

In a further letter to The Times (£), most of Labour's senior council leaders welcome yesterday's LibDem letter, and call for cross-party cooperation on this "urgent issue", arguing that residents "are relying on councillors of all parties to work together in the interests of the public and be their voice during tough times".

The letter is signed by councillor David Sparks, Leader, Labour Group, Local Government Association and 130 colleagues, including many Labour council leaders (listed below). They write:

David Cameron acknowledged in a speech in 2009 that “local government is officially the most efficient part of the public sector”. As councillors and elected mayors we will work to continue to drive down the costs of delivering quality public services. However, we feel that the Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, has been disingenuous about the impact his cuts will have on our ability to provide services. The design and depth of the cuts to local authority budgets will undoubtedly hurt local economies and damage frontline services.

Because of the costly long-term impacts these cuts will have to our communities and our local economies we believe it is important that we keep the discussion with the Government open. We therefore invite Liberal Democrat councillors to join us in writing to their fellow Liberal Democrat, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, to ask him to ask Eric Pickles to look again at the unfairness of the Tory-Lib Dem Government’s cuts.

Meanwhile, one Tory councillor from Wookey Hole in Somerset begs to differ, and writes to the paper to attack the LibDems for failing to live in the real world, while congratulating Eric Pickles for his "Churchillian resolve".

The signatories to the Labour letter are:

Labour Council Leaders and Mayors

Cllr Nazim Ali, Camden
Cllr Graham Baxter, North East Derbyshire
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor, Lewisham
Cllr Simon Henig, Durham
Sir Richard Leese, Manchester
Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Merton;
Cllr Rob Anderson, Slough;
Cllr Joe Anderson, Liverpool;
Cllr Jeremy Birch, Hastings;
Cllr Peter Box, Wakefield;
Cllr Jon Collins, Nottingham;
Cllr Darren Cooper, Sandwell;
Cllr Harvey Dennis, Nuneaton & Bedworth;
Cllr Ian Greenwood, Bradford;
Cllr Dennis Harvey, Nuneaton & Bedworth;
Cllr Ann John, Brent
Cllr Peter John, Southwark;
Cllr John Kent, Thurrock;
Cllr Mehboob Khan, Kirklees;
Cllr Mark Kirk, North Lincolnshire;
Cllr Roger Lawrence, Wolverhampton;
Cllr Iain Malcolm, South Tyneside;
Cllr John Merry, Salford;
Cllr Steve Morphew, Norwich;
Cllr Cliff Morris, Bolton;
Cllr John Mutton, Coventry;
Cllr Bob Price, Oxford;
Cllr Steve Reed, Lambeth;
Cllr Marie Rimmer, St Helens;
Cllr Chris Roberts, Greenwich;
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, Hounslow;
Cllr Liam Smith, Barking & Dagenham;
Lord Smith, Wigan;
Cllr Bill Stephenson, Harrow;
Cllr Roger Stone, Rotherham;
Cllr Sharon Taylor, Stevenage;
Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leeds;
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham;
Cllr Paul Watson, Sunderland;
Cllr Eion Watts, Bolsover;
Cllr Catherine West, Islington

Labour Group Leaders (in opposition)

Cllr James Alexander, York;
Cllr Keith Austin, Telford & Wreakin;
Cllr Chris Ball, Bexley;
Cllr Derek Bateman, Cheshire West and Chester;
Cllr Tony Belton, Wandsworth;
Cllr Caitlin Bisknell, High Peak;
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Blackpool;
Cllr Judith Blakeman, Kensington & Chelsea;
Cllr John Bull, Bath & NE Somerset;
Cllr Leslie Christie, Kent;
Cllr Mike Connolly, Bury;
Cllr Laurie Cross, East Riding;
Cllr Shashi Dholakia, Wellingborough;
Cllr Keith Dibble, Rushmoor;
Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, Westminster City;
Cllr Frances Dixon, Reigate & Banstead;
Cllr Julie Dore, Sheffield;
Cllr Les Double, Tendring;
Cllr Peter Dowd, Sefton;
Cllr David Ellesmere, Ipswich;
Cllr Nick Forbes, Newcastle;
Cllr Steve Foulkes, Wirral;
Cllr Phil Fox, Blaby;
Cllr Robert Gibson, Stockton;
Cllr Ian Gilbert, Southend
Cllr Paul Godwin, Medway;
Cllr Andrew Govier, Somerset;
Cllr Ben Grower, Bournemouth;
Cllr Clive Grunshaw, Wyre;
Cllr Bryan Harrod, Sevenoaks;
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Cambridge;
Cllr Helen Holland, Bristol;
Cllr Sandra Holland, Doncaster;
Cllr Roger Hutchinson, South Gloucestershire;
Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, Pendle;
Cllr Laura James, Basingstoke & Deane;
Cllr Mike Kelly, Wyre Forest,
Cllr Jack Kemp, Stafford;
Cllr Matthew Lay, Hinckley & Bosworth;
Cllr Martin Leach, St Albans;
Cllr Mike le-Surf, Brentwood;
Cllr Jo Lovelock, Reading;
Cllr Geoff Lumley, Isle of Wight;
Cllr Alistair MacInnes, Rushcliffe;
Cllr Sandy Martin, Suffolk;
Cllr Steve McHale, Gloucestershire;
Cllr Jim McMahon, Oldham;
Cllr Jennifer Mein, Lancashire;
Cllr Gill Mitchell, Brighton & Hove;
Cllr Derique Montaut, Swindon;
Cllr Tony Newman, Croydon;
Cllr George Nobbs, Norfolk;
Cllr Sue Oliver, Bedford;
Cllr Terry O’Neill, Warrington;
Cllr David Phillips, Swansea;
Cllr Hayden Phillips, North Warwickshire;
Cllr Alan Rhodes, Nottinghamshire;
Cllr Charles Rooney, Middlesborough;
Cllr Steve Shaw-Wright, Selby;
Cllr Anne Shillock, Bracknell;
Cllr Chris Simmons, Hartlepool;
Cllr June Tandy, Warwickshire;
Cllr Matthew Tomlinson, South Ribble;
Cllr Brendan Toomey, Merthyr Tydfil;
Cllr Andrew Verdeille, Stockport;
Cllr Michael Watson, Broxbourne;
Cllr Trevor Webb, East Sussex;
Cllr Anne Western, Derbyshire;
Cllr Keith White, Dacorum;
Cllr Richard Williams, Southampton;
Cllr Dennis Wright, Gosport;
Cllr Julie Young, Essex;
Cllr Stuart Young, Cumbria


Cllr Victor Agarwal, Surrey;
Cllr Dave Allen, Sunderland;
Cllr Ruth Cadbury, Hounslow;
Cllr David Edgar, Tower Hamlets;
Cllr Dorothy Flude, Cheshire East;
Cllr Catherine Grundy, Birmingham;
Cllr Barrie Grunewald, St Helens;
Cllr Ann Lucas, Coventry;
Cllr Catherine McDonald, Southwark;
Cllr Bryony Rudkin, Ipswich and Suffolk;
Cllr Julia Seath, Canterbury;
Cllr Tulip Siddiq, Camden;
Cllr Linda Thomas, Bolton Cllr
Brenda Warrington, Tameside;
Cllr Dave Wilcox, Derbyshire;
Cllr John Williams, Darlington

1 comment:

Tacitus said...

Nice to see the Coalition is full of bonhomie and goodwill to all men and women.

Should we be surprised some Lib Dems find it hard to work with Eric "Jabba the Hutt" Pickles? Not really, like Jabba, Eric is determined to line his own palace whilst stripping all those around him.

The Lib Dem councillors who now have to face Pickles 'austerity measures' are the same people who accuse Labour of causing the deficit. There is a strange irony they are now seeking the support of Labour councillors.

Read my blog at