Councillor Paul Wilson says his resignation from the Labour Party at Salford Council budget meeting was down to a number of factors, including ‘bullying’ within the local group.
A meeting at Salford City Council ended explosively as Councillor Paul Wilson publicly resigned from the Salford Labour Party after voting against the proposed budget.
Coun Wilson, who represents Weaste and Seedley, said the party was “morally corrupt” and characterised by a “lack of democracy” within Labour.
Wilson explained the reasons behind his sudden resignation at the council meeting, saying: “The Labour Party allow bullying to take place within the group, and at the same time brush antisemitism under the carpet.
“There’s a lack of democracy throughout the group in my opinion.”
Wilson explains that “Until the end of my term I will stand as an independent councillor.
“I believe that party politics aren’t the way forward in this current climate and I believe there should be open debates where people can work collectively.
“For the future of Salford I think there needs to be a broad spectrum of independence who share the values of Salford citizens it’s their foremost agenda item.
“For me politically that is the right thing this moment in time, that’s not to say party politics won’t be relevant in a few years time”
Wilson shares his concerns for the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
“I don’t have an issue with Corbyn’s values but I do have concerns that The Labour Party has been taken down a route where there are issues that have been allowed to continue that includes, obviously most high profile at the moment, antisemitism.
“The party needs to go back to its democratic socialist group and that certainly isn’t happening at the moment.”
In Wilson’s wide-ranging speech at the budget meeting he listed a number of issues behind his registration.
He said: “I voted against the proposed budget, a budget proposed by City Mayor Dennett which has shown that the priority of Salford people is being neglected; allowing care workers to be paid less than the living wage, closing a children’s home, more staff loses and this all whilst paying for expensive office blocks on the outskirts of Manchester costing £72 million.
He also cited a number of other allegations, including: “[f]unding a failing stadium, paying millions of pounds in interest on capital projects that ordinary Salford people will not benefit from and all whilst hiking up council tax.”
During the meeting, the Mayor announced a 2.99% council tax rise, plus a 1% social care precept, while a GM Mayoral Police Precept of around £24 a year and a Mayoral General Precept of around £50 per year is also to be added.
After Councillor Wilson’s speech, Deputy Mayor John Merry accused him of “lies and smears” and “nonsensical statements”.
Councillor Heather Fletcher explained that she hadn’t experienced any anti-semitism from Labour Party members in Salford.
Councillor Bill Hinds called the statement “disgraceful”, while City Mayor Paul Dennett declared himself “upset” at the comments, arguing that he had never proposed building houses in Buile Hill Park, adding that it was “unfortunate” Councillor Wilson had not raised his issues at a recent meeting of Salford Labour Party.
Councillor Wilson accused Mayor Dennett “continuing to throw money at vanity projects, projects such as the Salford’s rugby stadium, expensive office blocks”
He also tweeted his decision:
A few moments ago I announced my difficult decision and resigned from Salford Labour. The Party no longer represents ordinary Salford people! #timeforchange #Independentalliance #workingforSalford #Salford #Labour
— Paul Wilson (@Paulw72) February 27, 2019
Followers supported his decision, describing it as a ‘sad day for Salford’.
Sad day for the people of Salford. Huge loss to the Labour Party. I’m not a political person but it was very clear you wanted the best for everyone. You need to stand as an independent
— Emma ? (@runningflynn) February 27, 2019