Friday, 16 November 2007

As if the local Tories falling apart wasn't helpful enough the Labour party are still at each others throats. The quotes from Cllr Neil Douglas toward the end of this article are most revealing
Sefton Labour Party denies crisis claims after disgraced ex-mayor’s trial
Nov 7 2007 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post

THE Labour party in Sefton was in turmoil last night after it emerged a key witness against a former mayor accused of benefit fraud has been de-selected by the party.
Labour Councillor John Rice, (pictured), who represents the Derby ward, said he believed he had failed to make the candidate panel for next year’s local elections because he had given evidence against former Labour mayor John Walker.
Last night former Labour councillor Neil Douglas, who surrendered his Manor seat in June when he moved to China, said if he had not moved abroad he would have resigned over the way the party had dealt with concerns about Walker.
Deputy Labour leader Peter Dowd denied Labour was in “meltdown” in the borough and also rejected Cllr Rice’s claims about his deselection.
Walker, 57, and his wife Catie, 48,of Farmers Place, Bootle, were found guilty of conspiracy to dishonestly obtain £32,871 in Disability Living Allowance last week.
Walker had represented the Manor ward of Sefton before he stood down before the May 2006 elections.
The Conservatives snatched Walker’s former seat and last month they also won the by-election called after Mr Douglas stood down.
All three seats in the ward, once a Labour stronghold, are now occupied by Tories.
Last night Cllr Rice said: “Personally, I believe the reason I did not get on the panel was because I was willing to give evidence against John Walker.
“The problem with the Labour party in Sefton is that it is a Bootle-centred party and does not have any councillors in Southport.”
Mr Douglas, an accountancy lecturer who is working in China for the University of Central Lancashire, said the party was an “incestuous group of mediocrity”.
“When I came to China I decided to resign because it was the ethical thing to do. But if I had not moved I would have resigned anyway.”
He said this was because the Labour leadership in the borough had failed to listen to his concerns.
Cllr Dowd said: “John Rice has a right to appeal against any decision.
“If there’s any suggestion that his current position is linked to the recent trial of John Walker that is completely untrue.
“I don’t believe that Labour is in meltdown at all. We are the second largest party in Sefton.”