Residents Support Lib Dem stance on future of Offerton School site

Residents have said ‘no’ to a proposal to allow the Offerton school site in Manor ward to be used as a gypsy and traveller site.

Residents were consulted for their views, and backed the view of Councillors Sue Derbyshire and Daniel Hawthorne that it was not suitable for a gypsy/travellers’ park and also that the entire site should remain in the Green Belt.

Further consultation will be held with residents during this year to develop a planning brief that will define what would be suitable for the site.

Manor Councillor Resigns From Labour

Manor Councillor Patrick McAuley has resigned from the Labour party.

Patrick offered his resignation in e-mails to Councillors and local media on 22 January. These are reproduced in full below.

Patrick will continue to serve as one of Manor ward’s three Councillors.

Dear Colleagues

It is with deep regret and sadness that I have resigned from the Labour Party.

The reason for this is for family reasons. My wife is expecting our first child and her wage has at present reduced and it will do so significantly when she goes on maternity leave. Due to the nationwide building society continualy giving us false information on our options when my wife goes on maternity leave I have had to make some brutal decisions as to how we will survive the next 12 months. Unfortunately the financial demands of being the member of a political group coupled with the campaigning expected is well beyond my capabilities at present due to the financial circumstances my wife and I find ourselves and I feel that it is only proper that my Labour colleagues are not burdened any further with the personal issues I’ve been experiencing. I fully intend to reapply to join the Labour Party when my wife returns to work and hope that in the event of this, my Labour colleagues are able to consider the circumstances with which I have had to take this action. I am still firmly committed to the Labour Movement and am proud of the fact I have been a member for the last three years.

I realise this is politics and the rumour mill will more than likely be furiously active. I would like to state that this is not a political decision as it helps niether the Party I’ve worked for for the last 3 years or myself. I did ask the advice of the group exec. on the feasibility of applying for a paid position at our AGM. After several intermitent discussions and e-mails with various exec. members it was clear that this was not an option and no other helpful solutions where forthcoming. Unfortunately I as a result I have had to make this hard decision for my family. I will still represent the Manor Ward as a local Councillor for which I am still immensely proud to do and I am still available to speak to, should any residents have any issues in the area that I can help with. I realise some may suggest this is a clear case of only being in it for the money, but all I can say is that I am proud of being a councillor and hold the council to account on behalf of Manor residents and consider this my most important job apart from being a husband and soon to be father.

My personal circumstances are well documented and my family, like many of those that we represent, are experiencing the extremities of the economic environment within which the world finds itself. It is a hard reality to be faced with but it is one many are facing and like others I’ve had to take responsibility for my family and do something about it. I hope when I look back I can say that this has made me a better Councillor and that through my experiences I am able to serve the Manor Ward even better. I’m affraid I still fully intend to be a pain in the Lib Dem exec.s backside, so my apologies in advance. I realise political hay will be made with this but would ask colleagues to please respect my families circumstances my wife is not political (although is now for the first time very angry at the coalition). I wasn’t lucky enough to have had or have at present some of the advantages of other colleagues and have had a unique ride in life, but I hope the good that can come from this is that colleagues may have a renewed understanding of the difficulties families in Stockport face and are even more passionate about really affecting the lives of those we represent in a positive way.

I would like to express my full support for the fantastic women and young Labour Activists in Offerton, Davenport and Cale Green, Reddish North, Hazel Grove, Bredbury and Woodley and Heatons North they are a credit to the Labour Party and I know that these candidates will bring a new and fresh dimension to the council if they are elected because they genuinely care about the difficult realities people face over the politics and campaigning. I hope next year when my family is on an even keel we can wear the same colours again. The more diversity we can bring to the council the more representative we will be of the people of Stockport and I urge all parties at this election to try as hard as they can to encourage a varity of people into politics and importantly look after them when they enter the political cauldron.

Thank you for reading this e-mail and will see you at work

Kind Regards

Patrick McAuley

Councillor McAuley clarified his position with a further communication on 29 January.

Dear Colleagues

Now my essay is complete, further to Cllr. Goddards enquiry I have now formally resigned from the Labour Group. After persistent attempts to contact the Labour Group executive without any luck I did contact Anna Huthinson at the Labour Regional Office and she confirmed that my resignation had indeed been accepted. I am confused as to why John Farrell was telling people the party line was that my resignation had been rejected but that is a matter for him I guess. But I do think it is rather dishonest.

Unfortunately, despite what I thought was a clear indication of my support for the Labour Party and intention to return in 12 months Anna informed me that the Labour Party have taken the position that my resigning for the good of my family could be damaging to the party nationally, which I find baffling. As I explained to her £36 might not seem much to Labour Party officers but to a struggling family losing £900 income a month it is a hell of a lot of money.
She also informed me that the Party has taken the position that I now sit in opposition to them. I feel very sad that the Labour Party have taken the view that a man trying to do his best for his family is something they feel they are opposed to or in opposition to, but if that is the case, that is the case.

As no one from the Labour Group executive or Regional Office will return my e-mails perhaps someone could ask them why they stand in opposition to people in poverty, whether they are councillors or not? I thought democracy was supposed to be representative of all genders, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Although given the Stockport Labour Party only had three women councillors out of 18 it is clear they seem to struggle with this concept.
Although in saying that I did find it odd that the Labour Party rules clearly state that if 2 male councillors are sitting in a Ward the third should be a women candidate yet in Heatons South and Reddish South there are 6 male councillors. Perhaps Colin Foster and Andy Verdielle could indicate if they are standing down this year because they have not been following the rules of the Party and I have wished to say for sometime that it is my opinion that this situation is discriminatory towards the women in the Party.

I did think it suspicious that the Leader and Chair of the Labour Group were in wards that had three male councillors. It does seem to suggest given the power their positions bring with them something very wrong is at work when the rules state there should be at least one female candidate or councillor in Reddish South and Heatons South. I can’t campaign as a Party member any longer but would encourage Party members to get answers to these questions.

Now that the Labour Party say I am in opposition to them I can hold them to account on these issues and fully intend to do so. So perhaps they could tell Labour supporters and members why Colin Foster and Andy Verdielle sit in seats that are rightfully (according to the Labour Party rule book) that of a women candidate. I think this is shameful and for the good of the democratic process the matter should be investigated by the Party.

Perhaps other council colleagues could get answers to the question of why the Party feel a man who has tried to do the honourable thing by his family is by itself damaging to the Party? I thought the Labour Party were a party for workers that encouraged people to want to work their why out of trouble and stand on their own two feet. Suggesting i take a sabatacle and that I don’t have to pay into the Labour Group if I come back is not honest and it is not fair. As I am not ill and am not a charity case. I would like to know why the Labour Party take the view that this is a better option for me and my family, is it because it lets the Labour Party save face?

Are the Labour Party embarrassed that poor people stand in their ranks? because this is how they made me feel, this is not the party of the people that they led me to believe they were? In light of this I must unfortunately revise my statement of resignation and say that I have left the Labour Party for good and will not return as things stand. I will stand under the banner of People Matter and will proudly continue to represent the people of Manor to the best of my ability.

Kind Regards

Patrick McAuley

Council Crackdown on Irresponsible Dog Owners

Councillors Ann Smith, Sue Deryshire and the local Lib Dem team have thanked local residents for the excellent response to their recent Resident’s Survey in Stockport.

One of the recurring issues that residents’ reported as a blight on our neighbourhoods was dog fouling.

The Council’s Dog Warden Service receives approximately 600-700 complaints about dog fouling every year and the winter months see the biggest rise in these complaints.

For every complaint where irresponsible owners have failed to be identified, one of Stockport Council’s dog wardens patrols the affected location and ensures that an anti-fouling sign is in place.

During November an irresponsible dog owner was witnessed allowing their dog to foul on Offerton Road, and was issued with an on the spot fixed penalty fine of £50.

Another was taken to court for failure to pick up and dispose of his dogs faeces and was ordered to pay a fine of £457.94.

Councillor Shan Alexander, Stockport Council’s Executive Member for Leisure, said: “The Council is committed to keeping the streets of Stockport dog foul free. The vast majority of dog owners dispose of their pets waste in a responsible way, however we will target those who fail to do so.”

Residents can report any known offenders to the Council’s Dog Warden Service on 0161 474 4207, or text 07624 805 662 specifying the time, date and location of a fouling offence witnessed and a brief description of the dog and owner.  Texts cost the standard network rate.

If you want dog foul to be removed from a public place, contact 0161 217 6111 and let the Council know about the problem.

Ann thanks Davenport Residents for their Rail Campaign Response

Hundreds of local residents have responded to Ann's petition. She is now campaigning for extra trains.

Ann Smith is thanking local residents for supporting her campaign to protect Davenport’s rail service.

After the report suggesting TfGM were trying to smuggle a reduction in the service to Davenport was published, Ann launched a petition fighting any reductions.

Her petition received hundreds of local signatures.

Meanwhile local Labour councillors have been accused of being “asleep at the wheel.” Many residents have said they should have acted quicker after the report was published.

Having done nothing about the report, Labour are now trying to downplay its contents.  They have claimed there was “no threat” to the service.

But the report was published on the Stockport Lib Dem website so that anyone can see why doing nothing was not an option.  Action was needed.  And many questions still remain about TfGM’s aims.

“Had residents not responded so quickly and so positively to the petition, TfGM may well have made another mess of the rail service to Davenport,” said Ann.  “We will continue to fight for improvements to our service at Davenport station and report back to residents.”