Liberal Democrats launch their Vision for Stockport

Today the Liberal Democrats have launched their Vision for Stockport, a comprehensive action plan to move our community forward as we emerge from the Covid lockdown and head into the local elections next month.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall, said: “We have a vision for Stockport which would see us focus on tackling the climate emergency, moving power into the hands of local people and ensure that openness and transparency become a reality, not just hollow claims under the current minority Labour administration.

“Currently at Stockport Town Hall the Labour and the Liberal Democrat Groups are level on 26 seats each with the Conservatives on just 8, so this election is crucial to decide who runs the council. We hope residents will back our vision and support their Lib Dem candidate on 6th May.”

Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems, added: “We are ready to hit the ground running with a number of big changes planned for the first 100 days of the new civic year. From cleaning up our parks and open spaces to putting tackling the climate emergency at the heart of decision making, residents will notice the clear difference a Lib Dem Cabinet will bring to the borough as society opens back up after Covid.”

The action plan can be found at the link below:

Statement on the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, has issued the following statement with the Leaders of the other political Groups on the council:

“On behalf of our residents, we would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family on the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

We recognise the Duke of Edinburgh’s long service to our country and his dedication to Her Majesty the Queen.

As a mark of respect, Stockport Town Hall will be lit up purple and the flag flown at half-mast. Our condolences to all who mourn his loss.”

Stockport Lib Dems mark national day of reflection

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, attended a locally-based Interfaith event yesterday to mark today’s national day of reflection.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Hunter said: “I was very pleased to attend the Interfaith event to mark the national day of reflection on behalf of my Group. This was a time to pause and think about the unprecedented losses we have faced over the last year and share our hope for the future. It has been an incredibly difficult twelve months for everyone, particularly for those who have lost people dear to them.

“With the vaccination programme well underway and infection levels currently falling, I hope that the year ahead is a better one for us all. On the day of reflection itself I encourage all residents to mark the minute of silence at Noon and put a candle on their doorsteps in vigil at 8pm, as suggested by the charity Marie Curie.”

A link to the recording of the Interfaith event will be posted here, when available.

Lib Dems call for a step-change in the oversight of policing in Greater Manchester

Following an extraordinary Scrutiny meeting last night attended by elected GM Mayor, Andy Burnham, and Deputy Mayor for Policing, Baroness Bev Hughes, Stockport Council Liberal Democrats have called for a step-change in the oversight of policing in Greater Manchester.

Speaking after the meeting, committee chair Mark Roberts, Lib Dem councillor for Bredbury Green and Romiley, said: “The meeting was called by Lib Dem councillors because of our concerns about the way the GM Mayoral team have handled the damning HMI report published last December. We were concerned that this was being handled too often through private meetings, with a lack of transparency and no real accountability to the residents of Stockport.

“We shone a light on this complex situation and we were able to clarify important matters, including when the Mayoral team knew just how damning the HMI report was and the fact that the Mayor instructed the former Chief Constable to step aside from his role.”

Charles Gibson, Lib Dem councillor for Hazel Grove, said: “During the meeting we highlighted the gap between the oversight of policing and the way all other aspects of political decision making across Greater Manchester are handled. Whilst the current Police Panel model is what is required by law, it is dominated by Labour cabinet members from across Greater Manchester, supposedly holding a Labour elected mayor to account.

“We have never done only the bare minimum when it comes to oversight and scrutiny in Stockport and we advocated for a much stronger scrutiny model to be developed and implemented for policing so that residents can be confident their elected members know what is happening and are holding the political decision makers to account.”

Cllr Angie Clark from Bredbury Green and Romiley, added “The Lib Dem Group will be pursuing Andy Burnham’s apparent willingness to improve the oversight of policing in Greater Manchester. It is a real shame it has taken the findings of an HMI report and pressure from Lib Dem councillors in Stockport for such improvements to become possible.

“We will be following up with recommendations for a politically balanced and transparent oversight and scrutiny model to be adopted.”

Tory and Labour councillors join together to vote FOR yet another council tax increase and AGAINST more local power and resources

At last night’s Budget Council Meeting at Stockport Town Hall, Conservative and Labour councillors voted together again to increase the council tax and block Liberal Democrat proposals to put more spending decisions in the hands of local residents and to make more money available to tackle the climate emergency declared by the council nearly two years ago.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “We wanted to make more money available for each community to be able to tackle the climate emergency locally, and put more power in the hands of local residents through their area committees on things like local regeneration schemes and improvements to parks and open spaces.

“Several opposition members commented on these being good ideas, but it was not enough to make them vote for our amendment. The Labour administration remains propped up by a rump of Tory councillors and anything the Lib Dems suggest is simply voted down by this unholy alliance.”

Cllr Lisa Smart, Deputy Leader and lead on budget matters, added: “We were disappointed, but not at all surprised, that Tory and Labour councillors worked together to block this well thought out proposal. The next time any of them complain about flooding in their ward, a lack of influence over decisions being taken at the Town Hall, or a lack of money to support a local project, local residents should feel free to remind them that we tried to put the money and power in their hands and they threw the opportunity away.”

Lib Dems participate in virtual commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day

Cllr Mark Hunter, as Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Stockport Town Hall, gave an invited reading at the civic commemoration event for Holocaust Memorial Day, recorded yesterday evening.

Speaking after the recording, Cllr Hunter said: “It was a great honour to represent the Liberal Democrat Group at the civic Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration.

“We must never forget the six million Jews murdered in the holocaust and the millions of others murdered under Nazi persecution, nor those killed in subsequent genocides in places such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. By marking this day we remind each other that we must remain prepared to guard against genocide happening again in the future.”

The recording of the event is available here.