Five Lancaster City Councillors - including deputy leader - resign from Labour Party to form new political group

The five councillors - including deputy leader Kevin Frea - have announced today that they will now sit on the council as the Eco-Socialist Independents.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 5:15 pm

Coun Frea, Alistair Sinclair - current Cabinet Member for Communities and Social Justice - Faye Penny, Jack O’Dwyer-Henry and Katie Whearty said that they can no longer sit as Labour

councillors due to the party’s "shift to the right" under Keir Starmer.

They highlighted several recent issues, such as Labour’s abstention on the "spycops bill", the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, and the "watering-down of the socialist Green New Deal policies".

Lancaster Town Hall.

The group said: “Humanity faces a future of spiraling inequality and climate catastrophe.

The world needs strong socialist movements to fundamentally challenge the capitalist system that is destroying our planet.

"For a brief time, a ‘moment’, the Labour Party offered hope to millions, to the many not the few.

"Today under Starmer, it is offering a return to ‘business as usual’.

Coun Kevin Frea.

"The country and the world doesn’t have time for this.

"The climate extinction clock is ticking.

"So, we cannot in good conscience remain as representatives of this Labour Party with which we now hold so little in common.”

Coun Frea, formerly of The Green Party prior to joining the Labour Party, also issued a separate statement.

Coun Alistair Sinclair.

He said: “I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that Labour Party democracy is not fit for purpose, and that members have no influence in developing a policy to urgently address the climate and ecological emergency and achieve a just transition from fossil fuels…

"It with great sadness and disappointment that I have reached the conclusion that the Labour Party is not going to take the urgent and necessary action needed to address the climate and ecological emergency.

"Therefore, I tender my resignation from the Labour Party, and will sit as an Independent, as part of the Eco-socialist independent group.”

Lancaster City Council is currently controlled by a ‘Co-operative Alliance’ of Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat councillors.

Coun Faye Penny

The Eco-Socialist Independents have said they wish to remain in the alliance, to work “closely and constructively” with these parties “to implement the local manifesto we were elected to deliver”.

Coun Whearty and Coun O'Dwyer Henry.